Claire Pullinger

YouTube Marketing Specialist

YouTube SEO – 4 Steps to Rank your YouTube Videos on Google

Video is an important marketing medium especially in today’s day and age, something that is evident from the fact that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google. It also enjoys a very high authority score on Google which is why the first page of any given search query usually features several YouTube videos. So even if your business’s YouTube channel is slightly popular, it is likely to rank higher on Google than your company’s website. This is perhaps the greatest benefit of creating video content to promote your brand.

If used synergistically, Google and YouTube can together drive a massive volume of traffic to your site and exponentially increase your sales. Discussed as follows are four steps that you can take to improve your YouTube video rankings on Google -

1. Relevant Video Content

While YouTube videos are important for sending targeted traffic to your site, you need to remember that it is not a platform for shopping. Do not go overboard trying to sell or promote your product or service. In fact, a better idea would be to just include a link to your website in the video’s narrative and avoid mentioning your brand in the video itself. Remember that for the most part, people look for videos that can help them to learn life-skills or provide useful information about a particular subject. If your video seems like an ad, you will have a lower view count, fewer likes and lesser comments all of which lead to lower rankings.

In this context, it is also worth mentioning that HD videos rank better than low-quality videos. This is partly due to Google/YouTube’s algorithm but it is also indicative of the fact that people are put off by low quality videos and hence are reluctant to watch, share or like them.  

2. Engagement with the Community through YouTube and Social Media

Apart from the number of views, there are several other metrics that Google uses for video rankings including likes, comments, subscribers, time that users spend watching a video, social media shares and so on. A healthy number of comments and likes can have a tremendous impact on your video’s rankings as it is a strong indicator that your videos are engaging with the online community. After watching subscribers also signal to Google that you are posting quality videos.

Sharing your videos on social media is another popular method to improve video rankings on Google. Synchronize your YouTube account with all your social media accounts so that every video you post on YouTube is automatically available across all your accounts thereby improving their accessibility and visibility. Forum marketing can also be very useful in improving your video rankings if people actually like your content. Post your videos on industry relevant online forums and Facebook groups.

As long as users find your content useful and interesting, they will share it with their friends and subscribe to your channel for more updates which in turn will automatically help with rankings free of cost. Again, remember that your videos should contribute to a thread or discussion. Posting videos that merely promote your product and service might cause you to get blacklisted and barred from such communities.

3. Use Relevant Keywords

Keyword research is extremely important if you want your videos to rank well on Google. There are several online tools that you can use to find high value keywords including Google Keyword Planner and Uber Suggest among several others. My preferred Youtube Keyword Tool is Keyword Keg. It is 1/10th the price of competitors and is so much faster and is the tool I use daily.  Apart from common metrics like Search Volume, CPC and competition this tool also provides SERP parameters that can let you see what kind of content ranks for every keyword on the Google search engine. You can then optimize your content for keywords that have a lot of videos ranking highly for them

As a general rule, you should focus on using multiple long-tail keywords in your video title and description. This is a more prudent move than using generic keywords for which there is stiff competition among long established websites.

Use primary keywords/key-phrases that you have identified using the above mentioned tools in your title. For the description, create an additional list of related keywords and incorporate them naturally in the content so that its readability is unaffected. Do not stuff your description with keywords as Google will penalise you for this. Just make sure you include a few secondary keywords as these are less competitive, meaning people have a greater chance of stumbling across your videos (that is, if their search queries include the keywords you are using).

4. Title, Description and Thumbnails

To the extent possible, be as specific as possible in the ‘Title’ section of your video while keeping it short. Your title should indicate to your audience exactly what your video is about. Do your best to integrate the relevant keywords/key-phrases that you have identified but make sure that your grammar is impeccable. Indeed there are brownie points for catchy titles!

While the title should indicate the subject matter of your video as briefly as possible, you can be a bit more detailed in the description part of the video. Describe the content of the video in an engaging manner but do not give too much away. If possible, try to get your message across in the first 100 characters or so as only a small snippet of your description is immediately visible to a user on Google’s search results. The same holds true for YouTube as well since it allows its users to preview a small part of the description text even when a user is on a video page. This is why many people model their video descriptions on ‘tweets’.

Additionally, remember to add a link to your business’s website at the top of the description of your video. Without a call-to-action, your videos are not generating any conversions and this defeats the purpose of creating such videos in the first place. Do not stop at this though, include links to your brand’s social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so that your audience can follow you on multiple platforms.

Video thumbnails are just as important. The thumbnail is the very face of your video. Your video’s thumbnail should be visually stunning and grab your audience’s attention. Customised thumbnails almost always outperform YouTube’s auto-selected ones (screenshots from the video).