Oct 052016

How to rank your video on YouTube?

How long will it take to reach the top? Can we game a system and boost our rankings on YouTube in a very short time? And, if it is possible, how much time and money will such a ranking manipulation cost?

As I already mentioned in my earlier posts, I came to a conclusion that the only marketing campaigns worth investing our time in are those with a potential to bring targeted, recurring traffic to our book landing pages.

Building your own YouTube channel and ranking the videos for keywords relevant to your book belongs to these techniques.

If I, for example, managed to rank a video for a keyword “prison stories” on the first page of YouTube search results (or Google search results), I’ll get a number of targeted views every day. People search for this keyword all the time. Just see:

2 days and so many views

More than one million people have seen the second video on the list in last three years… Can you imagine our book trailer holding that spot? The first video has 8K views only, but it was uploaded just two days ago! Their high ranking is a result of 100K subscribers, and probably some algorithm manipulation (We’ll talk about it later)

Of course, not every one who looks for “prison stories” will find my videos (or my book) interesting. Many people look for sensation, or for a brutal story when entering “prison stories” to YouTube search.

A certain group of viewers, however, will find it interesting, and they will navigate to the landing page of the UNIVERSITY OF SOLITUDE after watching one of my videos.

But how can we rank the video in the top of YouTube search results, so people searching for the keywords will find it, and not the videos created by other people?


Ranking factors on YouTube

Note: Today we will talk solely about ranking a video on YouTube, not about ranking it on Google. Ranking a video on the first page of Google (for desired keyword) is independent of ranking a video on the first page of YouTube. Both goals require different strategies and action on your side.


Ranking factors you have full control over, and can influence easily

Video Title, Description, and Tags

You can see the keyword (inspirational christian stories about faith) in both the title and description on the video

You can see the keyword (inspirational Christian stories about faith) in both the title and video description. It’s also in the tags section, but that one can’t be see on the screenshot.


The video title, description and tags basically tell YouTube what’s your video about. In order to determine the proper title and description, you should do a keyword research. We talked about it in this article. You can also use a special utility, for example this one (costs $7) to help you determine your chances to rank in YouTube search results, for various keywords relevant to the topic of your book.

Advice: Try to go for low competition keywords. There are plenty of them in every niche, and you can get a decent number of views, especially if you upload many different videos.

Easytube KW research

I entered a few keywords (that I found before with the help of Google Keyword tool) to the Easytube tool.

Easytube calculated the difficulty of ranking for each of my chosen keywords on YouTube.

Easytube calculated the difficulty of ranking for each of my chosen keywords on YouTube.

Keyword “prison stories” (see picture above) reports hard difficulty to rank on YouTube . I therefore prefer to make videos for “solitary confinement stories”, and for “solitary confinement effects”, even though they have just a fraction of searches reported for “prison stories”.

But while I should be able to rank them on the top of YouTube in a relatively short time, I may easily fail to rank a video for “prison stories” keyword, considering the competition and difficulty. It’s better to have videos ranking for low competition keywords than to have great videos for high competition keyword that nobody will ever see, because it will not rank on the first page of YouTube.

After you have done your research and identified the best keywords, you should use them in your video title, description, and tags. In all of them.

Sometimes, if the competition is very low, doing this can be enough to rank on the top of YouTube.

As you can see, I ranked number three for an easy keyword related to my book (the video is Farshid's story, those of you who read the book will know). However, I am for now ranking just below the top 25 positions for the more important keyword "inspirational christian stories", that reports very decent monthly searches. It will take some additional work to rank for that one.

As you can see, I ranked number three for an easy keyword related to my book (the video is Farshid’s story, those of you who read the book will know). However, I am  ranking just below the top 25 positions for the more important keyword “inspirational christian stories”, that reports very decent monthly searches. It will take some additional work to rank for that one. 😉


Video quality

The longer the users watch your video, the better it will rank. If your video is ten minutes long and users watch in average only the first minute, it sends a clear sign for YouTube—your video sucks. The viewers have not found what they were looking for. Result? Drop in the rankings. Or at least you won’t be moving up the ladder….

