Top 7 YouTube Ranking Factors You Need to Target for Higher Search Rankings

Where do your videos rank on YouTube? Like the search engine of its parent company, YouTube uses an algorithm to determine the keywords and placements for which videos rank. YouTube will scan your videos for various ranking factors. Using this information, it will then rank your videos. Some YouTube ranking factors, however, have a greater influence on rankings than others.

1) View Count

The number of views your videos generate will affect their YouTube rankings. According to a study of over 100,000 videos conducted by Briggsby, in fact, view count is the single-most powerful YouTube ranking factor.

YouTube favors videos with a high view count. A high view count is a sign of popularity. It shows YouTube that a given video is well-received by viewers. Therefore, it ranks videos based on their view count. Promoting your videos through other channels — social media, paid advertising, etc. — can lead to a higher view count that improves their rankings.

2) Title

YouTube will analyze the titles of your videos to determine their rankings. Each video that you upload to your channel must have a title. When ranking your videos, YouTube will look at keywords in their titles. Using a specific keyword in a title will increase the video’s chances of ranking for it. If a title doesn’t contain a keyword, the video may not rank for it.

For search engine optimization (SEO)-friendly video titles, follow these tips:

  • Use a maximum of 70 characters, including spaces.
  • Create highly relevant titles that describe your videos.
  • Place the primary keywords for which you want to rank near the beginning.
  • Use a title case format.
  • Avoid clickbait titles that deceive viewers.
  • When appropriate, include numerical figures.

3) Duration

Long videos typically rank higher on YouTube than short videos. Research by Statista found that the average length of a YouTube video is 11 minutes, six seconds. Some videos, of course, are shorter. YouTube doesn’t have a minimum length requirement. You can upload a 30-second video or even a one-second video to your channel.

While easy to create, short videos are harder to rank on YouTube than long videos. The amount of contain in a video is measured in its duration. Long videos have more frames than short videos, so they offer more content to viewers. YouTube uses duration as a ranking factor so that it can provide viewers with more content.

4) Resolution

You might be surprised to learn that resolution is a YouTube ranking factor. Several years ago, Backlinko conducted a study in which it found that high-definition (HD) videos encompass over two-thirds of all placements on the first page of YouTube’s results.

YouTube may rank low-resolution videos as well, but it favors those recorded in HD. HD videos contain more pixels, making them clearer and more detailed. And if you record a video in 4K HD, YouTube will add the “4K” tag next to the video’s thumbnail. Viewers who encounter the video when searching on YouTube will see this tag, which may cause them to select your video. Regardless, using an HD format will help your videos rank higher on YouTube.

5) Likes

Another powerful YouTube ranking factor is likes. Videos with few or no likes generally don’t rank high. A high number of likes indicates that viewers enjoyed watching a video. If a video has over 10,000 views but only two or three likes, YouTube will assume that viewers were dissatisfied with it. Therefore, it may bury the video underneath other videos with more likes.

You can attract more likes by asking for them. When recording a video, for example, you can ask viewers to click the like button if they enjoyed watching. You can also add a text solicitation for likes in the video’s description. Some of the biggest brands and content creators on YouTube ask for likes in their videos. It builds viewer loyalty, improves brand credibility and encourages higher YouTube rankings.

6) Comments

In addition to likes, YouTube uses comments as a ranking factor. The platform’s default settings allow viewers to comment on any video. While you can disable comments under the “Community” settings in YouTube Studio — or by selecting the “More options” tab after clicking a thumbnail — your videos will probably rank higher if you leave them enabled.

There’s a strong correlation between a video’s comments and its YouTube rankings. Videos with hundreds or thousands of comments usually outrank videos with fewer comments. A high number of comments is a sign of engagement. When viewers are engaged with a video, they may leave a comment. YouTube wants to provide its viewers with engaging videos, so it uses comments as a ranking factor.

You can ask viewers to leave a comment when asking them to like your videos. When a viewer leaves a comment, though, you should make a point to reply. Replying shows viewers that you care about their thoughts and opinions. New viewers will see your replies, and they may leave their own comments as a result.

7) Watch Time

The watch time of your videos will affect their YouTube rankings. Watch time refers to how long viewers spend watching a video. In Youtube Studio, it’s an aggregate metric. If you use YouTube Studio to check your watch time, you’ll see the total amount of time that all viewers have spent watching your videos.

YouTube has confirmed the use of watch time as a ranking factor. In 2012, the platform’s Head of Content Creator Communications, Eric Meyerson, published a blog post revealing that YouTube would begin to prioritize videos from accounts with a high watch time. If you have a high watch time, YouTube may reward your videos with higher rankings.

YouTube doesn’t use the same ranking algorithm as Google. Google’s algorithm is designed to evaluate web pages, whereas YouTube’s algorithm is designed to evaluate videos. Some of the top ranking factors for YouTube include view count, title, duration, resolution, likes, comments and watch time. By targeting these ranking factors, your videos will rank higher and attract more viewers.

PerOla Hammar 陈家悦
Father of 2. Marketing, sales & web geek who is open-minded & eager to learn. Experienced a lot in the past years, both good and bad. Lesson learned? LIVE LIFE!