I’ve been asked a lot of questions about YouTube Playlists and how to use them to boost rankings, and I thought I would put a whole lot of information in a video for you.
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What is a YouTube Playlist?
First of all, what are YouTube Playlists? Well a YouTube Playlist is basically a group of videos within a YouTube channel. The Playlist has a name, and can have a description. The name and description are great places to add your keyword, which is what you are trying to get found on Google for. Often a good Playlist will itself appear on Google for a search term.
A Playlist is basically a way to give even more information to the viewer, and to YouTube and Google, about what your videos are about. By grouping your videos in a playlist with a particular title, you are telling YouTube and Google “All these videos are about the thing that is in the title”. And the more information you can give Google and YouTube about your videos, the more likely they are to know where to put them in their search engines. Later in this presentation I will tell you about a neat tool you can buy if you like that will boost that ranking even further, but for now let’s just look at what can be done using the free tools that YouTube itself provides.
From the visitor perspective, YouTube Playlists are lists of videos they can watch all on one topic. When one video finishes, the next video plays. This is a great way for the visitor to get a lot of related information on the one topic. Particularly popular are playlists of music videos. I have a Playlist of videos of a dancer I admire called Fik-Shun (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Krove50ois&list=PLxQqg2CrFK5dBG-gQx_XISnhcNBkKw6VX ). When I need to unwind and relax, I like to put them on. These videos are all “curated” videos, that is, taken from channels other than my own – but more about that later.
Now before I go on, I want to point out that while what you are seeing on my screen is current as of now, December 2016, YouTube may, and probably will, change the way these screens look and function in the future. But hopefully the basic principles will still apply! Here is the current link to where YouTube has a lot of information on Playlists : https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/57792
So how do you create a YouTube Playlist?
First you log into YouTube. Go to the URL http://youtube.com/my_videos . Look for the Playlists link on the left and click it.
Then in the top right corner you will see a button called “New Playlist”. Click that.
Now give your new YouTube Playlist a title. Make it something keyword-rich, but not over-the-top long. It should ideally have your most important keywords at the start, so they will show on the search engine listing.
You need to decide whether your Playlist will be Public, Unlisted or Private. If you are creating a YouTube Playlist primarily for the purposes of ranking videos, it helps to have it Public. This way it is able to show up in the search engines as a list of videos about your topic. However, you might want to make it Unlisted if you are creating the YouTube Playlist so that you can embed it in a membership site that is not open to the public, or for other reasons. You would use a Private Playlist primarily for your own internal organising of your channel.
For this exercise, let’s assume you want to get your videos found on Google and YouTube searches, and so you will be making the Playlist Public.
I want to create a Playlist called “Rodan and Fields Australia”, because I want to rank for that search term.
Adding Videos to your YouTube Playlist
Once I have created my Playlist, I can add videos to it. There are a number of ways I can do this.
First, I can add videos from my own channel to the Playlist. Click on Edit to edit your Playlist, then click on Add videos.
Click on Your YouTube Videos.
You will see a list of the videos you have uploaded to your channel. Click on the ones you want to add to your Playlist. You can watch them within that window if you are not sure if that is one you want to add. The ones you have chosen will have a blue box around them. Click again to de-select a video and make the box go away. When you have made your choices, click the blue “Add videos” button at the bottom and they are in your Playlist.
You might want to add a video that you know the URL of. To do this, Click on URL at the top of the Add video to playlist box, and enter the URL. The video can be one on your channel, or on another channel. Be careful adding videos that belong to other people that are Unlisted, unless you have their permission, because you might be breaching copyright, or they might simply not want you to do it. Once their Unlisted video is on your Public Playlist, it is much easier for people to find it in a search, and that might not be what the original owner wanted.
Or, you can search Public videos using the Video Search option. Enter your keyword in the search box and YouTube will show you a list of videos that match that search. These will all be videos that are visible to the public and to the search engines. If the owner of the video complains, remove it from your Playlist, but they really don’t understand that having their video in your Playlist is a ranking boost for them, and is completely allowed by YouTube if they have made their video Public.
The reason you might want to have other peoples’ videos in your YouTube Playlists is to boost the ranking of your Playlist. Think of your Playlist not just as a place where you can have your own videos, but as an “authority” list of the best videos about your topic. You can revise and change the videos in your Playlist whenever you want to, so you can keep it always up to date and relevant.
