YouTube SEO: How to Rank Videos

Sep 24, 2017   //   by Staff   //   blog  //  No Comments

You probably already know that YouTube is the world’s second biggest search engine…

…and a huge untapped traffic source.

(In fact, YouTube gets over 30 million visitorsper day)

Today I’m going to show you the ins and outs of YouTube SEO, including how you can easily rank videos in both Google and YouTube.

My Top Ranking YouTube Video

Before we get into my YouTube SEO tutorial, I want to show you an example of a video that I’ve ranked:

This video ranks #1 in YouTube for “Bluehost review”:

And the video fluctuates between #4-6 in Google:

Even though this keyword only gets 1900 [Exact] searches per month…

…it’s a classic buyer keyword.

Anyone searching for a specific hosting provider (like Bluehost or Hostgator) already knows that they want a shared hosting plan. They’re just not 100% sure about which company to go with.

My video gives them a legitimate and thorough review of Bluehost (a host that I use and like) to help them make a decision.

The great thing about this is that you can scale this up to make dozens of high-ranking videos. These videos can drive traffic to your site or make affiliate commissions (like in this example).

Here’s how to do it:

Step #1: Find “Video Keywords”

For whatever reason Google deems certain keywords “Video Keywords”. Unlike a normal SERP with 10 webpage results, Google saves some of the page for video results.

Video keywords are ideal for the simple reason that I’ve found it easier to rank videos for video keywords than for keywords with a normal top 10.

That’s because video results are like a SERP within a SERP.

And if you can get Google to consider your video one of the top 2-4 videos for that keyword, you can zoom past the normal results…

directly to the first page!

The easiest way to find video keywords is to look for keywords in your niche with video results.

Because these don’t take a lot of time to make, you don’t need keywords with massive search volume.

Just make sure the keyword gets at least 300 exact match searches per month in Google.

In general, Google tends to use video results for these types of keywords:

  • How-t0 keywords (“how to shave a cat”)
  • Reviews (“Bluehost review”)
  • Tutorials (“Setting up WordPress”)
  • Anything fitness or sports related (“Cardio kickboxing”)
  • Funny videos (“Cute animals”)

It’s also important to be able to easily monetize the traffic you get.

If you’re using the video to drive traffic directly to your site, then you’re covered.

If not, take a look at sites like Offer Vault and see if there are any high-paying CPA offers that you can build videos around.

Step #2: Make Your Video

Now it’s time to make your video!

Because I want people to actually get something from my videos I make them look somewhat professional. I use ScreenCast-O-Matic because it’s cheap ($15/year) and easy to use. If you want something with more bells and whistles you can’t go wrong with Camtasia Studio.

Like with articles, longer video content ranks better:

You want your video to be at least 5-minutes long.

I like to make a nice slideshow in Powerpoint and record my voice over it. If the video is a review, use the product in your video.

Just remember to make a professional, value-packed video.


First, it helps your conversion rate.

Second, your a large portion of YouTube SEO is based on user-interaction signals:

If you make a quality video you’re more likely to get views, likes, and comments.

When you’re done with the video make sure that you use the keyword in the video’s filename. If you wanted to rank for the keyword “bluehost review”, you’d want to name your video bluehost_review_youtube_video.mp4.

There’s no need to keyword stuff. As long as the keyword appears once in the filename, you’re good.

Step #3: Upload Your Video With YouTube SEO in Mind

Now it’s time to upload your video to YouTube.

Video Title

Make a long title so that you can include your full keyword without keyword-stuffing. In my Bluehost Review video the title contains 5 words…only 2 of which are my target keyword:

Power Tip: Like with a blog post, I’ve found that you get a slight video SEO boost by putting your keyword at the beginning of the title.

So if you were trying to rank for “surfing tutorial” you’d want a title like: Surfing Tutorial: Learn How to Ride a Wave Today


Your description is very, very important. Because Google and YouTube can’t “listen” to videos, they rely on your text description to determine your video’s content.

Here are the basic guidelines for the description:

  • Put your link at the very top of the video
  • Include your keyword in the first 25 words
  • Make the description at least 350-words
  • Include LSI keywords
  • Include your keyword 3-4 times

This SEO-optimized description helps tell Google and YouTube what your video is about without being spammy.


Just include a few keywords to help YouTube and Google learn what your video is about.


This isn’t incredibly important. Most review videos fall under “How to & style”.

Once you’re done, hit “Save Changes” and your video will go live!

Step #4: Get Video Views

The #1 ranking factor for YouTube’s search engine is the number of views a video gets.

In general, the more views, the higher it ranks.

But there’s one catch…

…the views need to be real.

YouTube has caught onto fake views. That’s why I don’t recommend using a service on Fiverr to pump up your view count.

For views to actually count you need a real person to watch your video. And the longer they watch, the higher your video will rank in YouTube.

I used a YouTube view service to get real, human views (you can also use or Amazon Mechanical Turk).

Whichever service you use make sure that people view at least 40% of your video. Viewer retention is HUGE for ranking in YouTube’s internal search engine.

Also, make sure you get some likes, favorites, and comments in there as well.

This makes your video look like it’s getting a lot of positive user-interaction.

Step #5: Link Building

One of my favorite things about YouTube videos is that you can build links like it’s 2009!

Because of YouTube’s insane trust and authority, it’s almost impossible for YouTube video pages to get slapped by Google.

It also doesn’t hurt that Google owns YouTube :-)

Here are the three steps to rank any YouTube video for a low to medium-competition keyword.

Build PAD Links

PAD links are one of the most scalable link building strategies around.

PAD links are simple .exe files that you upload to authority software sharing sites.

In exchange for submitting your piece of original software, the software directories hook you up with a dofollow link.

While you can do this manually, I prefer to hire someone to create and submit the PAD for me (You can find PAD creation and submission services on Fiverr):

Social Bookmarks

I’m normally not a huge fan of social bookmarks.

But remember: you’re building links like it’s 2009. Which means social bookmarks actually work.

Again, Fiverr comes to the rescue again. This gig has worked well for me:

Blog Network Links

While I don’t recommend public blog networks links for your actual site, they’reperfect for YouTube videos.

You can easily find decent blog network providers on internet marketing forums.

Just make sure that you use a network with original (not spun) content.

Rinse and Repeat

It takes a week or two for the views and links to do their work.

Once they do, you’ll notice an uptick in your natural views…and clicks on your video’s outbound link.

If you’re not ranked highly in YouTube or Google after a few weeks, order a few more high-quality views and links.

That’s all there is to it!

YouTube SEO is a great way to earn money from keywords that may not be worth building an entire site around.

Do you have any experience ranking YouTube videos?