Earlier this month, Jeff McRitchie appeared on SEOMoz‘s Whiteboard Friday series presenting his YouTube Ranking Factors. The full video is definitely worth checking out, but if you don’t have the 17 minutes to watch the video here’s the summary of factors necessary to help the rankings of your YouTube video. YouTube is a search engine just like Google and Bing but the content is video rather than webpages. Achieving higher rankings for videos in YouTube is much different than ranking your webpage on Google.
This list is separated out by CONTENT factors and ENGAGEMENT factors.
Content Factors for Ranking Video
- TITLE: Probably the most important factor. You want a title that’s going to draw people in, but then you also want to make sure that you deliver on that title.
- DESCRIPTION: Take the time to describe your video (200-500) words: what makes it unique, why should someone watch it, what is it about. Add a link to a relevant webpage (if you have one) and then add a full transcription below the description.
- TAGS: do your keyword research and tag your video with the singular and plural versions of your keywords. Aim for about 10 tags per video.
- TRANSCRIPTION: Different from the transcription in the description area, this transcription is to be used to create close caption for your video. YouTube has an automated option that will attempt to transcribe your video, but the technology isn’t very accurate right now so either transcribe your video manually or pay for a service to transcribe it and upload the .txt file.
- CHANNEL AUTHORITY: How many other videos do you have and what type of engagement do users have with those videos? These factors influence your channel’s authority and allow your videos to rank better. Authority is built over time so don’t expect your first video to rank well right from the start.
- DELIVERY: Provide users exactly what they are looking for (based on what you promised in your title and description). If your video doesn’t deliver then users will not interact with it and your video’s engagement will be low.
Engagement Factors for Ranking Video
- VIEWS/ATTENTION: How many people watch your video and how much of it do they watch? Do they stop watching 10 seconds into the video or watch it all the way to the end?
- INBOUND LINKS: Users will want to share and link to your video. Link to your channel in your blog, press releases, website, email signature and anywhere else you can.
- SOCIAL SHARES: Share your video on your own social profiles. If your content is really good other will want to share it socially also.
- EMBEDS: You have the option of turning on or off the embed feature in YouTube, turn it on to give the video the opportunity to be embedded. Similar to inbound links, embeds link to the video with the video itself.
- COMMENTS/VIDEO RESPONSES: Don’t try to game the system and write fake comments. Respond to comments to generate a conversation. Video responses are much harder to get so they are a bigger ranking factor. Try making your video as a video response to another video (either your own or someone else’s) or ask a friend to trade video responses
- LIKES/FAVORITES: Similar to Facebook likes, YouTube likes shows users friends what videos they like so it is another form of trust for your video.