How to rank higher in YouTube searches

Are you making the most of your video assets?

By Rhian Harris

72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, so it’s easy to see why hoping that your video is found is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

surprised kittyOr rather, like looking for a product demo in a Surprised Kitty and Talking Dog sandwich.

So once you’ve produced a great video as part of your content strategy, you want it it to drive as much traffic to your site as possible.

Key questions in how to do this are:

  • ›What are my goals – do I want shares, traffic, leads, fans, followers, conversion, views etc?
  • ›Which platform is most relevant?  – 3rd party, self-hosting or sharing site?
  • ›What is my content plan – what types of videos and how often?
  • What are my budget and resources for driving traffic – content, blogger outreach, paid advertising etc?
  • How will I measure the influence of my videos and what are my KPIs?

This article will focus on the 2nd point where YouTube is the chosen sharing site.

Not only is YouTube number 1 in the rankings of video sharing sites in terms of users, volume of video and traffic, it doesn’t take an expert to know that as one of their own products, Google favours YouTube content when it indexes content. This means it’s even possible to achieve a better position with a more relevant video above other web page SERPs when a user queries a search term.

So as part of any video marketing strategy, uploading your video to YouTube is an absolute minimum.

tie a tie video

And believe it or not, it’s possible for a video with less views to rank above one with millions.

Note – I also advocate using other platforms such as Vimeo, Metacafe or Dailymotion and using a video distribution site such as One Load to make this easier.

The question is, is simply uploading a video to YouTube enough to be found?

And the answer is no.

It needs to be incorporated into a wider and more integrated approach including the wider content strategy, inbound marketing or SEO plan, and measurement metrics to assess its impact. It also needs direct calls to action to direct viewers into doing what you want them to do e.g. like us on Facebook, visit our site, comment below etc.

But irrespective of that, you need to ensure you are making the most of the assets YouTube give you as standard to ensure your video is fully optimised.


Optimising your YouTube video

  • Step 1 – Select target keyphrases for each video

Do your keyword research and make sure your video supports your search engine marketing strategy. Use Google’s keyword suggestion tool to help with this and don’t forget synonyms.

I am using the example for a phone parts retailer selling iPhone screens for replacement throughout this guide, so I’d use the keyword tool to find variations of searches on the phrase ‘replace an iPhone screen’.

  • Step 2 – Ensure that the keyword is included in the title of the video

Content marketing is all about answering a question or need.

So for the purpose of this example, if my video was on how to replace an iPhone screen, I’d use is as part of the title. Adding a link to your site wouldn’t hurt either.

youtube video title

  • Step 3 – Optimise the video description

›So many people don’t use this feature when they upload their video and it really is a lost opportunity.

Ensure that you have a detailed description for the video that includes a link to a target page in your website within the first sentence, the target keyword included along with synonyms and thematically related terms.

For the example, In this video from we how you how to replace an iPhone 5 screen with a step-by-step guide.

  • Step 4 – Include appropriate tags

Adding tags about what is included in the video helps with searching. Make sure these are logical and actually represent what the video is about for example, phone repair.

  • Step 5 – Select the right category for your video

›Place the video in the correct category of content on YouTube.

For the example, this would be the ‘How to & Style’ category.

  • Step 6 – Encourage interaction

Setting your video to allow comments, ratings and video responses will encourage as much participation as possible. You should be ready to respond to these though – especially as they may present opportunities to convert viewers to sales.

The example video may get comments such as ‘where can I buy a replacement screen’, which can then be answered and directed with a URL to a product page.

There’s absolutely no harm in adding a call to action to ask for comments at the end of the video if this meets your goals, but not at the expense of a call to action asking people to visit your site if that’s more appropriate.

Enable YouTube comments


There are plenty of other things I could discuss in this article including CTA overlays, the new subscriber trailer function from YouTube and paid advertising, but before even considering any of that, the key part is to ensure you make the most of how your video is even uploaded to the site.

What are you waiting for? Get optimising!

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