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The YouTube Algorithm: How Do I Rank Higher On YouTube?

How do you understand the YouTube algorithm — the world’s second-largest search engine?

And even when you’ve understood the YouTube algorithm, how can you rank higher?

I’m confident that you have a YouTube account of your own.

But the 121 views on your channel are pretty underwhelming, aren’t they?

Lucky for you, we are going to teach you how to turn 100 views to 100,000!

Read this article and we guarantee you will walk away with actionable techniques that will drive viewers to your channel.

Are you ready?

Let’s get to it!

Understanding YouTube’s Algorithm

Like all search engines, YouTube has a specific algorithm that you must understand before you can even acquire an audience.

Image via hubspot.com

YouTube provides personalized videos to its audience via search, home, suggested videos, trending, and subscriptions.YouTube provides personalized videos to its audience via search, home, suggested videos, trending, and subscriptions.

Have you noticed that YouTube recommends videos that are related to the ones you previously watched?

This is because they track user engagement very carefully.

Let’s say you are interested in makeup and beauty.

I’m willing to bet that most (if not all) of your recommended videos are beauty vloggers and makeup tutorials.

Right?

Google can tell if your a Republican, Democrat or Independent based upon the political content you consume!

YouTube’s algorithm is engagement-centric.  This means that likes and views are only second to the content your audience enjoys.

Let’s break it down for you:

Search

Just like Google, YouTube’s goal is to provide you with the most relevant search results based on your query.

Image via express.co.uk

Your titles, description, and content match the users’ search queries.

Additionally, the metadata of your video should be closely related to your video’s content.

Don’t forget to optimize even the most minuscule aspects of your video.

They still matter!

Suggested Videos

YouTube carefully analyzes each user’s activity history before coming up with video suggestions.

These videos are then ranked based on how well it has satisfied similar audiences.

Here’s a tip: Use a vital keyword phrase as a YouTube tag.

Tags provide context to your videos. It can help you slide into someone’s suggested feed.

Subscriptions

“Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel,” is an overused statement in the YouTube community.

But don’t blame the vloggers, subscribers actually matter.  Your subscribers are your channel’s main audience.

Think of them as your primary clientele.

Your primary clientele is in charge of your view velocity.

View velocity measures the number of subscribers who watch your video after it goes live.

Based on watch time, comments, views, and engagement, subscriber activity determines whether your video succeeds or flops.

The higher the view velocity, the more chances of ranking.

Trending

This is a list of popular videos within a viewer’s country. 

To make it onto this list, YouTube places great importance on the number of views as well as the growth rate of these views. 

Don’t be discouraged when your video won’t pop up on the Trending feed. 

More often than not, videos seen here are from users with millions of subscribers. 

You can still rank on YouTube by producing high-quality content. 

Tips for Ranking Higher

Now that you know a little bit about YouTube’s SEO, it’s time to get your hands dirty!

We are going to walk you through the best practices for higher rankings on YouTube.

Optimize your channel page

The first thing you want to do is to make your channel page look attractive.

Remember that this is the first impression for the viewer.

You know what they say, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.”

Channel art can bring life and color to a dull page.

Check out how Neil Patel designed his:  Notice how his profile photo and cover allows viewers to understand his page better.

He included links to his social platform. These links indirectly increase his chances of gaining more followers.

Adding links to your channel is excellent for brand SEO.

This means that when users search your business, the first page results will redirect the audience to your website and social platforms.

As for your channel description, take a look at what Brian Dean wrote on his:

Image via backlinko.com

This is a great channel description or about section.

Look at how Brian Dean was able to put terms like “link building,” “SEO,” and “white hat SEO” in there.

Those are the actual keywords he wants to rank for.  Smart!

Do keyword research for YouTube

Just like keyword research for Google, YouTube has a similar process.

Just rinse and repeat.

First, create a list of relevant terms in your niche.

Do a little digging to determine which words trigger your target audience to click on a video.

Using YouTube Suggest, here are the search suggestions on the term, “healthy food”:

Add these suggested keywords to your list.  Because if YouTube suggests them, you know they’re regularly being searched!

Also, do you notice those small numbers beside each suggestion?

That’s data provided by the keyword research tool, Keywords Everywhere.

Keywords Everywhere is our personal favorite. Bonus alert, Keywords Everywhere is free.

It gives relevant data on keywords across multiple platforms.

There’s no need to do additional research on a specific keyword’s search volume, cost per click, or competition.

Keywords Everywhere has got you covered!

And speaking of tools, KeywoordTool.io is designed specifically for YouTube.

It uses Google Autocomplete to generate hundreds of long-tail keywords for any topic.

Instead of inputting keywords manually, Keyword Tool does all the work for you. Instead of inputting keywords manually, Keyword Tool does all the work for you.  Very helpful!

Customize video thumbnails

First impressions matter.

