Working The Web - How to Get High SEO Ranking on YouTube

Courtesy of Flickr
By Hector Cisneros

For years you have heard consultants say that you must make your video content go viral. Yet few of them ever tell you how to actually achieve this feat of marketing magic. Is it the title that gets people excited enough to share your video? Is it the headline that compels people to view and pass it on? Is it perfect timing or who you know that matter most, or is it just dumb luck that gets you there? In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will pull back the curtain of this wizardly marketing magic so all of you will be privy to what it takes to achieve high YouTube SEO Ranking. Now get ready for lights, camera, and action as we explain the art and science of making videos rank high and go viral.


Getting found on YouTube and getting your video to be seen by millions is the goal of many an entrepreneur.  Many clients and prospects have come to us asking how we can make that wish come true. We have talked about the subject at length from many different angles and in many different articles. If you search our blog with the words “YouTube Video,” you will find more than a dozen articles discussing this subject. You could also enter the words “Content Marketing,” and it would pull up more than three dozen articles on how to improve your SEO for all types of content, including video. So, before we get into the details of how to rank high, it's worth listing some of our best previous articles on this subject.

List of our best articles on SEO for Video content

Three Success and Failure Stories. Not long ago, we had three startup clients come to us, (not all at the same time mind you) from different industries, who started their pursuit of SEO page one glory by signing contracts with big New York ad agencies.  They all had great ideas, products and or services and they needed to get traction in mature, competitive arenas. All three began their startup launches by spending $30,000 to $60,000 each with the BIG New York Ad firms. all three walked away with little to show for the Big Ad Agency’s efforts. No page-1 listings, no blog audience, very little social following and worst of all little or no sales! How could this happen? Didn’t the Big Ad Agencies have the wherewithal and marketing smarts to deliver success? The sad fact is this; it doesn’t matter whether you are unknown, or if you have been around for a long time, even if you put forth a big marketing effort. None of this matters if the effort doesn’t incorporate preplanning, research and the execution of a strategic plan to utilize the clients’ money wisely.

Courtesy of Wikipedia
All three of these clients came to us with minimal budgets, circling the drain and asking us desperately, what we could do for them? They all said they had enough funds to spend between $1200 and $2,500 a month for a year. We told them we could do a FREE Web presence Analysis for them and that in about three days we should meet to discuss what we found. We took the time to analyze their current web presence, their strength, weaknesses and the position, strength, and weaknesses of their competition as well. We then created a report that included what we felt they could do based on the small budget they had on hand. To make a long story short, we discovered that their competition's biggest weakness was in their video presence.

Our plans were similar for all three of these clients since all three had similar problems, (entering a mature market), budgets (not enough to compete head to head) and their competition all have the same weakness (video and blog presence). We provided them with a plan to create and distribute blogs tied to video shows (Web TV) in varying numbers matching their budgets. All three clients accepted what we proposed and engaged us to help them. Within three to six months, all three of these clients were showing up on page one in Google search for key search terms with the YouTube videos we created for them. Just as important was the fact that they were showing up at the top of YouTube Search for these key terms and they all now had an audience of between 1,000 and 3,000 followers. Then all three of these clients sprung a surprise on us. They were out of money and could not continue the marketing.

All three of these clients reached their first goal of getting found on page one but ultimately lost the war with their competition because they made two big mistakes. The first was assuming a Big-Name Agency was the best answer to help a startup with their marketing. The Big-Name Agencies just sucked them dry of most of their money.  The second was not being honest about their real remaining budget. If we had known their true financial picture, we would have created a different strategy, and it is possible, all three of these clients would still be in the fight.

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So, what is a High-Ranking Video anyway?  When you’re going to create a viral or high-ranking video campaign, you always start with the end in mind. SMART goals are very important, and you should take the time to plan and create these goals before you start. Having said this. It is important to understand that there are many levels of viral and ranking success. If yours is a niche audience of a few thousand, and you reach 50% of them that could be considered a great success. On the other hand, if it’s your first video and you garner 10,000 views, this could be considered a success as well. On the high end of the spectrum are those rare videos that get hundreds of thousands of views, (like one in ten thousand). Even rarer are videos that get millions of views.

