How to Rank Videos on 1st Page of YouTube (& Google) for Targeted Keywords

The folks at Warrior Forum put out great information for small business folks. This post has some excellent tips on how to rank your videos. If you are using videos on YouTube you need to read this post.

How to Rank Videos on 1st Page of YouTube (& Google) for Targeted Keywords


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I often see people looking for ways of generating free targeted traffic or wondering how to rank videos on Google & YouTube. Well I did it with my first effort 3 years ago & it’s still there on page 1. This post should help you & also hopefully help me to start producing more videos again.

I really learned most of this from a couple sources – a seminar I watched & advice by Brian Dean at Backlinko. I kind of combined the advice from sources as there were some different methods. I also should mention Neil Patel even though many associate him with blogging – his advice on long tail keywords applies to ranking videos as well. Neil also is growing strong on YouTube.

The key is to find keyword phrases that you will be able to rank because competition isn’t as fierce. For example – Rotsa Ruck ranking on the first page with a video attempt for the keyword “make money”. However if you notice there indeed are 3 videos on Google’s first page for that term & one was from only 5 days ago!

(current at time of this post – “make money”)
5,925,915 views from Aug 3, 2018 video – 10 Legit Ways To Make Money And Passive Income Online – How To Make Money Online
232,004 views from May 27, 2019 video – Best Way to Make Money Online as a Broke Beginner! (WORKING 2019!)
138,209 views from Aug 9, 2019 video – Top ways to make money online in 2019

Now let’s try a long-tail keyword with less competition that you may stand a better chance of ranking on – “how to make money as a teenager without a job”. And the 3 videos 1st page Google are –

99,964 views from Mar 15, 2016 video – How To Make MONEY FAST as KID or TEENAGER! (Without Job)
116,036 views from Apr 4, 2015 video – How To Make Money As A Teenager Without A Job!
388,108 views from Feb 23, 2018 video – 20 ways to make money as a teenager (no surveys + not sponsored)- How to make money quick + easy!

So here is what your goal is for you to rank easier on both YouTube & Google – find keyword searches that are 4-8+ words long that people are searching for that help solve a problem… hopefully something that they have an immediate need to get done. Use the Google keyword planner and focus on keywords that are between 100-1000 monthly searches & see if they have videos on the 1st page of Google. If there are no videos, there is a chance that Google won’t show videos “or” they may start showing them after you upload a video. Even if they don’t, remember that people do a lot of searches on YouTube… take advantage of that. You also can use Bing/Microsoft keyword planner but remember monthly search totals will be lower there. Other keyword tools you can use would be &

OK let’s talk about your YouTube Channel or Channels. Do you want to have a large authoritative channel where you upload many videos which over time can help you rank for more competitive words. You have to be more active loading videos at least monthly. This also helps with personal branding (look at Brian Dean or Neil Patel for examples). Or do you want to have a channel with a narrow focus that you target a niche and keywords & having often only one video or two. That’s your decision.

One of my channels currently has only two videos & I don’t use my name as the Channel title. Instead I use the product niche (Example – “Affiliate Software Options”). I do however use a profile image of myself. Edit the channel art so it’s niche related. Edit your “About” page making sure you have desired keywords in the description. Add links – product URL, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc… if you have related social media accounts. Leave a welcome message on the discussion tab (with keywords mentioned)

Ok – let’s talk about video length. This one area where advice from the seminar I watched & Brian Dean was different – true elsewhere as well. The seminar recommended short 2-3 minute videos to grab peoples attention & to either invite them or give them a quick tip for them to want more & go to the place you want them go with a URL click. Brian Dean uses longer videos with much more in-depth teachings/stories. My 2 current videos on that channel are 13+ minutes & 7+ minutes going into pretty good detail overview of a product/service I want people to use. They rank well. According to Brian Dean, the average length of videos ranking on the first page of YouTube is 14 minutes, 50 seconds. I think it also depends on the niche so look for yourself for the keywords you want to rank in. Important – you want people to watch to the end of your video as often as possible so make it good. If people click away quick, YouTube will assume your video isn’t satisfying the need of the viewer which affects ranking. At the end of your video you can say “If you enjoyed this video – go ahead & hit the like button & leave me a comment”.

Ok – you created a video & are ready to upload it to your channel. Before you do that, change the name of your video file on your computer to a title with the keyword you want to rank with instead of uploading a file that has name like cp16666832. I use my title that I use for my video. Use your desired keyword to be the first thing in the title. I should also tell you to mention your keyword in the video as YouTube does transcribe the video.

After you upload to YouTube, let’s do the video description.

– 1st line – add your keyword with a clickable URL of where you desire people to go after they watch your video. (sign up here at http://wherever or download here, subscribe here… etc.)

– Have a fair bit of content in the description with your keyword scattered a few times as well as related keywords but have it make sense & don’t just keyword stuff.

– Add the link to your YouTube channel in the bottom of the description because it actually gives your channel a backlink

– After your video is uploaded – go to your channel – go to videos – click the video you just uploaded – copy the video URL – paste that in the bottom of your description as well

– do a YouTube search for your keyword (grab link to the top video & paste that video in description bottom as YouTube spiders have already identified that video as relevant). Note this is what was told to me in the seminar so I did it but not totally sure about it.

Add Tags to your video

– use desired keyword itself
– use a few variations of your keyword
– break up your keyword into individual keywords & add if they are key
– copy the top video competitor tags (view page source – copy keywords)

change the thumbnail of your video (can be custom)

I haven’t done the following as I ranked up so quick but it makes sense. The more playlists your video gets added to – the better. Create a playlist with the title related to your topic but not the exact keywords you’re trying to rank in. Add the top 3 videos (your competition) into that playlist including your own.

– edit transcription of video
– click on subtitles and CC
– click on English (automatic)
edit – make sure you change stuff – especially where you say keywords or important keywords
– turn off subtitles on videos edited

Your video will move up in the rankings as it gains authority through subscribers, likes, comments & engagement. Some people use Fiverr to get views but it’s best to let your video grow natural & organically. However share your video on your own social media platforms and ask for the favor of people leaving a thumbs up or subscribing. Post the video on your blog if you have one related to the niche.

– use ping-o-matic right after you upload your video (blog name = keyword, blog home page = youtube video url (https included , rss empty)

– use Fiverr or SEOClerks for social bookmarks

– Embedded videos help ranking (use your blog – keyword in blog title) – other notes I took – click show more (unclick “show player controls”, unclick “show suggest videos when finished”, unclick “show video title and player actions”)

– Utilize current following on social media, email lists to promote your video – the quicker the better!

YouTube ranking factors
keyword competitiveness
watch time (important)
total views
likes & dislikes
embeds (embed on WF ad for example)
social shares
total channel views
channel optimization
channel backlinks
keyword in uploads
transcription edited
flags (bad)
comments – engagement good

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