Your Youtube video has the trending content in the most appealing layout integrating the popular demands of your viewers, yet it needs to rank better. Imagine if your viewer is looking for a simple, quick, and clear recipe for mac and cheese; how do you think you can improve the popularity of the video and make it stand apart from millions of other videos offering the same recipe? 

Keyword optimization is the golden key to unlocking the true potential and visibility of your YouTube video. Research, target, and implement the most popular and relevant keywords and place them in the most beneficial spots in the title and description. In our example, adding words such as a cheesy, yummy, easy recipe, pasta, cheese, etc., can easily draw the target viewers to your YouTube video.

Understand well the YouTube algorithm and ranking factors and then try your hand at SEO, formulate ways to incorporate terms and phrases that are commonly used by your target audience. In addition, it also focuses on YouTube’s analytics and engagement because when YouTube ranks videos, it focuses on a metric called “watch time.” A long watch time signifies that you deliver valuable content; a short watch time means your content will likely rank poorly. Therefore if you want your videos to rank well, present optimized content that can generate longer watch times, for instance, prompting users to watch until the end of the video by promising a giveaway or surprise.

Let us in this post learn the key factors that can influence your YouTube ranking and implement them to boost the video’s popularity.

Include target keywords in the video file name

Like for blogs and posts, the SEO tool helps you to identify, focus and implement the target keywords to advance the video’s visibility. Although they are a few influential spots to place your target keywords, placing them in the file name can attract and influence the YouTube algorithm effectively. 

While YouTube cannot actually “watch” your video to check the keyword relevance, it can read the filename and the respective codes when you upload the video. In our example, instead of naming the file as “development_ad_01.mov”, you can choose a desirable option like “easy_mac-and-cheese” followed by the preferred video type.

Include keywords in the video title

The first and the most key aspect that your potential viewer is drawn to is the video’s title which determines whether or not they will click to watch your video. Therefore, make the video title compelling, clear, and concise, restraining it to 60 characters to avoid getting cut off in results pages. If the title matches what the viewer is searching for, subsequently, the views, likes, and watch time also improve. 

Although the link between keyword-rich video titles and their rankings could be stronger, optimizing your keywords and fitting them naturally in the title can improve the viewers’ expectations of your video.

Include keywords and optimize your video description

Google allows up to 1000 characters for your YouTube video description. However, the viewer is keen to watch the video and might not spend time reading your full description. Moreover, YouTube displays only the first three lines, after which the viewer has to click on show more to read the full description. So, load the initial part of the description with important links or information, CTA, and target keywords.

Use popular keywords to tag your YouTube video

One effective technique to broaden your video’s reach and influence YouTube’s algorithm is by using YouTube tags. These tags can improve the viewer’s understanding of your video’s contexts and contents. So YouTube will be able to categorize your video with similar videos and improve your content’s reach. 

Choose your tags wisely, and use relevant tags that can improve the discoverability of your video. Also, use the most important keywords by including the right combination of the common and long-tail. For our mac and cheese example, use tags like how to make mac and cheese? Easy steps for pasta, recipe for mac and cheese, and more.

Categorize your video for improved visibility

You can categorize your video under “Advanced settings” after uploading your video. Categorizing your YouTube video is another effective way to group your video with similar content so that it gets pulled into different playlists and gets more exposure and viewers who are a part of your audience. 

Give it the time and effort it needs to find the right categorization by considering the relevant aspects like your other top competitors, their core competence, the audience’s behavior pattern for similar channels, and the length and format of similar category videos.

Use a custom thumbnail image for the video’s result link

In addition to the video’s title, the thumbnail sends a message to the viewer about the video’s content. Get your YouTube account verified to use a custom thumbnail image instead of a default one given by YouTube.

It is the main image your viewers will see when scrolling through a list of video results that can impact the number of clicks and views your video receives. To ensure that your thumbnail image appears with high quality across multiple viewing platforms, YouTube recommends that the thumbnail images are in 1280×720 pixels with a 16:9 ratio that is saved in .gif, .bmp, .jpg, or .png formats.

Add subtitles and closed captions for your video

Adding subtitles and CCs can boost YouTube search optimization by focusing on important keywords. Upload an SRT or supported text transcript to add subtitles or closed captions for your video.

Go to your video manager, then click on “Videos” for the video you want to add subtitles or closed captioning. Click the drop-down arrow next to the edit button, and choose “Subtitles/CC.” 

Include cards and end screens in your YouTube video

You can include up to 5 cards in your video to improve your viewership. These are interactive cards that you usually see at the end of YouTube videos that let creators share clickable links, which enhances viewer engagement. You can use a card to either thank a channel that helped your video or to recommend another channel to your viewers. There are different types of cards, such as channel cards, donation cards, poll cards, link cards, cards to request funding, and playlist cards.

End screens are similar to cards, but they appear only at the end of the video and are more visually detailed than a card. Stay informed of the specifications and instructions for designing and adding end screens based on the type of platform and the content you need them for.

Include hashtags to increase the video’s reach

Hashtags are one of the latest addition to the YouTube UI that appears above the video title for easy access and discoverability. It allows you to add related terms to your video content. You can either use your brand or company name or include related keywords. 

However, including too many hashtags can get you flagged, so choose a few that describe your video well.

Create a video playlist

Group the videos in your channel according to the target keywords used, making it easy for YouTube to comprehend them and keep viewers engaged, making it easy for them to move from one video to another. So, a video playlist can effectively increase your views and rankings. In the case of our mac and cheese recipe example, you can create a playlist titled “easy cheesy recipes” to include short recipe videos similar to mac and cheese.

Include a pinned comment on your video

Although leaving a pinned comment on your video is optional, it is considered a smart strategy. More comments can improve your video’s ranking ability and also achieve improved viewer engagement. A pinned comment will facilitate interaction with your viewers and drive hundreds of replies from them. However, try to leave a fetching comment that can further the conversation, understand and add value to your readers and viewers. For instance, you can also leave a resource link as pinned comment so that viewers can improve their knowledge on the said topic.

Conclusion

Trying to rank videos on YouTube demands much of your time and effort. Although it might turn out easy for a few lucky influencers and content creators, staying ahead in the race and maintaining your ranking needs more than luck. To optimize your YouTube channel, you need to identify, understand and satisfy your target audience primarily. Improving your YouTube ranking also depends on providing high-quality content that is well-optimized and discoverable. Viewers these days are not ready to go through bulky content that is of low standards.

In addition, keep a tag of the below points to optimize your YouTube videos.

  • Choose the right target keywords for your video.
  • Add the target keywords to the video title and file name.
  • Include these target keywords and similar terms or phrases in the video description.
  • Categorize your video accurately.
  • Add relevant tags and hashtags to your video.
  • Include a custom thumbnail for the video.
  • Add closed captions and subtitles.
  • Include cards and end screens that are relevant to your video for improved viewer reach.