My Marketing Thing

Getting good ranking on YouTube

YouTube Everest climb with sherpa

When it comes to search engines, YouTube remains ahead of Yahoo!, safely in the number two spot behind Google (Ref: ComScore). Interestingly, what videos rank well on YouTube doesn’t always rank well on Google, and visa vera. Considering YouTube is owned by Google, this is kinda weird.

Apparently, ‘Google proper’ relies heavily on inbound links (i.e. links off YouTube pointing to your videos). YouTube takes this into account too, but spreads out the love more evenly with other factors.

Keywords help your YouTube ranking a great deal – even more than on Google. You can insert them in:

  • The title of your video
    Tip: have keywords at beginning of your video title.
  • The description of each video and your channel
    Write your description like its a small blog post – don’t keyword stuff it to the point of reading repulsion.
  • Tags
    This is where you can shamelessly insert your keywords – but they MUST be relevant to your video.


For those more tech-savvy…

…look into adding a transcript to the description and use YouTube’s annotation feature to add captions or subtitles.

Tip: To build up your e-list on your website you can use ‘annotations’ on YouTube to have a box that says “Enjoy more videos like this: subscribe (insert website details)”


Which keywords to use?

As you would when thinking about keywords for your website, ask the obvious question: What would you type in ‘search’ to find your video?

Here is a nifty shortcut to finding the right keywords for your video: search on YouTube “How to get (inset your keyword/key phrase related to your video topic)”  What results come up?


How other people respond to your videos affects your ranking

This includes such activity as:

  • viewing your channel
  • viewing your videos
  • rating you (i.e. number of likes)
  • making comments
  • subscribing to your channel
  • becoming your friend
  • Sharing your video with friends


You need interaction

Remember YouTube is social media. That means engagement. If you participate you get rewarded in your rankings. If you jump in, post a video and disappear you are likely to have wasted you time. It’s about earning trust in a community.

While wandering around other people’s channels you also learn what videos are out there – and what videos aren’t. That is, you discover what is missing out there in the YouTube marketplace – what holes you can fill.

So subscribe to other people’s channels in your niche, rate their videos, make comments, share other people’s videos with friends who would appreciate it, etc. In short: Engage!

Building a community means that you are also likely to have more inbound links – i.e. links form outside of YouTube pointing to your videos. Inbound links help tremendously with your ranking.

Boost your inbound link number by having your video links on Digg, Reddit, Buzzfeed.

Other rank raising tips: 

  • Have playlists on your channel
    In other words, organise your videos (and/or other people’s videos that you like and are related to your topic) under keyword-savvy category names to attract your audience.
  • Flagging
    This is being a whistle-blower, telling YouTube when someone else has posted something outside the rules. You are likely to be rewarded for being a snitch.
  • Embeds
    Putting a video on your website using the embed code (rather than just a hyperlink), also helps to raise your ranking.

How long has your video been there?

Being the more recent video helps your ranking. But of course, the longer you are there the more views and subscriptions you may have earned. So the idea is to keep posting videos – be the newest, but also be the most popular.


This post was written by Megan Hills. Megan is a writer, cartoonist and marketing consultant who has never been to the summit – but she has been to ‘me’. Find out more about Megan

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One Comment

  1. Jan

    Ranking on YouTube and Google is really difficult these days. In many ways, I can't help feeling like a "dog chasing its tail".
    Thanks for a great post though. I found you on Google if that helps :-)

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