top of page

How to Get you Youtube Videos to Rank in 2021 (SEOs and More)

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

Youtube is the 2nd most popular search engine in the world, and a great platform for promoting yourself or your business and connecting with the right audience for your content. However, it can be difficult to know how to get your videos seen. You might be putting lots of effort into creating great content, but not seeing the results when it comes to your engagement because your videos aren’t ranking in Youtube’s search algorithm. This article will tell you how Youtube decides whether to rank your videos, and what you can do to take control of your ranking with SEOs and other techniques and use Youtube more effectively.

Choosing your video topic

When it comes to choosing a video topic, it can be tempting to draw on every string you have to your bow. However, choosing one topic area to focus your content in can bring far better engagement and help you rank much higher in Youtube searches.

This is because creating videos around one niche, whether that be fashion, business, or food, presents you as an expert in that area. When Youtube sees you have several videos on one topic, their algorithm rewards that expertise, by ranking your videos higher so more people see them.

The Youtube algorithm’s goal is to show its users relevant, well informed videos that answer their queries and keep them on the site, seeing adverts and making Youtube money. So, make the most of this; narrow your field and create content that falls within it.

Once you know your video topic, you can start researching the relevant keywords which will help Youtube and its users find your content. You may have heard of ‘SEO’s, and using certain keywords to please the algorithm and direct traffic your way, but keywords are also effective on a human level, letting people know that their search is being answered.

To find otu which keywords will be most effective for you in getting your videos to rank, login to your Youtube account and head to your ‘traffic report’. Once there, you can run a search which will show you the most common searches people use to find your videos. This is a great way to reverse-engineer the keyword selection process and give your audience exactly what they are looking for with your video title and description.

The further you go down these ‘traffic report’ results, the more you will come across keywords that your videos are ranking for accidentally. If you then create content which targets these keywords, you can build on an audience you were already starting to reach.

Another simple way to find what keywords are right for your videos is to do your own youtube searches. Search for the questions or topics your ideal audience would be interested in, and see what suggested searches come up. These suggested searches are usually relevant and can present new angles and ways of phrasing your video topic which you can then aim to rank for.

If you want to get more in depth with your search for the best keywords, you can turn to tools. TubeBuddy is a free browser plugin, which colour codes different keywords to show you how competitive they are on Youtube, recommends keywords for you, and even lets you look at the keywords successful creators are using at the back end of their videos to rank in search and get more views.

You can find an in depth explanation of how Tubebuddy can help your videos rank top in Youtube searches and download the extension for free here:

Even looking at successful videos on your chosen topic as a viewer would see them is useful when considering what keywords to use. Other creators may be ranking higher than you in searches because they are targeting creative and unexpected keywords which you could use for your videos too.

Making a great title

The first step to giving your video a great title may seem obvious: use your keywords. When you’re writing the title for your video, you should be considering what the audience you’re trying to reach is searching for. What question does your video answer? If you’ve followed the steps above and chosen your keywords by looking at popular searches and successful videos, then including them in your title is a simple next step and will encourage the people making those searches to click through to your video over other less relevant results.

A less well known way to boost your video’s popularity through your title choice is by using brackets. Adding a bit of extra information about your video, whether that is that it is formatted in ‘16 steps’ or that it is relevant to ‘Spring 2022’, gives your audience a preview of what they are about to watch, and makes your video far more intriguing. Brackets are a great way to include what is superior or unique about your video compared to other results for the same Youtube searches.

When it comes to writing a title, your overall goal should be to make your video appealing to both your human audience and Youtube’s algorithm. So, keep it relevant, use keywords, give a hint at the details with brackets, and remember to write with the audience’s search goals in mind.

Using tags

There has been some debate recently about the importance of Youtube’s tagging feature in getting your video to rank. But, with the recent rise of the ‘shorts’ hashtag, even in video titles, to highlight Youtube videos with a similar length to Tiktoks or Instagram reels, tags clearly still play a key role in sorting the vast range of videos available on Youtube.

