YouTube Ranking 2021 | The Guide To YouTube SEO

YouTube is a huge platform that can be used to reach a huge amount of potential customers/viewers.

With it having an average of 1 billion unique users signing in every month, it’s no wonder why so many people wish to be able to rank their videos and youtube channels high on the platform.

Are you maximizing the traffic and brand awareness from the second biggest search engine on YouTube?

This blog will cover the topic of YouTube ranking 2021 and how to rank your first channel.

Ranking Youtube 2021 Algorithm

Something to keep in mind though is how YouTube gets a bit more leniency when it comes to spam links. As the site is a well-established authority site and incredibly popular, YouTube won’t receive as many harsh penalties compared to other sites. Channels like T Series rely a lot on these types of links.

Plus something to bear in mind with ranking videos is that ranking in YouTube has a different algorithm method than ranking in Google Search (SERPs).

YouTube ranking can be quite a simple concept on paper but becomes quite complex when trying to replicate the certain aspects that are needed. Engagement is a key area of a video and YouTube channels and can really alter how well a video is ranked, depending on its engagement level.

Factors such as CTR, liking a video, leaving a comment, clicking end screen CTAs/information buttons and even things like subtitles can really help with the engagement a video receives. Try and encourage your viewers to engage with your content by making it accessible and entertaining to everyone.

On the other hand, YouTube’s parent company (Google) has a different main factor which dictates how well a site will rank on the SERPs, those being links. whether it is contextual links, social embeds, social shares, high PR backlinks or bookmarks, including some of this wide variety of links will help your site establish itself as an authority and therefore will help your site climb up the rankings.

Make Your Channel Specific

Before you go any further into this article, the important thing to note is that you should plan what your channel is about. There are many different niches within YouTube that you can enter with your first channel, some of these include:

  • Movie reviews
  • Trick shots
  • Charity stunts
  • Comedic content
  • Travel vlogs
  • Daily life videos
  • Viral challenges
  • Toy reviews (such as Ryan’s World)

The niche’s listed above are just a short compilation of some of the most viewed niches and have some of the most viral videos within them, but there are millions of different audiences you can target with your content.

YouTube Shorts

Recently, YouTube have added a new feature onto the website called “YouTube Shorts“. This feature allows YouTube channels to upload short videos about a wide variety of content.

A YouTube channel known as T Series (who is the most subscribed YouTube channel) has recently used this new feature to increase their following by uploading short snippets of new songs. With YouTube wanting to push this new feature, a lot of channels are gaining a huge amount of engagement, so it’s highly recommended that your channel keeps this option in mind. Business insider have a great blog on how to make YouTube shorts. You can also see how popular YouTube shorts are by going onto Social Blade.

Let’s have a look at some of the main driving factors that can help you climb the rankings in YouTube as well as some tips to keep in mind for maintaining professional-looking YouTube channels.

Youtube: Before the Upload

Believe it or not, but a few simple changes to a video before you post it can help you in the long run. Keep in mind that YouTube is an algorithm, it’s looking to gather as much information about the video as possible and after this information has been gathered, it is then placed at a base rank depending on authority and popularity. We can actually help the algorithm learn more about what our video contains and what genre it is.

Once you have exported your video (aim to export in .mp4 quality), if you right-click on the video and then click “properties”, another window will open. This window contains all the metadata about the content and it also allows us to input some additional information.

Ranking on YouTube

Once on this window, we can see all the details of the video. But the main one we want to focus on is “details”. We can put in some vital information in this section, which will help specify what the video contains, what it’s about and the date it was made. This helps the YouTube algorithm understand exactly where we want this video to rank and the more information we provide it, usually the higher it’s base rank can be.

This feature is popular among huge YouTube channels, as this feature helps the YouTube algorithm instantly recognise what your video is about and why it deserves to be ranked so highly. An other channel you are competing with may not use this tactic, so be sure to utilise it. Social Blade will not show you YouTuber’s that use this technique as it’s not well known.

YouTube: Design

Design is a key piece for any promotional product. You want it to be able to catch the potential customer’s eye and make them want to engage with the video. But how exactly should you go about it?

On YouTube, there is a wide variety of different aspects that require some sort of design skills, which mainly include:

  1. Thumbnails
  2. Channel artwork
  3. Avatar

These are the three main design points that any good YouTuber should focus on. By creating a well-designed banner art and avatar, you are suggesting to your audience that you are a well-established channel that aims to produce high-quality content.

