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How to Rank Your YouTube Video on Google?

Sahil from InVideo
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6 min

Even though not an official search engine, YouTube still garners over 3 billion searches monthly, making it the second-largest search engine after its parent company Google – which receives 5.6 billion searches per day!

Now, imagine, your video dominating the rankings of both these search engine juggernauts. The perks are astronomical.

  • Traffic to your website will increase.
  • Views on your videos will go through the roof.
  • Engagement will elevate.
  • Conversion rates will increase.

But, to acquire it all, you must learn how to rank your YouTube video on Google. It is easier than you think and you can do it in 3 simple steps.

Step I: Brainstorm for the “right” Topics

Digging for the “right” topics that resonate with your audience is not easy, especially when you are targeting two different platforms. So, you must begin by asking yourself two questions:

Question #1: Does the audience prefer watching a video on your chosen topic/subject than reading about it?

Question #2: Are people searching for your chosen topic on Google?

You can identify video intent of a topic by searching for the root keyword and checking whether videos get ranked in the SERPs or not.

For instance, when you search for ‘how to make tea?’, videos are listed in the results.

Search Engine Result Page - Videos

Source: Google

However, when you search for ‘what is tea?’, the results don’t include videos.

Search Engine Result Page

Source: Google

When deciding upon a topic, focus on query-based keywords that include ‘How to…’ and target topics that require large chunks of details.

To find query-based keywords, use Answer The Public tool. It provides you with a comprehensive list of query-based search terms.


Source: Answer The Public

Apart from this, keywords like ‘reviews’ and ‘tutorials’ lead to videos getting ranked in the SERPs.

Now, to answer the second question: Are people searching for your chosen topic on Google?

That’s simple!

Every keyword research tool in the market provides you with the search volume of a keyword. Enter your topic and identify how many people search for it.

Step II: Optimize your YouTube Videos

Every business targets a separate audience, so it is hard to describe and explain how to create a video that people will love. However, I can tell you the ways to optimize your YouTube videos so they get ranked in the Google SERPs as well.

1. Title

YouTube has a title limit of 100 characters. But for better SEO, you must limit the title to 70. This way, you can include your target keyword in the title without the fear of keyword stuffing. Also, in the title, use the keyword as early as possible as it helps in SEO.

2. Description

The description is your blank canvas. It gives you the freedom to enhance your SEO. Plus, it can help both YouTube and Google understand the context of your video. And you must leverage it to the best of your ability since your content’s ranking depends on both the search engine’s understanding.

So, how to optimize the description of your YouTube video?

  • Minimum word count – 150 Words

Since the search engine analyzes the entire description before ranking the associated video, you should keep it descriptive. It must be a minimum of 150 words, which can extend up to 1000.

  • Write a compelling brief in the first two sentences

The initial two sentences of the description must summarize the video. It is because those two sentences are visible in the search and YouTube emphasizes a lot on the mentioned keywords in them.

YouTube Video Description Optimisation


YouTube Video Optimisation


  • Add a mix of target and related keywords

When writing the description, make sure that the target keyword is added at least twice, along with a combination of related keywords. Every keyword (be it related or target) must be added organically and not forced (or stuffed).

  • Include timestamps

When searching for a query, you must’ve come across such results:

SERP- YouTube Video Timestamp

These appear in Google mobile SERPs to improve the UX of the mobile audience. It helps users to brush through the video’s contents and access the specific part that best satisfies the query they have.

The timestamps appeared in the SERPs because the creator specified them in his/her video’s description.

YouTube - Tips and Timestamp of the Explanation in the Video


When creating timestamps, keep in mind these things:

  • Texts, next to the timestamps, should be short and descriptive.
  • Each timestamp should be on a different line.
  • Place the timestamps in chronological order.
  • Add necessary timestamps and not a LOT.
  • Align the timestamps with the video.
  • Links to your social media accounts

Finally, in the end, you should add links to your social media accounts, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. This way, the search engine will be able to discover your other active social media profiles. Also, you can direct the viewers to other social media platforms.

3. [CC] – Closed Captions

Google creates captions for videos automatically, but they aren’t always correct -which they should be for two reasons:

Reason #1: Google studies CC to understand the contents of a video and rank it. Therefore, you must speak your target keyword in the video, so that it gets ranked higher.

Reason #2: Most people watch videos without audio and they confide in auto-generated captions to understand the content; hence, they should be error-free. This helps improve the engagement of your videos.

You must fix the closed captions or upload the video’s transcript to ensure that even without audio, your video is still useful and valuable to the viewers.

4. Thumbnails

90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails. And to be a part of that 90%, you need to create enticing thumbnails. Here’s how you should do it:

  • Keep the thumbnails in 16:9 ratio; otherwise, they appear with black bars along the sides.
  • It should visually ensure the audience that the video will resolve their query.
  • Make them visually pleasing and enticing enough to grab the viewer’s attention.

Step III: Promotion is necessary

YouTube Videos - Promotion of Content

After creating the video, what’s the next step? Promotion!

Your video has to have an impressive number of views, if you want it to rank on YouTube, let alone Google.

Here is a list of ways you can follow to promote your content:

  1. Share the video link on social media handles and market them via emails.
  2. Include the link in your Quora answers.
  3. Embed the videos in your latest posts and top-performing articles.

Remember that you have placed every link naturally and don’t stuff it in the content.


Video SEO is a comparatively new topic, and Google has been playing around with how to display a video in the SERPs. However, amidst all this tension, there’s one thing for sure:

“If you have a quality video that is optimized strategically and promoted with the same zeal, then it can garner views and rank higher in the SERPs.”

For my final words on this topic, I’ll give you three pieces of bonus advice:

  1. Create a transcript of the video and upload it on YouTube.
  2. Bifurcate your videos into playlists.
  3. Add schema markup for your embedded videos.

Is there something I missed? Let me know in the comment section below.

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