How to Rank YouTube Videos

3 ways to rank in search and get more views on your next video

What to Know

  • Ranking in YouTube search or recommended content is the best way to reach new viewers.
  • You can reach viewers by targeting a niche, pursuing trends, or responding to other popular videos.

Ranking a video on YouTube isn't easy, but it's possible. These three strategies, each with a specific focus, will help your YouTube videos rank well even if your channel is new and you have no prior experience.

How to Rank YouTube Videos by Targeting a Niche

This strategy is a reliable way to rank YouTube videos and requires no prior experience to be successful.

  1. Write down a list of potential niche topics that might be a fit. A list of ten topics is a good start.

    Be careful to select topics that fit the theme of your channel. New subscribers may not like later videos and eventually unsubscribe if they don't.

  2. Research the topics that you've selected in YouTube search.

    A search on YouTube for Goetta.
  3. Refine your list, crossing off well-served topics and keeping those with few relevant videos.

  4. Choose a topic. With your refined list finished, visit a YouTube keyword search tool such as Ahref's free keyword search. Look for terms that have some search traffic. Higher is better, but expect numbers in the hundreds - it's a niche, after all.

    An Ahrefs search of YouTube search volume for the term Goetta.
  5. Create and upload your video to YouTube. Whatever the video, ensure the title, description, and keyword fields include the search term you've decided to target.

You can use this strategy to build an audience on a new channel without experience. This lack of competition is essential, offering a chance to learn the craft of making videos without going head-to-head with more experienced creators.

Rank YouTube Videos by Targeting Trends

Targeting trends are the opposite of targeting a niche. You'll face a lot of competition and must work quickly.

  1. Load your favorite tool for searching trends. Our guide to finding the most popular searches is an excellent place to start.

  2. Create a list of trends that are a fit for your YouTube channel.

  3. Search for the trend on YouTube. Take note of whether there's significant competition.

    A Youtube search for a new album by the artist Drake.

    If not, act quickly! Creators who are among the first to jump on a trend have an edge. If many videos exist, consider how your video might respond to them or offer a new take on the trend.

  4. Select a topic from the trends that remain on your list. Give preference to the ones that seem more popular.

  5. Create and upload your video to YouTube. Check that the trending topic is in the title, description, and keyword fields.

Targeting trends is fast-paced. If you can't commit to turning around videos within days, or you're not confident in your video creation skills, try targeting a niche first.

Rank YouTube Videos by Targeting Similar Content

This strategy looks to pick up viewers who are watching other popular content. The goal is not to rank in YouTube search but instead to become the top-recommended video on another popular video.

  1. Browse the channels of YouTube creators who make content similar to your channel.

  2. View videos recently uploaded by these creators. Make a list of five to ten videos with a high number of views or that seem controversial.

    A YouTube channel page with a list of recently uploaded videos.
  3. Watch the selected videos and create a list of ideas that respond to them. Look for opportunities to expand on points made in the video. Also, read the comments section, which can hint at what viewers would like to see covered.

  4. Narrow down your list to a single topic. Focus on topics that respond to videos that are already popular.

  5. Create and upload your video to YouTube. Include the topic in the title, description, and keyword fields. If responding to a specific creator, include the creator's channel name in the title, description, and keyword fields.

This strategy can be highly effective but expose you to criticism, as your response video may point out flaws in another creator's content.

Metrics that Rank YouTube Videos

A strategy will help you rank new YouTube videos. But how do you know if viewers are interested in and enjoy your video? A few key metrics provide insight and, if they're high, will help your videos rank on YouTube.

Click-through-rate (CTR) is critical for new creators. CTR is the percentage of people who see your video in search who click through to view the video. A CTR above 5 percent is decent, and a CTR in the double digits is excellent. Take the time to create an attractive custom YouTube thumbnail for every video. A catchy title helps, too.

Audience retention is the most crucial metric for sustained success. The platform wants to keep viewers on YouTube for as long as possible. The better your content, the more likely this is to happen.

Subscribers are always helpful. Having more subscribers will make your videos a more reliable bet for YouTube. Identify a topic for your channel and stay close to it, as that will encourage subscriptions and make subscribers less likely to leave.

  • How do I download a YouTube video?

    The easiest way is with a YouTube Premium subscription, which includes an option to make videos available for offline viewing. You can also use an online tool to download a video from its URL, but copyright limits what you can do with videos you save to your computer.

  • How do I upload a video to YouTube from my iPhone?

    In the YouTube app, tap your profile pic. Then, go to Your channel > Create > Upload a video and select the clip you want to share. Follow the onscreen instructions to add a title and description and upload your video to your channel.

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