YouTube Growth Roadmap

Optimize your YouTube channel & videos to maximize growth!

With the right strategy & process

it's much easier to grow on YouTube.

YouTube is one of the most powerful platforms for generating evergreen, organic traffic & subscribers. With the right upfront optimization, your content can continue to generate views for years after you upload it.

Check out these fast-track resources to help you maximize your results on YouTube!

Where would you like to start?

Setup Your
YouTube Channel

Set your channel up for success with the key settings & features that hold most channels back.

Optimize Your
YouTube Videos

Learn how to optimize your content at every stage of the creation process to maximize results.

In each section below, we’ve included a ton of tips & resources to help you get results fast, along with links to any gear, software or other products & services we’ve tried, tested and recommend. Where available, we use affiliate links (more info here) when linking to these products & services and may earn a commission.

Learn how to

Setup your YouTube Channel.

To maximize your YouTube results it’s important to start with a strong base – and that means a well-optimized YouTube channel. Many people overlook the key channel settings, features & branding elements that can improve performance across EVERY video upload! In this section, we’ll cover how to set your YouTube channel up for success, whether you’re completely new & starting fresh or have already built a solid library of uploads, ensuring you have a solid platform to grow your audience on YouTube.

Here’s what we’ll be looking at in this section:

Channel Setup

Set Up Your YouTube Channel

Whether you’re creating a brand new channel or you’ve been uploading for a while now – let’s make sure you’ve got your YouTube channel set up right.

Optimize your channel settings

whether you're starting from scratch or already uploading!

First things first: whether you’re planning to create a brand new channel, or just looking to re-optimize your existing one, follow these step-by-step walkthroughs to get everything set up right!

If you need some help choosing a name for your YouTube channel, here’s 6 simple steps to get new ideas and pick the RIGHT channel name for you!

Want to change your Channel name?

Looking to change your YouTube channel name or re-brand an existing channel?
Here’s exactly how to do it.

Channel setup

Attracting Clicks & Views.

While they might seem superficial, channel art, thumbnails & other YouTube branding elements are actually critical to your results! Now it’s time to set your channel up to attract clicks, views & subscribers.

The key elements of YouTube branding...

It’s not just about looking pretty… Optimizing your branding is critical to ensuring viewers are attracted to your channel & content, and that YOUR videos are the ones that get clicked over all the competition. Don’t worry – it doesn’t need to be difficult! Here’s the key items to focus on and exactly how to get started.

1. YouTube Channel Art

A well designed YouTube banner instantly communicates what your channel is about, encourages viewers to subscribe, and can be a great way to drive email opt-ins! Here’s how to easily create conversion-optimized channel art.

2. Click-worthy Video Thumbnails

Thumbnails are the most powerful (and overlooked!)
way to increase views.

After all, all the optimization in the world won’t help if your video doesn’t get clicked! YouTube tracks everything, and a good click-through-rate ensures it will keep recommending YOUR videos over others. 

Check out these tutorials to learn how to create effective thumbnails on your preferred device!

3. End Screen 'Call to Action'

An end screen (or end card) lets you easily link viewers to related videos, directly to a subscribe button, or even other landing pages once you’ve met certain requirements! Here’s how to create a professional, animated template in just a few minutes that you can re-use on all your videos.

All setup with the above branding elements? Here’s a few more to experiment with in your videos!

Learn how to

Optimize Your YouTube Videos.

With the right process you can quickly identify high-traffic video topics your target audience is actually looking for, and structure your content to ‘bake-in’ key optimization triggers that let YouTube know YOUR video is the one they should be promoting. In this section we look at how to get started, including how to harness the power of keyword research, creating clickable thumbnails, our proven video structure to maximize watch time, and other features & tools to easily boost your results!

Here’s what we’ll be looking at in this section:

video optimization

YouTube Strategy that Works.

