How to Rank a Video on YouTube

To put it simply, YouTube can and should be a good traffic driver for your website. With over 1 billion unique visitors to its website every month you can understand how people are managing to make a living from it and how businesses are managing to gain new leads every day.

The aim of YouTube has changed in recent years, it used to be about getting your video ranked higher within their own search results – but now YouTube (and other video sources) are being displayed more frequently within the search engine SERPS – these videos stand out and is in a lot of cases are exactly what the user wants.

Uploading a video to YouTube doesn’t mean anyone is going to see it, in order for it to show up in the results you need to make sure your video is properly optimised.

YouTubes algorithm uses the following signals to rank a Video in no particular order:

  • Video relevancy
  • On-Page keywords
  • Ratings
  • Shares
  • Playlist additions
  • Flagging
  • Embeds
  • Comments
  • Channel authority & subscribers
  • Inbound links (from external domains)

Follow the below steps and your videos will be ranking and being watched in no time:

Start with the basics….

Video Title

If you’re familiar with SEO you’ll know how important properly optimised titles are for a page; a YouTube video is no different, infact most of the steps for optimising and ranking a video on YouTube are also steps you should take to properly optimised your pages for search.

Titles should contain your main keyword, but should also read well and grab a user’s attention, an example of this would be: ‘A Fools Guide to Keyword Research for SEO’

In the above example there are actually two keywords ‘Keyword Research’ and ‘ SEO’; and the words ‘A Fools Guide’ should attract some attention.

Video Description

Video Descriptions are a great place to add more keywords, again they should be stuffed and all of the text should read well. It’s also good practise to add your websites URL into the first line so it is clearly visible without having to click the ‘read more’ link.

Video transcripts make a good description because if you’re talking about a specific subject you will naturally say lots of keywords and keyword variants.

Video Tags

You should place many different variations of your keywords in the tag section, keep all keywords relevant and not too broad. By keeping your video contained within a relevant niche with many different variations of your main keyword you are more likely to rank – each video should have a single keyword with different variations, just like when you optimise a web page.

YouTube Views

The aim isn’t to get mass views on your videos, be it from view exchange website or from buying them, never get too many in one go. Usually views gained in this way have a high bounce rate, having a high bounce rate can actually harm your ranking since YouTube has a search algorithm that bases you video ranking on view length. So if your video is relevant and the majority of viewers watched you video for of 60% of the total duration the YouTube bot will automatically push your video up in the rankings.

Inbound Links

As with basic SEO, inbound links play an important part when trying to rank a video, especially if you’re trying to rank a video within the search engines rather than in the YouTube search results. There are many ways to build links to videos, one way is with video embeds – you will find lots of information regarding link building on this blog, link building for a video is no different to building links to a website – this mean try to keep it white hat, no spammy links, no mass links and always go for the few high authority links rather than the mass low quality links.

Likes, Favorites and Playlist Additions

Garnering likes and favorites is fairly easy as long as your video is of high quality and is relevant to what the searcher is looking for, another reason why your video needs to be highly targeted to the keywords you are ranking for – thumbs down can damage your rankings.

Playlist additions are harder to gain, and in some niches it’s near on impossible, for example:  If your video is about a product your selling, if someone is interest in buying they will buy, if not they will leave – in this situation it would be very rare for users to add your videos to their playlist.

Video Shares and Embeds

When someone shares your video on social media, just like when someone shares your webpage it does now help your rankings – at the end and at the beginning have an intro/outro asking people to share your video.

Embeds are obviously harder to get since it involves someone physically taking the code and placing it on their website rather than simply pushing the share button. The most effective ways to get you video embedded is to search Google for websites relating to your video, and simply messaging the webmaster telling them the importance of having varied types of media on their website for SEO and that your video will enhance the user experience. You’ll be surprised at how many people will take you up on the offer.

Bonus Slightly Grey Hat Tactics

Video Comments

YouTube, like search engines use most of the content on the page when determining the relevancy of your video. The only parts of the page YouTube doesn’t use to rank a video is the sidebars where related videos are shown; so it’s just the main content area, this includes the comments.

If say you had some friends, some money to spare or a few of your own YouTube accounts, you can build comments on your video which include your keywords.