youtube ranking

How you would like to become the go-to expert in your field in two weeks or less? Sounds unreasonable. But the reality is, with the current state of SEO it’s actually very possible. You just need to know how to rank YouTube Videos.

It’s a part of what I call the “Domain Dominance Strategy.

The strategy boils down to one simple fact: Google loves high domain websites. And there few sites with a higher authority than YouTube.

Now couple that with the fact that YouTube, on its own, is the world’s second largest search engine; making it a perfect platform to try to rank on for certain niches.

Another thing we can’t leave out is that Google owns YouTube. So it has all the reason in the world to serve up videos in their search results because they are essentially sending you to their own content.

So even if YouTube isn’t a great fit for driving leads and sales directly (meaning people aren’t searching for terms related to your business on YouTube itself), it’s still a great way to get rankings and drive leads and sales through Google’s results.

Domain Dominance for Quick Results

I took to the “Domain Dominance Strategy” a few weeks ago to start promoting my newly launched SEO Service for Cleveland.

It has only been a few weeks and I currently have seven of my pages in the top 5 pages of Google search results for “Cleveland SEO Company.”

Now these are all pages pointing to my service (complete with contact information) form all sorts of high domain authority sites. And one of the seven is my actual SEO Service page.

The best result of the seven is sitting at #1 – a YouTube video:

This ranking – for a competitive term that is highly targeted – took a whopping….10 days.

Granted, I was a bit more active with my attempt to rank this video than some of my other high domain authority pages, but 10 days for a ranking like this is impressive nonetheless.

And I’m about to show you what goes into ranking a YouTube video.

But first, I want to address an “objection” that was brought up when I shared this image on my Google+ page (feel free to add me to your circles :)).

An Objection to My Domain Dominance Strategy

I shared the screenshot above on my Google+ page. And only somewhat in jest had stated that I can officially claim to have the #1 Cleveland SEO Company because the organic search results say so.

In response, Tyson Quick left a comment saying:

Well technically no. That’s a video still hosted on YouTube. Get your site to #1 and you’ve done it!

To be fair, this is a somewhat valid objection…but only somewhat.

Of course you want to rank your own website – a property that you fully control – as highly as possible. And I will be focusing on moving the page up the rankings as well.

However, in my opinion a good SEO is going to leverage every opportunity possible to rank as many properties as possible. And that is where my Domain Dominance Strategy comes in.

To a local client in Cleveland looking for an SEO Company, it makes no difference whether the first result is a YouTube video, a self-hosted page or any variety of other possibilities.

The fact remains that my service is #1 on Google for the term. The fact remains that a YouTube video can still drive leads and business. And the fact remains that any business out there would love to have any result (even a YouTube video) sitting at #1 one for a buyer keyword like this.

So my response…

Yes, do all you can to rank your own pages for terms like this. But don’t ignore high domain authority sites because you would just be missing an enormous opportunity.

Now let’s get down to the bread and butter of what goes into a YouTube video ranking…

The Nine Factors of Ranking a YouTube Video in Google

1. Video File Name

Yep, it begins before you ever log into YouTube.

When creating your video, make sure to have an optimized file name. So if you are trying to rank for “best burger in New York” then your file will need to be somthing like “best-burger-new-york.mp4? or “best-burger-nyc.mp4.”

2. Video Title

This is obvious. Title are always important in any form of online content because they communicate what the content is about…it’s the title, after all.

Use your target keywords at last once in your video title. If you can maneuver it more than once into your title, or include a different iteration of the keywords, all the better.

3. Video Description

This is a big one. You have some freedom with the video description. And you can make it as long or as short as you want.

My recommendation is to make it longer if possible. Think of it as writing a short blog post…or even a long blog post :). Feel free to liberally sprinkle in keywords throughout the description.

However, make your description readable! The goal is to drive business after all. And no one is going to call you or click through to your website if you write a bunch of gibberish.

To go along with the idea of driving business, make sure to include a call to action with contact information (if it’s suitable for your business). In any case, your’e probably going to want to include a link of some sort. Make sure to do this within the first senescent or two. This way it shows up “before the fold” in the description and people will see it without having to click the “more” link to expose the rest of the description.

