YouTube is one of the most significant search engines on the planet, with thousands of millions of people sitting on the top of it, and enjoying entertaining videos.
The visual content format is exploding in 2021 and is likely to continue to get popular in the coming future as it helps people connect deeply with creators, learn new stuff quickly, and understand the information efficiently.
Just like there is Facebook in social media, it is YouTube for videos.
The platform has shown aggressive and robust growth over the past few years.
In 2021, the number of logged-in users on YouTube are expected to be over 2.1 billion according to the speed it has been growing the userbase.
With such surprising and noteworthy statistics to be known, you must be thinking of making videos on YouTube and gain more views, engagement, and conversions, which will help you build a brand in the long run.
But wait! You can’t just blindly start making videos and hope to see results. There is a lot of competition out there, and to overcome this, you will need to rank your videos on YouTube just like you do with the articles on Google.
Or, in other words, you will be required to focus on video SEO (vSEO).
So, before we jump into the strategies utilized in video SEO to rank the videos, let me first define the term for you.
Video SEO is the process of optimizing your videos, playlists, and channel to rank higher in organic search results for a particular search query.
Now that you know what the term means, I’m going to dive right in and share the top 10 ways you can rank your videos higher in 2021.
We are starting right now!
1. Use Your Target Keywords In The Title
Your keywords in the title of the video play a significant role in the rankings.
Let’s say if you want to rank for the term ‘make money online’ on the top, and you don’t mention the exact same keyword in the title of your video, YouTube will be unable to find what your content is all about as there would be no intent and context for the search algorithms taking place on the search engine.
If that is going to be the case, you won’t be able to do well to drive more traffic or get views for no rankings will be rewarded.
Just look at the statements by YouTube itself, which specifies the importance of keywords.
You can see the specification on keywords, right?
Now, for a better understanding and explanation of the same, let me show you the target keywords used in top ranking videos.
Just look at the screenshot below where I searched for the same term – make money online.
Hence, the conclusion is pretty simple; if you want to do better in your rankings, you have got to focus on keywords in the title. If you are going to do keywords research, you can use Ahrefs YouTube keywords explorer to that.
This simple strategy will help you get more and consistent results.
Inspired by the first move, let’s move on to the related second way real quick.
2. Channel Keywords
A lot of creators tend to forget about channel keywords, which is the most straightforward tactic you can leverage to improve the overall rankings of your channel and videos.
Adding channel keywords will give an extra boost by making it possible for YouTube to understand the purpose of your channel and the targeted industry as well.
So, when you do this, and if someone searches for that particular term, your channel will and some videos of the same will be more likely to show in front of the searcher.
And when that happens, naturally you are going to get a higher number of views, and traffic in general.
I know what you are thinking of…you must be thinking – how the heck I can add these keywords for my channel, right?
Don’t worry. It is nothing complex. All you have to do is sign in to YouTube with your account, go to creator studio, then settings, and then channel.
Creator Studio > Settings > Channel > Keywords
When you are in the channel option, the section will be in front of you, as shown below.
The rest of it is fantastically smooth to work with. Just add the keywords in the section, and click save.
It is really a smart and efficient way to increase your YouTube views and rankings.
3. Add Description And Use Hashtags
You see these people saying that description is not very much essential presently, but that is not true.
YouTube has itself mentioned that your description of the videos matters.
If you add an optimized description, it will end up saving you a lot of pain for sure.
But try to reread the sentence. I mentioned ‘optimized description,’ and not just description.
Well, what is this optimized description?
It is a description that covers 75% of the characters (limit is 5000 characters) in the context of video to be published (including all the targeted keywords), 20% of the characters as links to other relevant and helpful resource videos (of the same channel), and finally, 5% of the characters as industry hashtags.
A lot of people say that there is no standard for every industry and you have adjust accordingly. I dug it deep and came out with this concept.
Using this will definitely help you out in gaining a sufficient spike.
4. Use Video Tags
Using video tags strategically can make your video SEO, but it won’t break it if you don’t add them to your videos.
Although tags are not considered VERY IMPORTANT by both marketers and YouTube both, they can still add a ton of good things for the better.
Tags can help YouTube categorize your videos and show up to related queries to the viewers.
Not only to the queries, but using them may also show your videos in the suggested (aka related) section of the videos, which sends a quite amazing percentage of traffic.
For using tags strategically, what you can do is analyze the tags used by the top 3 videos that are ranking for your target keyword. And then, you can try adjusting them into your videos for better context.
I would recommend a free tool called TubeBuddy for making it more manageable. It is going to tell you the tags without automatically, once it is active on your account.
To comprehend better, have a look at the screenshot below.
Now, it is time to add tags to your videos.
Doing this is easier than you think. While uploading your videos, you are going to see a separate section specifying ‘tags.’ Just fill your researched tags in there, and there is nothing more to it.
The section is shown right below.
It is really that simple.
Tweaking into this tiny thing will help you rank higher on the content platform.
5. Closed Captions [Subtitles]
Closed captions are again a cool way to get noticed – but not directly like other factors.
Adding proper subtitles to your videos is going to play an important role in making YouTube understand the content better so that it can decide where to rank the video exactly.
