How to Rank YouTube Videos

Millions of YouTubers want to know how to rank YouTube Videos so they show up in the first couple places on a video search or, even better, in the organic search results section of Google. Video content as a whole has exploded in the past two years and 2017 will be no different. With online video advertising growing 200% in 2016, there have been a wave of YouTube channels to pop up, trying to gain ranks and sell everything from razors to drones.

Video content is hard enough to create as it is, which is why many fall short in the video promotion category; they spend so much money, time and effort into creating the video, they miss out on properly promoting the video with SEO. Below are 5 tips to help you properly upload your video content to your YouTube Channel and configure properly to gain the best rank for your videos.

Naming Your YouTube Video Files

Just like naming a website page or image title is important for SEO, naming a video file is important as well. With YouTube, there are two main places you have the opportunity to name your video:

  • The Raw Video File, previous to uploading the file to YouTube
  • Naming your Video in YouTube once uploaded

YouTube Video Description SEO

Today, search engines like Google cannot / have a difficult time understanding what a video is or about. This is why sections like the Video Description are so vital to ranking a video for the correct terms. Search Engines have become very adept at understanding text; therefore, the more text you can attribute to a video, like in the description, the better.

It is also important to note that the Video Description section in YouTube allows for you to enter links to other content. This is vital for helping search engines understanding the connection between the video and your website or brand. Be sure to fill out the video description section for your videos as completely as possible.

YouTube Tags & Playlist SEO

People today are very familiar with “tagging” media and how it plays an important role in most of social media. Whether is is using the proper #Hashtags on Twitter or Instagram or linking the proper people or profiles on Facebook, it is clear that search engines use tags and playlists as a way to better understand content it cannot “read.” When uploading your video to YouTube, be sure to take the time to add multiple tags to your video (at least 3) and to put your video in a playlist.

It is suggested that you create 3 or 4 main playlists for your video content (provided you have enough content to put into 3 to 4 playlists without it looking sparse). This will help search engines and viewers alike navigate your content to find exactly what they are looking for in the least amount of time.

Add Closed Captioning for SEO

If there is one “nugget” in this blog that you take away, take away my tips on adding closed captioning to your videos. This process can be tedious for longer videos, but it is well worth the effort. Closed Captioning on YouTube videos can help the hearing impaired, but it also provides more text content for Google, YouTube and other search engines to read. In short, by providing Closed Captioning to your YouTube Videos, you are actually providing a transcript of what is going on or being said in the video.

Because Closed Captioning can be a tedious task (especially after going through the whole process of creating, uploading and optimizing a video up to this point) that it is often overlooked. Not only is this an area where you can provide information your competition may not, it is vital, text information. I cannot stress enough how important this step of the YouTube SEO process is.

YouTube also gives you the option to upload a text file as a transcript for your video. Using this you can be much more exact and structured with your data, but I prefer just to add captions via the YouTube Interface.

Video Links, Embeds & Social Shares

Just like SEO for website pages or other types of web content, the number of back-links it has and the number of shares on social media it has, influences its rank; Ranking YouTube Videos is no different. Video has the added ability for people to embed a video they find on YouTube on their website or blog. Together, links, embeds & social shares will help make your video reach the top of Google and other search engine queries for targeted keywords.

Knowing this, it makes it imperative that you share your video as much as possible on social media. Also, you can connect with other blog owners or content provides and have them use your video as content for their website (similar to a guest post in the blog world).

If you are targeting a keyword or phrase with heavy competition but a lot of traffic, you may consider purchasing video back links for your video to give it a huge advantage out of the gate. This is an acceptable practice provided the links being purchased are not in the hundreds of thousands, the links are manually created and they are linked from reputable websites that are in the same/ a similar industry as the topic of the video (or keyword or phrase).

Start Video Ranking with Views, Likes & Comments

There are other metrics that Google & other search engines use to verify the quality of your YouTube videos:

  • Video Views
  • Video Likes
  • Video Comments
  • YouTube Channel Subscribers

These are very basic behavioral metrics that indicate very valuable data to Google and other search engines. The problem is, there is a huge paradox that often inhibits the majority of YouTube videos from gaining traction or going viral: In order to get views, likes, comments and subscribers, to your YouTube videos you need to have a steady following of people. However, in order to get a steady following of people watching your videos, you need to have numerous video views, likes, comments and subscribers.

To add to that miserable paradox, we know that people are much more likely to watch a video, like a video, comment on a video or subscribe to a channel if there are already a ton of views, likes, comments and subscribers. People tend to judge a video’s worth or channel’s worth based on these numbers.

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