6 YouTube Tips to Improve Your Search Rank

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social media how toAre your YouTube views falling?

Do you need to rank higher in YouTube search results?

Understanding how you can take advantage of YouTube’s algorithm will help your channel and videos be seen by more people.

In this article you’ll discover how to make your video rank higher in YouTube search results.

6 youtube tips to improve search rank

Discover six tips to improve your YouTube search rank.

#1: Align Content Development With Viewer Searches

To get a leg up on your YouTube competition (which may be targeting irrelevant topics or subjects), find the exact words and phrases people use to search for content like yours on YouTube.

You can use both free tools (like Keyword Tool and YouTube Trends) and paid tools (VideoCents and vidIQ, for example), to get insights into what people are searching for on YouTube.

The paid tools give a bit more data, but their true value comes from providing a sense of how hard it is to rank for specific terms. Here’s an example of some inline keyword insights on the word ‘vine’ from VidIQ.

vidiq keyword report

Use tools like vidIQ to get keyword insights.

You’re looking to find the sweet spot, where a keyword is getting a good number of searches but isnt overly competitive. What constitutes a good number of searches will vary by industry or market.

After you’ve identified the best keywords, you can use them when creating and publishing your content.

Create Videos People Search For

Hank Green’s SciShow searched for the most asked questions about science and created an entire series of videos to answer them. This tactic earned the channel millions of views across the series.

scishow youtube video

Target the keywords people are searching for on YouTube.

Optimize Your Video for How Viewers Search

For all its power, YouTube still finds it difficult to read video content, so you need to tell the platform exactly what your video is about. You do this through the videos meta data.

If you use your keywords strategically (without spamming), you’ll be much more likely to rank for your chosen keywords, as YouTube knows that your video is related to these terms. Include your keywords in the video title (as close to the start as possible), the description, tags and transcript file (the script should contain targeted keywords).

Check out this example, which ranks #2 for the search term “video marketing.” The keyword is visible in the title and description.

sold with video youtube keywords in title and description

Include keywords in your title and description.

You’ll also find the keyword in the tags.

sold with video youtube keywords in tags

Use keywords as tags.

It’s even included in the subtitles.

sold with video youtube keywords in subtitles

Add keywords to subtitles.

With strategic keyword optimization like this, it’s no surprise that this video ranks so high for such a competitive keyword.

#2: Maximize Video Watch Time

Watch time is YouTube’s most important ranking factor. It’s a simple fact: If you don’t have strong watch times, your videos will be demoted in search. Remember that its all about what percentage of the video is watched, not just total minutes (though it’s best to increase both).

Michael Stevens of Vsauce is successful at getting his YouTube audience to stick around. Even though his videos are over 10 minutes long, they routinely log hundreds of thousands of views.

He gets straight to the point in answering the title question, and uses his personality and intelligence to pique people’s curiosity again, steering the conversation to a different but related topic. Take a cue from Michael and consider removing long intros and outros.

Get people to watch more of your video, and YouTube knows that you’re providing value to those viewers. YouTube will reward you by suggesting the video to more people and ranking the video higher in search.

#3: Drive Longer Channel Sessions

This may seem like a no-brainer, but try to get people to watch more than just one of your videos. All channels want this of course, but not all of them actively encourage viewers to watch more videos. This tactic has more benefits than meet the eye.

If your channel consistently starts people off on long YouTube sessions (even if they go off and watch videos on other channels), your channel will be rewarded by YouTube’s algorithm, and your videos will be more likely to rank higher in search.

A good way to encourage viewers to watch more video is to use clickable thumbnails (called end cards) to drive multiple video views in one sessions.

Epic Rap Battles uses this tactic to earn great SEO benefits. The only action they want viewers to take is to watch more videos.

#4: Keep Your Content Consistent

YouTube (like its big brother Google) loves authority, and if you regularly upload videos on the same topic for a number of years, you’re much more likely to rank well for related search terms than the new kid on the block.

Unbox Therapy has been uploading “unboxing” and tech review videos multiple times a week for almost five years. Not only have they earned over 3 million subscribers to their channel, they rank second for a search of Apple’s latest gadget.

unbox therapy video in search

Improve your ranking by consistently uploading videos in your niche.

I always advocate tweaking styles and formats, but when it comes to topics, it’s best to choose as narrow a niche as possible and stick to it. That way YouTube recognizes you as a trusted source in that area and will favor you in rankings. If you make your content too diverse, you’re more likely to be overlooked by the algorithm. Remember that on YouTube, niche is king.

