YouTube Ranking Factors: 15 Guerrilla Tactics

Posted in Video

youtube-logo1Understanding various social & algorithmic nodes is important, as users build up enough street-cred’ to hang with other pages in first string YouTube SERPs. Once a profile gains momentum and authority, results begin to appear.

YouTube uses various metrics, known and black box, to establish ranking and authority of videos and channels. We recommend participation along the following nodes to build YouTube profiles for higher video rankings.

Youtube-awesome

The first step is getting engaged in the YouTube community. The profile needs a pulse. Think of it as participation in Twitter. Follow, rebroadcast, friend, share, etc…Like any social community the more friends and participation a users has, the more internal link energy is focused on both internal and public profile nodes.

Research Community
Identify YouTube users that have an interest or have published similar content. Most users are transparent about their age in their channel; be sure to friend users that fit the target audience. Become an active member of the YouTube community and participate just as much if not more as you contribute content.

Use the Internal Rating System to Score Others’ Videos
Rate the videos that you watch and be honest not gratuitous. We believe it helps with “participation” credit in the algorithm.  It also helps because others see you in-community. Others will rate your videos too, lending credibility to the profile. If you are responding to or have found a useful or bothersome comment, be sure to give a thumbs up or down.

Youtube-thumbsup

Friends & Subscribers
Build a base of high authority friends and niche specific users for social and algorithmic advantages. Subscribe to and associate yourself with those users that provide benefit to the community.

Favorite Videos
Favorite videos that you feel lend to the personality your brand. The users find out and are more amenable to friendship & mutual promotion.

Comment With Non-Gratuitous Zeal
Search relevant areas that coincide with the brand and reaffirm or add insight into comment threads of useful videos. Take it even further by visiting the profile of the user who posted the video and engage directly. It’s an age old marketing principle, provide users value and build trust before you begin asking anything of them in return.

A sure fire way to get people to visit the profile is to reply to a particular user’s comment in a thread. Either give them kudos or expand on their thought (people like to be patted on the head).  A word of caution: don’t suck up or overdue over do it.

Master & Use YouTube Insight Analytics
YouTube Insight is an analytics toolset for your published videos. With it you can track views, demographics, community engagement, bounce rate, video popularity and how users are discovering the content.

To access it follow these steps:
sign in > Account > Insight

Youtube-insight

Title the Raw File Name
Many times it will take a few days for YouTube to fully upload a video and in the mean time it will use the raw file name as the title of the video. Be sure to name the raw file just as you would the title tag. Keywords in the file name count in the video game.

Channel Views
Visit related channels and add to their comment field to bring visibility back to the users channel. Use your Tweet share and friend instincts.

Watch More Videos (we are currently testing specifics of this attribute). Make sure to watch videos that are related to the niche you are trying to fill & watch them all the way through. YouTube may use your viewing history against identical or similar tags of your uploads to populate “related content” on your video pages that others see.

Competitive Intelligence
Under Data/Statistics under any given video (if the user did not disallow) you can see how many people link, what URLs, favorite count, honors received, what users rated and other useful competitive data for tagging inspiration.

comp-intell

Video Responses
Post responses to related videos if the user has allowed this option. Allow the option yourself. You can also piggyback any successful video of your own to funnel views. This is another reason to watch videos. Like with Digg, getting in the first comment on a thread about to go hot can yield secondary traffic and branding.

youtube-video-responses

Annotations
Use the ‘annotations’ option to implement calls-to-action throughout your videos. Insert links when appropriate. You can track the amount of clicks garnered from the external link overlay in YouTube Insight.

Youtube-annotations

Linkbuild to Profile’s Assets
Use other sites in hand to link to the YouTube channel or specific videos to build authority. Be clever about the anchor text so as to increase the potential spread of keywords Google might associate with the video when inserting video into Universal SERPs. Drive fans from Twitter, Facebook and other social assets to videos hosted on YouTube.

Embed video within an optimized blog post
YouTube tracks the number of times a video is embedded as a component to the ranking algorithm.  Also each post the video is embedded on is optimized itself and can rank alongside the video.

Youtube-embeded-player

-The idea is to determine what YouTube organic SERPs you want to impact and fill up YouTube organic space.

-Also look for the intersection of traditional KW research and YouTube organic suggestions. They often align.

-You have the option to tell YouTube where the video was shot. For regional based searches this is an easy way to put yourself in the SERPs without using precious title tag real estate.

Last but not least…

Optimize Video
-Thoughtful filename, title, tags and description, keyword research using YouTube “suggestion” field and YouTube video keyword tool/identify the search queries you want to rank well for before you name your file & title, target location (edit settings).

Youtube-keyword-tool

  • David

    Manny, a great post would have finished off perfectly with a video embedded in the article, following the steps outlined and the data could be used to generate a followup post. “We told you it works with Video Optimisation?”

  • Martijn

    Thanks for this usefull post. I’ve been optimising a few myself, purely out of interest. Haven’t had the opportunity to optimize videos for my work yet but if I do I’ll check this post again.

    Totally unrelated, there’s a BODY tag on this page (and others?) that’s not closed properly…

  • webandrank

    I bookmark this post is a veritable tool for youtube on the search engine placement service.

  • Manny Rivas

    Thank you for the great responses and suggestions. There’s a lot of opportunity in video search and the ability to leverage it now can no doubt make a person powerful in this quickly growing space.

  • Dave

    Awesome information. I have dabbled in video marketing, but have not truly been a part of the You Tube community. That is probably why I have had limited success. I will make sure I focus on being a good YouTuber just as much as I focus on promoting videos and websites.

