YouTube SEO: The Ultimate Guide to Ranking Your Videos

YouTube SEO: The Ultimate Guide to Ranking Your Videos

Most of us only think of Google when we are talking about search engines, but do you know YouTube is a big search engine as well? After all, there are millions of people searching for videos on it using different terms we call keywords.

And ranking your videos for certain terms or keywords related to your topic or your potential viewers’ interests may certainly help you grow your channel way faster than simply making videos and posting them without bothering to optimize them for SEO.

While YouTube SEO might seem complicated at first as there’s not as much information about it out there as there is about ranking in Google, this YouTube SEO guide by Fan Explozion will make it surprisingly simple with very clearly explained, easy-to-follow steps and processes.

So let’s jump in.

Doing Keyword Research

Just like with SEO in general, the first step to ranking your YouTube videos with SEO is to do some keyword research. Although keyword research is much more important when ranking in Google than YouTube, but you must have a good idea of the keywords you should target related to the topic you’re creating or posting video content around.

Now, the first thing to note here is that generally speaking, the keyword search volumes in Google and YouTube may be proportional. Of course, there may be obvious exceptions, such as topics where video content may not fit well.

But other than that, you can start doing your keyword research on Google related to the topics you’re making your videos about. The Google Keyword Planner would come in really handy here, as it gives you a search volume range for any keywords you want.

Once you have a list of keywords you found through this tool, you can do some searching around with those keywords on YouTube as well. Check out the videos ranking for those keywords and the number of views they got.

Then dig a little deeper into videos that have got a large number of views and have been successful. See what keywords they are trying to target in their title and description.

If you see many of the successful videos using a similar set of keywords, try to use those keywords for your video as well.

Optimizing Important Areas of Your Video

You need to optimize the following areas of your video while using the keywords you found through the process explained above wherever possible.

  • Title
  • Description
  • Metadata
  • Tags
  • Category (choose the right category for your video)
  • Thumbnails
  • Subtitles
  • Captions

In some of the areas listed above, it won’t be possible to add your keywords. But try to optimize them in whatever way possible. For instance, you can add some text related to your keyword or topic to your video’s thumbnail.

It will not only contribute to your video’s SEO, but also increase the click-through rate (CTR) for your video. This is because it will stand out among the other videos to viewers, while also making it clear to them what the video is exactly about.

As for video tags, you can put the terms that are relevant to the keywords you want your video to rank for, as well as the topic your video is about.

Similarly, it’s always a good idea to see what the videos already ranking for your search terms are using and copy them as long as they are relevant. To find out the video tags of other videos (probably of your competitors), you can use the Chrome extension called VidIQ Vision.

It shows you the video tags being used by any video you want, as well as a lot of other useful information, like what you see below.

Image source

Focus on High Audience Retention

Unlike Google, which uses ranking factors like backlinks and website speed, YouTube uses a completely different set of rankings factors. And the audience retention tends to be one of the most important of them.

Audience retention is simply how long your viewers stick around watching through your videos. In simple terms, the longer your viewers watch your videos, the higher your audience retention and vice versa.

If you go take a look at your audience retention in the Analytics section in your YouTube account, you would probably be surprised to see how few of the viewers who start watching your videos stay till the end.

In fact, as many as around 20% of the viewers stop watching your video just within 10 seconds of starting it.

But if you can improve on audience retention, you will probably be golden. A higher audience retention would not only help you get much better rankings in YouTube’s search results, but also make your video feature as suggested videos on other related videos, bringing you a lot of additional but targeted traffic as well.

Now, if you think you need to do top-class editing and have a high-end video recorder for making videos that help get audience retention, you’re just thinking the wrong way.

Audience retention is mostly all about the quality of content of your video, as long as the basic recording quality and other technical factors are taken care of.

That said, here are some quick but highly effective tips to increase the audience retention for your videos on YouTube.

Short and Meaningful Introduction

Cut the introduction short and tell your viewers what the video is going to be about right after it starts. Many times, the viewers simply stop watching as the long introduction doesn’t serve them well and they can’t figure out what to expect in the later part of the video.

If you don’t waste their time saying things they don’t really want to know – and instead tell them about what they will get from your video – they will have a good reason to stick around and watch your video till the end.

Cut Right to the Chase

Just like with the introduction, don’t bother talking about things that are different than the exact topic your viewers are there for, even if they are related to it.

In other words, just get right to the real content of your video, being very close to the actual topic throughout the entire length of your video.

This basically means that your viewers will be getting exactly what they want, which makes them more likely to watch your video till the end.