#5: Encourage Off-Platform Embeds

As previously mentioned, YouTube is hot on authority. This is also reflected in the weight they give to off-platform links and embeds. If your videos are featured and getting linked to from high-quality places on the web, YouTube thinks you must be doing something right and will give you a boost in the rankings.

A good example of this is BuzzFeed’s videos. Their videos are embedded not only on their own hugely popular website and social profiles, but also on popular and relevant entertainment blogs.

buzzfeed video in search

Reach out to relevant sites to promote your content.

This is doubly awesome, as it’s a sustainable and potentially huge source of views.

Think about how you can promote your content on external sites relevant to your market. Do active outreach to those sites so you’re being linked to and embedded instead of your competitors.

#6: Cultivate Audience Engagement

Comments, likes and shares are great for social proof, and comments are especially good for getting feedback and insight from your audience. But mixing up your calls to action to encourage engagement (rather than just subscription) has another benefit, too: a healthy boost in the search algorithm.

Again it all comes down to providing value. If people are giving your videos a thumbs up, sharing them with friends and talking about you, these are all positive signals to YouTube that the channel was right in sending searchers your way.

There’s no better example of this heightened engagement than the popular Soccer channel Copa90. They have a weekly show based on their viewers’ comments, so it’s little surprise that their engagement and rankings are off the charts.

copa90 video call for comments

Engaging with your audience is one way to boost your ranking.

You don’t have to go to these extremes, but you should mix up your calls to action and pose questions to get people talking in the comments. When people leave a comment, why not give them a shout-out to encourage interactivity?

Here’s a brilliant example from Screen Junkies, which uses fan comments in their videos.

screen junkies viewer comments

Give your viewers an occasional shout-out.

The flipside of this is a comments section full of tumbleweeds, no shares (which also means fewer views) and no interaction, all of which are red flags to viewers and YouTube.

Bonus Tips

Here are a few other ways to boost your ranking:

  • Upload in HD. There are also 4K, 360 and even VR upload options.
  • Add closedcaption files. With closed-caption files, your scripts can be read and indexed by YouTube and Google. If you have the resources, translate your caption files into a language spoken in a secondary market or a market you’re trying to break into.
tyler oakley video with subtitles

YouTube superstar Tyler Oakley called on his worldwide audience to translate his closed captions into multiple languages (62 and counting!). His video has been indexed and ranks higher in non–English-speaking countries.

  • Include links in your descriptions. Like Google, YouTube likes when you link to other relevant websites (and videos).
  • Choose a relevant video category. If your video can easily be placed in more than one category, choose the one that has the least competition.

Conclusion

As with any platform you publish on, you’ll only get out of YouTube what you put into it. The steps above might seem like a lot of work, but the results make it a sound investment of your time.

Go to your YouTube Analytics now and see how many views youre currently getting from search. You can do this by clicking Creator Studio > Analytics > Traffic Sources and look for the stats for YouTube Search.

youtube video analytics

Check out your YouTube stats.

Make a note of your average monthly views from search and then revisit this metric once youve implemented the tips above.

Even if you don’t have time to implement all of these suggestions, putting just a few into practice should result in an uptick in views. Remember, too, that this process isn’t only for new videos. The beauty of YouTube is that it allows you to revisit and optimize old videos so you can get those working harder for you, too.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these tactics to boost your YouTube views and rankings? What were the results? What tips do you have to share? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

six tips to improve youtube search rank

Tips for improving your YouTube search rank.

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4 Simple Tools to Help You Rank Guest Blogging Opportunities

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Guest posting is not the be-all and end-all promotional strategy some blogging gurus make it out to be.

Can it work to grow your audience and your list? Absolutely.

Can it also fizzle and be a lot of work for not much reward?

Absolutely.

When clients book me for my Traffic Bump package, they are often looking for strategic ways to get their blogs in front of a larger audience, so one of the first questions I ask them is, “What would be a dream guest blogging opportunity for you?”

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And I almost always hear, “Huffington Post” in reply.

But let me let you in on a little secret: Huffington Post doesn’t convert.

OK, I should say that it rarely converts. I have heard mythical stories of people who got an article published with Huffington Post and their lists EXPLODED with growth, but these tales are about as common as Yeti sightings or unicorns. (In other words: pretty dang rare.)

People think that the bigger the site, the bigger the exposure, the bigger their conversion rate will be with a guest post, but this is not always the case. There are more factors at play.

A tale of two guest posts.

Way back in the day, when I was focused on trying to turn my food blog into a business, I listened to all the gurus’ advice, and started focusing on getting guest post opportunities.

