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SEO 14 min read May 22, 2020

Youtube SEO: 8 Ways To Rank On The First Page On Youtube

how to rank on youtube
Евгения Сидорчук
Anthony Nebel
Almost 5 billion videos are being watched every single day on Youtube, and this number continues to increase as more people are starting to use Youtube. We all know that video engagement is one of the best ways to grab the attention of your audience and actually engage (since using video is one of the highest engagements for customers.)
However, it is not easy to rank first on Youtube with over 72 hours of video being uploaded every 60 seconds!

That's why we need to use every strategy that we can to help maximize the chances of people watching your video.

That's why today we are going to give you actionable, easy tips to optimize your Youtube SEO to help it get ranked first on Youtube search results and get more views (so more people can become aware of it.)
Use your SEO keyword at the beginning of the title
It is always the best practice to put the targeted keyword in title, description, and tags.

But, you may not know that Youtube puts a little more weight if you use your keyword at the beginning of your title.

When you place it at the beginning of the title, not only does it give Youtube information on the type of video you made, but it also makes it a lot easier for people who searched for that exact keyword to choose your video.

For example, since most people tend to skim titles, it is much more likely that people who are searching "Youtube SEO" are going to read: Youtube SEO: 6 Ways To Bring More Traffic vs. 6 Ways How To Bring More Traffic With SEO On Youtube.
Add parenthesis and colons to your Youtube title
However, just adding the regular keyword is pretty dull and may not entice people to click on the video.

For example, if I was going to rank for Youtube SEO rather than a regular video title like How To Use Youtube SEO, it may be better to spice it up a bit and start adding things like:

  • Youtube SEO: A Step-By-Step Guide
  • Youtube SEO - How To Rank First For Your Keyword
  • Youtube SEO: The Complete Guide To Ranking Videos (2020)

You provide more details to both Youtube and viewers to decide whether they want to watch that video or not by giving more information inside of the parenthesis or after the colon.

Keep your titles 60 characters or less to make sure that the full title shows up on the right side for "recommended videos." If it has too many characters, then part of the title will be cut off like this:
Boost engagement on your videos
It is a Youtube fact that the more engagement you have on your videos, the more likely it is going to be promoted on Youtube for more viewers to watch.

This means:

  • More likes
  • More shares
  • More comments
  • And more subscriptions
The reason why Youtube heavily favors engagement is that it keeps them longer on Youtube, but it takes a lot more effort to leave a comment than to watch another video.

The best way to boost engagement is to create a fantastic video with a specific call to action that tells the viewers exactly what to do.

This could mean:

  • A lighthearted way to ask them to like your video ("Smash the like button"
  • A specific comment that you asked during the video
  • A call-to-action to subscribe.

For example, Neil Patel puts in his video a CTA to subscribe to his channel if you find his information valuable:
Comment back on people who took the time to comment on your video
It's also essential that you comment back when someone comments on your video.

Your fans appreciate it, but through Youtube's perspective, they are going to see that when you respond to a comment, there is a total of 2 comments instead of 1. This means more engagement and a higher chance of your video being promoted.
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Use tags strategically in your video
Tags are crucial for your Youtube videos because it lets Youtube know what type of video you are trying to rank for.

The best way to add tags to your Youtube video is to put the first keyword you are trying to rank for first, add some alternatives, and finally add broad keywords to it.

For example, if I were trying to rank for Youtube SEO, the first keyword I would put is, of course, "Youtube SEO."

Then I would create alternatives for what people might search for, such as "Youtubes SEO," "Youtube's SEO," "SEO Youtube," etc.

And finally, end it with broad terms like "Youtube" and "SEO."

The best way to add keywords relevant to your video is to use the search suggestion box like this:
Ideally, you should be able to fill out the character limit on the tags, but don't start adding too many different tags as it can confuse Youtube.
You can use VidIQ or TubeBuddy which allows you to look at the keywords popular videos you are trying to compete and share some of their views using some of their same tags.
Create catchy thumbnails
Thumbnails are the very first thing that people look at when scrolling through Youtube. The main point of a Youtube thumbnail is to grab the attention of the viewer.

The best way to do that is to use contrasting colors (preferably different from Youtube) as well as under 25 characters of text that describe your video.

They don't have to match exactly what's on the title, but there should be enough characters for the viewer to understand the basic idea of the video.

You don't want to put that much text because these thumbnails are tiny (especially on mobile), and what you want to do is not make viewers squint to see what the video is all about.

For example, here's how Sunny uses thumbnails pretty well:
Here we can see Sunny, who makes thumbnails easy to read: the viewer can understand what it is without having difficulty with reading.

Creating a catchy thumbnail exponentially increases your chance of reading the title and description, leading to more views on your video.
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Write a mini blog post on your description
You need to focus on explaining what the video is about in the first two sentences when you write your descriptions on Youtube. It would be best if you placed your keywords there as it's one of the only things that people see.
That's because most people won't even click on the "View more" button to see what else you have to speak about in your video description.

Ideally, your description should be like a mini-blog post describing your video without giving everything away so that viewers will have to watch your video to get the key ideas.

If you give an idea of what the video is about using relevant keywords, Youtube will help you rank for similar keywords based on what you wrote in the Youtube description.

And this will make it much more likely to get more views on your video for people who may be searching similar but not exactly your targeted keyword.
Longer videos tend to work better
Youtube primarily focuses on watching time for videos: the more viewers watch videos, the more ads they can show, and the more money Youtube makes.
Imagine your video has a 50% audience retention, and they have a 50% watch time, and there are two similar videos: 5 minutes long (2.5 minutes watched) and 10 minutes long (5 minutes watched.)

Youtube is probably going to push the longer video to the top because it is generating more watch time, thus making more money for them.
Use your most popular video as your channels first
You should check your video analytics and see which youtube videos give you not only the most views but also the most subscribers.

By using a proven video that converts viewers into subscribers, letting people see that video first makes it much easier to save them!

You can also use your most popular video or a regular channel intro, depending on the strategy you are using.
Focus on the first two lines of your About page
If people start searching for your Youtube Channel's name, it is also essential to focus on the first two lines of your About page because that's what is shown on the Youtube search results:
For example, here Graham Stephan focuses on his story as a real estate agent (his target audience is geared towards real estate.)
It also gives more information to the Youtube Algorithm to determine what type of channel you are and what type of videos that Youtube should recommend.
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Apply these Youtube SEO tips and monitor results
You can always check to see which videos on your channel your subscribers enjoy watching the most.

Youtube SEO comes down to maximizing your:

But the most important is getting your viewers to be engaged and watch the entire video.

Apply these Youtube tips to gain an advantage from your competitors and have a higher chance of getting ranked.

Which youtube tip did you find the most helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

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