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How To Show Up On YouTube With Jeremy Vest

Today’s guest, Jeremy Vest, has been working to figure out YouTube’s secrets for the past 15 years. And his customers have about 30 billion organic views on YouTube. 

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Why YouTube and Jeremy Vest

As an SEO or business owner, if your focus has been on organic SEO or local SEO, or maybe you’ve spent some ad dollars on Google or Facebook, there’s a huge opportunity for you in a search engine called YouTube.

YouTube videos appear in Google’s organic search results, Google’s Local search results, and now in Google Maps under Google Business Profiles. YouTube videos can amplify the organic content message that you have.

Today’s guest, Jeremy Vest, has been working to figure out YouTube’s secrets for the past 15 years. And his customers have about 30 billion organic views on YouTube!


Jeremy’s been a YouTube coach for almost 15 years. His customers have over 20 billion organic views on YouTube. He’s worked with dozens of the largest brands and creators in the world. He’s spoken at VidSummit, Vidcon, and Social Media Marketing World and founded Video Marketing World. 




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Key Moments

1:20 – Jeremy talks about how YouTube serves up content to its users, the importance of watch history, and a niched focus for creators.

6:09 – In this section, Jeremy breaks down further the importance of niching down as a creator on YouTube.

11:13 – In this section, Jeremy talks about the most common issues creators have when setting up their channels, creating content, or generally where things go wrong.

14:12 – How do you get traffic to the YouTube channel and its videos to start with? – What should you focus on first?

16:45 – How can a YouTube coach help you improve your appearance on YouTube?

18:30 – Learn what’s new on YouTube for 2023.

21:26 – How can you work with Jeremy?

Check out more episodes of our SEO podcast.

Episode # 15 Transcript

[00:00] Matt Hepburn: As an SEO or business owner, if your focus has been on organic SEO or local SEO, or maybe you've spent some ad dollars in Google or Facebook, there's a huge opportunity for you in a search engine called YouTube. You may be saying, what is the big deal? Well, users come to YouTube to research and learn about topics. And it's not like paid ads on Google or Facebook that use disruption tactics. And YouTube videos also show up in Google's organic search results and their local search results. They can amplify the organic content message that you have. So, today's guest, Jeremy Vest, has been working to figure out YouTube's secrets for the past 15 years. And his customers have about 30 billion organic views on YouTube.

Welcome to The EMJ SEO Podcast, where it's all about you learning SEO so you can get an industry job later. Hey, it's Matt Hepburn. I'm an SEO professional with 13 years of experience working as a consultant, working in large and small agencies. And for the past seven years, I've been working in the enterprise sector for some of the biggest brands out there. I provide SEO tips for beginners, and I tell you straight out what's going to work and what's not going to. If you want to have a better understanding of how to rank in YouTube, then it's important to understand how YouTube serves up content to its users. In this section, Jeremy talks about the importance of watch history in YouTube's algorithm and the importance of a niche focus to show up in YouTube.

[01:39] Jeremy Vest: What I've learned over the last 15 years is the way YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook algorithms work is based on watch history. So, topics. So, if you're a plumber and you watch a lot of plumbing videos, these platforms want to serve you plumbing videos, right? So, it's all about, think about YouTube is a psychological search engine. Even though people say it's not a search engine, it is. So, think about the goal of all these platforms is to deliver the content based on your watch history and what successful sessions and watches you've done in the past, right? So, if you don't do one thing on YouTube and TikTok and Instagram and Facebook, you will be nothing in the eyes of the search engines. So, niching down and dominating your niche and focusing is really where I've excelled for my students. Roger Wakefield is the largest now plumber social media video person in the world. He has over a million followers and he's just a plumber and he makes seven figures a year making content for plumbers. It's pretty unbelievable. But imagine if Roger also talked about electrical and HVAC and he would be honestly nothing because YouTube and Google Facebook TikTok wouldn't know, based on watch history, who to serve his content to. So having a niche focus is unbelievably important for the algorithm and results. Unbelievable. So, with that said, then you have to discover what your superpower is and what your focus is within that niche and how you're going to serve people the best. So now you say, okay, local SEO is what I'm going to focus on. But then what is it? Google business listings? Is it what aspects? Is it the video side or the image side? You really have to be one thing. I say go an inch wide in a mile deep, but make sure that you vary your content. So, it's not just about making one type of content, it's about making hundreds of possible types of content for that one type of person. Because they want to be entertained, they want to be educated, they want to laugh. So, for example, with Roger Wakefield, the first year we started doing how to plumbing. So, I think he ranks number one world still for how to fix your leaky toilet or your run, something like that, how to fix your toilet. So he still ranks for that term. But if we would have just focused on search result rankings, he would have lost 80% of his millions and millions of views. Because SEO is just one aspect. In fact, over 70% of all views on YouTube come from suggested videos, not search. So, unless you vary your content types, he has how to videos, live streams, shorts, which is vertical videos for YouTube. He has hack videos, react videos, he'll react to a crazy Russian plumber or something. And he has so much variety in his content that people absolutely love him. And if he knows who he is, he thought his superpower was that he's a master plumber. But in fact, his superpower and I helped him discover is he's very charismatic and very easy to understand. That's his superpower. Obviously, if you're going to do a plumbing channel, it's a given that you have to be an expert plumber. But the fact that he's charming on camera, that is a super driver. So, the question you need to ask yourself is, what is your niche? How broad or narrow do you need to go with that niche? And then what value are you bringing to your viewers? If you're not bringing entertainment or education or educate to your viewers, then don't upload videos and waste people's time.