By sheer dumb luck and serendipity, I landed a regular guest posting opportunity with the (now defunct) Whole Living magazine, one of Martha Stewart’s properties.

For an organic food blogger? This was like the ultimate. MARTHA FREAKING STEWART (or, at least one of her online editors) WANTED ME!!!

As you can imagine, I was over the moon!

I ended up writing five blog posts for them over the course of a few months before the magazine suddenly folded. (I like to think my blogging had nothing to do with the fate of the publication!)

At around the same time, I applied to be a guest blogger for a smaller blog about saving money called And Then We Saved. My niche was people who want to save money on organics, and while the blog wasn’t about food, per se, it seemed like a good fit.

So, five posts for a major, national magazine website with the backing of the Martha Stewart Brand and part of her media empire, versus a single post for a very mid-level blog about saving money.

Which do you think garnered me the most opt-ins?

It was the mid-level blog. I could trace (at last count) more than 600 opt-ins from that single post. It more than doubled my list.

Whole Living, on the other hand, only sent me three (THREE!) opt-ins that I could trace directly to my posts.

That is a huge freaking difference! But why?

Bigger is not always better.

What I learned from this experience is that it’s not always the size of the audience that counts, but the quality.

The Whole Living audience was definitely interested in organic food, and probably at least a portion of them were interested in saving money. But because that’s what the WHOLE SITE was about, they had tons of other resources and references to turn to. They didn’t really need me or my opt-in freebie, as sad as it is for me to say.

Fans of And Then We Saved, on the other hand, were all about saving money, but very little of the rest of the site was focused on food, let alone organic food. So when offered my free opt-in about how to save money on organics, they JUMPED at it.

Though the total audience was smaller, they were more predisposed to be interested in what I had to offer.

How to rank guest posting opportunities.

So, how can you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to guest blogging opportunities? How can you decide which will be worth your time and energy?

I have four simple tools to help you rank your opportunities:

  • Think Sideways
    The most important thing you can do is think sideways. This means consider posting opportunities that are outside your particular niche, but related. For example, a massage therapist might pair with a fitness or health coach. A jewelry designer might want to guest post for an art or interior design blog. Look for a new audience that might be interested in your message. This free worksheet here can help you think sideways while you brainstorm.
  • Make a List
    Yes, this is a low-tech tool, but you’re going to want to start making a list of sites where you might want to contribute. But where to start? The Think Sideways worksheet should have given you a list of niches that are also basically keywords. Take each of your keywords and plug them into Google along with some of the following terms in quotation marks:

    • “submission guidelines”
    • “guest post guidelines”
    • “accepting guest posts”
    • “contribute an article”
    • “submit content”
    • “guest post”
    • “want to write”
    • “write for us”
    • “add a post”
    • “become a contributor”
    • “submit your post”

    With each search, you will turn up websites that are actively looking for guest posts. Start a list of these websites, along with links to the page that lists their submission guidelines or how to submit, and also make note of their social media accounts. You’ll need them for the next steps, in which we will determine the priority you’ll assign each submission.

  • Compare page ranks
    Once you have your list, you want to look at their page ranks and how they compare to yours. If you guest post for a site with a lower page rank than yours, you aren’t going to get much SEO juice from the link, so it may be lower on your priority list. I like to use Bulk DA Checker, because you can input up to 200 URLs for free. The tool will show you the Mox domain authority (out of 100) and Google Page Rank. Add the numbers to your list and you can sort them to show which sites have the most domain authority or highest page rank. Any numbers higher than your own means that the page has more SEO juice than you, and will be a good use of your time. Just a note: This isn’t an exact science. If a site ranks lower than you and you still think it would be a good match (or you have a personal relationship with the owner) go for it! This is just to give you more information.
  • Check out their social reach.
    Finally, you want to make note of their social reach. Can they cast their social net wider than yours? The easiest way to check this is to make note of their social follower numbers and compare them to yours. But if you’d like a little more in-depth analysis, you can use a tool like LikeAnalyzer, which gives your page —and any frenemies page you put in — a score out of 100 compared to similar profiles. Simply Measured has a suite of tools that will run similar comparison reports for other media channels — including Twitter and LinkedIn. It offers a 14-day free trial.

Once you’ve compiled your list and put in some numbers, you can easily compare which sites might give you the biggest boost for your blog post.

As I mentioned before, this isn’t an exact science, but this is the method my researcher and I use to compile the Frenemies Report as part of our Traffic Bump Package. We break the list down into A-list, B-list, and C-list blogging opportunities with the work done for you.

You can do the same thing with some of these free tools and create your own outreach plan for guest blogging that’s a BIT more scientific than just throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks!

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