Even on YouTube. 

When you upload a video, YouTube gives you three random screenshots. 

Among the three, you have to select one screenshot for your thumbnail. 

But more often than not, these screenshots aren’t so visually appealing. 

This is what popularized custom thumbnails. It tells your audience what your video is about and why they should watch it. 

Be honest. Which one of these two are you more likely to click on?

Obviously, you would go for the first one. Right?

Custom thumbnails help increase your Click Through Rates (CTRs).

A CTR is the number of users who clicked or viewed your video.

Here are a few things to remember before uploading your custom thumbnail:

  • The optimal image size is at 1280×720 pixels.
  • Preferably use .jpg or .png
  • File size should not exceed 2MB.

You can easily customize your thumbnails using Photoshop or any other affordable graphic design tool.

Regardless of what you use, make sure it’s attractive!

Pay attention to your content

It matters not how well you promote your video.

If your content stinks, your rankings and views won’t look pretty.

At the end of the day, YouTube is a platform where creators share video content to users.

For example, if you run a restaurant business, you won’t drive any views to your channel if you simply talk about the food you offer.

Video marketing on YouTube is continuously innovating.

Image via webdhoom.com

If you’re using YouTube as a marketing strategy, viewers can usually smell “sales-y” videos from a mile away. 

Make it about the story, not the sale. 

Keep in mind that the best marketing initiatives don’t feel like marketing.

They’re memorable, shareworthy, and accurately convey what the brand is all about.  Don’t bore the viewer!

You can integrate your offer within a story. Then sell the story. 

Great content is a prerequisite, views and rankings will follow.

Include a call to action

A viewer has reached the end of your video.  Awesome! This manifests clear interest. 

Now, it’s time to encourage your viewer to do something. 

Create your CTA, Call to Action. Ask the viewer to take the next step in your buyer’s journey.

You can ask them to subscribe to your channel or click a link to make a purchase.

CTAs make for higher conversion rates. It converts clicks to customers.

In short, it helps you go out with a bang!

Your CTA can be as simple as “Contact us for more info” or “Subscribe to my channel for more videos.”

But that can be pretty bland and generic for most viewers. 

You can get creative with any of these suggestions: 

  • Do a giveaway – Nobody says no to free items. Linking your viewers to a landing page on your site will get them to click and participate. 
  • Free trial – If you have a subscription service that you think is useful, give viewers a chance to test out your services for free. 
  • Redirect to another video – Link your viewers to a video similar to the one they already watched. This is a chance for your other videos to grab fresh views. If they like it, there’s a high chance they’ll subscribe.

Promote your video on social

This one is self-explanatory. 

A lot of people on your socials might be unaware of your YouTube channel. 

This is your opportunity to share it with them!

Image via forbes.com

Remember that off-page SEO still counts.. 

When viewers take the time to refer others to your content Google will reward you.

Look at it the way Google looks at it. If the content is good enough that others are referring their customers and friends to it, then we (Google, YouTube) should follow suit and refer your video to our users.

Here’s what you can do: 

  • Sync all your social media accounts to one another. Anytime you post a video; this will automatically publish a post across all your platforms. 
  • Find groups on social networks that would be interested in your content. Post your videos on these groups, so the word gets out. You can also mention it on Q&A sites like Quora. This is an easy way to put your content out there.  Plus, you’re able to share your content outside of your main audience—your followers. This helps your viewership diversify and grow. 
  • When you’ve already gained readership in your blogs, try to link your video in there. It’s a great way to acquire extra views on your channel.Not only do you have readers, but you also have viewers. Win-win! 

Final Thoughts

That’s it!That’s it!

Those are the top techniques for ranking higher on YouTube. 

The underwhelming 100 views on your channel can finally turn around!

Based on your own experience with YouTube, what are other tips you can recommend?

We’d love to hear them in the comments section below!

References

Chi, Clifford (n.d.). HubSpot. YouTube algorithm: The constantly updated guide to Chi, Clifford (n.d.). HubSpot. YouTube algorithm: The constantly updated guide to  YouTube’s updates and changes. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/youtube-algorithm

Dean, Brian (2019 Jan 4). Backlinko. YouTube SEO: How to rank YouTube videos in  2019. Retrieved from https://backlinko.com/how-to-rank-youtube-videos

Koul, Arnesh (2019 April 2). Colorado State University. Understanding YouTube’s algorithm in 2019. Retrieved from http://social.colostate.edu/2019/04/02/youtube-algorithm/

Stewart, Ryan (2015 Aug 31). Medium. 9 hacks to rank YouTube videos in Google. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@ryanwashere/9-hacks-to-rank-youtube-Videos-in-google-284fc4597db3

Vidyard (n.d.). How to end your video with action: Strong CTA examples. Retrieved from https://www.vidyard.com/blog/end-video-strong-call-action-examples/

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