Youtube Optimization tips and how to rank video in search engines

This article deals with ways of achieving a high ranking in the youtube, the second largest search engine next to google, and as a result, a high ranking in google itself. Google bought youtube in 2008 and ranks youtube videos highly in it’s own search results.

Universal (blended) search refers to the idea that search engines include not only written material, but other media types such as images, videos, maps and books. Video has dominated universal search since 2008 and it is frequently much easier to place a youtube video on the first page of google than place an identically titled website.

Youtube optimization and factors involved in ranking

As in any other media optimization, the title is of paramount importance. All the usual rules apply and you can use a keyword rich title of 30 characters or less at present. (The maximum title length was reduced to 30 characters in 2009).

The description field

There are 5000 characters available for this and although common sense would suggest focusing to the keywords most relevant, google actually states about the description field ‘the more detail you can supply, the better’.

They also state ‘Providing keywords that might not be in the description gives us more knowledge of what the video is about.” And mention that proper nouns, names, places etc may be particularly useful.

Links can also be included here provided you use the full url including the http://  at the beginning. This is however, a ‘no-follow’ link and doesn’t count as a baclink in search engine optimization

Tagging in youtube

This is also important though should probably be focused on a small selection of keywords

User ratings and comments

These also have some effect and google seems to be learning how to determine sentiment within these comments (either pro or con)

3rd party embeds

This is particularly important and is often seen as analogous to an inbound backlink in regular SEO. (In SEO, a one way link to your website from a high ranking website is seen as an indication of popularity and thus helps you achieve better google rankings. Google relies heavily on this factor and naturally weighs heavily on popularity signs in youtube search, this time denoted by where the video is embedded.

Completion score in youtube

This is how far a video runs before a viewer switches off and is also a measure of popularity. There is evidence that this is a factor as common sense would suggest. A longer video reaching completion would probably have better ranking than a shorter one but I have no evidence to back this up.

Quality of the youtube channel

This seems to be very important and it may be worth uploading a video from an established channel with a high page rank (a measure of a web page’s search rankability). I have one high ranking channel and several newer low ranking ones. In my own tests, a video uploaded from the high ranking channel substantially outperforms the same video uploaded from the lower ranking ones. The ranking of a channel is based on many factors such as age (much as an aged domain carries more weight in regular SEO), and the number of subscribers and youtube friends.

Number of views/age

The more views a video has had the higher it seems to rank though this is offset against the fact that google also gives some relevance to the newness of the video.

Youtube has 3.5 billion queries a month according to comScore though less than 20% achieve over 500 views and only 4% exceed 10000. Few people think in terms of optimization , a process that must carried out for a video to achieve the widespread viewership hoped for in video marketing. In my experience the video really takes off when it is embedded in relevant high profile websites and blogs and then begins to spread virally.


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