YouTube Ranking Factors: 15 Guerrilla Tactics

youtube-logo1Understanding various social & algorithmic nodes is important, as users build up enough street-cred’ to hang with other pages in first string YouTube SERPs. Once a profile gains momentum and authority, results begin to appear.

YouTube uses various metrics, known and black box, to establish ranking and authority of videos and channels. We recommend participation along the following nodes to build YouTube profiles for higher video rankings.


The first step is getting engaged in the YouTube community. The profile needs a pulse. Think of it as participation in Twitter. Follow, rebroadcast, friend, share, etc…Like any social community the more friends and participation a users has, the more internal link energy is focused on both internal and public profile nodes.

Research Community
Identify YouTube users that have an interest or have published similar content. Most users are transparent about their age in their channel; be sure to friend users that fit the target audience. Become an active member of the YouTube community and participate just as much if not more as you contribute content.

Use the Internal Rating System to Score Others’ Videos
Rate the videos that you watch and be honest not gratuitous. We believe it helps with “participation” credit in the algorithm.  It also helps because others see you in-community. Others will rate your videos too, lending credibility to the profile. If you are responding to or have found a useful or bothersome comment, be sure to give a thumbs up or down.


Friends & Subscribers
Build a base of high authority friends and niche specific users for social and algorithmic advantages. Subscribe to and associate yourself with those users that provide benefit to the community.

Favorite Videos
Favorite videos that you feel lend to the personality your brand. The users find out and are more amenable to friendship & mutual promotion.

Comment With Non-Gratuitous Zeal
Search relevant areas that coincide with the brand and reaffirm or add insight into comment threads of useful videos. Take it even further by visiting the profile of the user who posted the video and engage directly. It’s an age old marketing principle, provide users value and build trust before you begin asking anything of them in return.

A sure fire way to get people to visit the profile is to reply to a particular user’s comment in a thread. Either give them kudos or expand on their thought (people like to be patted on the head).  A word of caution: don’t suck up or overdue over do it.

Master & Use YouTube Insight Analytics
YouTube Insight is an analytics toolset for your published videos. With it you can track views, demographics, community engagement, bounce rate, video popularity and how users are discovering the content.

To access it follow these steps:
sign in > Account > Insight


Title the Raw File Name
Many times it will take a few days for YouTube to fully upload a video and in the mean time it will use the raw file name as the title of the video. Be sure to name the raw file just as you would the title tag. Keywords in the file name count in the video game.

Channel Views
Visit related channels and add to their comment field to bring visibility back to the users channel. Use your Tweet share and friend instincts.

Watch More Videos (we are currently testing specifics of this attribute). Make sure to watch videos that are related to the niche you are trying to fill & watch them all the way through. YouTube may use your viewing history against identical or similar tags of your uploads to populate “related content” on your video pages that others see.

Competitive Intelligence
Under Data/Statistics under any given video (if the user did not disallow) you can see how many people link, what URLs, favorite count, honors received, what users rated and other useful competitive data for tagging inspiration.


Video Responses
Post responses to related videos if the user has allowed this option. Allow the option yourself. You can also piggyback any successful video of your own to funnel views. This is another reason to watch videos. Like with Digg, getting in the first comment on a thread about to go hot can yield secondary traffic and branding.


Use the ‘annotations’ option to implement calls-to-action throughout your videos. Insert links when appropriate. You can track the amount of clicks garnered from the external link overlay in YouTube Insight.


Linkbuild to Profile’s Assets
Use other sites in hand to link to the YouTube channel or specific videos to build authority. Be clever about the anchor text so as to increase the potential spread of keywords Google might associate with the video when inserting video into Universal SERPs. Drive fans from Twitter, Facebook and other social assets to videos hosted on YouTube.

Embed video within an optimized blog post
YouTube tracks the number of times a video is embedded as a component to the ranking algorithm.  Also each post the video is embedded on is optimized itself and can rank alongside the video.


-The idea is to determine what YouTube organic SERPs you want to impact and fill up YouTube organic space.

-Also look for the intersection of traditional KW research and YouTube organic suggestions. They often align.

-You have the option to tell YouTube where the video was shot. For regional based searches this is an easy way to put yourself in the SERPs without using precious title tag real estate.

Last but not least…

Optimize Video
-Thoughtful filename, title, tags and description, keyword research using YouTube “suggestion” field and YouTube video keyword tool/identify the search queries you want to rank well for before you name your file & title, target location (edit settings).


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