If I am promoting a product, I don’t choose videos that are competing with me for the same keywords. I choose videos that are on similar topics, but where I won’t lose sales if someone clicks a link on someone else’s video.
To go back to my “Rodan and Fields Australia” Playlist example. Rodan and Fields is a direct marketing skincare products company. So I will be choosing videos that are about skin care tips and products. I won’t be choosing other videos specifically about Rodan and Fields, because if people find those videos through my YouTube Playlist and click on their link, they will probably buy the products through them rather than through me. But of someone goes to a website from a video that is not about Rodan and Fields, they might still also buy Rodan and Fields products from me later. You can see my Rodan and Fields Australia Playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H53eCX7KFE8&list=PLf9qmxkZ8ZMZPhI5UjcU-Or2DPUoDLdSy
Changing the order of your playlist videos
Once you have some videos in your Playlist, you can change the order in which they will appear. You want to have one of your own videos as the first one, because that is the one that will get the most views when someone clicks on the Playlist link. It is also a good idea to make this a fairly short video, to encourage people to watch the second video as well. The more videos someone watches in a Playlist, the better this Playlist will be considered by Google and YouTube in ranking it.
In Playlist Settings, you can also have the order in which the Playlist videos will play , set automatically. One popular option is to have the newest one play first. This will give a boost to the views of your most recent video. Or you can have the most popular video (in terms of number of views) play first. If a popular video is at the start of your YouTube Playlist, this is more likely to keep people watching, and so that will boost your Playlist’s search engine ranking.
Auto-adding videos to your YouTube Playlists
Another powerful feature of the Playlist Settings is the Auto Add. Here you can define rules for videos on your channel that will automatically be added to your Playlist. You can specify that you want to add a video to this playlist if the title or the description contains certain words, or if it has a certain tag.
Where this gets really powerful is if you are using the concept of siloing. Siloing is popular in website structure, where you might set up a post category for a certain keyword, and have a whole lot of posts that are related to that keyword appear in that category. If you think of your Playlist as being like a blog category, you can have multiple playlists on your channel, and have your videos automatically added to one or more of these playlists depending on their attributes.
Let’s look at an example. Maybe you are targeting locksmiths in Ohio. You have a whole lot of videos on your website that are related to locksmith services. So you might set up a YouTube Playlist called “Locksmith Ohio”. Another might be called “Locksmiths in Columbus OH”. Another “Find a locksmith in Cleveland Ohio”, and so on. You could put a rule in the first playlist that says to add to this playlist any new video that has the tag “locksmith”. The second one might have a rule that says to add any video with the tag “locksmith Columbus”, and so on.
So when you are adding your videos to your channel, you will set these tags so that the videos get added to the right Playlists automatically. Of course, you can also specify the Playlist or Playlists you want each video to go into, at the time you upload each one.
Or you can, on the My Videos page http://YouTube.com/my_videos , tick the videos you want to add to a playlist and then use the Add to button at the top of the page to add all the ticked videos to one or more playlists. This is very quick way to add lots of your own videos to a multiple playlists, especially if you filter the list of videos using the “Search videos” box first.
Adding a Description to your YouTube Playlists
Don’t forget to add a description to your playlist. Make this keyword-rich, and in this you can add a link to wherever you people to go to – your website for example.
Sharing your YouTube Playlists
Another thing you will see in the Playlist edit page is a Share button. This is where you can go to have your playlist sent to a lot of social media accounts. It is also where you can get the embed code to embed the playlist on a website. This is great if you have a Private Playlist, because you can embed it on a website and then charge people for access to view it. For example, if you have a playlist of classes on a topic.
Playlist Thumbnail Image
Also on the Playlist edit page, you can choose one of the videos in the Playlist to be the playlist thumbnail. That means that the thumbnail, or featured image, from that video will be used as the thumbnail on your playlist. Choose something eye-catching to attract interest. Don’t forget that if you choose a video that is not on your channel, that video might be removed by the owner, or the video thumbnail changed, and then your playlist thumbnail will either disappear or be changed.
YouTube Playlists and Linkwheels
Before I recorded this video, I asked people on Facebook what they most wanted to know about Playlists. One of the things that came up over and over was that people wanted to know about linkwheels.