Many people say never judge a book by its cover, however that saying doesn’t apply on this platform. Without a well-designed channel page, you fail to differentiate yourself from the competition and just end up implying to your potential audience that you don’t really care about creating high-quality content and eventually getting lost with all the rest of the YouTube channels that have bad impressions on audiences.

The same could be said about the thumbnails. Creating a superb thumbnail won’t only suggest to the audience that the video they are about to watch is brilliant, but also builds a form of trust between your channel and the person. Go on to Social Blade and look at the top 100 YouTubers and their designs; you’ll see how important they are for ranking.

This trust is usually what can lead to you gaining a subscriber. Not only this but the thumbnail also entices the audience into watching your content. By making it unique, colourful and interesting, the average audience member will feel intrigued to watch the video and will usually end up clicking through on it. Take a look at how the most subscribed YouTube channel, T Series, does theirs for inspiration.

YouTube Design: Thumbnails

Bonus Tip: Make sure you check out our tip on how to rank images better and try to get these thumbnails ranking in Google Images to drive traffic.

What Are Niche Edits

Be aware of obvious click-baiting though. Click-baiting is when you create a thumbnail which has little to no relevance to the video it’s attached to but includes aspects which may interest a larger audience. It sounds like a good idea on paper as YouTube don’t really punish you or your channel for using this technique, but in practice can actually lead to your channel losing trust with the audience, building a distaste towards your content and can even lead to you losing subscribers.

YouTube Design: Channel

Having a YouTube channel with a bright and colourful banner can really help your channel gain natural engagement.

Think about this: you’ve just found a video that you’ve really enjoyed and you want to see what else this creator has made, so you visit their channel only to see a default banner and no avatar.

YouTube wants the user to have a good experience on their platforms, so if they show you YouTube channels that have no effort put in to their image, it’s going to cause a high bounce rate. This is why it’s vital to get a banner designed and uploaded, otherwise you can get penalised like 1000s of other YouTube channels; and never gain the viewership you wanted.

Have a look at different YouTube channels and see how they all design their channels. You’ll notice that they all have distinctive styles, which differentiates them from the competition. But, they all have one thing in common: it shows that these YouTube channels care about the audience.

YouTube Design: Avatar

As mentioned above, a good YouTube channel should have BOTH a well-designed banner and a clear avatar. Some may argue that the avatar is more important for YouTube channels, as this image is displayed below the video constantly.

You’d be surprised to see how many people judge a YouTube channel from their avatar, as this little picture should reflect your channel and what it’s aims are.

The best way to know if you’ve created a good YouTube channel avatar is to think about if the avatar alone tells viewers what your content is about.

Below are some examples of how effective YouTube logos can be:

YouTube Avatars

As the above YouTube channels show, there are different ways you can design your YouTube avatar to help attract your target audience and gain more loyal subscribers and as a result, better rankings! Like mentioned before, use Social Blade to see how the top 100 channels use design to gain a bigger audience.

YouTube: Design Summary

A combination of a creative channel page and superb thumbnails, you will effectively establish yourself as an authoritative channel and gain trust a lot quicker than most channels that decide to ignore this simple factor. A few tips to keep in mind is:

  • Use company colours
  • If you include text, make sure it’s readable
  • Export the thumbnail in high quality and in the right dimensions (same with the channel art)
  • Try to avoid obvious click-baiting
  • Make it recognisable (Brand it)
  • Keep the design simple yet effective

By following these tips, your design should come out flawless and your brand image should become a lot more positive through these techniques. Make sure that you understand that without a good design, you won’t have a good channel.

YouTube: Titles, Descriptions and Tags

Without titles, descriptions and tags, no one would have a clue what your video and/or your YouTube channel is about. These three factors allow the audience to understand more about what the video is about and helps dictate whether or not the video will receive a click or not.

Through these 3 well known key factors, YouTube can use your personal data gathered through cookies to recommend you new content, which is how YouTube channels can explode with new viewership and subscribers. The most subscribed channels understand this, and this is often why their YouTube channels are so popular.

YouTube FatRank Video Ranking

Many people have different ideas about what makes a good title/description/tag but I’ll be giving you my personal opinion and will be using one of the videos from FatRank as an example (which has managed to become a recommended search for “link audit“). Social Blade is great for showing you what channels you should look at for more information on what to include.

