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Ranking top on YouTube is simple when you know how

Posted on 9th June, 2017 by Greg Doyle


YouTube is one of the most powerful and popular social platforms on the planet, around 5 billion videos are watched every single day with over 300 hours of video being uploaded to the service every minute. With over 30 million daily visitors, YouTube offers businesses an unrivalled platform for building brand awareness. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can help to make sure your videos get top rankings.

Video length

Much in the same way that there is a strong correlation between longer content web pages performing well in Google search, video length also seems to be a ranking factor when it comes to YouTube. A video’s total watch time has been confirmed as one of the key ranking factors and longer videos seem to best accomplish this.

The average length of a video that ranks on the first page of YouTube is nearly 15 minutes and if you do a search for popular keywords chances are that you’ll struggle to find any videos ranking well that are below the 3 minute mark. If you want to rank well then you should be creating an in-depth video that is of value to potential customers.

Just because your video is long doesn’t mean that it will automatically do well. Make sure your video gives people a reason to start watching and more importantly stay tuned in instead of clicking away.


While social media shares might not correlate with rankings on Google, on YouTube at least it looks like the more shares you get the better your video will perform. This probably has something to do in part with the way that videos are shared from YouTube which adds tracking to the mix that then looks at other metrics such as video views, watch time and other metrics. By tracking who shares what and where YouTube is also able to stop the system from being gamed.

Video comments

Another engagement metric that seems to be used to evaluate rankings is the number of comments that a video has. As you’d expect comments help to show that people are actively engaging with a video and want to get involved. The more comments a video receives the better chance it has of ranking highly on YouTube. Delving deep into a topic and providing a useful and informative video is a great way to help get lots of comments.

View count

One of the earliest ranking factors used by YouTube for ranking purposes was video views. The theory was the more views a video received and the more popular it was the higher the quality. However, they soon realised that just because a video had a lot of views, it did not necessarily mean that it was a great quality video.

In 2012 they introduced new ranking factors to look at engagement metrics such as time watched and audience engagement to help determine the rankings. Despite these changes videos with higher view counts still seem to perform well on YouTube although past a certain point other engagement metrics that look at quality of engagement seem to be more important.

Channel subscriptions

Having a YouTube channel and getting people to subscribe following watching your video is almost certainly a ranking factor. When someone subscribes to your channel it shows that they are deeply engaged with your content and this in turn helps to give your video a ranking boost. One way you can help get more people to subscribe to your channel is by adding a call to action in your video asking viewers to subscribe to your channel.

All of the above factors help to determine how highly your video will rank on YouTube. Producing high-quality content that is laser-targeted towards your audience and covers a topic in-depth is a great way to help your videos perform better.

While it can be difficult to compete with the major brands we regularly see cases where small publishers outperform big corporations by providing high-value videos that really engage users. Whether this is taking the time to create a how-to guide, an in-depth product review or tutorial, find out what your target audience wants and give it to them.

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