You are the one making videos. You have the control over the quality. Devote enough time to editing your videos, inspire yourself with the work of other people, watch tutorials, and ask people what you can improve about your movies. The better and more relevant, the easier it will be to attract high retention views, which will lead to a better ranking.

Total number of videos in your channel, niche relevancy

YouTube loves old, regularly updated channels with high quality, niche-targeted videos. If you upload at least two new videos every month, and do it on a consistent basis for at least several months, you will see your videos slowly rising in the search results—without doing any additional work.

While this won’t be enough to rank your videos for medium, or for high competition keywords, your videos will start to attract some views for long tail keywords, and from YouTube recommendations. That will result in more total views, and a better standing of your channel in the eyes of YouTube ranking algorithm.

Again, you have full control over this ranking factor. All you have to do is regularly updating your channel, adding new unique videos .

I am slowly growing my channel, adding various niche-targeted videos.

We are slowly growing the channel, adding various book-related videos on a weekly basis.


Ranking factors you have some control over, but it takes some additional work to influence them

Note: Backlinks (links on other website pointing back to your video URL) have no influence on your ranking on YouTube. (They do significantly impact your video ranking on Google though, but we won’t analyze that ranking algorithm in this post).

Embedding the video on other websites

Backlinks are irrelevant, but embeds matter. My internet marketing experience has proved time and again that embedding a YouTube video on various websites (so their visitors can watch the video directly on the page, without a need to go back to YouTube) will boost your rankings on YouTube.

But how can I find places to embed my video?

This is not as difficult as it seems. You can find many platforms that will allow you to create content on their pages, and to embed your videos. Free of charge. They are typically called “web 2.0 sites”. Have a look on an example below:

I used the free weebly platform to create some content and embed my video. You will find dozens of similar free platforms online. just search for "list of web 2.0 sites 2016" and you should find a good list of these platforms.

I used the free weebly.com platform to create some content and embed my video in the content. You will find dozens of similar free platforms online. Search for “list of web 2.0 sites 2016” to find a good list.

Note: In order to achieve the best possible results, you should create high quality web 2.0 content and embed your video there. Describing in detail how to build a great web 2.0 property that looks fully legit in the eyes of Google and YouTube, exceeds the purpose of this article, but you can find good information on the topic simply asking Google 🙂.

Important ranking factors you have little control over, but can significantly influence by gaming the system

Let me list them first: high retention views, likes, subscribers.

All of them play an important role, if you try to reach the top of YouTube search results for the keywords of your choice. And they are twice as important if you aim for highly competitive keywords that attract thousands of searches every month.

Many marketing “gurus” claim that you can get all of these by making quality videos and growing your channel regularly. However, that is not true. Definitely not in 2016.

One can find just too many videos in every competitive niche, and some of them are really good. They rank on the first page of YT search results right now, and attract many new views every day. Since they are good, people will like them, and some will even subscribe to the channels.

So, these older videos (most of them have been around for some time) get likes and subs on a daily basis, while your new video (doesn’t matter how great) is stuck somewhere on page five of YouTube search results. It hardly gets any new views. And if you have no views, you can logically get neither likes nor subscribers… While the ball of other YouTube marketers is rolling, yours isn’t moving at all. They gain more and more likes and views and subs every day, leaving your stuck video behind. More behind every day. The gap is only widening, not closing.

A vicious cycle?

Yes and no. If you want to play completely by the rules, than it is a vicious cycle. It is not impossible to succeed on YouTube without gaming the system … but in some niches, it’s close to impossible to do that. They are just too strong to crack with a new channel and videos. So, what will we do? Well, we will game the system. We will buy the views, the likes, and even the subscribers! So then we have a chance to be on the top, and get natural views, likes and subscribers later.