[06:09] Matt Hepburn: In this section, Jeremy breaks down further the importance of niching down as a creator in YouTube. He uses fishing as the overarching topic to explain it to us.

[06:22] Jeremy Vest: I love to fish and I recently, last year, learned how to fish from shore, from the beach. And there's this YouTube channel called Bama Beach *** that all he does is teach you how to fish from the beach. And first I learned how to fish from the beach, and then I learned or I started watching his videos because he was funny and educating and entertaining. And now I just watch him because I like the guy. I haven't actually met him, but personality and charisma and things go a long way for that journey of people to keep on watching your contract.

[06:59] Matt Hepburn: Sure.

[07:00] Jeremy Vest: So, the question is, fishing in the ocean is really hard, but fishing in a barrel is kind of easy. So how narrow do you go or how wide do you go?

[07:12] Matt Hepburn: Right.

[07:13] Jeremy Vest: If I wanted to go get 100 customers tomorrow, I would just focus on plumbers because I helped create the largest plumbing YouTube channel in the world and I could go get 100 plumbers if I wanted to, to pay me money to be their coach easily. Right. So, fishing in a barrel is always easier than fishing in the ocean when you have an exact target. Another thing that's happening is this guy with 100,000 subscribers is opening up a $2 million fishing store down in Alabama on the beach. And how did he do that? How in the world did some YouTuber with 100,000 subscribers get enough traction to build a multimillion-dollar store? And the answer comes back to the niche. He's going to be the perceived thought leader in the world for beach fishing. There's a lot of interest in the world for that and there's a lot of companies that specifically manufacture things for beach fishing. If he was just a fisherman, I guarantee you I'm 100% confident that he would not be where he is today. The sponsors would not have sponsored him the same way and he would not have generated the revenue that he generates.

[08:35] Matt Hepburn: This is fascinating. I think it's fascinating for a local business, too, to understand that there's enough in their local market to go resources to go out. If they niche down to their specialty versus trying to go way too broad cover the whole state. Maybe it's in their county that they need to be focused on, right. Maybe it's a little bit too small if they're just concentrating on their one town, but if they're focusing on a demographic area that's large enough, but it's niche specific to what the need is of the business, they could do that.

[09:14] Jeremy Vest: And I'll give you an example. One of my customers has been in traditional television news for like 35 years. He has a YouTube channel that shows off venues and zoos and aquariums in Fort Worth, Texas. Until I started working with them, he was just randomly spouting off this restaurant or this aquarium and there was no theme. So, what we did is best Places to visit in Fort Worth, things like that, right. So now there's a theme. And it doesn't matter if it goes to a zoo or an aquarium or a restaurant or the rodeo because we're ranking for on Google and YouTube, best places to Fort Worth.

[10:11] Matt Hepburn: That's lovely. That's great. And a local business can do that, just pivot what that theme is and be able to do that. So that is awesome.