    Thanks for a great post!

  • Manny Rivas

    @Dave Thanks. Giving your profile a healthy pulse with genuine community engagement is key. Define your target audience and search these people out by viewing comment fields of other videos similar to yours and friend these users. These are the individuals that may someday champion your content for you.

  • Scott

    Great post, thanks Manny! We’ve been adding videos to our channel and really trying to make it a great branded destination, so all this helps a lot. Cheers.

  • Sari

    As a content specialist and former writer, I see typos and misspells (like “overdue” instead of “overdo”) as cognitive and tactical obstacles. The clever content manager has to keep up with the auto-generated English coming from non-native English speaking black-hats. In other words, real readers recognize real language and so does Google! The ability to form a complete, correct sentence is just as important as content with keyword enrichment!

    Or am I just being picky?

  • Marty Weintraub

    @Sari: Thank you for pointing the typos out. We could not agree more that precision in blogging, albeit difficult to perfect, is very important. I’m sure you understand because the most current post in your blog, “Finding Nina.“ has a grammatical error in the first sentence.

    You wrote: “The woman who, 20 years ago, sent me the very first email I ever got from a stranger, is at the top of the Search Engine Marketing business.” In fact to use the comma construct appropriately the sentence must be a grammatically correct without the phrase delimited by commas. Without the commas your very first sentence would read, “The woman who is at the top of the Search Engine Marketing business.” This is not a complete sentence.

    Your point is well taken. We’re not perfect nor do we claim to be. We crank out tons of content and, admittedly, are sometimes not as focused on precision as one would like.

    That said perhaps you should clean up your own questionable grammar before putting on your search marketing language-police hat. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t ….you know.

  • Sari

    P.S. Awesome post on tactics to grow that YouTube campaign!

  • Marty Weintraub

    @sari: We’re glad you enjoyed the post :)

  • Sari

    Are you serious?!

  • Sari

    I was really impressed with your work and was simply jumping in to stir up discussion among peers. Yeah, I pointed out a typo–I didn’t say grammar was my goal, I said keywords are important. I don’t worry too much about grammar, but I also don’t worry too much about constructive criticism or open-minded discussion. Most bloggers would pay for this kind of reciprocity and engagement. WTF is up with the petty, defensive shit? Anyone else interested in unemotional tech talk, feel free to contact me. I live in a much warmer climate.

  • Sari

    “The woman … is at the top of the Search Engine Marketing business.”

    Nina Hale is a top search engine marketing professional for good reason. That’s right, Nina Hale Search Engine Marketing Consultant, is the best search engine marketing agency in Minnesota. But not for long. Soon Nina Hale Search Engine Marketing will be the best SEM company in the country.

  • Marty Weintraub

    @Sari: Right, your engagement is priceless. I meant no offense any more than did you when you wrote “The ability to form a complete, correct sentence is just as important as content with keyword enrichment!” You referenced a specific deficiency in one of our blog posts. You even pointed out your professional background and authority to take such stands. Does “engagement” mean that you can teach others whatever you please in public but they can’t respond unless you like the response?

    Bottom line, if you are going to publicly criticize (even in a polite tone), be prepared for a public answer. I often find typos in blog posts from well known bloggers. I ping them in private so they can fix it. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind public engagement regarding such things. However the commenter better make sure they have their ducks in a row before. Dude, if I went to someone’s blog to point out typos in public, I’d make pretty sure I did not have such errors on my own blog.

    Engagement means dialog and I took no offense when (in a somewhat passive aggressive way) you were critical of Manny’s writing. Dude, I engaged back regarding your question: the ability to form a complete sentence. That’s what your comment was about. I had a smile on my face the whole time, the same way you did. (See :) ).

    You engaged us in a dialog regarding the importance of sentence construct and I responded immediately with respect for your position. I changed the typo you specifically mentioned on my the post. I went to your blog to continue the conversation. The tone of my comment was similar to yours. Why was yours OK but mine “petty?” Really now…

  • Sari

    Wow.

    I didn’t say that you didn’t form a complete sentence.

    I was talking shop with my peers. I was talking about the ability to create natural, authentic, search engine-friendly content. I was talking about whether or not the value was real or not.

    I was jumping into a discussion among people I respected, something I don’t do often.

    My “or is that picky” was sincere–I was curious about what people think about writing for robots, not for people. Writing for search terms, not for readability.

    My first thought was to privately advise on the typo, but then realized, it’s not that big a deal. I thought it was more fun to appeal to your readership about whether or not typos or natural English-speaking were even important to Google’s indexing and algorithms.

    I’m sort of hoping you’ll delete my comments because the whole thing looks petty.

    I’m actually mad at myself for taking this much time away from work–I was researching some SEO tactics as part of a job I’m doing right now and came across your really helpful blog–and so yes, I didn’t get around to approving your comments. Unfortunately, I’m usually too busy to bother with my own blog.

    That’s why I don’t switch between “we” and “I.” I’m just an “I.” I work alone and don’t see the point of having a staff on hand to argue with people.

    Argggh. I’m going back to work.

    Now I have to use my fingers to figure out what 6+8 equals.

  • Marty Weintraub

    @Sari: Friendships have been forged in more peculiar ways :). Trust me, when you look back on this you will think it was worth the time for reasons you probably don’t foresee now. Enjoy your snow storm.

  • Sari

    Wasn’t really looking for friendships, but I’ll take the traffic.

  • Holly

    Hooray for the holiday spirit!

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