YouTube Video SEO

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YouTube Video SEO: The Ultimate Ranking Guide

YouTube is currently the second largest search engine in the world.

It’s true, with more than 40 million visitors a day, YouTube is full of traffic. This also means that it is completely open for new businesses to break into the market.

YouTube hasn’t been around for a long time when we compare it to search engines such as Google, and not many businesses are taking advantage of the huge amount of traffic it offers.

So utilizing YouTube’s traffic is exactly what we are going to go over today. Today I am going to teach you how you can send thousands of targeted visitors to your website from YouTube. The good news is that it takes a lot less effort than it does to get visitors from Google.

Also, if you create a powerful video, you may notice that conversions are higher than you would have expected them to be; this is the wonderful power of YouTube.

My YouTube Videos on page #1

Before we go over the ultimate YouTube ranking guide, I want to show you an example of my video that I’ve ranked for a keyword with more than 7,360,000 results:

My video is ranking #2 for the keyword “link building “:

youtube ranking

I also rank on page #1 on google for the keyword “link building basics”.

Google ranking

Without taking much time, let’s dive into the step-by-step guide, describing what I did to generate this ranking.

Step#1: Video “Keyword Research”

The first part to any successful SEO campaign is always keyword research. Without keyword research, you will be going nowhere, and you won’t get the results that you are looking for at all.

The great thing about YouTube is keyword research is a lot easier than it is for normal SEO. Videos are easier to take over, and big companies don’t hold as much power as they do in Google search results.

Thanks to Google, blend ranking a video for a keyword is relatively easy. Google likes to rank videos based on their keywords because they want their SERP results to be diverse and come from many sources.

The problem arises when people start to realize that Google only ranks videos for some keywords, and is silent when it comes to others.

These are the keywords that Google generally likes to put videos on:

How to videos (“how to Setup a WordPress blog”)
Review Videos (“Godaddy review”)
Tutorials (“Photoshop tutorials”)
Fitness and Sports (“yoga cardio”)
Funny videos (for example “funny cats”)

Type in the types of keywords that relate to your niche on Google, and when you find a keyword that has a video in the search results write that keyword down. Keep doing this until you have a good amount of keywords and then run them through the Google Keyword Planner.

How to Find YouTube Video Keywords an Example

RankJane is in the search engine optimization niche; I’m going to search for YouTube video keywords using searches like “backlink tutorial”, “what is backlinks” and “SEO tutorial 2014”.

All of these keywords bring at least one YouTube results in Google page #1:

what is backlink

Backlink Tutorial

Open “Google Keyword Planner tool” and populate these keywords and find out average monthly searches.

Keyword Planner tool

Take a look and decide which keywords are worth going for, and which ones don’t have enough search results. These results will give you a good idea of what you may want to shoot for.

Don’t worry so much about competition, fortunately ranking YouTube videos means that you don’t have to worry so much about the other results in the SERPS.

Step #2: Make Your Creative Video

YouTube judges how a video should rank based off of its interactions. This means that the more people who watch your video and stick around for a period of time, the higher it will rank.

YouTube SEO

If your relative audience retention is above average (~60%), the better.

Audiance Retention

Comments can also be a ranking factor as well, but I will point out that I’ve seen videos rank that have little to no comments.

Video Comment

Viewers subscribing to your channel after watching your video will send a HUGE signal that your video is very interesting. Social share plays an important role as well. More social signals the better the ranking.

social share

Video Creation

Making your video doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal. You can always just use Fantasia and a PowerPoint to record your video. The better it is, the higher it will rank; I usually try to outsource our videos to professionals, it costs a little bit more, but the long term results are well worth it.

Here is an example of my latest video:

Make sure you sit down and decide what you want out of the video before you create it.

Do you want to make a video that will drive sales?

One that will drive traffic?

You need to answer these types of questions before you sit down to create your video.

You also need to make your video at least five minutes long.

Why is that?

It seems that longer videos rank better in both Google and YouTube. This is not a proven fact, but if you take a look around Google you will notice the same; it is extremely rare to find a short video that is ranking on Google for any keyword.

For example, if you search in YouTube for the keyword “SEO”, 2 out of the 3 videos are more than 15 minutes long.

Video length

If you’re serious about getting good traffic, you should be serious about making good long videos; these will bring in traffic to your offers for years.

In fact, if you can make your video 30 minutes long, you may notice that you will rank higher and that your rankings will stay for longer than your shorter videos. This is why those really long vine videos do better than the really short ones that you find on YouTube.

 Step #3: Optimize Your Video

This is one of the easier parts of the entire process; thankfully YouTube does a lot of the heavy lifting for you at this point.

The first thing that you will want to do is including your keyword in the filename of the video. This tells YouTube and Google exactly what keyword relates to your video.

