Optimizing for YouTube Search
Optimizing for YouTube search is extremely important as it gives you exposure to viewers who are looking for content like yours.
How YouTube Search works:
When determining whether or not a video is supposed to show up in search, YouTube determines whether the video is relevant to the search query. The most viewed videos may not necessarily win a spot in the search results. Besides the ranking factors mentioned above the following is also important.
To determine whether or not a video is relevant to the search query, YouTube looks at:
- does the search query (or related keyword) appear in the video title?
- does the search query (or related keyword) appear in the video description?
- does the search query (or related keyword) appear in the video (meta) tags?
- does the search query (or related keyword) appear in the video transcripts?
- “where” do these keywords appear? As a rule of thumb: The earlier in the title / description / tags / transcript, the better.
Optimizing for Homepage Exposure
Where it shows: youtube.com
How the YouTube Homepage works:
This one is a bit more tricky for YouTube, so it’s subject to a lot of tests. Here’s what YouTube fills this space:
- best guess at what the viewer might enjoy today
- new (and popular) videos
- videos watched by similar viewers
- videos from channels the viewer subscribed to (but not all show up here — however, they can be found in the subscriptions tab)
To determine whether or not a video is eligible to show on the homepage for this particular viewer, YouTube looks at:
- performance (how well the video has engaged similar viewers)
- past watch history of the viewer
- past search history of the viewer
- how much the viewer watches videos from a particular channel
- how much the viewer watches videos about a particular topic
- how many times YouTube has already shown the video to the viewer.
What to do to increase your chances of showing up there:
- upload on a regular basis
- keep viewers engaged (encourage likes, shares, comments, etc. – see below)
- research currently popular topics in your niche and create videos around them – research keywords thoroughly before you embark on the filming
Optimizing for “Suggested Videos”
Where it shows:
- suggestion after a video has ended
- on the right hand side of the video that is currently playing (below the video if watching on mobile device)
How “Suggested Videos” works:
To determine whether or not a video is a good candidate to show in the “suggested videos”, YouTube looks at
- what this viewer has just finished watching and if the video might have satisfied the query (e.g. when watching a how to
- video, the viewer might now know how to do this and might no longer be in the market for another how to video)
- whether this video is related to a certain topic that the viewer has shown interest in before
- whether the viewer is subscribed to the channel and based on search queries/behaviour interested in watching the video
- from this channel
- the past watch history of the viewer
- videos other viewers found interesting after watching this particular video
Increasing your chances of showing up:
- Use similar tags to those videos that you might want to show up alongside
- Use consistent tags in your videos, e.g. branding tags.
- In your video, use an end screen or card that suggests related videos from this channel
- Suggest watching a video on a playlist from this channel (and why)
Optimizing for “Trending”
This is a hard one to rank for. For niche markets, this is next to impossible. The topic and video needs to have very broad appeal to a large audience.
How “Trending” works:
What’s showing here are new and popular videos that have very broad appeal and are specific to a viewer’s country.
To determine if a particular video is allowed to show under Trending, YouTube
- considers view count, especially view velocity (growth rate of views)
- where they views are coming from
- engagement with the video (e.g. shares, likes, comments)
- includes “Creators on the rise” (each week YouTube features up-and-coming artists there for a full day).
What to do to increase your chances to show up there:
- make broadly appealing videos
- make shareable videos
- have channel growth