Understanding Video SEO

Understanding How YouTube Ranks Videos With SEO


 how youtube ranks videos

YouTube is definitely an exciting frontier for digital marketers because of its ability to reach millions of viewers at a time. With frontline channels like Pewdiepie and Good Mythical Morning racking in millions of views at a time, it’s no small wonder that business are eyeing the platform to boost their businesses’ visibility and ultimately, profitability. In 2019, seoexplode.com recommends that it’s time that we took a closer look at YouTube’s innovations in analyzing and ranking videos.


  1. Video data

youtube analytics

In its infancy, YouTube relied heavily on the title of the video and its metadata to understand what the video was about. Now, video data (or what’s actually inside the video) is now being analyzed by YouTube itself. The raw video stream itself is becoming an important source of information for ranking and surfacing videos for users.

YouTube is able to do this through audio analysis and the automatic generation of transcripts for each video. So it is important that you begin integrating the most important keyword phrases you want to rank for in the raw video data itself.

In addition to mentioning these keyword phrases, it’s also imperative that you mention the name of the channel itself so it will be correlated with the keywords in the video, as well as the metadata available from outside the video. All these factors now help determine the relevance of videos, which is great, because raw video content is definitely something we can tweak to hit multiple target keyword phrases at a time.

To someone who is just beginning with producing video content specifically to boost marketing campaigns, this move to expand YouTube’s crawl to the raw video content itself will greatly help new videos surface more quickly, making the YouTube universe that much more friendlier to newcomers.

It’s also important to note that if you are creating video content specifically for marketing a product or service, that you should reduce the length of the presence of the talking head in your videos and instead use recognizable objects. The reason for this is that Google’s Cloud Video Intelligence API is now capable of recognizing individual objects in videos, and this further adds to the available data that can be used to rank and surface your videos.

The key takeaways here are:

– Add relevant objects or images to the video

– Don’t rely on a human talking as it is the words spoken that are more important

– Mention important keywords in the video


While we can’t really predict when your channel will boom, it’s safe to say that by just following these important guidelines, you can expect a steady increase in views over the long term. Long term relevance for a particular niche is more important than short term booms, as your channel and all future video content will benefit from the positive ranking.


  1. Taking advantage of co-visitation

 covisitation on videos

If you have ever wondered how recommended videos are actually listed down and surfaced for viewers to enjoy, here’s the simple answer: YouTube actually measures the co-visitation rate or the period of time that two or more videos are watched within a given time frame.

However, there are other ranking signals that affect the mapping process, such as the popularity of the videos. The count will be divided by the popularity of the more viewed video and the association between the two will be estimated.

Of course, over time there will be slight changes as to how the associated videos are listed down as the biases change over time too. For example, should YouTube begin prioritizing watch time over metadata, then we’re going to see a slightly different set of videos for a particular keyword or search term.

What does this mean for us folks who are interested in YouTube SEO and optimizing YouTube videos for better branding? Well, technically we have to encourage viewers to watch our videos after the higher ranked videos within a short period of time, so our content will be associated with the current recommendations list that has already been prefigured by the YouTube system.


This can be done through the following ways:

– You can create response videos that must be uploaded within a short period of time after a new video in the related niche has been released.

– Publishing outside YouTube to drive traffic to your video on the platform.

– Using highly specific keyword phrases instead of broad interest or general keywod phrases

– Create videos that focus on the content from a specific YouTuber or channel

– Encouraging people to click on your playlist or links to your existing videos to increase watch time of video content from your channel


  1. Make your video rank-worthy

 how to make a video rank worthy

There is a diverse set of signals that help the video search engine rank videos:

The quality of the video

For this signal, you’d want more users rating your video positively, commenting, favoriting your video and adding it to their playlist/s, sharing the video to different social media platforms, and of course, the number of views also count. Session time is also important, meaning videos that are highly relevant for a keyword phrase should engage people more and this is computed for the long term relevance score of the video and the channel itself.

For the most part, you can encourage people to interact on your videos by responding to them, or by holding promotional events that are time-bound so things don’t get confusing. Asking people to subscribe and like the video for a chance to get into a raffle isn’t a bad way to get more views – everyone does it. Channels like The King of Random o it all the time, and making promotional entreaties (if done moderately) can help build your brand faster, too.

User behavior

Your videos will likely be matched with users who are already interested in similar videos. A good knowledge of what people like to watch, what they tend to click, etc. will give you a head start with matching your video content with the patterns of user behavior in YouTube’s database.

If you are completely new to creating video content for YouTube, it might help if you watched what other more successful channels are doing now. It’s imperative that you tap into that well of knowledge first, so you won’t be engaged in a lot of hit and miss moments with your video productions.

And remember: it’s possible to send traffic to YouTube via other platforms like Twitter and Facebook. If you play you cards right, both your social media platforms and YouTube channel will benefit from the dual exposure. The key is to give people content that matters to them and they’d actually want to watch.

Unique content

Create diversity in your content so that YouTube will not penalize your channel and remove your other videos from the stream. Basically, YouTube wants to give people a variety of content so they don’t get bored or frustrated with search results. This means that if you are creating fluff content that look too similar to each other, your channel might be in trouble. On the other hand, if you create content that tries to be at least slightly different from your previous uploads, then you should be good.