YouTube SEO: How to Rank #1 in YouTube

Last updated: Jun 30, 2023

The video is about how to rank #1 in YouTube using little-known SEO tips that have helped the presenter rank for hundreds of different keywords, including the nine most powerful strategies he used to grow his rankings, views, subscribers, and traffic.

This video by Brian Dean was published on Nov 14, 2017.
Video length: 11:33.

The video is about how to rank #1 in YouTube by using little-known SEO tips that are currently working.

The founder of Backlinko, Brian Dean, shares nine powerful strategies that he used to grow his rankings, views, subscribers, and traffic. These strategies include front-loading keywords in video titles, boosting engagement signals, using the TAB formula for video tags, and more.

Dean also provides specific examples and tips for each strategy to help viewers improve their YouTube SEO.

  • The video shares nine little-known SEO tips to rank #1 in YouTube.
  • The presenter has ranked for hundreds of different keywords.
  • Front loading keywords in the title, boosting engagement signals, using the TAB formula for video tags, and closed captions can improve rankings.
  • Using alternative versions of the main keyword as tags, CTR magnet thumbnails, mini blog posts for video descriptions, and longer videos can also help rank higher.
  • Using brackets and parentheses in the video title, ranking in suggested videos, turning donkeys into unicorns, and including the current year in titles are other strategies to improve rankings.
  • YouTube puts more weight on words that appear in the beginning of the title.
  • Comments correlated with rankings more than any other engagement signal.
  • Manually adding closed captions is the best option.
  • The average video on the first page of YouTube is 14 minutes 50 seconds long.

YouTube SEO: How to Rank #1 in YouTube - YouTube

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Introduction

  • The video is about how to rank #1 in YouTube using little-known SEO tips.
  • The presenter has ranked for hundreds of different keywords.
  • The nine strategies he used to grow his rankings, views, subscribers, and traffic will be shared.
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Strategy #1: Front Load Your Keyword

  • YouTube puts more weight on words that appear in the beginning of your title.
  • Front loading your keyword in your title can make it more SEO friendly.
  • Front loading keywords in almost all titles works well.
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Strategy #2: Boost Video Engagement Signals

  • Videos with lots of engagement signals outrank videos that didn't get a lot of engagement.
  • Engagement signals are things like shares, likes, comments, and subscribes.
  • Comments correlated with rankings more than any other engagement signal.
  • Putting a hyper-specific call to action at the end of your video works best.
  • Hyper-specific call to actions work much better than generic ones.
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YouTube SEO: How to Rank #1 in YouTube - YouTube

Strategy #3: Use the TAB Formula for Video Tags

  • Tags aren't as important as they used to be, but they still make a difference.
  • Using a small number of highly specific tags is recommended.
  • The TAB formula stands for Target, Alternative, and Broad.
  • The first tag should be the target keyword.
  • Create two to three tags that are alternatives to the target keyword.
  • Create one to two broad tags that describe the overall topic of the video.
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Strategy #4: Use Closed Captions

  • Closed captions can help YouTube understand the content of your video.
  • They can also help viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Manually adding closed captions is the best option.
  • Automatic captions are often inaccurate and can hurt your rankings.
  • Adding timestamps to your captions can also help with rankings.
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Keyword Research and Tagging

  • Use alternative versions of your main keyword as tags.
  • Find variations of your target keyword by using YouTube's search suggestions.
  • Include one or two broad terms as your last set of tags to give YouTube more context about your video.
  • Broad keywords for green smoothie recipes would be things like nutrition and smoothies.
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CTR Magnet Thumbnails

  • Use non-YouTube colors in your thumbnail to stand out.
  • Colors that contrast with YouTube's color scheme like green, blue, purple, gray, and orange work well.
  • Use big, bold text in your thumbnail to get more clicks.
  • Thumbnails with text get more clicks than thumbnails without any text.
  • Use 30 characters of text max in your thumbnail.
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Mini Blog Posts for Video Descriptions

  • Long descriptions help videos rank better in YouTube.
  • Make your descriptions between 100 and 200 words.
  • Outline the content of your video without giving away the details.
  • Describe the content of the video but don't get into the meaty details.
  • Long descriptions help YouTube better understand what your video is all about.
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Boost Video Length

  • Longer videos tend to outrank short videos.
  • The average video on the first page of YouTube is 14 minutes 50 seconds long.
  • YouTube loves videos that keep people watching for long periods of time.
  • Make your videos between 8 and 15 minutes long.
  • That's the sweet spot for ranking in YouTube search results.
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Use Brackets and Parentheses in Your Video Title

  • Well-written titles can be the difference between someone watching and sharing your video or scrolling right past it.
  • Adding brackets or parentheses to your video title boosts the click-through rate by up to 38%.
  • Use brackets or parentheses to add context to your video title.
  • For example, "How to Rank #1 in YouTube (Step-by-Step Guide)"
  • Brackets and parentheses make your title stand out and give viewers a reason to click.
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Using Parentheses in Titles

  • Changing your title to include parentheses can increase clicks by more than a third.
  • Examples of things to include in parentheses are "Case Study," "New," and "Updated."
  • Using parentheses works so well that the presenter uses them in almost all of his video titles.
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Ranking in Suggested Videos

  • Ranking in suggested videos can get just as many views as ranking in search results.
  • Suggested videos appear next to another video in the sidebar.
  • Using the same tags as a popular video can help your video rank as a suggested video.
  • To find a video's tags, look at the source code of the page or use a tool like TubeBuddy or VidIQ.
  • If your video is high quality and closely related to the popular video, YouTube will start to rank you as a suggested video.
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Turning Donkeys into Unicorns

  • Videos that do well tend to have lots of watch time.
  • Use YouTube analytics to find audience retention peaks in your videos.
  • Watch the section of your video with above average audience retention to figure out what kept people watching.
  • Apply what you learn to future videos to increase watch time.
  • Using real-life examples in the beginning of videos can help turn potential "donkeys" into "unicorns."
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Including the Current Year in Titles

  • Include the current year in your video title to demonstrate that your content is current and relevant.
  • Your video will stand out in search results and in the suggested video sidebar.
  • Adding the year to your title and description can help you rank higher for keyword plus year searches.
  • Many people search for keyword plus year in Google and YouTube.
  • Adding the current year to your title can increase your click-through rate.

Watch the video on YouTube:
YouTube SEO: How to Rank #1 in YouTube - YouTube

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