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Ways To Improve Your YouTube Video Rankings

how to improve your youtube video rankings

Given that YouTube acts as a form of search engine, you want to ensure that you rank as highly on YouTube as possible. This guide will provide you with some handy tips and tricks for achieving a higher ranking on YouTube.

The volume of videos on YouTube means that there is a great deal of competition. With more than 300,000 hours worth of videos being updated every single minute and hundreds of millions of hours being clocked up every day, you may think that there is no point in being on YouTube due to the level of competition. However, with more than 1 billion existing accounts, there is a huge audience and if you are able to configure your content towards the audience that is interested in what you have to say, it is a platform that is of benefit. The statistics for Google should be even more off-putting but no one says that you should avoid competing for your audience on there; the advice is to be smart in how you help your audience find you. This is the same approach you should take with respect to being ranked on YouTube.

On the surface, it can seem harder to use YouTube compared to the ease of use associated with social media sites like Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr but with a little bit of work, the rewards for using YouTube can be highly encouraging. YouTube is the third most visited site online and after Google, it is the biggest search engine, so it is worth your while learning how to make your videos rank better on YouTube.

What is YouTube looking for when ranking videos?

If you want to rank your videos on YouTube, you want to know what YouTube takes into consideration when ranking videos. While a search engine will never completely reveal its algorithms, it is possible to determine some of the factors that YouTube considers, and there are onsite and offsite factors to bear in mind.

Onsite factors for ranking on YouTube


If you have undertaken any sort of SEO, you will be comfortable with the idea of using relevant keyword phrases and terms to rank more effectively on search engines. When a user types in a particular search term, the videos that have relevant keywords will be placed higher in the returned rankings.


Video Tags

While video tags are not massively important, they do have a role to play and it is always better to do as much as you can to boost your rankings, so make sure that you utilise keyword phrases and terms in your video tags.



Video Title

As you would expect, the title of your video is a vital factor in determining where your video ranks on YouTube and if you are looking for a better response, be sure to place your keyword term or phrase at the start of the title.



The description is very important for YouTube rankings as this is where YouTube looks to find out what your video content is all about. You should look to use the full space of the description, providing as thorough a description as possible. Of course, do not stuff keywords into your description, make your content as natural as possible.



Customise your own thumbnails

CaptureThe thumbnail is often what catches the attention of users and this creates the initial impression that people have of your video.

While YouTube will generate snapshots to use as thumbnails, you should choose your own thumbnails, picking out relevant and eye-catching moments.








YouTube also utilises the transcription of your video content to rank videos and this means that you should place your targeted keywords or phrases into your transcription.


The authority of your channel

YouTube looks at the channel that the video is hosted on to determine how much of an authority it is. The more views that your channel has received and the higher level of engagement that your channel has with an audience will have an impact on how YouTube views you. You should look to increase offsite links to your YouTube channel to increase the authority of your channel.

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Offsite factors for ranking on YouTube

Number of views and video retention

The more views you have, the better YouTube will consider your video to be, pushing it up the rankings. Also, if your video can hold viewers’ attention to the end, it will be regarded as being worthwhile by YouTube while videos that most users click off after a few seconds will be ranked down by YouTube.


This means that you should look to create engaging and interesting content that keeps users hooked and you should look to increase the number of people that see your video. This is why you should embed your video onto your website and social media pages. Views of your video on these platforms will count towards the overall number of views recognised by YouTube, so don’t miss out on these.

Encourage comments

CaptureThe more comments that a video has, the more authority YouTube will consider your video to have. However, don’t spam or buy comments as YouTube has become highly sophisticated at weeding out unreliable comments. Encourage users to leave a comment or make a remark about your video.







Get subscribers

If people enjoy your video content so much that they subscribe to your channel, YouTube takes this as a positive sign that you are offering something of interest.


This means that you should have a call to action in your video content reminding users to subscribe. You should also encourage your social media followers to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

Shares and Favourites

There is an option to share content on social media pages, and if this occurs, YouTube is aware of it. Therefore, the more shares that your video receives; the higher it will be ranked by YouTube. Similarly, the more favourites a video receives, the higher ranked it will be. This means that you should be providing call to actions for users to share and favourite your work.


Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

Again, this stands to reason but if your video has a lot of thumbs up, YouTube will consider it to be of value and benefit and if your video has a lot of thumbs down, YouTube will consider it to be of little value. Make sure you have a call to action encouraging people to press the thumb up button for your video.


In the same manner that Google recognises inbound links to determine the authority or popularity of your page, YouTube is also able to examine the links coming into your video page and use this information as a ranking factor for your video content.

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Steps to take to rank your videos more effectively on the YouTube Search Results

Focus on increasing the number of views that your video receives

It stands to reason that a video with a higher number of views has something of interest, which means that YouTube will be more inclined to rank this video.

You should be looking to post links to your video on all of your social media platforms and encourage your users to link through. You should also look to embed your video on your website, blog posts and other places, so that as many views as possible are recorded by YouTube. If you have a mailing list, be sure to direct your list to your YouTube content.

Always optimise

Again, this should stand to reason but you should ensure that your video title, your description and even your video tags have relevant keywords phrases and terms in them. The title should be at least five words and it should include your full keyword term.

For your description, you should look to use around 250 words and the keyword phrase should be included three or four times. You also want to ensure that the keywords are located within the initial 25 words of your description. While it is important to include your keywords, be sure not to spam the description. For your video tags, you should have around 6 to 8 tags and these tags should include your keyword term and variations on that term.

Ask for ratings and comments

Be sure to include call to actions in your video, preferably at the end. This is an effective strategy used by many of the leading YouTube channels so don’t be afraid of using this strategy. Be clear in what you want people to do, so ask them to like the video, click the thumbs up button, add a comment or subscribe to your channel.

Study the Analytics

YouTube provides you with information regarding your video and you should review this information to ensure that you are doing what you can to maximise the return from your video. You can see where links are coming to your video and if one source is featuring highly (say a website or blog), why not make content with the owner? You may be able to drive more traffic by engaging with them and offering them further content.


You can also see how long people watch your video for and the point where they stop watching your video. It may be that your videos are too long or that there is a certain point in your message that viewers click off. You can use this information to shorten your videos to a more relevant time or change the message that your audience doesn’t like.

You may also want to include annotations or a call to action just before the point where uses click off, as this will provide you with a better chance of receiving a click or link through to your actual site or social media site.

These are all great ways to optimise your video content and improve your rankings on YouTube.

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About James Nicholson

James Nicholson is the founder of Rocket Marketing Hub. He’s worked in Digital Marketing for over 10 years for companies like Utility Warehouse, NHS and hundreds more.

You can connect with James on Twitter and Facebook

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