Let me explain what a linkwheel is. With a linkwheel, you have a link from the first video in a series to the second. And a link from the second to the third, and so on. The idea is that the viewer is supposedly being encouraged to watch all the videos in sequence. From a ranking perspective, what you are doing is getting high-authority backlinks on YouTube to your videos.
There are two places you can put these linkwheel links. One is within the video itself, via an annotation, card or end card. The other is in the description. Putting them in the video itself is by far the most effective, in terms of actually getting people to click on the link and watch the next video, especially since this will also be seen when the video is embedded. But this is rarely used, because it is a very slow job to put the links in each video.
What I recommend is that you put a link to the Playlist in the description or on each video, rather than a link from one video to the next. So rather than being a round one-directional wheel-shaped structure, it is more like a network in which the Playlist is at the centre, and each video is on a node of the network leading off that. This means that the viewer can watch ANY video in the playlist next, rather than only the next in the wheel.
To add the Playlist link to each video is a little slow (unless you use a macro, but that is a whole other training), but you can do it via a card, annotation or end card. But if you want to add the Playlist link to each video via the description, you can easily do this quite quickly in the my_videos screen.
Don’t forget that if you have videos in your playlist that are not from your own channel, you won’t be able to change the description or add cards, annotations or end cards to them. So they won’t be part of your linkwheel, except that they will be seen by viewers who are watching videos via the Playlist. Which is a great reason to direct people to your Playlist rather than just from one of your videos to the next.
What URL to use when Sharing your YouTube Playlists
Another neat trick to give your playlist a ranking boost is to share the playlist links of each video in your playlist on social media. For example, if I wanted to share one of the videos in my Fik-Shun playlist I could simply share https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4v7RvYSeLT0 and that would get lots of views for that video.
But by sharing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4v7RvYSeLT0&list=PLxQqg2CrFK5dBG-gQx_XISnhcNBkKw6VX&index=2 instead, that not only gets views for the video, it also brings people into my Playlist to watch it. This means it helps the ranking of my Playlist, and it also means that people might also see the other videos in the Playlist and watch some of them too.
A tool you can purchase (optional, but highly recommended)
There is a tool I have been using for some time that will make that sharing much easier. It is called RSS Masher. It does a lot of things, but in a nutshell it creates RSS feeds. I’ve covered in another video what an RSS feed actually is, so I won’t go over that again, but one of the things you can do with an RSS feed is input it into something like ifttt.com, then get ifttt to send out automated tweets or Facebook posts, or blog posts, or a lot more, to a whole lot of destinations.
When you use RSS Masher, you can specify that you want your Playlist as the source of the information to go into the feed. Or you can put in your whole channel if you want to. Now you can simply leave that as is, but RSS Masher is so much more powerful than that.
In RSS Masher, you can simply hit one button to Ping the feed, which means to notify Google and other search engines that the feed exists. If this is a YouTube Playlist feed, and all the items on your Playlist are related to one particular search phrase, you will get a boost in the rankings for all your videos, and your Playlist as a whole, for that search term.
In addition, you can add other items from other sources to your feed. These can be other YouTube channels or Playlists if you like, but they can also be from other sites, whether you own them or not. RSS Masher will even help you to find feeds that are relevant to your search term, and will let you see what they look like, and bring them into your combined super feed.
And there is another feature I really like with RSS Masher. For each entry in the feed, you can add more information before and after the feed information. You can even put in spintax to make that information variable on each entry in the feed. This means you can put in your money site links, or a link to your Playlist, or whatever you like.
You can even extend the linkwheel concept and put in spintax with all the URLs for all your videos in your Playlist. This way you are going to get a link from each entry in your super feed, to one of your videos. Once this is Pinged to the search engines, or shared on social media or websites via ifttt, this becomes much more powerful a ranking tool than your regular one-to-the-next-to-the-next linkwheel.
I hope this helps you to understand YouTube Playlists a bit better, and how you can use RSS Masher to give them a super boost in Google rankings. Click here to purchase RSS Masher. It is a great product that I have been using for some time, and I really encourage you to take a look. Watch out for a special offer on RSS Masher Mastermind training too, where you can get even more secret tips and tricks.
PS!! While making that YouTube Playlists training video, I uploaded a new video for the Rodan and Fields Australia playlist. And guess what? It went straight to number one of page 1 of Google, within 2 hours!