What Are YouTube Shorts?
YouTube Shorts is a subsection of the video platform YouTube that supports short videos, also known as Shorts (typically 1 minute or less). Shorts were introduced to YouTube in response to the successes of other short-form video platforms such as TikTok and Instagram Reels.
Shorts are typically snappy, vertically oriented videos geared toward mobile viewers. They usually include filters, audio clips, and basic editing and sometimes are reposted on other video platforms to maximize views.
How Are YouTube Shorts Different From Other Short Video Platforms?
YouTube Shorts are different from other short video-sharing platforms in a couple of different ways. First and foremost, according to YouTube, YouTube Shorts have a maximum length of 60 seconds, shorter than the maximum length of both Instagram Reels and TikTok. Shorts also operate off a YouTube audio library, allowing you to use sounds directly from YouTube videos.
Otherwise, YouTube Shorts is similar to its counterparts and has an audience of viewers interested in watching shorter videos.
How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?
The specifics of the YouTube algorithm are safeguarded, but knowing how the search engine of YouTube works will help you to find additional viewers of your YouTube Shorts content. While sometimes a viewer will be organically shown your content seemingly at random, in most cases, they have shown interest in similar content or have specifically searched for similar or relevant content. But how do algorithms know what the content is about? Well, the uploader (you) tells them through keywords!
Finding keywords is done through a process known as keyword research. You can start by brainstorming words that are relevant to your video. For example, if your YouTube Shorts video features tips for car maintenance, ‘car’ and ‘car maintenance’ are likely keywords for your video. There are also keyword research tools specifically for YouTube keywords, such as this one from the popular SEO site Ahrefs.
Integrating your keywords into your content is done through a few steps when uploading content to YouTube and search engine optimization (or SEO). We’ll go over how to add SEO to your hashtags, captions, and titles so you can properly optimize your Shorts for YouTube’s search engine.
Add Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to use YouTube’s search engine and lead viewers to your content. Use hashtags that are relevant to your Shorts content, don’t mislead viewers, and are not overlong or superfluous. Hashtags should easily come to mind when watching your video and should accurately describe the content. They should also reflect your keywords.
YouTube Shorts also recommends hashtags for you to use based on your content. You can add recommended hashtags to your videos in combination with your keywords.
YouTube’s parent company Google also has helpful guidelines on hashtag use for the platform here.
Optimize Your Video Titles
Similar to adding great hashtags to your YouTube Shorts, using a neat and searchable title for your video is important for finding new viewers. Your title should include one of the searchable keywords relevant to your video, and it should be catchy. Add powerful words that spark interest, such as “surprising,” “amazing,” “best,” “worst,” and “exciting.”
Include Keywords In Your Caption
The written caption of your Shorts video is another important piece of real estate to optimize your video for the YouTube algorithm. Don’t waste this precious space by typing nonsense here, but instead, continue to suggest to the algorithm what your video is about by including a keyword.
Speaking of captions, the other sort of caption (written on-screen presentation of audio) could be helpful to your Shorts video’s algorithm position. Many suspect that manually adding captions or enabling automatic captioning to your Shorts is a great way to catalog your content for the YouTube algorithm. Adding captions to your video is also a way to make your videos accessible for hard-of-hearing users or users who prefer to watch Shorts without audio while in public which can lead to more views.
How Creating Better Content on YouTube Shorts Can Lead to More Views
Research and Follow Trends on YouTube Shorts
Luckily for YouTube Shorts creators, Shorts are a very trendy form of media. Challenges, viral audio tracks, and video types rise in popularity quickly, gaining recognition overnight and then getting passed over in favor of something new and exciting. To keep up with the times, it is important to research trends that are in and out of favor, following along when you can and passing up on others you may have missed out on.
Keep tabs on what is commonly getting many views, challenges that multiple people are doing, and viral audio people add to their YouTube Shorts. Consider creating a list of trendy video ideas to keep handy while planning your next YouTube Shorts to film and edit.
Create a Viral YouTube Shorts Video
Part of following trends includes paying attention to the types of videos that go viral. Be warned that viral videos are seemingly a dime a dozen, but they can be hard to replicate. While some YouTube Shorts viral tricks are out there, it’s difficult to predict when a video will go viral.
Have you been wondering how to make a YouTube Short go viral? Here’s a list of ideas for how to try to score a viral YouTube Shorts video:
- Get creative with your style
- Do something unique
- Tell a story
- Discuss something controversial
- Make an interesting educational video
- Start a new challenge
- Put a spin on a current trend
Take Advantage of Viral Situations
Hand in hand with our last point, capitalizing off of viral moments can help turn one popular video into a series of popular videos. Consider posting a follow-up or explanation video to your most viewed YouTube Shorts. Viewers who are confused or have questions about the original viral video will want to hear more from you. For example, a new viral dance video could be paired with follow-up tutorials on the choreography, an explanation of your inspiration for the dance, or even other dance videos to the same song.
Depending on how much content you have to share, consider creating a multi-part series that continues to generate views. Don’t simply post your viral moment and let it die. Make sure you follow up on it and secure more views!
Keep Your YouTube Shorts On the Short Side
Contrary to popular belief, there is no need to fill the boundaries of your YouTube Shorts time. Longer videos do not equal more views for Shorts, much like regular YouTube videos. There is a sweet spot for view time between the 15-second mark and the 60-second mark.
Also, unlike traditional YouTube videos, an intro is unnecessary for Shorts content and goes against YouTube Shorts best practices. Don’t waste time introducing yourself or the topic at hand. Viewers of Shorts want the content to get straight to the point and end fairly quickly so that they can move on to the next video. If you waste time at the beginning of your video, you risk potential views scrolling right on by. Try your best to capture your viewer from the first second.
Loop Your YouTube Shorts Videos
There are two ways in which you can loop your YouTube Shorts. The first is a setting that you can change, automatically making your videos play repeatedly until your viewer navigates away. By looping your YouTube Shorts this way, you can gather additional views from viewers who may not have been paying attention or want to watch your video again.
The second way to loop your YouTube Shorts is a clever little trick that is an easy way to get multiple views on the same YouTube Short from the same viewer. By starting and ending your video in the same frame, your YouTube Short will act as a loop that may trick your viewer into watching your video a second time. This YouTube Short strategy works well for earning repeat views. Looping your YouTube Shorts videos through editing also adds a higher production value to your Shorts, which may impress viewers.
Create A Playlist of All of Your Shorts
Make it easy for lovers of your content to continue viewing your Shorts by making a playlist of your Shorts! By organizing your YouTube Shorts videos, you can gain views from those who want to continue to watch short-form content from you and promote YouTube Shorts on your YouTube channel for other viewers.
You can also further sort your Shorts content by topic or video type. If you post some Shorts that are challenges and others that are dance videos, consider making two separate playlists so that lovers of your dance videos can find what they are looking for.