Arouse Curiosity for the End Part

A highly effective way of making more of your viewers watch your video till the end is to arouse curiosity in them about what’s to come at the later or end part of your video.

You can reserve something special for the end and quickly tell your viewers about it as you progress through the video. This will give them a reason to watch your video till the end, driving up the retention rate significantly.

Other Ranking Factors

While audience retention is one of the most important ranking factors for YouTube, there are a few others that are important to take into consideration as well. Let us walk you through them below.

Increase in Subscribers

Whenever someone subscribes to your channel after or while watching your video, YouTube takes it as a clear signal that they really found your video really informative or valuable, which is why they ended up subscribing to your channel.

But how do you get people to subscribe to your channel? Well, simply ask them to do it! Yes, as simple as it may sound, it just works, and works pretty well.

Just one thing though. Many content creators on YouTube, in an effort to increase their subscriber count, end up asking their viewers to subscribe to their channel right at the start of their video.

This is definitely not the right way to go about it. First, your viewers have just started watching the video and may not have got enough value from you to subscribe to your channel.

Second, asking your viewers to subscribe right at the start of the video can get annoying for them. In fact, many of them just jump forward a few seconds to avoid that part, which doesn’t really send a good signal to YouTube.

Not to mention, these things probably make them less likely to subscribe to your channel than if you asked them to do it at the end of your video, after delivering some good value to them.

That all said, we all know it can still be pretty hard to gain subscribers, especially when starting out. So in that case, it may turn out to be a good idea to buy some high quality YouTube subscribers to get the ball rolling.

Once you have a good number of subscribers on your channel, the real ones may become more likely to subscribe to your channel as well, as long as you’re posting quality content.

Video Comments

Just like with subscribers, whenever someone leaves a comment on your video after or while watching it, it certainly sends a signal to YouTube that they either really enjoyed your video or are at least engaging or interacting with it.

In fact, videos that consistently get a good number of comments tend to keep increasing in the rankings. A good way to take this to the next level is to try and reply to as many comments as you can, especially the ones that have been upvoted a lot by other viewers as well, as they might be the most important to YouTube.

Again, just like with subscribers, if you’re having trouble getting comments on some of your important videos that you really want to rank higher, buying reliable YouTube comments may do you a lot of good.

Social Media Shares

YouTube gives an option to their users to share the video they watch on their social media profiles. And there’s a long list of options for them to share them on.

Needless to say, if your videos get a good number of shares, it really goes a long way in getting better rankings and exposure in general from YouTube as it’s one of the best indicators of viewers liking your content.

You can ask your viewers to share your videos along with asking them to subscribe, but it would be more effective if you ask them to do so on videos that are really share-worthy.

But if you don’t already know, getting viewers to actually share your video can be incredibly hard, as it demands more effort from them than they may be willing to do while browsing around YouTube.

A good workaround in that case too would simply be buying YouTube shares from a quality, trusted supplier like Fan Explozion.

Higher CTR

We have already explained what CTR (Click-Through Rate) is above. Basically, if more viewers click on your video in the search results than other videos, it will tend to rank higher automatically.

Similarly, if your video is getting less clicks than it should at the spot it’s currently ranking at, then YouTube will take that as a sign of viewers not being as interested in your video and start pushing it lower down in the search results.

So you need to work on increasing your CTR, or making more viewers click on your video. And when trying to do that, the title and video thumbnail are going to be your best friends.

If the title is clear and attractive, and the thumbnail descriptive and compelling, your video would become much more likely to attract clicks from your potential viewers.

Video Length

Now, this may not be the most important ranking factor, especially depending on your topic and niche, the video length is certainly not something you would want to avoid entirely.

Generally speaking, longer videos often tend to rank better than shorter videos, but a lot of other factors need to be considered as well.

For instance, this would be absolutely true for something like recipe videos, but not for something like a grammar video where you just need to explain the meaning of a particular word.

Likes and Dislikes

This is pretty obvious. More likes would help you with ranking your video, and more dislikes would make it difficult for your video to do well in YouTube’s search results.

Most times, viewers don’t leave either of like or dislike. This makes it difficult for you to get enough like to rank higher.

Fan Explozion comes to your help again here with its safe, quality YouTube likes service.

A Final Word

YouTube SEO isn’t complicated, but it can certainly be challenging in the beginning when you’re struggling to get the metrics YouTube is looking for to give your videos the exposure they deserve.

And this is the reason we think our YouTube services may come in handy for content creators, especially the ones who are starting out and would like to get a good head-start and not waste a lot of time patiently waiting for initial traction on their videos or channel.

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