If gaining popularity on YouTube is a mystery to you, then you’ve come to the right place! When we take a look at the most viewed channels and videos on YouTube, it can be easy to put their fortune to the fact that the channel is already well known and has a lot of subscribers. But every YouTube user started with 0 views and 0 subscribers.
How to Rank YouTube Video 2021
Each of them. So how can one video on [enter any topic here!] Rack up millions of views, when another video on the same topic can barely reach ten people?
The answer is neither elusive nor mysterious. The answer is YouTube SEO.
If you want people to see your videos, you need to optimize your videos. This is especially important now with new creators frequently joining the platform. In our 2019 State of Video Marketing survey, we found that 88% of marketers plan to use YouTube as their channel, and according to a Business Insider study, 567,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every day.
But don’t let that put you off. It’s possible to rank higher on YouTube, you just need to know how and we’ll show it to you!
Here are 13 ways to improve your YouTube ranking in 2021
1. Have a Focus keyword to your video
Whether you’ve already posted your videos to YouTube or haven’t even tapped save yet, creating a targeting keyword for each video will really help your rankings. All search engines work by matching users’ search term with the most relevant results – and YouTube is no different!
If you brighten up old YouTube videos, watch them again and try to identify the main topic. Ask yourself: what is the purpose of this video? What’s the key word?
For all future videos, it’s easier if you pick a keyword before you start. That way, you can use a keyword research tool to help you find the most popular search terms to use.
Popular keyword research tools include: Ahrefs, SEMrush, Keywords Everywhere, and KeywordTool.io. They all work the same, but keywordtool.io is the most “newbie” friendly. All you have to do is select the search engine of your choice – in this case, YouTube – then enter the keyword of your choice. We went with “Instagram Hacks”:
But with the pro version, you can dig a little deeper by also comparing search volume, CPC (cost per click), and competition. This will help you find a set of keywords that have high search volume and low competition to give you the best chance of ranking higher on YouTube.
Once you’ve found a keyword that closely matches the topic of your video and seems to offer a good opportunity, write it down and keep reading this article for tips on how to use it to get higher rankings.
2. Optimize the title for your video
Once you have your keyword, you can start using it to optimize your video in a number of ways to help improve your YouTube rankings. One of the easiest ways to do this is to include the keyword in your title. But, with 400 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute (!), One keyword alone won’t be enough to give you a huge SEO boost.
Your title should be compelling. It should send a message to YouTube users saying “Click me!”. A great way to do this is to promise something. Are you going to teach your viewers something? Are you going to entertain them? Let them know what they are about to watch. Take a look at the results below for our keyword “instagram hacks”:
The top-ranked videos for that keyword promise to teach their viewers something new, and of course, they all include the keyword verbatim. But they also have a bit of additional description. The headline “Instagram Hacks” is not enough to gain views, or even “I’ll teach you instagram hacks”.
You need to think more deeply.
Let your viewers know exactly how many hacks you’re going to teach them, or promise them something specific and highly sought after, like the second video in the example above.
3. Optimize the description for your video
In addition to optimizing your title, you should also optimize your description. Now, while your headline is primarily meant to grab the attention of potential viewers, you can go a bit more in-depth with your description. YouTube displays the first 125 characters of your description, but it’s a good idea to write about double that, targeting 250 words if you can. YouTube also recommends that you place the most important keywords at the beginning of your description.
Of course, it’s not all about the algorithm. Your viewers will be reading this as well, so be sure to keep engagement in mind.
There are a few things you should remember when writing your video descriptions:
Don’t forget to include your keywords!
Make sure what you write is unique. Don’t just copy and paste text from your website or elsewhere
Include your website URL to direct people to your site
We can immediately see a link to the creator’s website. Then, below are a few long paragraphs about the video including the title of the video and the keyword (start an online business) in the very first sentence.
A unique, optimized description like this allows YouTube to understand what your video is about and then show it to the right people.
4. Include the right tags for your video
After placing your keywords in your title and description, you want to put them in the “Tags” section as well. The tags are for YouTube reference only. So your viewers won’t see what you include. Feel free to add as many variations of your keywords and search terms as you want. If we stick to the “Instagram Hacks” example, here are 7 you can use:
Tips for everyday life
Social media hacks
Social media advice
Note that they don’t need to be very specific. There is a Chrome extension for YouTube called Tube Buddy. Among many other features, keyword rank tracking lets you know the search rank for different tags so that you can use the best ones for SEO.
You should also use an app like VidIQ to help you see what tags your competition is using. By using the same tags as your competition, your videos will start ranking in the “Next” section every time someone watches their videos, so you can draw their attention to you!
5. Create an engaging script
You might be tempted to skip this point. After all, scripts are wooden and clunky, and you want to sound natural and spontaneous, right? Well, an engaging and well-written script can actually give you a better chance of appearing natural and spontaneous, while also making sure that you don’t get distracted and lose viewers.
