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.
One thing I’ve been curious about from a video SEO standpoint is captions. Logic tells me that if you upload your own caption file to the video, YouTube would use that to discern what your video is about and use that info in how it ranks your video in the results. I’m running an experiment on one of my YouTube channels right now to see if they have any effect on views over time. We’ll see!
Google updates its search algorithm frequently. For example, on February 23rd, 2016, Google made significant changes to AdWords, removing right-column ads entirely and rolling out 4-ad top blocks on many commercial searches. While this was a paid search update, it had significant implications for CTR for both paid and organic results, especially on competitive keywords.
Quick question though. What about a video that ranks quickly within 24 hours and it has no engagment no comments to views… yet because its key word optimized for youtube it ranks very high maybe among low competition keywords!! How could you go into a high competeion keyword and make a great video and have it move to page 1 in a week!! starting from ground zero no engament but great video and SEO.
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.

Youtube videos seem top of the search for almost everything now.I get Youtube is a massive cash cow for Google, but a lot of these videos that outrank traditional web pages are rubbish. It’s getting to the point where Google are compromising their own search engine. By the time you’ve scrolled past the ads and the videos, you may as well start on page two.
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.
Thanks for sharing and explaining the Ultimate Youtube SEO guide, very helpfull! I have a question, is it better to rank hosted videos (for example Wistia) which don’t show up in Youtube or to rank Youtube videos? Hosted videos show up in google video and take the visitor directly to your page while youtube does not (only in description). Which video platform would you advise?
There is much you can do right with YouTube but there is also a lot of things you can do wrong! For instance all of my affiliate videos are on the same channel, if Google decided i violated their tos I would have to start all over but Google see the value I bring. I would suggest using different channels for different niches rather than having 1 channel or 1,000 channels.
It good to see someone out there is genuinely trying to help out others to achieve their dreams and goal. Me and my husband have recently started a youtube channel by the name of “foodeasywithsana”. It is a channel about cooking. It has been so hard to get subscribers and views. We are trying to engage audience on many different social networking platforms but the response is very slow. Please can you help us out here. We are lost rightnow.
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 Soovle.com 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.
Quick question: You say you don’t recommend payed views (i.e. fiverr) which is understandable for various reasons. However, would you say that if you start from scratch (no social network whatsoever and a brand-new video) it could be beneficial to buy maybe 2,000-5,000 views, a bunch of likes/subscribers/etc. just to get it started and then let it grow organically?
You may find that your business doesn’t appear for relevant searches in your area. To maximize how often your customers see your business in local search results, complete the following tasks in Google My Business. Providing and updating business information in Google My Business can help your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your presence in Search and Maps.
But sometimes there are site-wide technical issues that get in your way of ranking on Google. Luckily, fixing technical issues is not a required step for every single piece of content you create. However, as you create more and more content you should be aware of duplicate content, broken links, or problems with crawling and indexing. These issues can set you back in search results.
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