Using tags is a way to directly help Youtube’s algorithm out and make it as easy as possible for them to rank your content in searches. As well as integrating keywords into your content, using them as tags clearly shows Youtube what your video is about, and makes the question of what searches to rank your video in far more simple for the algorithm.

Your tags should generally be pulled from the bank of keywords you find through your initial research [internal link to point 1]. However, for the most effective use of tags, it pays to be selective. Scattered or broad topic tags can make your video appear less relevant to any one search the algorithm might rank it for. By limiting yourself to around 6 tags per video, and ensuring all tags are relevant to this specific video, rather than your channel more generally, you can rank far higher in the searches your video does show up in.

If you’re confused about how to select and structure your tags, the TSC method, developed by [name of youtuber from video - fact check this] provides a fail-safe guide. TSC stands for ‘Target keywords’, ‘Synonyms’, and ‘Category’ and the acronym tells us the best order to use when including these types of tag.

For example, if you were posting a video about how to do a push-up with the correct form, your target keyword or ‘T’ might be ‘push-up’ and ‘push-up form’. Next, you would tag synonyms such as ‘press-up’ or ‘arm exercises’. Finally, think about the category your video fits in, which in this case would probably be ‘exercise’ and ‘fitness’.

For more detail on how to use the TSC methods for your tags on Youtube, watch this video:

[link to original video or another one if this is not his original idea]


Descriptions are another part of Youtube videos that often don’t get enough attention from creators, but can make a significant difference to your Youtube search ranking if done right. As with tags and titles, your description should contain keywords. However, Youtube descriptions are somewhere where keywords are best used sparingly. About 4 to 5 keywords in your description is a good number to aim for to avoid keyword stuffing and keep your video topic clear to the algorithm.

If you’ve already got your main target keywords in your title and tags, then the description is a great place to include some of those alternative or long-tail keywords you found in your research.

Though when it comes to keywords less is more for descriptions, don’t be afraid to write something lengthy for the description itself. A longer description, with keywords dispersed throughout, is more readable than a couple of keyword-heavy sentences. A longer description is also a great opportunity to really clarify what your video is about, making audiences more likely to commit their time to watching it, and making it easier for Youtube’s algorithm to know where to promote it. Remember, making things easier for both audience and algorithm is the key to increasing your Youtube search ranking, at every stage of video creation.

Audience engagement

It’s no secret that greater audience engagement means higher search rankings on Youtube. Youtube’s algorithm works to show its users videos that have already proved popular, with the logic that they must be high quality. There are several measures of engagement you can focus on increasing to move up in the Youtube search ranking.

The first type of engagement Youtube’s algorithm measures is your click through rate. The main factor affecting click through is the relevance and appeal of your title, which you can improve by following the tips for creating a great title from earlier in this article [internal link]. However, if you aren’t sure whether your video titles are generating the click through rate you want, remember you can go to your traffic report on your Youtube account to check which keywords are getting the most click through and adjust your videos accordingly.

The next kind of audience engagement to consider it your watch time. This is distinct from audience retention, which measures the average percentage of your video people watch. Watch time is easier to increase as an engagement metric because you can maximise it by simply creating longer videos, and expecting that anyone who clicks through will watch a certain percentage to test the video’s relevance, even if they don’t watch the whole thing. The longer the video, the more watch time that initial percentage watched will generate.

However, the ideal balance for maximum engagement is to create longer videos which also have a high viewer retention rate. This comes from keeping your content varied. Ways to vary the content of longer videos include breaking the video into subtitles sections, using music, and including graphics or images. A good test to put your videos through before posting is to watch them yourself; would you watch through to the end? If not, it might be worth going back and mixing up the video format until you’ve created something that can engage both your attention and your audience’s.

If you are using Youtube, you are probably familiar with the most common approach of increasing engagement: asking viewers to like, comment and subscribe. Adding this request to the end of your videos can give your audience a useful reminder to respond to your content and drive engagement up.