A script can help you tighten up your language, remove the “ums”, “ahs” and “where was I?” and grab the attention of your viewers. A 2015 study by AdAge (There’s a Lifetime in Years of Video Marketing) found that marketers only have 10 seconds to capture and engage their audience before they lose them. Their study also found that if your audience isn’t fully engaged within the first 30 seconds, you’ve probably lost 33%. And remember, that was in 2015! It’s even more difficult now.
So make sure you write a script with a short, quick intro that gets to the point quickly and informs viewers why they should stay tuned. Think of it as an extension of your title – make a promise at the beginning that you will keep at the end.
6. Start creating longer videos
Despite popular belief, longer videos outperform shorter ones when it comes to YouTube. Type any keyword or phrase on YouTube and the top ranked videos are usually quite long:
In fact, YouTube actually uses total viewing time as a ranking factor. It makes sense if you think about it – the longer you watch, the more engaged you are, the more likely you are to watch more videos and the more likely you are to see advertisements – aka kerching for YouTube !! The longer your videos are watched, the higher your ranking is likely to be. This naturally means that YouTube favors longer videos which can be watched for longer.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should try to drag your videos for as long as possible, it just means that you shouldn’t feel like you have to tuck everything into a limited time slot. If your videos are long and comprehensive, but engaging enough for viewers to watch them, YouTube will definitely take notice and you will start to rank higher.
7. Keep people on the lookout
It’s all well and good to create a long video with keywords in the right places, but if you can’t get people to stay and watch your video, you’re going to send YouTube a really bad message.
Watch time is extremely important for YouTube SEO, so retention of viewers is essential. If you want people to watch your videos, you need to make sure they are as entertaining as possible. So many creators sit in front of a camera and talk, but it’s not very engaging.
This video is almost 10 minutes long and the subject may be considered dry by some. However, the added animation and fun editing make the video much more engaging.
To make sure your videos stand out, try adding animation here and there, or put a lot of effort into your edit to keep viewers on their toes.
With this in mind, it’s also important to get to the point quickly at the start of your video. Tell the viewer what the video is about, how you are going to help them, and then start.
It’s also a good idea to compare the viewing times of your previous videos. This will help you see if there is a particular topic or style of video that your audience enjoys more.
8. Encourage engagement
There’s a reason every YouTube video ends with: “If you liked this video, click the Like button below and don’t forget to subscribe for more content …”
…or something like that.
This is because engagement affects your SEO! Every time someone likes, comments, or subscribes, it sends a strong signal to YouTube that that viewer enjoyed the content enough to engage with them, so they’ll start showing them more of your videos. Just take a look at this table:
This is from a study of 1.3 million YouTube videos by Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko, and shows a clear correlation between video comments and YouTube rankings.
9. Create an interesting thumbnail
The viewer sees only two things before deciding to click on your video: the video title and the thumbnail. And, with visual information processed 60,000 faster than text, this vignette really matters!
YouTube may automatically give you a thumbnail, but it will only be a random take of the video. To stand out, you need to use a unique and eye-catching image that will encourage people to click. Take a look at the examples below:
Each sticker has been selected to attract viewers. The presenters look directly at the camera and the on-screen text further reiterates the subject of the video. This encourages users to click on the video, and a high click-through rate will seriously boost your ranking performance.
10. Create playlists
Playlists are an incredible way to increase the overall viewing time of your channel because they play automatically. So instead of watching just one of your videos, a viewer can watch five or six!
To create a playlist, you need to group together a few videos that have a similar subject or theme, like this:
It also helps connect with people who are creating similar content to you (but who are not your competition!) And ask them to add your videos to one of their playlists. The more playlists your videos are featured on, the better!
Here’s an example of what you might say:
I LOVE your channel! Your recent video on [SUBJECT] really interested me because [ADD COMPLIMENTS AND SHOW INTEREST].
I think my videos are quite similar to yours. So it might help viewers stay on your channel if you include some of my content in your playlists. Here are a few videos that I think would be suitable:
I would be happy to return the favor. Just tell me which of your videos you want me to show up in my playlists.
Keep up the good work!
When contacting these people, make sure you let them know why it’s so good for them. You don’t want them to think you’re just asking for a favor. By including your videos in their playlists, they can meet the needs of their viewers and increase their own viewing time. It’s also helpful to offer to include their videos in your playlists as well – kind of like a swap!
YouTube is a competitive place to share your content because there are so many people visiting it on a daily basis. And while competitiveness can be overwhelming at times, just remember that there are still plenty of ways to rank yourself higher and improve your YouTube SEO to make your channel and videos more profitable for your business. If you’re struggling to find the best video content ideas in the first place, oue blog post: 21 YouTube Video Ideas for Businesses, would be the perfect place to start.