Video SEO: 5 tips To Improve Your YouTube Rankings

23 October, 2017  

If you’re reading about YouTube rankings, then you surely know by now how important it is for any brand to have a video marketing strategy in place. Perhaps you’ve developed some videos already but you haven’t gotten the results you were expecting. What could you be doing wrong?

YouTube rankings

Well, that’s an ample question. There are tons of things you could be doing wrong. Yet, putting aside quality problems with your videos, I’d bet you have one major issue: you aren’t paying attention to your video SEO.

That’s fine. Many people still don’t grasp the importance of SEO for modern marketing, let alone something as specific as SEO for videos. So, today I’ll share 5 basic tips to help you rank your YouTube videos. We’ll be using a video example that was made by the video experts at Yum Yum Videos (that would be us ) . With the tips you’ll find here, we’ve taken this video to the number 1 spot for keywords like “explainer video” and “best explainer video.” Take a look:

But first, there’s something you might be wondering: why am I just talking about YouTube? There are other video platforms out there, right? Why not take them into account?

ebook: How to rank N1 on Youtube

The importance of ranking on YouTube

You surely suspect that the answer to the focus on YouTube is somehow related to the video platform’s popularity. And you’d be right. But perhaps you don’t know how insanely popular the site actually is. Let’s put that into perspective.

The video social network has more than 1 billion active users. That amazing amount of users has positioned the platform as the 2nd largest search engine in the world. You read that right. The amount of searches on YouTube surpasses those of Bing and Yahoo’s to name two actual search engines.

So, being among the top positions in YouTube for relevant keywords in your industry can be extremely beneficial for your business. It can put your brand right in front of millions of eyes. And you can only get there with one thing – video SEO. Putting it in that way is the simplest way for you to understand why you have to learn how to rank your videos on YouTube.

Now, let’s see those tips!

#1. Define your goals for each video

I get it, you just want your videos to be watched. We all do! But there are more specific goals for videos and that’s what you should be worrying about before uploading your video. For instance, before uploading the video you saw above, we established our goals in clear terms. We had 3 of them:

  1. Rank high for the keywords “explainer video” and “best explainer videos”
  2. Position Yum Yum Videos as an authority in the explainer video industry
  3. Use our video as free promotion for our services while educating our audience about the best choices for them.

What you should take from here is easy. You have to think about why you want to rank on YouTube with each specific video. What questions are you answering? Who are the people you want to engage with? Which services are you promoting? What’s the place of the video in your overall strategy?


The clearer you have all of these objectives, the easier it will be for you to find the proper keywords and the appropriate way to market your videos. The answers to those questions are the foundations to your video’s SEO, so don’t overlook them. Take as much time as needed to get them right!

#2. Put your goals into a more general video strategy

Now that you know what you want to do with your videos, it’s time to put them into a bigger context. You have the keywords, you know which audience you want to engage, you know how will they serve you over time. The next logical step is to define the concrete actions you’ll take from there. You need a strategy, a general map.

It’s true that said strategy will be specific to your company and your industry but, overall, we’ve found the one we used for the video above can be adjusted to many industries. These are the 3 essential points we’ve followed:

  1. Develop high quality videos
  2. Adjust all the necessary SEO parameters
  3. Distribute appropriately and through the proper channels.

As you can see, those are concrete actions that can be seen as a roadmap, a set of instructions to follow to rank on YouTube. That’s how we saw them, at least, and it took us 3 months to take our example video to the number #1 spot since its upload date.

Guarantee the Success of Your Explainer Video

You can use that too. In fact, I’d suggest you try to use these steps as a template for your own strategy. You’ll see that the whole video SEO thing gets a lot easier if you do.

#3. Don’t waste your time unless you have high quality videos

There are a billion active users on YouTube that watch 4 billion videos per day. You think they want to watch something ordinary, generic or boring? Of course not. So, unless you’re betting on high quality for your videos, don’t waste your time going through all the process of ranking on YouTube.

