Video SEO – How to Rank #1 in YouTube (Fast!)
– In this video, I’m gonna show you my five-step process for ranking number one in YouTube. I recently used this exact method to rank in the top three in YouTube for the keyword SEO. I’m Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, the place where marketers turn for high rankings and more traffic. And today, you’re gonna learn the five most influential video SEO ranking factors to get your videos to the top of YouTube fast. Keep watching. A few years ago, my YouTube channel was struggling. I consistently created high quality videos that provided a ton of value. But when I published my videos, crickets. (cricket sounds) Needless to say, I was frustrated. I knew that video was a powerful way to grow my online business, but I learned the hard way that video only works if people actually watch your videos. And no, your mom watching your videos doesn’t count. Trust me. Hey mom, I just published a new video on YouTube.
Can you watch it for me? Thanks mom, you’re the best. Flash forward to today and my videos consistently get tens of thousands of views and hundreds of people subscribe to my channel every single month. My secret? I learned everything I could about video SEO. Unfortunately, most of the advice that I initially read about ranking in YouTube didn’t work. You know the advice I’m talking about. Put your keyword in your video description. Put keywords in your video filename. Write 20 tags for every video. Sure this stuff can help, but it’s not gonna rocket your video to the top of Google or YouTube. Why? Because everyone on YouTube is doing the exact same thing. After trying all the generic advice that I read and getting nowhere, I decided to run a bunch of experiments and that’s when I learned what really works. Specifically, I discovered YouTube’s five most important ranking factors and these are ranking factors that very few people know about.
Once I applied these ranking factors to my videos, my rankings shot to the roof. I started ranking for super competitive keywords like SEO, link building, how to get traffic and more. And now it’s time for me to share these five ranking factors with you and show you exactly how to use them to rank your videos in YouTube. Let’s start with step number one which is to create and publish long videos.
You may have noticed that longer videos tend to perform better in YouTube. Why? Well, YouTube’s most important ranking factor is your video’s total watch time. As you probably know, the more of your video people watch, the better it tends to rank. That’s called audience retention which is an important ranking factor. Even though audience retention is important, it’s not nearly as important as your video’s total watch time. That’s because YouTube wants to promote videos that keep people on YouTube for a long period of time. So the more total minutes people watch of your video, the more YouTube will wanna rank it in the search results. For example, let’s say that you just published two different videos. Video one is two minutes long and video two is 10 minutes long. And let’s say that each video gets 1,000 views and the audience retention for both videos is exactly the same, 50%. That means that on average, people watch half of your video.
The total watch time for the two-minute video would be 1,000 minutes. But for the longer video, that video’s watch time will be 5,000 minutes. That means that video number two will have five times the watch time of video number one, which means that it’ll likely outrank video number one. That’s the power of publishing longer videos. In fact, my video that ranks in the top three for SEO is nearly 10 minutes which is significantly longer than most videos on YouTube. Because it’s longer, my video accumulates more total watch time than my competitors. And I’m able to rank above videos with significantly more views than mine. Okay, let’s move on to step number two which is to master the hook. As I said, longer videos tend to rank better because they accumulate more total watch time. But there’s one big problem with this approach. You have to keep someone’s attention on the internet.
Fortunately, my experiments have taught me that if you can hook someone in the first 15 seconds of your video, you’ve hooked them for good. In fact, YouTube recommends that you focus on the first 15 seconds of your video to maximize watch time. The question is, how do you hook people in the first 15 seconds of your video? Start your video off with the PPP formula. The PPP stands for Preview, Proof, Preview. Here’s exactly how it works. First, preview what your video is all about. When I first started creating videos, my intros would go on and on about why my video’s topic was important and these long-winded intros would make people click away. Today, I cut out the fluff and tell them exactly what to expect. For example, let’s say that your video outlines 10 paleo diet tips.
You wanna start off your video saying, “In this video, you’re gonna learn “10 of my favorite paleo diet tips.” That’s it. Next, it’s time for the proof. Here is proof that you can deliver. You can mention that you’ve already accomplished what the viewer wants, that you have lots of experience in your field or that you’ve researched a ton about your topic. For example, you could say, “These are the same tips I used “to gain five pounds of muscle in 60 days.” Finally, hit them with the preview again. Here’s where you reiterate what your video is about. Now you obviously don’t wanna just repeat what you said in the beginning. Instead, mention something specific from your video. You can mention the number of tips, a detail from a case study or that you’re gonna share something completely new. This will make your viewers curious and want to keep watching. For example, you could say, “And today, you’re gonna learn about the so-called “healthy paleo diet food that’s actually bad for you.” Next up, we have putting your exact keyword in your title.
