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Top 10 Ways to Rank on YouTube – Video SEO

Paul Shillito youtube Leave a Comment

Top 10 ways to rank on YouTube – its not enough to just upload your videos if you want to get top ranking on YouTube, you have to do more and in this video I show the top 10 ways to rank on YouTube.

These are many of the techniques I use to rank my videos in YouTube, they are all simple things to do but they are a must if you want to get noticed on YouTube and start to get those ranking slots. You should do as many of these as possible on all your videos to help boost your Video SEO.

{Video Transcript}

Whats the most sort after thing by most youtubers?

The number 1 ranking position

Now you cant always get to be number 1 but your chances of racking up thousands or millions of views increase dramatically if you can appear in the top 10 results and it can be easier than you think so long as you don’t expect to be the next Gangnam style.

In this video I’ll show you the top 10 ways you can get your videos to rank in YouTube.

Like it or not but Youtube is the place to be if you want exposure through video, its the second biggest search engine on the net, and the 3rd busiest internet site with over 1 billion unique viewers per month and over 6 billion hours of video watched per month.

YouTube is owned by Google and the two search systems talk to each other so getting a good ranking in YouTube can also help get a good ranking in google.

To be successful on YouTube can sometimes require as little as a few thousand subscribers. If your promoting yourself as a tutor or coach, selling memberships or digital downloads, training programs  or if you make or sell real physical products, using YouTube as your show case, it can give access to a huge number of potential customers

This brings us on to the first of our tens way to rank on YouTube.

No 10 – Define Your Audience

Who are you making videos for? Is it a mass market or a very niche one?

It much easier to rank highly for niche market than a mass market.

Say for example you want to videos about cooking, if you were to try and chase the top ranking for the term “Cooking” it could very difficult but if you were to try and rank for “cooking with chicken and mushrooms” it would be much easier and you would be much more in tune with people looking for chicken and mushroom recipes.

However this can be a bit of a slow process, if your making a video a week it could easily take you a year or more  before you have that few thousand subscribers.

But then there are quicker ways to get those big viewing figures and more exposure if you have your prepared to flash the cash.

No 9 – Buy Your Way to The Top

If you have the money you can always buy your way to the top.

Now there are two ways to do this, the Youtube way and the otherway.

The Youtube way is to use their advertising program where you can pay to get your videos on the top of the search results. Much like you can do with adwords in google.
Your paid for videos will appear right at the top above the search results but they will be tagged with a little AD box so the viewer will know that they are viewing a paid for video.

Doing it the Youtube way won’t hurt your normal search results or get your video banned or even your channel taken down but its not cheap and we all know Google makes billions out of this method.

Then there is the other way, there are numerous companies and individuals running services which basically pay other people, usually in the developing world a pittance to watch your videos, to like them, subscribe and even share them. The cost of these can be very tempting as you can get 1000’s of views for a few 10’s of dollars.

But beware the systems behind YouTube, they are sophisticated and using a lot of the anti-spaming SEO techniques that Google use, so what goes up very quickly, like rankings can come down equally fast if you trip up the YouTube anti-spam algorithms.

Basically this is very much a case of buyer beware, you could lose a lot more than a few hundred dollars if it all goes pear shaped .

No 8 – Use your Tags

Every time you upload a video you have the option to fill in your tags. Tags are one of the ways which you can let YouTube know what your video is about and they are also used to show similar suggested videos on the right hand side when your video is playing on a YouTube page and also in the player after your video has finished.

You want to make sure that you use descriptive phrases in your tags that relate closely what you video is about.

Our cooking Example would be “cooking with chicken and mushrooms” Don’t bother with the single words per tag like “cooking”, “with”, “chicken”, “and”, “mushrooms”  instead make it “cooking with chicken and mushrooms” all as one tag.

Don’t use words that are not related to your video content because they just wont count. You also want to leave out the connective words like “and”, “the”, “it” for example as it will waste tags. Remember,  you have only 500 characters in total available so make them count.

No 7 – Share Your Videos

YouTube is using a method  called “social proof” more and more these days to help with the rankings.

YouTube’s goal is to make sure that the really good videos that people like rise up the rankings and the bad ones go down.

A very good way to do this is to see how many people are prepared to recommend a video by sharing it with their friends, colleges, relations, peers etc.

It’s very unlikely that you would recommend something you don’t like. It’s also bit harder to fix or spam like you can with keywords, although as we have seen earlier some people are been paid to share videos so nothing is really  fool proof these days.

The usual suspects like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter are the best ways to share but Google Plus because of its internal links with YouTube is probably the one with the biggest clout on a share for share basis to affect rankings.

No 6 – Watch till the End

When you share a video it can be seen as a recommendation and therefore a good thing. But also the length of time that someone watches a video can tell YouTube if it’s a worthy candidate for rising up in the rankings. YouTube calls this “audience retention” and you can see how well your videos are doing in the YouTube analytics section.

Basically you want people to watch your videos for as long as possible, ideally right to the end.

If a lot of people bail out after a few seconds this would tell YouTube that either it is not a good video or it’s not what it purports to be and could be using spamming techniques to try and get viewers to watch, this would then push it down the rankings.

A simple technique to get people to watch for longer is to use teasers, tell them at the beginning that something they need to know or maybe interested in that will be coming up later.