I said above that I’d put the quality issue aside but the truth is quality is closely related to how your videos rank. After all, you can adjust all the technical SEO parameters and still rank low. That’s because the quality has a direct impact on how many people are watching your videos. And the view count for all your videos is a big factor for YouTube rankings.

If people start watching your videos but then leave a couple of seconds after it has started, then everything you do next is futile. High quality can hook your audience and urge them to keep watching. How do you do that? There’s no secret recipe but here’s what worked when we developed our video:

  • Aim for great animation or recording quality
  • Be sure your characters are neatly developed and resemble your audience
  • Work in a direct and thrilling story following the traditional narrative of storytelling
  • Demand quality from everyone involved; animators, directors, actors or voice professionals

If you can combine all of those ingredients into your video, then chances are that people will stick with it. And if it’s good enough, people will share it with their friends, making your video more visible and boosting your video count. The result – YouTube will start seeing that video as valuable content and push it higher in its results.

ebook: You have an explainer video, now what?

#4. Sink your teeth into the basic SEO parameters

I’m aware that many, oh so many people really don’t want to get into the whole technical aspects of SEO. However, if you truly want to rank your videos on YouTube, you’ll have to learn a few key things to adjust them. Don’t panic, the basics aren’t that hard, I promise!

Here are some important things you should be working on:

  • Use your keywords: remember that research you did in the first step to define the keywords you want to rank with on YouTube? Time to put them to good use. Be sure to use your most important one in your video’s title but also include a couple of them in the video’s description and the tags. This will let YouTube know what your video is about and make it easier for people to find you. Still don’t know which keywords to choose? Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find the ones that suit you best!
  • Don’t leave anything to chance – not even the thumbnail: the video thumbnail can feel like a minor detail but it can truly influence your YouTube rankings. A carefully picked image can lure people into watching your video or drive them away. There are some things that usually work well, like using images with people in them and keeping them simple. If you aren’t sure, test, test, test! Just be sure you pick one that draws people’s eyes!
  • Include a Call to action: as incredible as it may sound, some people forget to include Call to Actions (CTA) in their videos. How can the audience know what you expect from them if you don’t tell them? You have to include buttons or annotations to direct traffic to a landing page, like your social profiles, check other videos or whatever you need. Remember – people watching videos are highly engaged, so you have to capitalize on that.

#5. Be sure you share your video everywhere

Distribution is as important as everything that comes before it. A great video that gets posted just once on a YouTube channel is doomed to fail, regardless of how detailed you were when adjusting its SEO. You need to maximize its exposure and get more views so YouTube sees how valuable your content actually is!

I know what you’re thinking – share the videos over and over on your social profiles. That’s fine (as long as you don’t overdo it). But you need to go beyond that. YouTube values more positively the videos that are embedded on more websites and that have more shares. So, work on your networking and see if you can guest blog on some relevant sites for your industry. If the site has enough authority, then the video will be seen as more valuable.

youtube video marketing

You can also run a YouTube Ad Campaign to boost your initial traffic and make a good first impression with your target audience. Naturally, you don’t want to reach the number 1 spot by paying, so this only works to get your video noticed in the first stages. After that, it’s best to work on organic rankings by guest blogging or using internal link building on your site.

Distribution is extremely important. Don’t shy away from promoting what you’ve done. Get your video out there and share it with the world. You need the views to rank higher on YouTube anyway, so you’ll have to do that or risk oblivion.

Summing it all up

There are more things that you can do to improve your YouTube rankings. However, starting with these video SEO basics, you’ll be off to a great start. That’s what we did with the video above and with many others we’ve worked with over the years. It’s not precisely math so you can expect the same results but our experience tells us that you’ll succeed nonetheless.

Finally, it’s important to point out one additional thing. If you still don’t feel comfortable with all the work that ranking your videos on YouTube actually entails, then ask for help. With the aid of the right video marketing company, you can get all the benefits of  good video work without having to worry about learning it all.

Hey there! We can be that company for you! If you want help with your video SEO, contact Yum Yum Videos today and let’s get to work!

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