However, just asking is not enough to guarantee more engagement. The most effective approach is to give your audience a reason to like and subscribe. Think about how your channel getting more engagement actually benefits your viewers; for example, the more successful your channel, the more time you might be able to put into your videos. In this sense, a viewer who likes your video could see benefits in the future as your success lets you invest time in making higher quality content for them to watch. It’s also important to state the benefit of subscribing. A good reason for a viewer to subscribe to your channel might be to avoid missing out on insider tips or keep up to date with trends in your industry.

When it comes to encouraging your audience to comment, remember that you want to make engaging with your content as easy as possible. Rather than making an open-ended request for comments and opinions at the end of your video, ask a specific question, such as which tip the audience will try out first. You have two opportunities to start this conversation with your audience. First, ask the question in the video itself, at the same time as you would give your reasons for liking and subscribing. Then, comment on your own video. When you post your video, it is a good idea to comment immediately with the question you want your audience to answer. Then, pin this comment, so that your viewers see it as soon as they watch the video, and it acts as a visual prompt for them to engage.

Promoting your video

Once your video is posted, you can take engagement into your own hands by promoting it on other platforms, outside of the Youtube algorithm. Youtube’s search ranking algorithm actually rewards videos which are embedded in other sites, as this shows that other websites view a video as a reliable source worth referencing. You can ensure that your videos get the ‘embedded’ stamp of approval by including them in posts on your own website. By writing a short article on your video topic, and including a link to the video for further details, you present yourself as a reliable source in Youtube’s algorithm, and increase your chances of a top ranking position in Youtube searches.

Once you have posted the video on your own site, it’s time to think about where is best to share it for maximum engagement. The best place to share your videos for increased engagement is wherever you have the most followers. Whilst it is worth promoting your video across your social media, prioritise making an effective and appealing post about your video on a site where you already have followers, whether this posting the Video along with a twitter poll, posting your video as a facebook ad, or adding it to a Reddit thread on the video topic.

Suggested videos

The tips so far in this article have focused on maximising your ranking in Youtube searches, but search isn’t the only place on Youtube where your videos can get seen. Youtube’s suggestions bar recommends its users videos related to either the video they have just watched, or the type of videos they have been watching recently.

Getting your videos to appear in the suggestions bar of a video with lots of views can direct a huge amount of traffic your way. To make Youtube’s suggestions feature work for you, search for popular videos on your chosen topic. If there are videos consistently ranking above yours in the searches you want to target, look at these and see what keywords they are using. For an in depth look into the keywords remember that TubeBuddy can show you the keywords used at the back end of these videos to help them rank.

Once you have found some keywords more popular videos are using, include these in your title or description. This will flag up to Youtube’s algorithm that your video is on a relevant topic to viewers of the popular video you have selected, and will help your videos appear in the suggestion bar for high-ranking content on your topic.

Content Strategy

All of the tips in this article could be applied in the process of making just one Youtube video. But your posting strategy across videos can also play a key role in helping you rank on Youtube searches. {all these tips could be applied in the process of making one video, but your posting strategy is also important for ranking on youtube.

Creators who post videos on a regular basis are seen by Youtube’s algorithm as reliable creators, who viewers would have an incentive to follow and therefore spend more time on Youtube. Being able to promise regular videos will also up your audience’s engagement as they can trust that subscribing is worth their time.

So, decide on a posting schedule that works for you; how much time can you commit to making and uploading videos per week, or month for example? One or more videos a week is a brilliant level of regularity to aim for with your content, and will lead to high engagement and higher search rankings. However, if you can’t spare that much time for your Youtube channel, or if your videos take a little longer to come together, then posting at regular intervals, even if they’re further apart, will still create a sense of reliability and have a positive effect on how your videos are ranked in the long term.

To learn more about SEOs and how effective it can be for you, click on the link and you will be directed to our main page for more details.

If you would like to know more about ranking Youtube videos highly contact Regal Roye today and we'll get you started.

5 views0 comments


bottom of page