But it also helps you indirectly acquiring higher rankings.
As only about 360 million people speak English as their first language and 33% of the total videos are in English, there will be other people watching your videos from different locations who can’t speak proper English.
If you add captions, they will understand the information through it, and this will increase your watch time on videos.
If people spend more time on your videos, your content will rank on the top because keeping users on your videos is going to keep the users longer on YouTube, which is a benefit to their platform.
Thus, adding captions can attract your video content to the top.
To add the captions, you will see an option in the uploading process itself.
That is pretty much about it.
Do this, and you will see some good results.
6. Catchy Thumbnails And Titles
It is not rocket science that having appealing thumbnails and titles is going to increase your overall rankings.
Okay, but how exactly?
It is because the more catchy title and image you have (no clickbait please), the better off you are going to be as more people are going to click on your videos, and if you meet the viewers’ expectations by providing them actual value, it will increase your watch time, views, engagement, and eventually the rankings.
To give you proof, I searched for ‘bmw z4 review’, and the video with the best thumbnail image and relevant title was already waiting for me.
Check it out below and judge yourself;
This result and many other ones prove that adding irresistible image and title actually plays a key role in your video rankings.
Try it out, and you will see some improvement as soon as you take action.
7. Longer Videos = Higher Rankings
Longer videos have an advantage over shorter ones. Funny enough, it has always been the case with the majority. Whether it is basketball, cricket, or vSEO, longer one almost every time stands out.
I again searched for the term – facebook ads, and got expected results.
You can notice that too, right?
But that doesn’t mean you have to sit for days and create a 3-hour long video that could be covered in 30 minutes.
It really depends on the topic you choose. You don’t want to stretch the content or topic just for the sake of length.
Context and sense always matter.
If your video is about making money with blogging, you don’t have to add SEO and all other nonsense to it. Just be strategic and crystal clear about your topic.
But also, try to go as much deep as you can and bring a lot of value to the viewers.
By doing this, gradually, you are going to see some convincing consequences.
There is no perfect length, but a video above 10 minutes will do good for you.
8. Create Popular Evergreen Content
If you create content that no one wants to watch, that is a huge waste of time.
To grow fast and get quicker results, you need to make videos on popular content.
Wait, but how do you find what content is popular?
It is pretty simple.
All you have to do is head over to a free tool – Ubersuggest. It is a keyword research tool.
Once you are on the home page, add a popular domain (website URL) that you think is relevant to your niche or industry, and then hit enter.
You will see a report of the site’s traffic, the keywords it is ranking for, and more, but that is not what we want to look at.
Scroll down a bit, and you will see the top pages of the site. That is where the gold is. Top pages are the pages that get the most traffic and hence, are popular. Ubersuggest also shows you the number of social shares the article has received. Content with more social shares is proven to get results.
All you have to do is turn that written content into an amazing, evergreen, and informative video content.
A content that people are going to watch even five years from now.
When you do that, what you will see is that more people are going to watch your videos, and you are going to rank higher and higher in the long run.
9. Pressurize The First 24-48 Hours
Unlike other search engines, YouTube pays attention to the first 24 to 48 hours after your video goes live.
If you get a significant amount of views, engagement, and watch time under that time frame, chances of you being at the top increases dramatically.
YouTube wants to provide the best and the newest content to the users/viewers. If you meet these criteria and differentiate yourself from other creators, you are much more likely to hit the top.
So, just after you launch or upload your video, do everything you can to increase views, watch time, and engagement.
Send messages to your followers on social media, post the video in the feed, embed the video in your blog posts (if any), send email blasts if you have an email list (if you don’t have an email list, start building it today), and run some paid advertisements if you have the budget.
These all will add up altogether and bring amazing results for your creation.
YouTube will also be impressed and rank your videos on the top.
Try it out, and your rankings will skyrocket for sure.
10. Focus On Engagement
Engagement is REALLY PIVOTAL for your video rankings. As the number of bots is increasing, search engines are strongly focusing on quality, and for that, they are focusing on engagement.
By engagement, I don’t just mean likes or dislikes; I also mean comments. Comments are something that YouTube is prioritizing very much as ranking factors.
Well, why is that?
It is because people can like or dislike a video easily, but it is harder for them to leave a comment as it takes a lot of work.
So, if you get more comments, that means your content is powerful, and you deserve rankings.
To increase your engagement (overall), you can add CTAs (Call To Actions) in your videos, and respond to each and every comment you receive.
This will double your engagement rate and also increase your views, for some people will come back to the video if they have some additional questions or suggestions.
That is how you will get on to the top.
Also, here is a bonus video for you from Brian Dean;
So, these are my 10 ways to increase your video rankings in 2021. Hope you found them useful.
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[FAQs] Frequently Asked Questions
Video SEO is a practice of following best practices for optimizing your YouTube videos in order to increase rankings.
YouTube is, for sure, worth it. It is the second-largest search engine on the planet after Google. It has a lot of your potential customers spending their time.
No, Video SEO is not so hard, but it can consume a long time to make amazing and engaging videos for your audience.
This is the best part. You can get to rank within the first 24 to 48 hours or so, on YouTube. It is not a long process, like Google SEO.