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SEO 7 min read February 21, 2021

YouTube SEO Ranking Factors: What Exactly Do They Mean? [Infographic]

10 Black Hat SEO Techniques to Kill Your Search Engine Visibility
YouTube SEO Ranking Factors: What Exactly Do They Mean? [Infographic] 16261788107805
Itamar Blauer
Ranking on YouTube can seem like a chore.
It's hard to monitor and predict, which isn't helpful due to the lack of resources given to SEOs to adequately optimise YouTube videos.
This leaves many asking, "well, what are the ranking factors?"
Similarly to Google, YouTube can also be quite vague when it comes to addressing the public in terms of how it ranks content. However, YouTube has publicly released a document which highlights how it ranks videos on the platform.

This article aims to analyse these factors and help to ease the confusion of many SEOs that are wondering how exactly to rank higher on YouTube.


Relevancy is the first website ranking factor mentioned by YouTube, and it allows YouTube to determine if a video is best suited for a user's query.

Within relevancy, there is a video title, tags, description, and video content. The first few are well known to SEOs; however, many people forget about the video content itself.

YouTube's bots can know exactly what is being said in a video, which is why it's very important to verbally speak the keywords that you want to target within the video.

The limitations of just relevancy are that hundreds of videos are all relevant for a particular keyword, which calls for other ranking factors that can determine the differences between multiple, very relevant videos.
What Affects Your Site Rankings


Engagement is one of the most important aspects of becoming a great content creator on YouTube. YouTubers rely on engagement from their subscribers to create conversations and increase retention.

YouTube has mentioned that they look into videos' watch time to determine if the video is relevant for other users' queries.

Apart from watch time, other essential engagement signals are comments, likes, and clicks for end-screens/cards. It's essential to have a strong like/comment to views ratio in terms of the likes and comments.

As a content creator, it's your job to entice this engagement through audio or visual cues within your video. Remember that these cues should be towards the beginning of your video, as users tend to drop off towards the end of the video - meaning that your call-to-actions may be missed.
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This ranking factor, in particular, is vague in terms of what YouTube has stated.
YouTube has said that they have signals that can determine the EAT of any particular YouTube channel, which is essentially the perceived expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of its chosen video topics.

This leaves many SEOs wondering if there are external ways to determine quality, such as backlinks and/or social shares.

However, there are ways for YouTube to see a video's perceived quality. For instance, if a user subscribes to a channel after watching their video, that shows a quality level.

It's important to check your YouTube Analytics to see if certain videos attract lots of subscribers, as this can give you an idea in terms of the content that your audience prefers.
A Step-By-Step Guide To Revealing Your Niche Ranking Factors

Search and watch history

Apart from relevancy, engagement, and quality, YouTube takes a close look at the user's search and watch history to determine content that they may want to watch in the future without the need to search.

The browse feature on the homepage will often contain videos of creators that you haven't subscribed to. Still, they are shown because subscribers of your favorite creators are also watching their videos.

These videos are shown because of the engagement that they receive, which is why it's crucial that your videos must be of the highest quality possible for your audience to engage, interact, and continue to watch your videos.

By doing this, YouTube will pull in audiences from other channels and essentially helps you grow faster without having to advertise.

YouTube SEO

Here is the presentation that will help you learn more about YouTube SEO. Click on the arrows to see the presentation.

Summing it up

YouTube is all about bringing audiences back to the platform, which is why it continues to promote quality videos to users.

You should now be more familiar with how YouTube determines which videos to rank higher, and hopefully, you can effectively create solid video content and rank it within the platform.
youtube ranking
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