While you are at it, finish with a call to action as well. If someone took the time to read the entire description (not sure how often this actually happens), give them a step to take next.

You also have the option of throwing in keywords in list form into this section as well.

4. Video Tags

To be honest I’m not sure how much of a factor the video tags play in ranking your video on Google. They definitely don’t hurt. And if they do play a part in rankings I’m sure they are minimum (think meta tags for blog posts).

But they do play their part within the YouTube platform.

So if you are targeting the kind of keywords that might get searched for on YouTube, then definitely include this. I mean, include them either way…but put some thought into them if you are trying to drive YouTube traffic.

The tags play a role in displaying related videos. So its an opportunity to steal some traffic from videos that already exist. And if they are getting lots of traffic, you might get a fraction of that. So why not?

YouTube used to display the tags on the video page. But they stopped doing that when people figured out that they can get into the related video section just by copying other videos’ tags.

You can still figure out what a video’s tags are however by looking at the page’s source code.

Let’s say I want to get traffic for “Michael Jordan’s Best Dunks,” for example. I would search what is already out there and go to the top video:

Then click through to the video and look for that specific page’s source code. You can do this simply by right-clicking anywhere and selecting “View Page Source.”


Views are a signal of quality for YouTube. And rankings within YouTube have a correlation to rankings on Google.

If tons of people are viewing your video, it signals some level of quality.

But not just any views will do. You want “high retention” views. That means that people come to your video and stick around…not just click and leave right away.

This is really the case for ranking any sort of content on Google as well. If people aren’t clicking away right away, that means that you are providing content worth consuming.

Of course, I think ad revenue plays a part in it as well. Remember, Google and YouTube run on ads. And the longer someone sticks around on a page, the likelier they are to eventually click an ad. I find it hard to believe that this is not a factor in their algorithm – so it would effect all pages, not just pages running ads.


This is another signal of quality.

I think the views are more important, however. If you search out the video from my example you will see that likes were not a main focus of my ranking process. But they certainly don’t hurt.


This was a focus.

Google loves interaction in general. And YouTube is, at it’s core, a social platform – making comments even more important.

Interaction on your video makes it more “alive.” Plus each comment is like an additional update to the page. And as we all know by now, Google loves fresh content and updates.

8. Location (optional)

This is optional for those trying to target a local audience (like I did for Cleveland SEO in this example).

If you are trying to target a specific area with your video, it certainly doesn’t hurt to set the location of that video in the targeted area.

9. Backlinks

Ah yes…it always come back to backlinks, doesn’t it?

As much as everyone tries to play it off like SEO is dead or that link building no longer works, links are still as important as ever.

And the reality is that will never change. At least no until search engines fundamentally alter the way they work.

The good thing about high domain authority sites (and a reason that the Domain Dominance Strategy works so quickly) is that you can be a bit more flexible with the way you build backlinks.

You can go blackhat or whitehat with your linkbuilding campaigns. Of course, when I posted the image to Google+ I was accused of building SPAM links.

But the truth is…there was no spun content. There were no spam comments (I hate when I get them and wouldn’t want to do it to someone else). It just took a bit of bookmarking. Not something I would consider very “spammy.”

Of course, keep in mind that building out a few quality links is usually more powerful than a ton of lower quality links.

Whichever path you choose…remember that links are an important part of the equation and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

Dominate Your Competition with the “Domain Dominance Strategy” and YouTube Video Ranking

So there you have it. All laid out is a major part of my “Domain Dominance Strategy”: YouTube video rankings.

It can certainly be quite a process with a lot of moving parts. But anything worth doing is going to take some effort.

It’s also important to keep in mind that rankings take maintenance. It isn’t a one-and-done type of thing. Competitive keywords have…competitors. So you have to keep a focused effort even after your YouTube video ranking goal is achieved.

But it’s certainly worth all that effort when you consider how much business Google drives. It’s part of the reason I have a love/hate relationship with them.

I hope this helps you out a bit so you can start ranking and driving business yourself. If you’d rather have someone with the experience do it for you, you can always contact me and we can chat about yours needs (both in terms of the “Domain Dominance Strategy’ and ranking YouTube videos, and in terms of ranking your own website).

Author: Eugene Farber
Courtesy: www.contentstrategyhub.comImage credit


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