Most people upload with little or no strategy, hoping to strike it lucky with a viral video… But why rely on luck when there are reliable, replicable & proven strategies to get your content found by the right audience?

Don't rely on striking it lucky...

Optimizing your videos to show up in YouTube (and Google) search is the most reliable, replicable way to generate long-term organic traffic. Period.

It all starts with some quick research to identify high traffic, low competition topics that your target audience is looking for – and the exact language they’re using to search.

Check out this video for an overview of how keyword research works, and our top recommended tools to help you do it fast & easy!

Here’s a more in-depth runthrough of how to use our #1 keyword research tool to improve your YouTube SEO, rank YouTube videos & grow your channel.

BONUS Resource: YouTube Ranking Guide

Grab a copy of our free YouTube Ranking Guide for a complete overview of how keyword research works, how you can use it to discover high-demand video topics in your niche, and rank your videos at the top of YouTube & Google search!

Research tools we recommend...


Tubebuddy streamlines everything from keyword research & competitor analysis, to everyday channel management tasks. There's a free plan to start, but we recommend atleast the Pro plan for most people.

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is a powerful tool for identifying search volumes, allowing you to easily overlay monthly search volume data for any keyword right inside Google or Youtube!

video optimization

Optimizing Your Content.

With a little upfront planning you can easily ‘bake in’ key YouTube Ranking indicators throughout the video creation process to maximize your likelihood of success.

Optimize your videos at every stage of creation.

Identifying the topic & keywords you’d like to target is the first step in the process… Once you know what your video will be about, it’s important to ‘bake in’ all the key ranking factors YouTube needs to show your content over the competition!

Video watch time is a key ranking metric for YouTube.

The higher your watch time & the more engaged your viewers, the more likely YouTube is to recognize that YOUR video is the one they should show for similar viewers in future.

It’s important to keep your viewers engaged for as long as possible – and the best way to do that is by maximizing the value you give them! Here’s some easy ways to do just that…

Here’s a super simple script template you can use to maximize viewer engagement and streamline your video production process.

Check out these 5 tips to quickly increase watch time and deliver MORE value to your viewers!

In the early days at Primal Video we created a TON of content that failed to get any traction because of these three key mistakes we see many channels still making today.

BONUS Resource

This one’s an absolute game changer… Here’s our simple but POWERFUL video content creation process for planning videos & managing the creation process from video IDEA to RELEASE (all using free software!)

video optimization

Amplify Your Results.

Now that you’ve got the basics, there’s a few simple ways you can quickly take your videos to a whole new level of professionalism. 

Tips & tools to 10X your results.

1. Advanced Thumbnail Tips

Thumbnails are a key element of YouTube optimization that are often overlooked.

Each time YouTube suggests videos to a viewer it tracks which ones get clicked – and which don’t… A higher click-through rate (CTR) indicates a better match for viewers, and YouTube is more likely to suggest videos with a higher CTR to similar viewers in future!

Here’s some advanced strategies to create more clickable thumbnails….

Create more effective, attention-grabbing thumbnails with these 3 quick tips!

Learn why split testing your thumbnails is such a powerful YouTube growth strategy and how you can easily run thumbnail split tests on your own videos! 

2. Optimize Your Upload Time

Releasing videos when your audience is online & watching can dramatically improve your upfront views. Here’s how to find the best day & time to upload your videos for your unique audience!

3. Use Playlists

Playlists not only make your content easier to navigate, they also provide an awesome opportunity to rank your content & generate more views! Here’s how to get the most out of them.

4. Engage with Your Audience

YouTube comments are a powerful way to engage with your audience and accelerator your channel growth. Learn how to use them to grow your channel, and the tools we recommend to make it much easier!

5. Use YouTube Chapters

YouTube’s Chapters feature allows you to easily create shortcut links to specific timecodes within your videos, not only improving the navigation experience for your viewers but also maximizing your video SEO and keywords on both YouTube and Google! Here’s how to do it.

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