How to rank your Youtube video at the top of Google results


Video is increasingly pushed into the Serps… and increasingly consumed. To stand out, many steps must be followed.

Video optimization is one of the many levers available to SEOs to boost the visibility of a site. Logical, since the video lever is more and more present in Google’s search results and since, as Arnaud Koszarek, SEO expert and main speaker in the SEO school The Bridge, reminds us, video is today a format content that meets many user expectations on the web.

Changing expectations, just like Google: “Google has become a response engine. It responds to requests from Internet users but also takes into account, as criteria, the habits of users. We notice that the latter are very focused on video formats because they are much more accessible and adapted to new uses.” Video can be consumed quickly, on both mobile and desktop, and, depending on the case, provides a clear, fast and direct response to a request.

1. Define the best content

As with optimizing your website content, optimizing your video content requires careful analysis of what users are looking for. This is why it is important to know the research context of the theme in which you are working. A semantic analysis will allow you to identify expressions, questions and therefore specific search intentions that will direct you to the video content to be created.

Another element that you will need to know: the type of requests for your theme for which Google is likely to push the video format in its pages. For this, it is useful to look at what the Serps look like and what formats are displayed there. Arnaud Koszarek tells us a little more: “You have to look at where Google puts video and on what types of requests. You can do it manually or use tools that detect where the video is displayed by Google. Often, on certain queries, we can aim for featured snippets in position zero”

And when there are no videos in the Serp? Analyze the request carefully. This may be an indication that no existing video is yet optimized or relevant enough to rank. An opportunity for you to do better and submit a video?

2. Communicate well with Google

Once the analysis work is done, it will be a question of making Google understand what your videos are about. And to do so, it is a matter of providing the engine with a certain number of contextualization elements. And it’s mainly on Youtube that this happens! With 2.3 billion active users each month, Youtube – which is owned by Google – has become the second largest search engine in the world. Above all, this is where the Mountain View firm draws nearly 80% of the videos displayed in its Serps.

How to stand out? According to Arnaud Koszarek, “Google first looks at the given meta. This is going to be the description, title and other important SEO containers of the video. But it also looks at the Youtube channel environment as well as the developed themes that form very specific micro-universes. Google also looks at the kinetic effect created by a video, which is manifested by shares, likes and views. These are the elements that allow Google to determine the popularity of a video on the web. There is also the world of commentary, user generated content, which provides a lot of information.”

To properly describe the content of your videos, Youtube provides areas where you can place your main and secondary keywords:

  • First, the title of the video in which you will use the main keyword. It must be a maximum of 55 characters and must be descriptive and inciting.
  • Next, the description of the video. This is an opportunity to explain the important elements. The purpose of this site is to insert your main keyword but also secondary keywords and relevant expressions. The text must contain a maximum of 300 words and be made of short and descriptive sentences.
  • This same description must also encourage users to subscribe and like the video through call to actions. This is also where you can insert links to your social networks as well as to a page on your site to create engagement.
  • You will also insert descriptive tags on the Youtube page of your video to enrich your contextualization and place your keywords.
  • The filename of your video must include the main keyword
  • You will also select the most relevant category offered by Youtube to affiliate your video and thus mark the main theme to which it belongs.

3. Take care of your Youtube channel

You will need to take care of your Youtube channel. The creation of thematic playlists will help to discover all of your productions arranged by theme while the description of the channel, as for the video, must include your main and secondary keywords, be an incentive to share and encourage subscription while offering links to the pages of your site.

Links to your site on which you will dedicate if possible a page that deals with the subject of the video while uploading your Youtube video in the content of the page. This is important because if, they are neat, these pages have a role to play in your optimization efforts. First, because your video expands its reach beyond Youtube and second, because the page provides something that Google loves: context. Indeed, in addition to dressing the video on Youtube, the algorithms will discover your video inside a text near specific keywords and concepts. And Arnaud Koszarek to insist: “This will help Google to judge the weight and relevance of the video”.

4. Fine-tune the details

Is the job of optimizing your video done? No way. From now on, you will have to continue to provide the search engines with information while keeping your primary objective in mind. Get your video watched. And there, a number of actions can come to extend your efforts and push your content as high as possible in the Serps and on Youtube.

The first step is to create subtitles so that the user can view your video even without being able to listen to it. Then, the transcription of what is said in your video will allow you to offer your users before or after viewing to read textual content.

Also, creating chapters marking the different sections of your video is highly recommended. Google will be able to display them in the Serps below your content display. A real boost for the visibility of your video but also an incentive to click! Because at a glance, the user can tell if you are really dealing with the subject he is looking for.

An interaction that you can also stimulate through the creation of info sheets. Which will make your video more dynamic. These information cards appear during viewing in order to offer Internet users the possibility of following links, viewing other videos or even accessing a playlist.

5. Generate engagement

These actions will make your content easier to consume for your users but also more understandable and better contextualized for algorithms. But context isn’t everything. The notion of performance is just as important. The behavior of users in contact with your content is scrutinized by algorithms.

They are always looking for signals. But this time linked to the reactions of Internet users:

  • The click-through rate of the video on your site page
  • The evolution of the number of subscriptions
  • The viewing time
  • The video’s play rate (the ratio of complete views to those abandoned before completion)
  • Audience retention (the moments that caught your audience’s attention)
  • The number of “likes”
  • The number of views
  • The number of shares
  • The number and nature of comments.

Youtube Studio will provide you with all the data that will allow you to better understand your audience and monitor your performance. Again, the idea for the algorithms is to make sure your content is relevant and in tune with what people are looking for.

And to take the analysis even further, they will also look at the click-through rate of your photo thumbnail or thumbnail. This is the image that features your video in search results. Visual element, it is the first impression given. It is essential to ensure that the associated image and title are inciting and make you want to watch.

Another thing to watch out for is the click-through rate of end screen elements. This is the last image of your video on which you can embed a call for subscription or offer to watch other videos. If people are interacting, they liked your content and want more. A very good sign for the algorithms.

Other valuable data awaits you on Youtube Studio, such as the themes or other videos that your audience views, the origin of Internet users who found your video or even the search terms used on Youtube to access your content.

6. Stay on standby

Search terms and trends that change over time. This is why you need to monitor the suggestions of the Youtube search engine when searching for your keywords or expressions. It is a valuable indicator of new intent and searched keywords. The Google Trends tool also shows search trends on topics. Monitor those of your theme.

And if it is not you who are pushed into the Serps, tell yourself that it is not due to chance. Google simply judges other videos more relevant! It is therefore important to look at what those who have positioned themselves well in the Serps are doing. You will find ways to improve there. This is an essential point of your optimization work.

Be attentive to any element of comparison. And keep in mind that Google’s ranking algorithm is almost never wrong! It pushes the videos and channels which have given enough guarantees in terms of semantic environment, popularity and performance.

Look at the duration of videos, their formats, titles, descriptions, keywords used and all the comparison elements you have at your disposal. When do they respond to the request? How do they deal with a subject? What tone is used? Moreover, this may allow you to identify themes and subjects that are less developed than others among your competitors. An opportunity for you to create a video that fills the gap?

In short, constant questioning and benchmarking are the last two stones in your building, but not the least important.

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