[10:22] Jeremy Vest: A lot of people, sorry to interrupt you, that's all they're really scared to. Niche too narrow because they feel like oh, no, I'm going to miss all my audience. But here's how I want you to think of that. If you are selling jumbo jets, you would only need to get one view a year of a person that buys your jumbo jet to make millions of dollars, right? So don't get caught up too much in the amount of views. I have dozens of students with under 100,000 subscribers that make well over six figures a year because they're lawn care maintenance people or they teach people a specific thing. And even with 20 or 30,000 subscribers, you can make hundreds of thousands a year if your people are the right audience.

[11:12] Matt Hepburn: In this section, Jeremy talks about the most common issues that creators run into when setting up their channel or creating content or generally where things go wrong on YouTube.

[11:24] Jeremy Vest: I'm going to break it down really easy, but it's complex. It's kind of like learning photoshop or to ride a bike. It's easy, but there's a lot of complexity to it. But the way I teach it, I feel like, makes it pretty simple to understand. I just use three words click ability, watchability, and likability. So click ability is the title and thumbnail and the intro, the first five or 10 seconds of the video itself. The visuals need to match the title and thumbnail, so people feel like they're in the right place at the right time. So, you have to have phenomenal thumbnails and a reason to click on your title if you have very clickable things. And a lot of people call this clickbait, but if it delivers the actual promise, it's not clickbait right. It's just a good title. Newspapers have been doing clickbait for hundreds of years. I don't think it's a crazy notion to figure that people are only going to click on stuff that seems worth their time or interesting or exciting. So, use emotion in your titles and your thumbnails and just make sure your thumbnails are spend as much time on your thumbnail as you do making your video like it's your billboard. If people don't click on your video, the title or thumbnail or intro, then you're never going to get the view. So focus on that. And then from a watchability perspective, really, the whole way the algorithm works for the most part, is how long people watch. And the biggest metric to watch out for is if you can have 70% of the people still watching after 30 seconds in a long video, you're going to be fine. That means you can hold 70% of the people's attention for 30 seconds. That's a huge win. And that's a big algorithm boost so that YouTube knows, hey, people actually like this video, they're going to watch it, right? It's almost like paid speed for SEO. It's like, that important. It's really important. And then Likability likes comments and shares. Are people engaging with your video or not? So click ability how long they watch. How much do they like comment and share. That's really what you should focus on, everyone, 99% of the world, this is just hard. People don't understand it and they focus on all the wrong things. If you focus on those three things better editing, better filming, better action, better storytelling, if you focus on those things, you're going to be fine.

[14:12] Matt Hepburn: So, a question you may be asking yourself is how do you get traffic to the YouTube channel and its videos to start with? And in this section, Jeremy is going to answer this question and tell us what to focus on first.

[14:26] Jeremy Vest: It's which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Right?

[14:29] Matt Hepburn: Right.

[14:31] Jeremy Vest: You got to make content worthy of a view and then rinse and repeat every week. And which comes first is who knows? But the journey is hard and tedious, and it takes a long time, but it is definitely beneficial if you're willing to actually sacrifice and do the work. I believe that most businesses focus on the wrong things, and they just give up before they give up, before they see any success. One of my biggest suggestions for everyone is to master the vertical video 15 to 25 2nd long videos, so that you can get a couple of hundred thousand views in a year or two and release those endorphins and get confidence. And if you can make a good story, a watchable story, in 15 seconds, then you can make a 15 minutes video. So, start short with vertical videos, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and then go long. I think the threshold of making a good long video is so hard that starting 15 seconds is more doable for most business.

[15:50] Matt Hepburn: So, we just learned that we should first master making short vertical videos. In this section, Jeremy explains several different techniques that we can use to make shorts for YouTube.

[16:02] Jeremy Vest: I would encourage using a web camera or a cell phone that has vertical modes because quite honestly, a web camera is not I mean, I have an Insta 360 link web camera and it can follow me around, do all this crazy stuff and shoot in vertical mode. It was only $299 and it's literally amazing. It's absolutely amazing. Most phones in our pockets, whether it's my phone or not, are amazing. So, I would get a wireless lapel or a mic, or a handheld mic and your phone and just go to town. Just keep it simple.

[16:41] Matt Hepburn: In this section, Jeremy talks about how a YouTube coach can help SEOs and business owners improve how they show up on YouTube.