Titles

Seemingly the most important, the title should be able to encourage the audience to click on your video by explaining what the video is about in a simple sentence. Try to avoid making your title too long as YouTube will averagely display the first 46 characters (obviously depends on what characters are being used) and then cut it off with ellipses, stopping the viewer from seeing the full title.

Size isn’t the only important thing here people, but also what the title contains. Keywords are vital to include. The other points will also mention this but by including the related keywords to your video’s content, you are stressing to YouTube what the video is about and are proving to the platform that you are a trustworthy source of content.

Like most social media platforms, YouTube can read what your video is about through the text you attach to the video, so make sure that you keep this in mind. After all, YouTube is owned by Google, one of the most technological advanced companies in the world.

It should also be specific to the video. This relates to a previous point I made about how YouTube channels use clickbait thumbnails, and the same is true with titles. Avoid clickbait titles at all cost, otherwise your video can be reported by users for misinformation and your channel can be penalised like the other YouTube channels that use this tactic.

Don’t jam-pack it full of keywords however as this won’t only make your title look nasty but will suggest to potential viewers that you haven’t thought about an effective title and due to this, you will lose some trust amongst your audience base.

Descriptions

Probably the most controversial point. The amount of sites that suggest different things for this aspect is remarkable. Ranging from keeping your description to a maximum of 50 words to filling up the maximum of 5000 characters, it can be hard to find a strong solution to this problem. But, I have seen good success from sticking to a certain rule when it comes to the description and that is keeping it between 200 and 400 words.

You have to remember, a description acts as a way for the creator to explain their content to users on the platform. By making it too small, you won’t provide enough information to help the audience understand what the content is about and by making it too big, only a small amount of people will be bothered to read the whole thing. By keeping it in the sweet middle, you avoid both of these problems, but remember to include keywords.

Having keywords in your description, you yet again help the YouTube algorithm understand what your video is about and what kind of search criteria would be required for the video to show up. With so much competition on this video sharing platform, you’ll want to include this step to rank higher than your competition.

However, there’s a bonus. If you include the same keyword you used in the title as you used in the description, you have effectively created a doubled keyword. A double keyword is a lot more powerful than just singular keywords and will establish your content a lot more than just using singular ones. It stresses to YouTube that the content you are making is based on a certain niche you are aiming for.

Tags

Probably the most under-rated factor for new YouTubers but the most focused by YouTube elders. Tags are important. I would argue that this point is the most important and that you should spend a lot of time focusing on this. Tags are basically keywords that you can attach to your video to inform YouTube that if a user searches that specific keyword, then your video should come up as a result.

This is exactly what YouTube wants you to do with tags. This feature helps the algorithm a lot more and therefore your video will rank a lot quicker by including them. For more information on the importance of tags and how you can use this feature to get more views, check out Social Blade.

Already, you can see a problem with this as some people will put irrelevant tags to get their videos displaying on popular search queries. However, this doesn’t work most of the time. Why is that? Simple, tripled keywords. Just like doubled keywords, tripled keywords are when the same keyword is shown in the description, title AND the tags. When a tripled keyword is set, you will start gaining the video authority as you are heavily focusing on showing YouTube where your video should be shown and ranked on.

Effective YouTube Tags
Green – Where the video would rank for me
D. Blue – Where the video would rank for others
L. Blue – Power of the tag (*/100)

Make sure to check out T Series and what tags they use, you’ll notice they follow a similar process to what we do and you can see this by using a tool like Social Blade.

Tags by themselves don’t carry a lot of power, but by including them in tripled keywords, they become a lot more powerful and can actually help a lot with the ranking of your video. I would recommend to always try to achieve these but keep in mind, don’t overdo it or you can dilute the power of them.

YouTube: Engagement

It’s the point that a lot of people bring up but hardly anyone fully understands. Engagement is when the audience commits some sort of interaction (click, comment, like, subscribe etc.) with your content.

Personally, this factor seems to be incredibly well known & important for ranking as YouTube aims to give the user the best experience possible (like it’s a parent company, Google) and by ranking the content which is engaged with a lot very high. This is the main reason the most subscribed channels are so popular. Just take a look at how much engagement their videos get on average!

