How to Create Awesome Videos That Rank on YouTube
Learn optimization tips for how to rank videos on both YouTube and Google search with Search Hustle.
By 2022, online videos will comprise over 82% of all consumer internet traffic. That’s 15 times higher than it was back in 2017!
There’s no arguing that video is a powerful medium for internet marketing. It’s even what consumers are asking for. In one study, about 54% of consumers expressed interest in seeing more video content from a business or brand.
Videos can deliver information fast while simultaneously being entertaining. Perhaps that is why many consumers would now rather learn about a product or service via a video instead of having to read a 2,000-word article.
Now, if a business isn’t using video as a marketing tool, then it is missing out on huge swaths of internet traffic. However, let’s get one thing straight. You can’t just throw together a sloppy video and then slap it online and expect it to get any significant views. In fact, no matter how amazing the video is, if it isn’t getting any clicks, it’s not doing a marketing campaign any good.
Since YouTube is the primary platform for videos, this article will primarily focus on how to rank videos in YouTube search and include just a few tips for ranking in Google search.
What Does YouTube's Search Engine Algorithm Look At?
The algorithm that YouTube uses ranks videos based on several factors. These varying factors include how closely the title, description, and content match the viewer’s query.
After that, the algorithm also considers how much engagement a video has gotten for a query.
In short, the YouTube algorithm concerns itself with finding the right video to a query and enticing the viewer to keep watching.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The percentage of searchers who click on a video result is known as the click-through rate.
Obviously, when someone searches a keyword on YouTube, you want them to click on the video you’ve posted, not someone else’s. The higher the CTR is, the better. When YouTube notices that lots of people are clicking on a certain video, they take this into consideration as a ranking factor and boost the video higher up in the search results.
Total Watch Time (TWT)
The amount of watch time minutes that a video accrues is known as Total Watch Time.
There are different schools of thought on this but according to Backlinko, viewers will usually consume about 40% of a video. So, if you have Video A that is 12 minutes, and Video B that is 4 minutes long, then Video A will have a longer TWT and therefore feel more favorable to the algorithm.
Audience Retention is the amount of a video (as a percentage) that people watch.
Although there is no silver bullet, there is a prevailing theory on how to improve audience retention—focus on the first 15 seconds. Remember, YouTube is not a captive audience and therefore you must follow the non-captive audience rules—that being the first 5 seconds are crucial to retention.
When analyzing any audience retention data, look for peaks, valleys, and other anomalies. This can give you insight into high-quality content and low-quality content. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.
Session Watch Time
Session watch time shows you how much greed YouTube injects into their own system. YouTube states, “We reward videos that keep people on YouTube”. What this tells us is to create playlists and links to other videos you’ve created—anything to keep the users engaged longer.
YouTube wants active engagement. So things like likes, comments, subscribes, shares, and adds to a playlist all help a video rank better against other competing options.
There are three things you should always do:
- Ask people to comment
- Have a clear subscribe CTA
- Reply to comments
Click-through rate is an important determiner of how enticing your snippet, meta title and meta description are. It tracks how many people click on your website from the SERP, or search engine results page. This vital analytic will show you how often people click on your page, and which pages are more popular.
You can use this data to make your meta description and titles better. If you notice that one is working better than another, analyze the style and nature of that tag. Often you’ll find something different, and it is these differences that you can use to improve every page on your site.
Failing to draw attention from the SERP means that your articles or site is simply not interesting or enticing enough. As the algorithm begins to notice this, you’ll find that your organic ranking will begin to deteriorate. A lack of click-through rate informs the algorithm about how important your page is to people searching.
Focus On Analytics
Google wants its users to have the best possible experience each time they use the search engine. This is why an always improving user experience is imperative to climb the SERPs. In order to fully understand what is happening, you need to pay attention to the analytics.
If you notice that you have a low click-through rate, and simply aren’t getting a lot of views, this is powerful information. Updating your content, changing the format you offer it in, or taking other steps may be necessary in order to attract your target audience. Let’s be honest, this is all basic and low hanging fruit for most content writers, developers, and even SEOs.
On the other hand, if you have a high bounce rate, you are attracting viewers. You just need to figure out why they aren’t staying around. The quality of your content can impact this, not having jumping off topics, enticing CTAs, or simply not providing any additional actions for the visitor. Adjustments should be based on real-time data, heatmaps, and video recordings of user experiences.