Of course If you make interesting, informative or entertaining videos in the first place then people will watch for a lot longer and this won’t be an issue anyway.

No 5 – Use Captions

Be careful what you say, YouTube is listening.

Yep big brother or should I say big business Google now automatically transcribes the audio track of your video when you upload it. Depending on whether you have a lot of background noise or music, it can sometimes do a pretty good job of working out what you’re saying and turning this into a written transcription.

YouTube can then display this transcript as closed captions when you click on the CC button in the player.

This transcribed text was initially designed for disabled access, the hard of hearing or when you can’t have the volume up. However it can have another use for working out what you say and use keywords in the transcript for ranking purposes.

Whilst the transcriptions are quite accurate, if you speak quickly or have a strong accent it can leave a lot to be desired. However you can edit this transcription text when you are in the video edit mode in YouTube and to you click on the captions link at top.

It’s definitely in your best interest to make sure you do go through and correct any mistakes because A) it will look much better and show you care and…

B) you want to make sure that all those lovely keywords words are all present and correct in the transcript.

Tests have been done that prove YouTube does use the transcript for Video SEO ranking. They did this by putting specific non-sense phrases in to the transcript only and then searching for them in the YouTube search. And yes the videos with those phrases did come up in the results even though those test phrases were not mentioned anywhere else in the title, tags or description.

No 4 – Make Your Thumbnails Stand Out

Whenever you’re searching on YouTube or if you look down the right hand side when a video is playing you will see a selection of still images. These are the thumbnails which represent the video. Now the thumbnail can be one of three and they are selected at random from the video footage automatically when you upload your video.

Normally you can just select one of these three to be your thumbnail. However if you verify your account, normally by enabling videos of over 15 minutes, in the edit section of your video you will be able to then upload a custom thumbnail.

This is your chance to really stand out with your thumbnail image.

Look at these two examples, which one would you be attracted to amongst sea of video stills.

You can put text in it, have bright colours, in fact almost anything you want within reason.

But you do have to be careful and be representative of the videos contents. If you put something like scantily clad ladies in your thumbnails in order to attract attention, then unless you had a video about half naked ladies, then it’s likely to get not only a lot more thumbs down but also your audience retention figures will be a lot poorer because the viewers will bail out quickly when they realise that the thumbnail does not represent the video and you’ll have a lot of upset viewers.

No 3 – Put Channel Names in Your Tags

You may well have noticed that when your watching some videos YouTube that the thumbnails on the right hand side sometimes contain mostly videos made by just one person, sometimes it can be almost all their videos on the right.

The trick to making this happen is to use your tags. But this time what you do is to put a unique phrase in one of the tags on every one of your videos. An ideal phrase would be maybe your channel name or your web address.

When one of your videos is played, other videos that contain this unique phrase will be shown as a related video. This will then show many more of your videos on the right or at the end for the viewer to potentially select more.

This can be taken one stage further by including the channel name of people who make similar videos to yours but they have a lot more subscribers. This can then get your video to show in their related video list and as they get a lot more viewers, this can help you tap in to some of their large subscriber base.

No 2 – Optimise Your Title and Description

Just like optimising a webpage for Google, the title and description of your YouTube video have a major effect on your rankings. You want to make sure that the title contains the keywords that you are looking rank for.

In our previous cooking example if you wanted to get the number 1 slot for “cooking with chicken and mushrooms” then that would be the beginning of the title you should use. Then use the same phrase in the description and in your tags and in the captions.

You can use variations of this like “how to cook chicken and mushrooms in a pie” because you still have the main keywords in there. Make the description as long as possible and include all your keywords in it but don’t spam the description with them because YouTube will pick this up push you down the ranking rather than up.

If you don’t know which keywords to use you can try the YouTube keyword tool. All you need to do is type in the keyword or phrase in to the keyword tool and it will show you the typical monthly search volume for that phrase or keyword. It will also show you related keywords and phrases which you could use in the titles, descriptions, tags and captions.

No 1 – Likes Shares and Subscriptions

YouTube systems are highly sophisticated and like Google they change all the time. Although some of these top 10 ways to rank in YouTube will have a bigger impact on the rankings than others when they are combined the effect will be the greatest.

However probably the most powerful way to get to that number one ranking slot is through the Likes, shares and subscribes.

Now allowing your videos to just play and hoping people will like or share is fine but if you want likes, share and subscriptions then there is no better or simpler way than to just ask for them.

It’s a proven fact that people will often just do nothing when watching video and then just click away on to another video at the end.

But if you ask them to like, share and subscribe then a reasonable number of people will do just that.

The best time to ask is probably near the end of the video, because if they have made it that far then they probably like what they see and they are far more likely to respond to your request.

A channel that has a lot of subscribers will add weight to the videos you produce and help them rise to the top so make sure you ask for those subscriptions too.

That rounds off my list of the top ten ways to rank on YouTube, so if you liked the video or found helpful then, yes you guessed, please like, share and subscribe.

Dont forget the more videos you make to more of a chance  you have of been seen and the more chance you have of hitting those top ranking slots on YouTube…. so what are waiting for… go and make some more video’s.

My names Paul Shillito and this has been a Video Alchemy production, and don’t forget to hop on over to and join our free newsletter, so until the next, see you later, byeee.

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