YouTube is the second largest search engine and is used to share tens of thousands of news stories and interviews daily. Have you ever thought how a video gets viewed on YouTube, or let us say how does it get ‘ranked’ on Youtube for the people to view it? So, if a video has over 40,000 views, but with no comments will be ranked high? Or, a video with only 10,000 likes but favorited many times will be ranked higher? Or how about a video that has over 200 inbound links? So on and so forth. What really counts (factors, per say) in determing the ranking of YouTube videos?
Needless to say, there are lists of factors that are essential in optimizing videos for YouTube. So, how to achieve higher rankings on YouTube? This is the question we’ll be discussing in the post. Just as Google, YouTube follows its own way of ranking videos. This may sound weird as Google owns YouTube. Here we will cover 12 techiniques that will be categorized under 2 broad categories. They are namely- Content and Engagement.
Firstly, in part-one of this post, we will talk about the first six ranking factors that fall under the category of Content.
- The first is Title. And it has to be an “attention seeker”. A good title will get you a great click through rate. So when you choose your title, be wise because you want your videos to pop up in the result list. You want people to see the title and say “that’s exactly what I’m looking for.” But also remember, for the credibility of the video, your video content should be in accordance with the title. So not only do you need to do the keyword research ahead of time to understand what someone needs, but you also need to deliver on that concept, so that they know that that is what I want, and then when they watch the video, it’s not something totally different. So, title is your first and most powerful tool.
- Second is Description. Write a real description for your video so as to what is the video all about and what makes it unique. Put some keywords in the video description. Make sure you put a link in there to whatever you want, fully qualified URL, and it will light up so that people can click on it. But the real purpose of the description is to make sure that you describe it. Content is the king. And take time to write it. It really is worth it.
- The third ranking factor on the content side is Tags. Use keywords as tags and make sure they’re relevant for the video. For instance, if your video is about ‘coffee brewing’, and if you have not used ‘coffee brewing’ as a keyword/tag, Youtube (as a separate search engine) will not do the semantic matching for you. Also make sure that you use singular and plural versions of your tags. Do your keyword research. Again, make sure that you understand, what are people looking for.
- The next ranking factor on the content side is Transciption. This is that important feature, most people don’t know about. Most of the time Youtube tracribes your video. And it is horribly done. If you’ve ever tried to read the transcription that it does by machine, it is awful. However, what is most important to note here is that these transcriptions are actually used to rank your video for keywords. Transcription is an important ranking factor. YouTube uses transcriptions for indexing. So, make sure you transcribe your videos word for word. Upload the text file with keywords in it. It will then make your video closed caption, which will increase your click through rate, and it will also allow you to rank better for that video.
- Next is channel authority. Since we all know that content is truly the king. So for your YouTube channel, you control the content, and that is your channel authority. You control your content, which means you control your authority. Google is looking for channels that have authority, and it’s going to use that as a basis for your ranking. It’s going to be easier for someone who consistently creates awesome video to rank for terms versus somebody who just throws up a random video. If you have a good channel, with great content and good engagement, your video will surely rank higher. So, to rank higher make sure that you look at all of your videos as a whole channel and not just your single video.
- Finally, the sixth is delivery. Let’s us face the fact. Neither Google nor YouTube will accept crappy videos. Their main aim is to provide users will the most awesome videos. People hate poorly developed video. There will be no likes, no shares, no one is going to talk about it and in turn, it is not going to rank well. So, you need to make sure, when you set out to do a video, that you make an awesome video and not a crappy one. That’s really the key.
So, now here you are done with the content part of the video. That’s is, a great title in place, an awesome description, easy to index transcription and almost all the important tags and keywords used. So, now what? Other people can also do the same? What is it that will take your video to the next level? The second part is creating awesome Engagement. This is the most important area that people tend to miss out on. Following are the six key factors, in the engagement section, that really plays a major role in YouTube ranking:
- The first most important factor to rank well in YouTube is to get people to view your video. In order to get views, you need to rank better. Hence, you need to spread the word out and allow people to see your video. Use your social media sharing, website and blog. Whatever network you choose, the aim is to get people to watch your video. But is that all? Is it just about views? Not really. This brings us to the second part under this point- attention. Google and Youtube really look for the quality of views that a video gets. So, how well is your video perceived, for how long did people watch the video, did the audience get bored and left it half way or is the video interactive? All such factors are important in determining so as to how much attention is the video gathering.
- The second part is inbound links. People in the SEO world will be familiar with this term. But essentially, YouTube is using inbound links to videos as a ranking factor ( Forgot? Google is the driving force). Inbound links are the king. So, think about ways that you can build links to your YouTube channel and to your YouTube video specifically.
Now, a video will amazing content will get natural links. Good videos usually go viral by word-of-mouth. They will be shared by people on social media and on the blog( so that people know about your video, and link it back) . This will surely get you natural links to your YouTube channels and videos, per say. In all of your profile links (in your emails, for example) , have your YouTube channel in the bottom. Even when doing a press release, you should have your YouTube channel there. Your website should be linked to your channel.
- The third is social shares. Videos have a tendency to go viral if they are shared and reshared on various social networking sites. Google is looking for social signals for these videos. As more people share it, it’s going to raise you up in the rankings. Again, it’s just one factor in the basket of factors in terms of engagement.
- Fourth is embeds. This shows how many people embed your video on their site. This also includes embedding it on your own site or blog (so that it is shared). It is often suggested that you keep the embedding option ‘on’, so that more and more people embed it on their site and blogs. More embeds means more people will watch it, in turn, sharing will increase, and hence ranking.
- The fifth under the engagement section is comments and video responses. Of course, more comments mean more people have watched your video. But remember, Google is tracing every spammy comment that is filled in. So don’t try to game the system. Try to produce content that’s awesome. Google is looking for videos that is interactive and has a strong social following. So more the audience more will be genuine comments.
On the other hand, Google and YouTube is also looking for video responses, which is a lot harder to get. So, how do you get somebody to make a video in response to your video? That’s a pretty tall tale, but it also is a huge ranking factor. Because if someone’s willing to do that, then, it is obvious that your video made a lot of sense ot them . But there are ways to get it done. Ask a friend or somebody else you know to make a video in response to yours. Get in front of their webcam on their laptop and record a quick video response that says, here’s what I really liked about this video, or this is how I feel. Upload it to their own YouTube channel, share it, and respond to the video and put it as a video response. That’s going to be a huge factor for you in terms of ranking.
- Then, the last under the engagement is likes and favorites. If people like your video, you will get more thumbs up. And if they do not like your video or have not found it interesting, they will surely give it a thumbs down. But ultimately, you’re looking for people to engage with the likes and dislikes. And you also want them to favorite your video, which means that you really had an impact on them. This will also make people share more. The more you share the video the better your video is going to rank. This Shakira’s Waka Waka video is one of the most liked and shared video of all times.
In a Nutshell,
On the whole, when it comes down to content and engagement, there is actually an internal page rank system inside of Google and YouTube that causes the rankings to fluctuate. That is why link building and inbound links work. When someone shares your video on their channel, they are passing page rank to your video. When someone makes a video in response to your video, they are passing page rank and authority to your channel and to your video. So this makes sure you are engaging with the YouTube community. And, if you are going to show in their feed, then again the page rank will be passed to you. And a great page rank means you have an awesome content and user- engagement in place for your YouTube Channel and Video. Watch the following video from seomoz’s Whiteboard Friday, to understand better.
Let us know if these factors have helped you to rank well on YouTube. Also, feel free to add to this basket of factors. Till then have a great week ahead.