There’s no question that Google and YouTube are getting smarter everyday, which means the days of keyword stuff in your video to the top of YouTube are long gone. That said, Google and YouTube both use your video’s title to understand what your video is all about so make sure to include your exact keyword once in your title, preferably in the beginning of your title. For example, I created a video that I wanted to rank for the keyword link building so I made sure to include my exact keyword link building in the beginning of the title and that helped it rank in the top three for my target keyword. Okay, now it’s time for ranking factor number four which is to say your keyword in your video. When I first got started with video SEO, I’d go back to old videos and optimize them around keywords that I wanted to rank for and it very rarely works. That’s because Google and YouTube can now listen to your videos even without a transcript. For example, let’s say that just published a video about healthy desserts. Then a few weeks later, you realized that the keyword healthy desserts is too competitive.
So you go back and optimize it around a different keyword like low carb desserts. Now this sounds smart, but it’s something that doesn’t work as well as it used to. Why? Even though the keyword low carb desserts may be in your title, description and tags, you never said that keyword once in the video. YouTube knows this and it looks fishy. To YouTube, your video is about healthy desserts, but all of your on-page metadata says it’s about low carb desserts so they won’t rank you for either keyword. That’s why I always make sure to actually say my target keyword in every video. For example, in my video about SEO, I made sure to say the word SEO a few times. Simple yet effective. Last up, we have user interaction signals. YouTube wants to see that people are actually interacting with your video.
The more people watch, like, subscribe and comment on your video, the higher your video will rank in YouTube search results. Now the strategies that I’ve showed you so far will help you naturally get more of these user interaction signals. But there are two simple tactics that I use on every video to increase my video’s user interaction signals. First, I add an annotation that asks people to like my video. After a lot of experimenting, I have found that this simple annotation significantly boosts the number of likes that my videos receive. At the end of my video, I also ask people to subscribe and comment, which also increases the amount of my videos’ user interaction signals. I was originally gonna end the video right here, but I decided to throw in a quick bonus tip for you which is to optimize for click-through rate. When someone searches for something in YouTube, YouTube pays very close attention to what video they click on. For example, let’s say you rank number five for your target keyword. As you probably know, videos ranking number one through four get the vast majority of clicks.
But for some reason, lots of people are clicking on your video in the search results. What do you think YouTube will think about your video? That it’s a great result for that keyword and they’ll give your video a rankings boost to make it easier for people to find. So how do you maximize your click-through rate? Well, YouTube displays three main pieces of information in the search results, your title, your thumbnail and a snippet of your description. Here’s how to quickly optimize all three for click-through rate. The key with your thumbnail is simply that it stands out. That means that you wanna create a custom thumbnail that looks different than the other videos that are on the first page. For example, my video has a completely different design and color scheme than my competition. For your title, like I mentioned before, you wanna include your target keyword once. Other than that, your goal with your title should be to maximize your click-through rate.
As you can see, my video title is emotionally compelling. I also include the current year so people know that the content is still relevant. Finally, you wanna write something compelling in the first few lines of your description. Most people put a link to their website or channel here and it’s a huge mistake. Nothing looks less enticing to click on than a link to someone’s website. Instead, write a sentence or two that includes your target keyword in a compelling way. For example, in my SEO video my first sentence is, “If you wanna rank in Google today, “there’s a new SEO ranking factor to pay attention to.” And this attention-grabbing line gets more people to click on my result. If you liked this video, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel right now. Just click on the subscribe button right here. Also, if you want exclusive SEO and traffic techniques that I only share with subscribers, head over to backlinko.com and sign up for the newsletter.
It’s free. Now I wanna turn it over to you. Which of the five ranking signals from this video are you gonna try first? Are you gonna try to create longer videos or maybe you’re gonna start optimizing your videos for click-through rate? Let me know by leaving a comment below right now. Okay, the stage is yours. All right, I’ll do it for real this time. Yeah, very, very slight. Do it like what up? I don’t know. PPP. Your thumbnail..
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