Thanks for the post. I found you through a G search for how to rank a YouTube video. I honestly think with the recent G update, they are trying to force their adwords and YT and everything else they own to the user. So I think that the new “niche site” is going to be YT videos. I lost a ton of rankings to my niche site over the weekend. My entire website went from average 800 UV a day to 10… Really made my heart sink. Just as I was starting to do well with SEO ha ha.
I am not even appearing in the SERP (Youtube) while searching for the title of the video. Another point is we have distributed the copyright of our video with other premium youtube channel and now they are appearing almost everywhere in the SERP (even when a user search for the title). They are also expending $90 on a daily basis to promote that video.

We’ve started adjusting the ranking of videos in YouTube search to reward engaging videos that keep viewers watching. […] The experimental results of this change have proven positive — less clicking, more watching. […] As with previous optimizations to our discovery features, this should benefit your channel if your videos drive more viewing time across YouTube.

Dear Brian, thank you for this clear and helpful tutorial. A question: if I want to rank a YouTube video specifically on Google… should I focus only on engagement (retention views, comments, social media shares, ecc.) or should I add also classic backlinks (anchor text to the video url, from other sites)? I still don’t understand If the last ones are almost useless or actually useful.

Hey Brian! As you know I like to perfect my video rankings in Google. So I would like to share what’s been simply amazing for me. Case study Google search tube sniper pro or any version of that keyword, review, 2, 2 review. And I’m number 1. Won’t share all my secrets but I’m more than generous. I’ve managed to rank well by doing 3 simple things. 1. Using to get lsi keywords. 2. Commenting on the top 3 videos on YouTube for my topic. 3. Adding the top 3 ranking videos on Google YouTube username to my tags and the end of my description. What really helps my rankings is the suggested video views I get from adding the top video tags. Google loves that. Picture this… if the top rated video is being watched and the link is being clicked then the user is finding what they were looking for in Google’s eyes. Genius really.

This is fantastic information and really useful for starting a new YouTube channel. I have a question regarding the length of the videos: I have heard that YouTube does not promote videos that are less than 5 mins in length as “Suggested Videos”, is that true? Some of the YouTubers I have interacted with suggest me to go for videos longer than 5 mins and I was wondering if that would have any impact.
What about subtitles & closed captions? I see in one of your comment replies that you’ve uploaded transcripts of your videos but looks like Youtube has 1 spot for transcripts and another for subtitles/CC. Have you tested both transcripts and subtitles/CC? Also, I know the difference between subtitles and CC but there doesn’t appear to be anyone that’s tested once vs the other. Might be something to test.
Hey Brian That was a great article ! I was always curious about Youtube SEO and its quite detailed I’ll try to write the main points in my notepad so I can remember this checklist when doing Youtube Seo 🙂 The tutorial is also quite helpful ! I agree with you on the queries google uses for showing video results, that makes sense now why google shows videos on “How to” queries.

It appears that the reason this page from a little-known website is able to rank amongst the bigger players is that the content itself is more focussed. It talks about how to name images for SEO, whereas most of the other pages are more general guides to image SEO—which all presumably mention the importance of naming images correctly, amongst other things.