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Can You Rank On Google With Just a Youtube Video?

Can You Rank On Google With Just a Youtube Video?

Rank on Google With Just a Youtube VideoGetting on the first page of Google is the holy grail of SEO and online marketing.

But you probably already know that doing that is very hard work.

You need to do all of the following and more:

  • keyword research to find keywords that are not overly competitive
  • write content that rocks
  • get that content promoted (social media, email list, outreach)
  • try to build links to that content to get the post ranked on Google

It can all take months or more and in many cases you never had a chance to begin with.

But there is a little trick which many people are not aware of called Youtube.

The Power Of Youtube

Google Ranks Youtube Videos

Infographic courtesy of Searchmetrics

You might have heard of this little video website called Youtube. They are one of the biggest websites online and dominate the video space.

Sure there are other options like Vimeo, which the professional video marketers are using but when it comes to reach Youtube wins hands down.

In fact Youtube has about 1 billion daily video views, so you can’t beat those numbers no matter where you look.

However, it is not just numbers and popularity that make the difference. And that is not why I am talking to you about Youtube here.

Google Loves Youtube Videos

In reality the biggest card that Youtube has in its poker hand is that it is owned by Google

So when it comes to search Google favors Youtube videos full stop. Search Engine Land have shown a study which found that

8 out of 10 videos shown in search results are from Youtube

Have you ever done a search and noticed that youtube videos always appear in the top 10 search results?

Well just type in “How To Rank With Youtube” into Google and this is what I got:

How To Rank Youtube On Google

Yes, Google loves Youtube videos and places them in search results where it makes sense. Which in many information based searches is always the case.

And in the example above, we are seeing a video in second position! Even though the third position website is extremely well known and authoritative.

So the big question is how can you leverage this bias and get yourself ranked in the top 10 (ie page one) of Google search results?

How You Can Rank With Youtube

In many cases Youtube videos can outrank more powerful websites for positions in the top ten of Google

Of course, it also requires a lot of work and a well set up Youtube channel and video to achieve, but for many of you this might be the only option to rank for keywords in your industry.

How To Rank Your Videos

Like with blog posts and website pages, there are SEO tricks that can help get you ranked on Google.

The main areas that you have to take care of are:

  • Video Filename (use the keyword in there)
  • Video Title (longer, but again use the keyword towards the beginning)
  • Description (250 words, include the keyword towards the beginning, add a link to your site towards the top)
  • Tags (add relevant tags, including keyword and others)
  • Captions (it is also worth doing your video caption for extra ranking possibilities)

And of course, it always helps to do some keyword research before picking your topic. And for Youtube there are a whole bunch of keyword research tools that can help. From the simple, autocomplete style keyword tool, down to the more complex and thorough YTCockpit, you definitely have some choice. Just be sure to do some basic keyword checking at the very least!

What Counts For Ranking A Video

The above are like your on-page SEO of a blog post. They provide the ground work for ranking and tell Google what your video is about.

They also give the searcher a reason to click on your video in Google or Youtube search results. Because they see the title and description. So remember that keywords are important, but your potential viewer is important too.

Why? No views, no ranking.

That leads us to the next point. What gets a video ranked after you have done the basics. Well, without going into detail (which you can find more of here) these are the main areas you should care about:

  • Make Your Video Long Enough (Brian recommends 5 minutes or more)
  • Try to get channel subscribers
  • Thumbs up helps
  • Views and more importantly retention helps (people need to watch more than 10 seconds)

Power tip: Add a great cover image to the video (like in the image above) to help get more clicks. The default images from Youtube are just random screenshots from the video.

Google cannot rank videos so easily via links as they do with blog posts, so they rely on the power of your channel and the views and likes/thumbs up of your video. This is a popularity contest!

Should You Create Videos

Ranking a video on Google is not simple, but neither is ranking a page or a blog post.

If you are at all interested in video, then this is a great option for getting rankings for your main keywords.

You don’t even have to appear on the video if you don’t want. In most of mine, I have done screencast tutorials or similar. Once you get more comfortable, you can start to appear on the videos. Then you might want better equipment too.


  1. Ashley, thanks for the great SEO video tips. I think why a lot of people and companies haven’t adopted video into their marketing arsenal yet, is that it takes a bit more time and money to put together a nice video segment. In the future, video is really going to be vital, in fact it already is, for an overall SEO strategy.

  2. Hi Ashley,
    Thanks for all the tips and resources for video SEO. These days I don’t even worry about ranking videos in Google. I focus on ranking them on YouTube instead. When people search on Google they may or may not be interested in a video depending on their reason for searching. But when they’re on YouTube you know they want a video and since YouTube is the number two search engine I think it’s just as important to rank there as it is to rank on Google.

    • Of course Ileane, both strategies are a great way to rank
      thanks for the comment

  3. Ashley,

    I loved this post! You not only covered what any good marketer knows about the difficulties of SEO ranking and that videos get more views, but you backed it up with hard facts and that shows the seriousness of what many take for granted in their marketing due to budgets and time constraints.

    The infographic was a nice touch even though I feel you nailed it with all of the other content…it was clear and concise which is great for those who are more visual-oriented. In addition to the sheer genius of using a screenshot showing video ranking in search results, you really drove this piece home with your easy to follow tips on how to get your video ranked and how to format your video to optimize that ranking further.

    Really well done, I look forward to reading more from you!



    • Thanks Andrea, appreciate the feedback. I always try to add as much content and value to each piece as I can.


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