YouTube is a powerful video search engine and here is what you need to consider to improve your ranking in 2019.
The success won’t come overnight, but there are still some important ranking factors to consider to boost the user attention, your reach, and your followers.
Briggsby looked at 3.8 million data points and 100,000 videos to explore how the YouTube SEO algorithm really works and this is a graph with their observations. It explains the correlations between different ranking factors. Although it doesn’t mean that this is necessarily the strict order to follow when optimizing your videos, it can still give us an idea of the factors we need to consider.
Here are more details about the YouTube SEO factors that determine your ranking.
Onsite factors for YouTube SEO
Title: your video title is one of the first impressions of the video. Its optimization increases the chances of boosting your ranking by providing the right context. Include your keyword, be clear, but also brief.
Description: the video description should add further details about your video and what it is about. It is very important as it ‘informs’ YouTube about the content of the video. Use the right keywords without over-optimizing this section.
Thumbnails: Your thumbnail can be a great opportunity to stand out from other videos and attract new users. Custom thumbnails can make it easier to promote your video in a more appealing way. Thumbnails may not make a ranking factor per se, but they are still part of the first impression of your videos.
Hashtags: Hashtags have arrived on YouTube to help you make your videos more searchable. They are now showing up in a prominent place and you can search either through the main search bar or by clicking one hashtag to explore more similar videos. This is a great way to show up in relevant searches by using the right hashtags in your videos. YouTube is warning though that the use of an excessive number of hashtags won’t necessarily lead to an improved search ranking, so make sure you only use the most relevant ones. For example, if a video has 15 hashtags, it won’t show up in the searches at all.
Video tags: video tags make another signal of what the video is about. They do not seem to have the effect that they had in the past, but they can still be useful especially when targeting long-tail keywords. They may not be a priority, but it’s useful to use the best tags to describe your video.
Video transcript: Video transcripts make your videos accessible to a wider audience. They also help YouTube ‘understand’ what your video is about. Moreover, they can also present another opportunity to include the best keywords to describe your video.
Location tags: If you want to focus on a specific location as part of your video, then geotagging, or else location tags, can help you improve your search ranking. Creators are able to add a location tag to their uploads to share a location. What’s even more interesting is that you can filter the search locations to a specific location. This can also apply to live streams, which makes it easier for new users to discover your videos.
Offsite factors for YouTube SEO
Audience retention and engagement: An important factor that determines the ranking of your video is the audience retention. Your audience’s engagement with your video signals the interest they have in it. Create videos that are both interesting and appealing.
Watch time: The watch time can also be another signal of your audience’s engagement. The more time your viewers spend watching your videos, the higher the chances to see an improved ranking.
Video views: Your video views along with the average watch time and engagement make a great way to measure your video’s engagement. Moreover, view density is also important, since it analyses the period of time that you’ve gained a set number of views.
Channel authority: As you start boosting your channel’s profile, you will also have higher chances to improve your ranking. This simply comes from the fact that you’ll probably be following all the previously mentioned ranking factors for a longer period of time. Remember, YouTube is about consistency, not just a one-time-off hit.
Comments: An increased number of comments can signal a great interest in your video content. Although engagement is encouraging, it is also good to remember that YouTube is also detecting the spam comments and a big number of them could affect your ranking.
Shares: The number of shares can help you improve your video’s views but also your channel’s authority. It can also boost your SEO beyond YouTube.
Subscribers: Your subscribers are the viewers who like your videos enough to wait for the next ones. It’s a good way to prove the engagement and the audience building that may occur through your videos.
Embedded links: The popularity of your videos can also be measured through the number of sites that embed your content. It is a signal that your content is interesting enough to be shared with a new audience.
Backlinks: Backlinks are not just good for your Google ranking, but also your YouTube ranking. A big number of quality links can be a great way to improve your ranking.
Tips to improve your YouTube video rank
- Blend all the factors that we’ve mentioned above to improve the optimization of your videos. All of them play their own part in video ranking.
- Think of your audience when creating a new video. Try to create engaging content that is both relevant and appealing.
- Perform keyword research to pick the best keywords for your videos. Don’t just use too popular keywords but aim for different variations of them when appropriate.
- Optimize all your videos for mobile viewers. It is estimated that 70% of YouTube watch time takes place in mobile devices so you don’t want to alienate the majority of your audience.
- Aim for highly shareable content. Social shares can improve your channel’s authority and thus your video rankings.
- Organize your videos into playlists to improve the relevance of your videos and the engagement.