If your goal is to make money from YouTube, you will have to be at the higher end of this spectrum. My research shows that Google charges its advertisers on a cost per thousand views (aka CPM) and the rate of payment varies from about 50 cents to $10 per view depending on the audience and several other factors (and this is before Google takes its cut). On top of that, there is a skip button and a percentage of user-controlled viewing factors that eats into the return. A million eyeballs (people viewing your video) could yield anywhere from $2000 to $300 in ad revenue. My experience is that the number is usually closer to the smaller number.

Courtesy of Flickr & Youtube
Pay Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain - Now, let’s take a look behind the curtain to see what really produces YouTube ranking. Again, I am talking about a marketing video, not someone uploading any heinous act, catastrophes, horrible events recorded from someone's smartphone. All high-ranking YouTube video share most, if not all of these common traits. They are generally of higher quality with good production value; they are authoritative, are useful, relevant, timely, entertaining or just plain fun. Also, the length of the video is important along with it being sent to a large audience, especially to highly influential people. They usually have keywords in the title, and the description, not to mention the title is catchy with an interesting thumbnail and is piggybacking on a trend. They also make it easy to share them on the social nets because they understand the importance of traffic and backlinking.

Large agencies often talk in vague terms about the ranking results you can expect as if it were their knowledge of alchemy that produces high ranking and viral videos. In Fact, each one of the above elements is critical to your ranking success and ability to go viral. Let’s look at each of these elements individually. 
16 Tips and Techniques for Success

  1. High quality with good production value - In business, quality is important. It helps with credibility and increases the chances that the entire video will be watched and shared. Make sure you use a tripod and if you're using a smartphone, you need to place the phone in the horizontal position. Shaky keyhole videos are not high quality, nor do they have good production value. Also, don’t forget the sound quality. It has to be free of noise and distractions as well.
  2. Authoritative – All search engines, including YouTube and Facebook, care about the ownership and whether you are the authority on the subject at hand. Ranking is affected by this as well.
  3. Useful – Nobody wants to watch junk. Your video is more likely to be watched and shared if it provides useful content. Better yet, give them a tease of the good stuff and then ask them to watch some more.
  4. Relevant – Every audience has a niche, and if your video is relevant to that group, they will consume and share it (assuming all other factors are present as well).
  5. Timely – The importance of timing cannot be understated. Sometimes being first is important. Also, a video about gifts posted in August will not rank as well as it would be posted near the holidays normally associated with gift-giving, (like Mother/Father’s Day or Christmas).
  6. Entertaining – Let’s face it. People love to be entertained. Adding the appropriate music often helps. Your video will be a much bigger hit if it provides a useful, timely, relevant message and is entertaining.
    Courtesy of Pixabay
  7. Fun – Along the same lines as entertaining, just making the video fun to watch can make all the difference. Being funny or humorous is a secret weapon of many video marketers.
  8. Length of the Video – Videos in the 30 to 90-second range get the most views. However, a video that is providing highly useful content for a niche audience can be much longer. Lengths of 3 to 30 minutes are not uncommon.
  9. Large Audience – I can’t overemphasize the importance of pushing out your video to a large audience. Lots of views require lots of eyeballs to get the ball rolling. Pushing out your message and link to several thousand people could be the straw that makes the viral camel take off.
  10. Highly Influential People – People in the media, celebrities, respected authors, highly visible individuals in their respective fields have the power to influence tens of thousands of people. Their nod to watch your video to their followers, (or any content) can be the determining factor that launches your video to viral stardom.
  11. Strategic use of Keywords – Always make sure that the important keywords are used in the title and description of your video. It also doesn’t hurt to use them in the captions and hot links of your video as well.
  12. Catchy Title and Thumbnail – If your title isn’t catchy, compelling, exciting or sensational no one will stop to take a look. The same goes for the thumbnail used; it must compel people to click on the video.
  13. Piggy Backing on a Trend – It definitely works in your favor when your video piggybacks a topic that is trending in Google search, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook. Audiences naturally follow these trends, and that is where you need to be.
  14. Easy to Share – Once they find and watch your video, make it easy by adding share buttons for the most popular social nets. If it's easy to share, they are more likely to share it.
  15. Traffic – Finding and watching your video is directly related to how high it ranks. Traffic is an indication of popularity, and this is a high-ranking factor. If you can drive traffic to your video, it will improve the ranking (an increase the chances of it going viral).
  16. Backlinking – Once the video is produced and published, you need to add it to all your web properties (i.e., post backlinks to the video). Include all social nets, blogs, websites, map listing and any Google property as well.

