This article was first published on October 13th, 2020, and was last updated in June 2022.

Did you know YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world? True story. You probably wouldn’t think that since it’s a video platform. But it’s highly likely that you went and searched for a video there today. Or maybe this week. Even though YouTube is a Google company, it has a unique algorithm to help you find the right video that you’re looking for. 

Video marketing is a massive opportunity to reach new people. It’s been shown in several studies that videos bring in more attention than pictures, which bring more eyes to a site than just text. So it’s a huge chance to build your brand and bring in new customers or attention to your company if you utilize video marketing. Today we’ll go through how to get your video ranking on YouTube.

The YouTube Search Algorithm

According to YouTube, the algorithm is basically a “real-time feedback loop that tailors videos to each viewer’s different interests.”

When thinking about your videos, think about optimizing your content — just like your website. All content has similarities and YouTube is no different. If you want your videos to rank, you need to keep people watching. But how do you do that? My suggestion is to start off on the right foot with a few of these ranking signals that YouTube uses:

  • Video Comments
  • Subscribers
  • Shares
  • CTR and Impressions 
  • Thumbs Up/Down
  • Video Length
  • Watch Time
  • Popularity

As you can see YouTube prioritizes different aspects of videos to dish up best results to their users. However, there are three ranking signals that are very important to consider:

YouTube Keyword Research

Use your keyword research to figure out what people are searching for in your niche, and create playlists based on those topics. If you don’t have much content, you can even create playlists using other people’s videos to drive viewers to your YouTube channel page.

Use these two(free) tools to help get you started with your research:

Google Trends

Google Keyword Planner

YouTube’s algorithms are notoriously unforgiving. When you upload a new video, make sure you have all your optimizations ready to go. Don’t publish a video with the intention of optimizing it sometime later. If YouTube can’t get a clear picture of what your video is about you’ll suffer in the rankings — and it will be hard to recover that lost ground. You can help this by adding your keyword into the header, video description, and within tags.

While it is possible to go back and fix poorly optimized videos by revising the titles, description, tags, thumbnail, transcript and so on, much of the damage will have already been done after the first 48 hours have passed. It is incredibly hard to come back in this setting from being buried once the algorithm has judged your content as unworthy. Here are a few needed video elements to help include your keywords into your YouTube SEO strategy:

  • Title – 5+ words long with keyword included
  • Thumbnail – Attractive, well-lit image
  • Description – 250+ words long with multiple instances of keyword usage
  • Transcript – Include your own time stamped transcript
  • Tags – Target keyword and a few variations
  • Links – Include other social channels you own and resources for your viewers
  • CTA – Include one click options for people to subscribe in outro

This is a list of must-have elements that need to be ready before you upload your video to YouTube.

Audience Retention

Audience retention is when you’re able to keep viewers engaged with your video content. The videos that have longer view rates will end up ranking higher in YouTube’s algorithm due to the popular engagement it’s receiving. One of the best ways to keep your audience engaged and its retention high is by centering the topic of the video all the way through to the end. If you’re able to keep their attention until the very end, try adding an incentive or CTA to help direct them to another video or part of your website. This can help direct leads while also keeping your audience retention high for your video to rank higher in YouTube.

Video Engagement 

Along the same lines as audience retention, video engagement can have a huge impact in the ranking of your video on YouTube. Video engagement involves the number of thumbs up/down, comments, shares, and subscribers you get. The more engagement your video receives, the higher it will rank according to Youtube ranking factors. To help increase your rankings and engagement, you can encourage the individuals who are watching your videos to like, comment, subscribe, etc. You could go a step further by sharing your video on social platforms and in blogs to help increase your engagement. The more relevant and engaging your videos are to all users, the more likely your videos will rank higher over time. 

How to Create a Great Video

Many people find video to be intimidating to undertake. But they don’t have to be high dollar productions in order to be successful. In fact, most people have really good video cameras right on their phones or tablets now, so you can record high quality videos right on your device. So don’t let video marketing intimidate you. You can post videos on social media, your website, and email campaigns, plus much more. 

And if you’re not sure what to create a video about, think about what makes your business unique or special. Make sure that is demonstrated in the video and that your fun personality and brand comes through. Check out some of our ideas:

  • How to videos about your products or easy ways to do a task you specialize in.
  • Unboxing video when you get a new product.
  • Behind the scenes videos where people can see how you do things and get to know some of your employees.

There’s also several platforms you can use to create these videos. Do some research to see what will work best for you and your editing skill set. There’s dozens of services online you can try. Both Mac and PC computers come with some form of video editing software built in. You can take the time to learn a new platform or try these free ones. It just depends on how often you want to create the videos and what you’ll be using them for. 

Ranking Successfully Online

Having a strong digital marketing strategy online is imperative in being found or succeeding over time. Here at Boostability, our SEO partner program helps your customers be found online. Reach out to us at Boostability to learn how we can make sure your SEO efforts are successful and valuable over time.


Ansley is the former Content Marketing Manager at Boostability. Since graduating from Utah State University with two degrees in Communication Studies and Journalism: Public Relations, Ansley specializes in creating engaging and informative SEO content for readers, customers, and partners through different marketing channels. Along with creating new content, Ansley works to keep content organized and creates and executes new content strategies. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, visit National Parks, and loves all things Disney.