[16:51] Jeremy Vest: It's just like going to a doctor versus going to a brain surgeon. Local SEO people know local SEO and SEO companies know traditional SEO site speed optimization and pay per click. People know how to get results. And YouTube is hard for most people, they just don't understand it. So, what my experience has been is a lot of my students, a student is either going to do the work or they're going to blame me. One of the two, right? And honestly, I can see nine times out of ten if they're about to start blaming me for their failures because they're not doing the work or they're not getting the results they want. But the students that do the work are literally shaving years and years and years off of making serious profit from videos. And as we all know, videos are absolutely dominating most search pages at this point, search engine result pages, so on Google and you do, I mean everywhere. It's absolutely everywhere. Video is everywhere. It's even on business listings now. So, if you want to show up, you need to do video. End of the story. To get there. Having someone like myself or five or ten other amazing humans to help you get there can shave years off your experience.

[18:27] Matt Hepburn: In this section, Jeremy talks about what's new in YouTube for 2023.

[18:32] Jeremy Vest: Yeah, if you do podcasts, there are huge changes coming your way. YouTube, a lot of people don't realize this, but YouTube is already in the top three biggest podcast providers in the world. People just stick their podcasts up on the video. But now in the last couple of weeks, a lot of channels, not everyone, but a lot of channels can actually upload a podcast. Everything's different. You have to make a specific type of playlist and it's a one-by-one thumbnail, it's not a horizontal thumbnail. Basically, you're going to be able to show up in YouTube music and other providers of where podcasts, whether it's audio or video.

[19:24] Matt Hepburn: I'll be talking to you about this very shortly.

[19:27] Jeremy Vest: Yeah. So yeah, podcasts are going to, YouTube is going to absolutely crush podcasts this year and it's going to be something that's very important. Vertical videos now get 50 billion views a day. If you are not creating vertical videos, you're dying on YouTube. A lot of people don't like them or they want to talk theoretically or hypothetically about it. And I don't care what your opinion is, I'm telling you 50 billion. There's only like 8 billion people in the world. Yes, it's absolutely insane. And we know that TikTok and Instagram are doing very well. Vertical video is king now. Now there's always going to be room for long form content and you definitely have to do that. But you got to master those vertical videos and make a video once and upload it to all the platforms. Another thing that's going to change everything, it may not be this year, it may be next year is AI and video, it's going to change thumbnail design, it's going to change graphic design, it's going to change video. YouTube's already came out and said that you're going to be able to change the color of your shirt and stuff soon on any video. And then there's obviously advertiser firms and stuff talking about product placement and all kinds of stuff within existing videos. So, it's going to get nutty. Chat GPT already. I'm already writing scripts and headlines, titles, descriptions with chat GPT already. So, there are a lot of things that are coming out. But if you focus on the viewer, you make clickable, watchable and likable content, you're going to be fine. You're going to ride all the new trends and storms. Those things don't really matter. Don't worry about the flashy stuff. Obviously, it's going to be a natural progression to just keep on doing what comes out. But what's important is your viewers and making content they want to actually watch.

[21:34] Matt Hepburn: So, if you're like me, you absolutely want to work with Jeremy Vest because he is one of the very few experts on YouTube out there. So, in this section, I talked to Jeremy about how people can connect with him and his course, creator unlock.

[21:52] Jeremy Vest: Yeah. So or at creator, unlock. And yeah, check it out.

[22:01] Matt Hepburn: Yeah. That's awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming onto the show. This is revealing a lot. I'm going to be talking to you a little bit, hopefully later, about this Chat GBT, kind of how that's going to change. And we'll keep an eye out on that and hopefully we can talk again.

[22:19] Jeremy Vest: Thanks. Appreciate it. All right, fantastic.

[22:22] Matt Hepburn: You have a great day. Are you ready to break through and accelerate? How you learn SEO then, please don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. You can subscribe on the podcast platform of your choice or join our email so we can keep you up to date. This is The EMJ SEO Podcast with Matt Hepburn, and we'll see you next time.


  • Matt Hepburn

    Matt is the founder of The Focus Visibility Podcast. Matt has over 14 years of experience in search engine optimization. Matt has worked with various enterprise businesses, including formerly (White Source Software), John Hancock USA, SEMrush, Commvault, and iCIMS. Matt has also worked in large and small agency environments, including Martindale Hubble, WebROI, and Search Interactions. Additionally, Matt brings 14 years of consulting on organic traffic issues that affect businesses.

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