Off Page SEO Traffic Drivers – The importance of driving traffic to your video is extremely important. This is accomplished by posting curated links in the social nets.  It also helps to ask local media to review it and send it to everyone you can via email and other means. We have a program called Social Slam Dunk which uses a technology called Social Media Push to send out content to 100,000 people at a time. Along these same lines, you can create traffic with pay per click ads, boosting a post in Facebook or begin recycling your videos by re-posting them to the timeline of multiple social networks. Make sure you use a different headline curation and pictures each time. Also, allow time to elapse in-between post as well. If you're trying to get people to attend a live event, make sure you post teaser videos leading up to the live streamed event. High ranking and going viral usually needs a kickstart. The above tips can be that kick start.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Once you're engaged in a campaign to create a high-ranking video, make sure you employ analytics to measure the traffic and audience. Don’t underestimate the importance of measuring your efforts. How else will you know if your efforts are working beyond just the number of page views? How will you know where the traffic came from? How will you know if they just watched part or all of the video? The analytics will allow you to learn from and improve your efforts so that your next video will be better than the first.

I hope that you take the time to review our prior articles, videos and radio show content as this is a broad subject and you need to understand it from many angles. The elements listed in this article are the most important factors in achieving high SEO video ranking in YouTube and other video web channels. Your success will be directly tied to the number of elements you employ. The more elements, the better. In the beginning of this article, I mentioned the art and science of video marketing. The art falls in the arena of luck or karma in some instances. There is always an element of chance that can’t be accounted for. Slow news days can help, as can finding the right influential advocate. Just being seen by the right person at the right time can make all the difference in the world. Sometimes videos take on a life of their own. Make sure you put the odds in your favor by making every effort and employing every element to increase your odds of reaching high ranking or going massively viral. If you do, know that it was the science you used along with a little bit of luck that helped you reach the stratosphere of video ranking.

That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.
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This article provides a behind the curtain look at how to reach high video ranking on YouTube and other video platforms. 16 important tips and techniques are discussed along with other factors needed to produce a high SEO video ranking in YouTube and other video platforms. These tips and techniques can help anyone improve video ranking and help them to get their videos to go viral. There are also many links to resources providing the reader with everything they need to improve their YouTube video Ranking.

If you feel your business is not marketing itself in the best way possible, we can help with guaranteed services that produce positive results, or you don’t pay. If you would like to have your videos rank higher, you can contact us at by dialing 904-410-2091. We are very good at creating videos in a cost-effective manner and then distributing them to large audiences for our clients. We also provide 27 different digital products to help businesses get their message out. You can also fill out the form in the sidebar of this blog where we will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. Our claimed to fame is that we are one of a few companies who actually provide real guarantees.

If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. I recommend checking out the links on the blog, along with checking out other related articles on our Show Notes Page.  Also, don’t forget to listen to the BlogTalkRadio show on this subject. If you have a related useful comment or opinion about this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog. Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+ and share us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well.


Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.” 

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