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Marketing 360® Blog

7 Tips To Rank Videos High on YouTube

Post By Scott Yoder | Content Marketing & SEO

Many businesses overlook that fact that YouTube is the second most used search engine online.  These 7 tips will get you ranking fast on this high traffic site.



Tip #1:  Use YouTube Autofill to Identify Topics and Keywords

You can get topic ideas and identify keyword phrases using the autofill on the YouTube search bar.  This is a fast way to find out what people are searching for on YouTube.

For example, say I sell Subarus and I have videos reviewing 2017 models.  I start to type in “Subaru reviews” and get this:

youtube autofill

This is a solid list of keyword phrases and topics you can use as video ideas and for your keyword targeting.


Tip #2:  Make High-Quality, Engaging Videos

YouTube remains awash in amateur videos that are all but impossible to watch all the way through.  Don’t add to this type of content.

Represent your brand with well scripted, useful videos that actually provide value to people watching them.  They don’t all have to be professionally shot but make sure they’re relevant, informative, or entertaining.

This goes beyond the impact you have on viewers.  Watch time is a big factor in how YouTube ranks videos, so if you scare people off in the first few seconds, your videos won’t rank.

Like all content marketing, you need to provide real value for it to be of any use.  Better to create only an occasional video that’s well done than dump out a bunch of half-assed nonsense nobody will watch.


Tip #3:  Optimize Your Video Titles

Similar to a web page title tag, you want to optimize the title of your video for the keyword phrase you identified using the auto fill feature.

You’ll have a slight advantage if you use this phrase exactly as it shows in the auto fill.  If you want to add descriptors, do it after the main keyword phrase.

For example, I might title a Subaru video:

Subaru Legacy Reviews – 5 Reasons To Choose a Legacy Over a Honda CR-V


Tip #4:  Use Your Keyword Phrase in the Description

Use your keyword phrase at least once at the top of your description tag.  Just use it naturally in the description, no need to keyword “stuff”.

Also, have a brief summary of the video in the description and a link to your website.  If driving people to your website is the goal of the video, create a compelling call to action in the video so people will be motivated to click through.

Keep your description brief – about 100 words max is ideal.


Tip #5:  Use Your Keyword Phrase in the Tags

You’ll want to use your exact keyword phrase and variants of it in tags.  Don’t overload here, just include words and phrases that are relevant to the topic of your video.

For my Subaru video, I might include tags such as:

  • Subaru Legacy reviews
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Legacy vs Honda CR-V
  • Subaru Legacy features

Tip #6:  Create a Custom Thumbnail With Your Keyword Phrase

If you have the time, create a custom thumbnail image and include your keyword phrase in it.  This will help engage searchers and get them to click through more on your video and may help with how the algorithm ranks your content.

Here are where all these elements are in your video editor:

youtube keyword optimization


Tip #7:  Get Likes, Shares, Views and Engagement

This last tip is actually the most important.  Keyword optimization will help tip the scales in your favor for high ranking, but in the end, it’s engagement that Google is really looking for.

The more views, likes, social shares, comments, and overall engagement your video gets, the more relevant Google will think it is.  In the end, Google’s main goal is to rank videos people seem to think are useful or interesting.

Like we said in tip #2, make sure your videos have the qualities that merit attention.  This is the most important component of a high ranking video.

But you can help things along by marketing your video.  Push it out through all your social media channels.  Embed it in a blog on your website and optimize the content for search (which is what we’re doing in this very blog).

Send a link to your email lists, encouraging them to watch the video.

Get your staff to watch the video (all the way through) and share it on their social channels.

Push the early engagement as much as you can.  This will help you get early ranking so that when other people search on YouTube, you’ll be on page 1 where you can gain more engagement.

From there you can often solidify your spot, keeping your video on top for years.



It’s safe to say that YouTube is Google’s favorite child.  Google clearly views video as one of the major mediums of online marketing, with an influence that will continue to grow.

The reason is simple.  People love videos.  They’re easy to watch – particularly on mobile.  They’re entertaining and personalized.  Often, people can get the information they want faster and with more clarity on video.

YouTube is second only to Google itself as the most used search engine.  Consider that.  This video platform gets more searches than Bing or Yahoo.

Yet many small businesses ignore YouTube.  That’s a pity because searches for most local services remain wide open, even in large urban markets.

If, for example, you are a dentist in Denver, you could apply the tips we’ve provided here and rank on page one of YouTube search for a phrase like “dentists in Denver” in probably just a few weeks.  The same keyword on web search could take months – or longer – to rank for.

Video is a worthwhile marketing investment, with a payoff that’s likely to improve.  Give it a try.