Engagement is seen as a rate of success on the video platform as its a clear indicator that the audience members are liking the content. Try to encourage your audience members to comment by asking them their opinions on a certain topic related to the video.

Encourage likes and subscribers by providing entertaining content and reminding the audience to commit the action (not too much though as it can be seen as quite petty).

CTR rates can be improved by including eye-catching thumbnails and titles (as discussed before) but if you are looking at increasing the CTR of your end screen then provide an interesting end screen with videos that people will want to watch after the current one.

For more information on why engagement is such a vital factor for ranking YouTube videos, be sure to check out Video Veggie.

YouTube Engagement: Secret Tip

An interesting point that a lot of people forget about subtitles. Believe it or not, quite a lot of viewers watch the content with subtitles on. YouTube does auto-generate some but, to be honest, they are rubbish. The accuracy isn’t good and can end up restructuring sentences to look like you’re on about something completely different.

The best solution to this issue is to get the video transcribed, which can be done by going to rev.com and placing an order to get one transcribed with much better accuracy and saving you a lot of time changing everything.

The most subscribed YouTube channel on the platform, T Series, always includes subtitles within their videos, and so do thousands of other popular YouTube channels. I reckon this is no coincidence and that subtitles are a secret ranking factor.

Subtitles also can include keywords which can allow YouTube to understand yet again what the video is about and help establish it in the community that you wish to aim for. Remember that engagement is incredibly important. The video below explains this point really well and I suggest you give it a view when you can to understand a lot more about engagement.

As YouTube is so big, the video site has a huge emphasis on accessibility, and by including subtitles, you’re making your video a lot more accessible for those who may have a hearing impairment. It also can help with people in a daily life who can’t watch a video at full volume, so having subtitles is a great substitute for this problem.

With regards to keyword research then google keyword planner is good but a much better solution would be Long Tail Pro and if you would like a discount code for this SEO tool then please tweet myself @james_dooley where I will reply with the best promotional offer.

Few Extra Tips

I thought I would include a few more tips about ranking that I couldn’t really fit into another section but are still equally important to keep in mind. These extra tips include:

  1. Have a consistent upload schedule – It’s good to upload a lot of content but if the content is uploaded in a crazy manner, with no logic behind it, then YouTube won’t promote your channel as much as you won’t be seen as active throughout the long term.
  2. Engage with others – One point that a lot of creators forget is to engage with other creators! Like other videos, leave comments and subscribe to other channels. By doing this not only are you showing YouTube that you are active within the community, but you show other creators that you are willing to engage with them and can gain a lot of respect. Also, engage with your engagements. If someone leaves a comment on your video, pin it (you can only pin one so make sure it’s the best comment), love reacts to it and reply to it. Again, you prove you are active and gain a lot of respect from your audience as they feel like you actually consider their thoughts and opinions on the content.
  3. Copyright – A super serious point to keep in mind, DON’T breach copyright. Quite obvious but even a harmless act of borrowing someone’s music without permission can lead to you getting into some trouble. The punishments can range from muting the audio, the claimer gaining motorisation rights and even getting a copyright strike (which can hurt your channel’s reputation towards YouTube, other creators and your audience).

The Two Important Rules

When you look at the most popular videos from other channels and from the most subscribed youtube channel (T Series), their are two main rules that they will stick to and by doing this, their videos will start to rank a lot higher on the video sharing platform.

  1. Keep up-to-date with community guidelines – YouTube has a set of rules which creators must abide by. These set of rules are known as the community guidelines and help to ensure that YouTube content stays original and creative. However, they are updated quite regularly and can change quite drastically, so make sure you always keep checking up on them to avoid any problems with the platform.
  2. Be honest – This kind of links to the point of click-baiting, but I’m mainly talking about your channel tags, content and overall channel. If you are making a gaming channel, DON’T MAKE IT SOMETHING ELSE. Keep the channel tags honest, the content-related and the channel based on Gaming. Many people try and sneak certain tags and videos to get more views but all this will do is confuse your audience, as well as the YouTube algorithm. If you wish to make vlog videos along with the gaming videos, make another channel or make a certain playlist on your main channel for them. Don’t just flood your channel with unrelated content.

Keep us posted on how you are Ranking YouTube Videos In Google Search and what successes you are having. I always love to hear what is working well for you and what to avoid.

Comment below on whether you can add any further value to this article. I will gladly add it in if I feel it is valuable information and credit the source.


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