A huge market

Buying YouTube views won’t make you a black sheep of the internet, or a black hat SEO star. Let’s face it: the views (even the high retention views you should aim for) are darn cheap… And since they are darn cheap, many people will buy them. Even those people who have no idea what there are doing….

How cheap are the views? Let’s see the screenshot below:

Site selling Youtube views

That’s one dollar for 1,000 views. Not much, is it?

And you can get even better prices, if you order in big quantities.

I know one of the guys who run a successful service selling YouTube views and likes (and some other things). He serves several hundreds clients every month. Hundreds of clients every month, and that’s just one service provider. I think you can do the math and understand how big this fake views market really is. . . .

But the internet gurus and my uncle from local SEO agency said that my videos will get penalized, and my account banned, if I ever order views and likes!?!

Anybody who says that have no clue about internet marketing.

If it was true, if videos with fake views really got penalized and accounts of their owners banned, than all I would have to do to rank on the top would be buying a few thousand low quality fake views for every video ranking higher than mine video. It would make all of them penalized. My video would rank nr. 1 for any keyword in no time, and University of Solitude would become a best seller :-D… Well, YouTube is too smart to allow that happening.

Buying views or likes will never get your video penalized. Sometimes, if you buy from a shitty provider, YouTube will recognize the fake views and they will deduct them from your total views. But they will never penalize you for buying views, even for getting a huge amount of views in a short time. The high retention views you buy will only help you to rank, and will never harm you. Period.

Ready to buy some views and likes? Let’s have a look on how to make it looking legit ;).

Gaming the YouTube ranking, step by step.

  1. Have at least ten unique videos in your channel.
  2. Optimize each video properly for the keywords of your choice, ideally low competition keywords (you can change this later), to get a few natural views.
  3. Embed your video on a couple of high quality web 2.0 sites.
  4. Just then add fake views and likes, in a slow, naturally looking pace. Typically the minimum quantity of views to order is 1,000.  If you buy 1,000 views for a video (cost $1), do not buy more than 20 likes for the same video. More likes would look very suspicious for such a small number of views… Once you have thousand views and your video ranks a bit higher, you can go for 5,000 views. Again, buy some likes, or even some subs, but not too many!
  5. Always purchase high retention views. You can sometimes throw in a few low quality views (because every video will have some low retention views, if ranked naturally), but low retention views should never exceed 20% of your total views.
  6. If you follow the steps carefully, you should reach the top of YouTube search results for easy and medium competition keywords. The highly competitive keywords may need more fake views, or, if the other marketers are very skilled, or have big budgets to buy likes and subs in huge quantities, it may be impossible to crack that niche and rank on the top. Never mind, there are many low and medium competition keywords you can always go for in every niche, and gain visibility for your messages… YouTube is a game of both quality and quantity.


Tracking your rankings

Tracking results is crucial, if you want to see whether or not you’ve made any progress. You can purchase tools for monitoring your ranking, but, if you do not have dozens of videos uploaded in your channel, you can just check your rankings manually, once a week (sign out of Google, go to YouTube.com, search for the keyword of your choice, and check your position in the search results). Write it down to Excel spreadsheet, and check it again in seven days time. Don’t overdo it, checking rankings once a week is just fine. Focus on your work and follow the plan. The results will come eventually, without you checking on them every hour.

That’s it for now guys. Have a good week, take action, enjoy your life, and do something for the others… I’ll see you soon with a new post!


P.S. I’ll start buying views and likes for some of my videos soon, and will regularly update you on results of this long ongoing case study. Subscribe below to not miss the post.

Written by Matej Valuch

Matej Valuch

Having succeeded in building residual income from the network of content-rich websites, Matej currently devotes nearly all his time to non-profit projects, mostly in the spheres of philosophy, start-up, and writing. Sharing real marketing studies and experiments with his audience, Matej tries to help other writers and marketers to succeed with their projects.

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