How to Make Your Videos Rank Better on YouTube

by russlaw | June 24, 2015 | General

YouTube has exploded and we have all watched it happen right in front of our eyes. It has over a billion users a day, and the importance of improving user attention and to make your videos rank better on Youtube is paramount.

In 2013 I created a series of Youtube videos for the Powtoon video platform. It was a short series of 9 videos that I posted on Youtube that gave tips and advice on how to create and improve your videos. I covered user engagement.  You can see these videos on my YouTube playlist called Pimp my Powtoon.

However, the sheer size of this keen audience which is now over one third of all internet users means that the rewards are there if you can just get it right.

You might be wondering how on earth you can achieve this, so lets take a look at how Youtube video rankings work, and give you some tips to help improve visibility, and some of the factors behind how Google chooses to show videos in its search results pages.

How to Make Your Videos Rank Better on YouTube Whiteboard Animations

Video file name

Never over-look the video file name. This is used when attempting to categorise the content, so choose a video title filename that does target your keywords.

View density

We can all see how many views videos attract over time but view density matters to Youtube. If your video receives a lot of views in a short space of time, it’s more likely to be pushed up the rankings.

Meta tags

Youtube’s robots and spiders use these tags to interpret a video’s content. This is thought to be a major factor in deciding the positions a video can accomplish in Youtube. Whenever you upload a video to Youtube you can label it with your own targeted keywords. 6-8 labels are thought to be the perfect amount. Take a look around for the most popular tags that your competition are using and try to learn from them.

Youtube labels

The video watch time should be considered. Youtube used to use view counts and comment volumes as analysis factors, but they changed this to the video watch time in 2012 as it was more accurate.


Use the title well, and place keywords towards the front of the title. Just like writing a good blog or newspaper headline, your video titles need to be descriptive and compelling. Do make sure the video does deliver on the headline or people wont want to watch it or share it.


Only the first 150 (approx) will be visible to people when they land on your page, so make sure these are well optimized. This is a great chance to create a back-link to your website.

Youtube subtitles, closed captions and transcripts

Using these are going to allow your videos to be accessible to a wider audience and will score points with Google.

HD videos

HD quality videos should always be used when possible. Google will automatically create and serve lower quality versions depending on the user’s Internet connection.

Video annotations

Annotations allow you to add linkable text to a video; like notes, and important calls to action, and links to related videos. Don’t miss these important opportunities.


If viewers subscribe to your channel after watching your video, then it indicates to Youtube as well as to Google that your video is useful and valuable to people.


Comments are a great way for Youtube to gauge the authority and relevance of your videos. These days there are a lot of spammers, so it is probably best to only show approved comments. Make sure you set this up.

Encourage comments. Comments will contribute to your ranking, it’s a good idea to do as much as you can to encourage a discussion underneath your videos. A good tip is to verbally ask people to comment on the video they are watching.

Other tips about branding and General tips to make your videos rank better on Youtube:

  • Work on your Content. Content needs to match your brand and give your viewers a clear indication of what to expect from your channel.
  • KISS: Keep it stupidly simple.
  • Your branding should help people to find your videos and channel. So focus on consistent titles, tagging, and descriptions.
  • Social shares are another factor that indicate the quality and engagement of your video.
  • Back-links or Links back to your channel or video carry a lot of weight, and are a further ranking factor.
  • Remember to use your Youtube videos in emails to help improve their rank. Promoting on social sites, and embedding on your own website will all help. I have done this on my main site to show my best portfolio pieces.
  • Lastly, remember to create videos that addresses a user needs. Think about the kind of questions customers will have around your product and service.