In our previous blog post, we talked about the results of analyzing 1.3 million YouTube videos, and what you can learn about the factors that affect search rankings, and how you can improve yours. Here we present part 2 of these findings.

  1. Last week, we talked about some of the factors that show to YouTube that people are interested in a video, prompting them to rank it higher. Some of these factors included Likes, Comments, and Shares. To some degree, the number of subscribers a channel has will influence search rankings as well. However, there isn’t nearly as much of a correlation in this area as there is with regards to views, shares, and other factors. This means that, while it certainly helps to have a big subscriber base, it’s not absolutely necessary, and smaller channels can still gain notice if they produce worthwhile content.
  2. New Subscribers. More influential to a video’s search rankings than the number of total subscribers the channel has, is the number of subscribers generated by that particular video. This shows that people like your video enough to want to see more from you. So if you have 100 subscribers, but 10 new people click the Subscribe button after watching your latest video, you may rank higher in search results than a similar video that only generated 5 new subscribers, even if that video’s channel has more subscribers overall.
  3. Video Tags. The tags you use to identify specific types of content in your videos used to have a significant impact on the video’s search rankings for those particular keywords. There still is a correlation, but these days it’s much reduced. YouTube has grown more sophisticated and can recognize important factors about a video that influence what searches to display it in, without relying on metadata. So still be sure to put a few important tags on your videos, but don’t spend as much time on that as you would have a few years ago, and instead put that effort into other methods of video promotion, which can boost the factors we talked about last week.
  4. Description Keywords. Another thing you may have done in the past to improve your video SEO is to include keywords in the description. But our analysis showed no correlation at all between description keywords and search rankings in today’s video world. One possible reason for this is that, in the early days of YouTube, people used to abuse the practice. They’d put dozens, even hundreds of popular but completely unrelated keywords into their video descriptions, in order to rank in more searches and gain more views. Therefore, YouTube has changed their algorithms in recent years to avoid this. So when you write your video description, tell viewers a little about what they can expect and provide any pertinent information, links, etc. But don’t spend a lot of time trying to optimize it.
  5. Video Titles. It may seem obvious, but you’re slightly more likely to rank higher in searches for your video’s exact title, than for searches that include only part of the title, or an approximation of it. Therefore, keep your titles simple and intuitive. The longer or more complicated your title, the less of a chance there will be of people searching for it word for word. And including a popular keyword or phrase may give you a slight edge as well. So a video titled “Fixing Your Air Conditioner” will be a bit easier to find than one called, “Mr. Fix-It’s Top Tips for Keeping Cool,” unless “Mr. Fix-It” is someone popularly associated with your brand and already draws a lot of traffic.
  6. HD Videos. YouTube wants to promote high quality videos. Therefore, videos shot in HD will rank higher than those that aren’t. 68.2% of videos on the first page of YouTube are HD videos. Invest in an HD camera and you’ll have a better chance of getting noticed.

These are just a few of the factors that can affect your YouTube search rankings. Remember, what’s most important to YouTube is promoting high quality content that people like and find worthwhile. If you focus on that first, it will be a lot easier to use these other factors to improve your viewership.