This guide will take you through the steps to getting a better Youtube ranking, as well as other search engines.
Before we begin, please note it is best to optimise your videos before making them live to give them the best chance of YouTube ranking the video. If a video is made live and it isn’t optimised, then YouTube will not rank it well. It will also make it much harder to rank well afterwards.
YouTube Ranking Step 1: Keyword Research
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google. Although the main content is video, text content also has a part to play if you’re to show in the search results.
In order to optimise your text content, you must perform keyword research. As a result, you’ll know what your audience is searching for.
Here’s an example of keyword research for the new Batman Vs. Superman film, using Google Keyword Planner:
Below are the following elements that should be optimised based on your keyword research.
The title is an important factor in YouTube SEO. Not only does it tell the audience what the video is about but it also tells YouTube and other search engines too. It’s the first thing they will see after the actual video on the page.
Your title should include the following:
200 – 350 characters in length.
Don’t use a title for the sake of YouTube search rankings and sacrifice relevance.
Add the keywords you want to target at the beginning of the title.
Make sure the title is relevant and describes what the video is.
Exactly match keywords in title better than partial keywords.
The description is the only place you get to tell your audience about your video. This is also used in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as well as in YouTube Search Results.
Your description should include the following:
Write approximately 300 – 500 words to describe what the video is about.
Add your keywords into the description.
Adding links to your description is fine assuming they’re relevant.
The more information you provide about your video, the better.
Google SERPs example:
YouTube Search Results example:
Your tags should include the following:
31 – 40 unique tags help your video perform well in recommended videos.
Include your primary keyword.
Add 2 – 3 alternative keywords.
Add 1 – 2 broad keywords.
Tags allow you to target extra keywords where you want your video to show for on the search results.
YouTube tags are plural and non-plural sensitive.
You can add as many tags as you like as long as they’re relevant.
Transcriptions & Captions
YouTube automatically transcribes your video, although they are not always accurate. It then indexes your videos transcriptions and uses it to rank your video for some of the keywords in the transcription.
As YouTube doesn’t create fully optimised transcriptions, your chances of ranking for relevant keywords is minimal.
Here is what a transcript looks like when your video is playing:
It is usually better to write the transcript yourself and then upload it as a text file.
Videos with captions display either of the two small logos at the bottom of the player in the YouTube search results.
By having closed captions you can increase your Click Through Rate (CTR), this helps increase your rankings in YouTube Search Results Pages (YSRP).
You can search for videos with captions by choosing ‘Type: Closed Captions’ in the YouTube search or by selecting it in the filter section.
To add captions to your videos you need to go to the edit screen and click the Subtitles/CC button.
Next click the ‘Create new subtitles or CC’ button.
You will be shown the following screen where you will need to type next to the times on the left the words that are being spoken.
When completed click the blue ‘Publish’ button in the top right of the screen.
YouTube Ranking Step 2: Content Delivery
YouTube understands if your video is “good”. It does this by looking at the user engagement of your videos and the YouTube video content optimisations.
User engagements include:
Comments / Responses.
Likes (Thumbs Up), Dislikes (Thumbs Down) and Favourites.
It’s not just the number of views that YouTube looks at, but also the user retention. The longer people watch your video, the more YouTube indicates that your video is of value.
You can find your video views underneath your video like shown below.
YouTube also uses inbound links to a video as a ranking factor, much like how Google uses inbound links as a ranking factor.
Tip: Build links to your YouTube Channel as well as your videos. This can be done by using websites such as Quora, to answer user questions which include links to your videos or profile.
YouTube tracks shares as social signals and as a ‘User Engagement’ factor. Encourage users to share your videos in the description, the video itself and when posting about it on other social channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Check out when the best times to post on social media are to gain the best user engagement.
Users can embed your videos into their own web pages. YouTube tracks this and sees this as positive user engagement thus helping your SEO efforts.
Videos can be embed by:
Make sure the “Allow Embedding” checkbox is ticked in the settings.
Comments and Responses
Comments are a powerful factor in YouTube SEO. As a result, getting users to respond to your videos through posting comments signals to YouTube that it has relevance and authority.
Gain more comments by commenting back and responding to your viewers.
Ask them to subscribe to your channel.
Like (Thumbs Up), Dislike (Thumbs Down) and Favourites
Getting a Thumbs up, Thumbs down or a Favourite is another signal for User Engagement. The below screenshot shows this video obtained 13 likes and 0 dislikes.
Don’t forget to ask your viewers to “Like” and add your video to their “Favourites list”.
Short 1 – 2 minute videos used to be the norm, but user habits change and users see YouTube as another alternative platform to a TV, so don’t be afraid to make long content.
10 – 16 minute videos get great user engagement, providing it’s relevant to your users and their interests and perform better in rankings.
Videos under 2 minutes long are generally not liked by the audience.
4 – 6 minute videos tend to get the most views.
Remember: By carrying out keyword research before creating your video, you’ll be most likely to create content that’s valuable and generates lots of interaction.
Below is a list of do’s and don’ts for YouTube thumbnails:
Make it professional and exciting.
Customise images with a title and a fun image.
Use big and bold text, using up to 30 characters max.
You don’t have to use a thumbnail from the video.
Make it intriguing.
Have intrusive logos.
Use clashing colours.
Use Youtube colours (Red, Black or Grey).
Have a random, unprofessional-looking still.
Make your thumbnail all text.
Start Ranking on YouTube Today
Despite the perception that ranking on YouTube is challenging, by following this guide, your videos are likely to appear at the top of the rankings in no time. Once you attract more viewers and engagement, you can begin directing traffic to your website.
There are many ways that you can make your YouTube channel videos stand out. By following our simple 2 step guide, your videos will appear higher in YouTube search rankings, making you more competitive. Standing out from the competition can be difficult. However, YouTube can be a unique way to showcase your brands unique personality, which can attract people to your channel.