Ranking YouTube Videos

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 high on the platform.

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

Youtube 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.

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 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.

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 a professional-looking channel.

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.

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. Avatars
  3. Banner artworks

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.

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.

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.

YouTube: Design

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.

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 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.

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“).


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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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)

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 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.

Engagement is seen as a rate of success on the 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.

YouTube: Engagement

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 crap. 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.

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.

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).

Few Extra Tips

  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.

All SEO Related Posts

Check out the in-depth list of SEO posts.

The full list shows the various SEO strategies to help your online marketing knowledge grow fast in July 2021.