Video FilenameThe next thing you will want to do is, of course, include your keyword somehow in the title of the video. Google doesn’t have too much to go off of, when it is trying to judge what your video is about. This is why it’s so important that you give it as many signs as possible.

For example, my link building video’s title contains my targeted keyword, “link building”.

video titleThe description is probably the most important part of the whole optimization process.

Follow these guidelines for the description:

Put a link to your website at the beginning of the description.
Then write a long detailed description (at least 150 words long) full of keywords that relate to your video.
TAGS: add related keywords in TAGS section of your description.
At bottom add your website, article, or blog URL.

NOTE: Google and YouTube will mainly rely on your description to tell them what videos are related, and where your video should be ranking on their search engines. If you want some good rankings, you will need to put in some good work towards the description.


Add a few keywords to the TAGS section to help Google and YouTube learn what your video is about.


Step #4: Get Views

Views are extremely important; remember how we talked about how interaction with the videos is what gets your rankings?

It’s true…

…backlinks are not very effective when it comes to ranking videos these days.

Instead, the main factor that comes into play while ranking videos is page views. This is why you should focus, as much as possible, on getting more views to your videos.

So how do you do this?

There are a few great ways. The first one is, if you are building a list of subscribers, you should direct them all to the video. This will help give you a lot of quick viewers, and if you have a large list of subscribers you may even be able to drive thousands of visitors in just one day.

The other way is extremely similar to content marketing. You need to sit down and decide how you can best get your content in front of the eyes of people who are in the same niche as you.

Go around and look for your niche, check and see if they like to hang out on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Interest, LinkedIn, or all of the above. Once you figure out where they like to hang out – feel free to start promoting your video.

If your video is relevant, and of good quality, it will quickly go viral which will result in you receiving a lot of views and being able to gain a large following online. This will, in turn, cause your video to rank higher and continue to get more views.

Do you see how this starts a cycle?

Once you start gaining more views you will get to the point where you don’t have to work so hard on your videos anymore.

All you have to do is work hard for the first few weeks and then sit back as that video continues to make you money for the next few years.

Just a quick note, beware of paying for views on your video. It may be tempting, but it doesn’t work at all. In fact, Google has some great ways of tracking fake views, and if you try it, it is almost certain that your YouTube account will be banned quicker than you can blink.

I’ve worked with many clients who had all of their videos banned, thanks to some poor choices on some Fiverr gigs. Instead, stick with the proven way of going about getting views and attention, and you won’t run into any problems.

Here are some techniques you can use to increase views to your video:

Mention Your Video on Q&A Sites

For Example: search for your video keyword on Quora. In my case, its “link building”.


Give detailed answers to the questions and embed your video.

quora answer

Here is a list of a few Q&A sites to post your video –

Mind the Book
Amazon’s Askville
Yahoo! Answers
Stack Overflow
Super User
LinkedIn Answers
Hacker News’ Ask Section

 Step #5: Do it again

This last step is pretty simple. Once you’ve started promoting a video, start getting the next one ready! You should never stop trying to rank YouTube videos; I’m almost tempted to call this time right now, the time of YouTube.

It is currently ridiculously easy to rank a YouTube video, and this gold mine won’t last for long.

By putting your time and effort into ranking and making YouTube videos you will be putting your time and effort into something that is proven to work.

The best part is once you get a good system down; you can outsource most of it. Then all you have to do is sit back and watch as video after video continues to bring in more traffic to your website.


Remember that there are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO. This is true when it comes to videos as well; there are some people who claim that they can rank any YouTube video with their latest backlinkmaster software. Don’t believe them. This may have been true a few years ago but right now Google ranks videos in a completely different way.

Instead, I recommend that you go about ranking your videos in the way that we have described in this guide. We have used these strategies countless times, and they really aren’t all that difficult.

The most important part of ranking a video is creating a good video that everyone wants to see. Once you have this done almost all of the work is done for you. Spend the time and money to make sure that everything is right, and you’ll be making a ton of money for a very long time.

Any other tricks or tips for ranking YouTube videos? Feel free to share them here.

Write a Comment


  1. Hi Keyur,
    I just want to say that I am blown away with the information you provided here on ranking youtube videos. I have a ton of online products that I want to start making tutorials for and your post answered my question about how to get some eyes on my stuff. Thanks again, I’m definitely bookmarking this for future reference.

  2. I’d just say a single word, WOW to this complete detailed article. Got all of my questions solved. I had a confusion about getting hits from Quora and you’ve explained it in detail. Thanks for such a great work done by you. Appreciated!

    • Jayden, Glade I helped you to solve your problem. Keep visiting….If you have any more question I am always available to help.

  3. Well, this was extremely timely as I’m about to embark on a YouTube project. I bookmarked you page and will be sharing as well. Incredibly informative and so easy to follow along – thank you for that. – Great post. – Stopping by from Cast Off Blog Syndication, FB