Youtube SEO 2019: How to Rank your Videos on YouTube

Today, you’re going to learn how to rank your videos number one on YouTube. In fact, these YouTube SEO tips have helped many YouTubers rank for hundreds of different keywords.

We are not gonna give you generic advice like use video tags. You already know that stuff. Instead, you’re gonna see little-known SEO tips that are working right now.

When I launched my YouTube channel a few years ago, I felt great. And to get ready, I watched dozens of videos from so-called YouTube SEO experts. I was super excited when my channel finally went live. I thought to myself, “it’s only a matter of time before my videos rank in YouTube and get lots of views.”

There was only one problem: it never happened. In fact, despite working really hard on my videos, my views barely budged. So one day I decided to stop following the advice from so-called YouTube experts and tried to figure this whole YouTube SEO thing out myself. So here are the valuable strategies that will help you reach to the top on YouTube.

1. Front-load your keyword:

Everyone knows you should use your target keyword in your video title. But what you might not know is that YouTube puts more weight on words that appear at the beginning of your title. For example, let’s say you want to rank your video for cold brew coffee. You can easily make that title even more SEO friendly by front-loading your keyword. In fact, this little tip works so well, that I tend to front-load keywords in almost all of my titles.

2. Boost video engagement signals:

So, what are engagement signals exactly? Engagement signals are things such as shares, likes, comments, and subscribes. Basically, whenever someone engages with your video, it tells YouTube people are loving this video. Comments correlated with rankings more than any other engagement signal. The question is, how can you get more people to comment on your videos? By putting a hyper-specific call to action at the end of your video.

You see, most YouTubers use a generic call to action like, “Leave a comment,” or “Let me know what you think.” But hyper-specific call to actions works much better. So, instead of a generic, “Leave a comment,” give your viewer something specific to comment on.

3. Use YouTube Tags wisely for video tags:

Here’s the truth with video tags on YouTube – tags aren’t as important as they used to be. That said, tags still make a difference. So, it’s worthwhile to spend some time in them. Unfortunately, most people on YouTube use tags completely wrong. Remember, your video tags are designed to help YouTube understand the content of your video. Which means you don’t need a lot of tags to get the job done.

In fact, if you use lots of tags, you’re just gonna confuse YouTube and Google and they’ll have no idea what your video is actually about. And if YouTube doesn’t understand what your video is about, they’re not gonna rank it for anything. That’s why we recommend using a small number of highly specific tags. First, make sure that your first tag is your target keyword.

Just like with your title, YouTube puts more weight on tags that appear early on, especially your fist tag. So, if your keyword is green smoothie recipes, you’d make your first tag green smoothie recipes, simple.

Next, create two to three tags that are alternative versions of your main keyword. For example, you’d use variations of green smoothie recipes like green smoothie recipes for breakfast, and easy green smoothie recipes. You can easily find these variations by popping a target keyword into the YouTube search field and seeing what YouTube suggests. These suggestions make perfect alternative versions of your main keyword to use as tags.

Finally, include one or two broad terms as your last set of tags. These tags should describe your videos overall topic or industry. The goal of these broad tags is just to give YouTube more context about your video. For example, broad keywords for green smoothie recipes would be things like nutrition and smoothies.

4. CTR magnet thumbnails:

You probably already know that click-through rate is an important YouTube ranking factor. In other words, if your video gets an above-average amount of clicks in the search results, YouTube’s gonna give you a rankings bump.

The question is, how can you get more clicks. Use CTR magnet thumbnails. So, what are CTR magnet thumbnails? They’re thumbnails that are strategically designed to get more clicks from YouTube searchers.

Here’s the step-by-step process – First, use non-YouTube colors in your thumbnail. What do I mean by non-YouTube colors? Well, the main colors on YouTube’s website are white, red, and black. So, if you use those same colors in your thumbnail, you’re gonna blend in. Instead, I recommend using colors that contrast with YouTube’s color scheme like green, blue, purple, gray, and orange. These colors will help your results stand out from the others which brings me more clicks.

Next, use big, bold text in your thumbnail. Thumbnails with text get more clicks than thumbnails without any text. That said, your thumbnail is pretty small. So, you don’t have a lot of room to work with. That’s why we recommend using 30 characters of text max.

5. Write many blog posts for your video descriptions:

When people first start their YouTube channel, they put zero thought into video descriptions. This video is awesome. And description done.

It turns out, this was a huge mistake. Long descriptions help videos rank better on YouTube because the longer descriptions help YouTube better understand what your video is all about. That’s why we recommend you make your descriptions between 100 and 200 words.

You might be wondering, “What do I actually write “in my description?” Well, you want to outline the content of your video without giving away the farm.

6. Increase video length:

When it comes to video SEO, longer videos tended to outrank short videos. In fact, the average video on the first page of YouTube is 14 minutes, 50 seconds long. What’s going on here? Well, a few years ago, YouTube said, “We focus on those videos that increase the amount of time “that the viewer will spend watching videos on YouTube.”

In other words, YouTube loves videos that keep people watching for long periods of time. And because a video is on the longer side, it racks up lots of watch time automatically. That simply wouldn’t be possible if a video is only two minutes. Bottom line, whenever it makes sense, make your videos between eight and 15 minutes long.

7. Use brackets and parentheses in your video title:

Like I mentioned earlier, YouTube uses click-through rate as a ranking factor. And, yes, your thumbnail is a big part of the equation. But don’t forget about your title, it’s huge. In fact, YouTube themselves, state that, “Well written titles can be the difference “between someone watching and sharing your video “or scrolling right past it.”

One of the easiest ways to increase your click-through rate is to add brackets or parentheses to your video title. Simply adding brackets and parentheses to titles boosts the click-through rate by up to 38%. According to HubSpot’s research, by changing your title you can increase your clicks by more than a third. Actually, parentheses work so well, that I tend to use them in almost all of my video titles.

8. Rank in the “Suggested Video”:

Here’s the deal, YouTube SEO is more than just ranking in the search results. In fact, you can get just as many views if not more by getting your video to appear as a suggested video. Suggested video is when your video shows up next to another video in the sidebar. So, if you can get your video to show up next to a really popular video, you’ll steal some of their views.

The best way to show up as a suggested video, use the same tags that video uses. When YouTube sees that some of your tags match the tags from a popular video, they’ll understand that your video is about the same topic. Which means they’ll likely rank your video as a suggested video.

For example, let’s say you wanted to rank as a suggested video next to a particular video. First, check out the tags that video uses. To see a video’s tags, you need to look at the source code of the page. To do this with Google Chrome, just right-click on the page and click view page source. Then look at the keyword section of the page. The keywords that appear here are the tags for that video. You can also use a tool like TubeBuddy or VidIQ which will show you a video’s tags without needing to look through the source code.

Next, use a few of the tags that video uses on your video. Make sure to copy the tags exactly word for word. If your video is high-quality and closely related to the popular video, YouTube will start to rank you as a suggested video.

Bonus Tip:

YouTube users want to see content that’s current and relevant. How do you actually demonstrate that your content is useful today? Include the current year in your video title. When you include the current year in your video title, your result instantly stands out in the search results and in the suggested video sidebar. Which means you’ll get more clicks and views. Lots of people search for a keyword plus year on Google and YouTube. So, when you add the year to your video title and description, you’ll rank higher for these keyword plus year keywords.

So, did you learn something new from today’s article?

Then make sure to share this information with others as well. Now, I want to turn it over to you. Which of the YouTube SEO tips from this article are you gonna use first? Are you gonna try front-loading your keywords? Or maybe you’re ready to boost video engagement signals? Take note of that. Then apply what you learn to future videos.

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