YouTube visitors watch over one billion hours of video every single day. Even with this staggering amount of traffic, it can be a challenge to draw eyes to your videos. One of the most effective methods is to create great YouTube thumbnails.
A thumbnail is an afterthought in most mediums. But on YouTube, it’s a visual representation of both the content and quality of your video. If you don’t have the best YouTube thumbnails, it can lead to fewer views, a lower ranking, and terrible YouTube SEO.
Give your videos an SEO boost. Here’s how and why your thumbnails can lead to drastically improved YouTube traffic.
The Importance of YouTube Thumbnails
You’re no doubt familiar with some of the tactics Google uses to rank websites on its search engine. But what you might not know is Google also has a complex ranking algorithm for YouTube. So how does it work?
When a majority of your viewers watch your entire video, this tells YouTube that your content is valuable. YouTube also prefers videos with a high amount of comments and social media shares. And just like in search engine optimization, keywords can play a big role in the ranking of your video.
But there’s one factor I’ve neglected — and this is where thumbnails come in. Your video’s click-through rate plays a big role in YouTube SEO. When people search for a specific keyword and choose to watch your video, that increases your click-through rate.
And YouTube loves videos with a high click-through rate. The thumbnail is the most effective way to convince viewers to choose your video amongst all the rest.
Ergo, great thumbnails lead to a higher click-through rate. And a better rate leads to an improved video ranking and even more viewers.
Does your company use YouTube? It’s a key component of any digital marketing campaign.
How to Make the Best YouTube Thumbnails
So now you know that YouTube thumbnails are a key component of any video. But how do you make the most effective YouTube thumbnails? For the best results, you’ll need to do more than take a screenshot of your video.
But it’s less time-consuming than you might think. Here are five guidelines for making the best YouTube thumbnails.
1. Include Text
Have you ever heard the expression, a picture is worth a thousand words? Yeah, that’s not true for YouTube thumbnails. Text is an essential component, even if you only include one word or two.
It adds additional context to the picture. Many companies create YouTube videos to offer expertise or provide a solution to a problem. A picture will not make it immediately clear that your video is a tutorial.
And that’s where the text comes in. Choose to go bold, and don’t include more than you have to.
2. Create a Brand
Thumbnails are an excellent way to brand your company. That may sound ridiculous at first, but it is a matter of consistency. Once you decide on a thumbnail design, every video should copy that style.
This means the color, layout, font, and more should be consistent across all your videos. Not only is it professional, but viewers will be able to easily identify your videos by the thumbnail alone.
Not to mention, it’s way easier than redesigning your thumbnails every single time you upload a video.
3. Contrast Colors
Since thumbnails are small, it’s important you make them pop. Everything in the thumbnail should be identifiable and easy to read. The best way to achieve this is to contrast colors.
Do you have yellow text on a white background? That’s a design sin. It’d be difficult to read at full-size, but squished into a thumbnail? Forget it.
Utilize a traditional color wheel to choose contrasting colors. Since orange and blue are opposed on the color wheel, this means they have high contrast. Use one color for the background and another for the text.
Even at a small resolution, viewers will be able to make out all the components of your thumbnail with a single glance. Avoid using white, red, and black. These colors are part of YouTube’s design scheme and are more likely to be overlooked.
4. Don’t Mislead
Neither your text nor thumbnail should ever promise something that doesn’t appear in the video. Clickbaiting once had a time and place on YouTube, but those days are done.
If your thumbnail is not true to your content, your viewers will quickly abandon the video. This will result in viewers watching very little of your video, which will hurt your YouTube ranking. Plus, viewers will become wary of your content over time and will learn to avoid it entirely.
Don’t make crazy promises. It doesn’t work for search engine optimization, and it certainly isn’t a good choice for YouTube’s ranking system.
5. Be a Mascot
A popular addition on any thumbnail is an image of an actual person. Of course, this is only an option if people actually appear in your videos. Viewers enjoy thumbnails that feature real people.
Why? These videos appear more genuine. From Linus Tech Tips to Buzzfeed’s Worth It series, it’s clear that viewers seek unique personalities. Be sure to show them off.
A disembodied voice doesn’t have the same effect.
Don’t Disregard the Thumbnail
You just spent hours filming and editing your newest video. The thumbnail can seem like an afterthought but remember it is the first and last impression you have to draw in viewers. The best YouTube thumbnails aren’t easy to create, but once you land the perfect style, you’ll enjoy a better ranking and more views.
Another great way to boost your ranking is to rely on a link building agency. Enhance your YouTube SEO and buy links from BackLink.