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Welcome to the Age of YouTube: How to Rank Your YouTube Videos in 2021?

Welcome to the Age of YouTube: How to Rank Your YouTube Videos in 2021?

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Website SEO has been a widely adopted online marketing strategy in recent years. However, SEO is not only available to websites, but also YouTube videos. From unboxing to product demos and comparison, videos have become a primary way for consumers to discover and research on new products. YouTube is the most popular social platform in Hong Kong – in fact, 86% of internet users are YouTube users! YouTube videos can help your brand reach thousands of target customers. YouTube SEO is a video optimization strategy that can boost your video rankings on YouTube with the potential added benefit of bringing your videos onto the first page of Google search results. In this article we will discuss the benefits and tips for YouTube SEO, and how to determine whether it is a right marketing strategy for your brand.

Why YouTube SEO?

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world – more than 40% respondents say that they have purchased products that they discovered on YouTube (Source: Think With Google). Like Google, YouTube uses algorithms to rank search results and suggest videos to users. By optimizing the content and related information of your videos (e.g. title and introduction), YouTube SEO helps YouTube’s search engine understand your video’s content and how it relates to the searched keywords, thus improving your videos’ YouTube search result rankings and maximize the potential reach of your videos.

From YouTube Ranking to Google Search Ranking

YouTube SEO can boost video rankings and views. It can also potentially help your videos get on the first page of Google, thus reaching the vast audience on Google. In recent years, Google search results have become more and more diverse and include various formats of search results like images, videos and product introduction according to the user’s search intent. YouTube videos are also included in the search results of certain types of keyword searches as shown below:

Search Ranking

Google search results: keyword – “youtube seo”

When searching “youtube seo”, the second search result is a YouTube tutorial video on this topic. Some keyword searches even display videos as the first search result, e.g. “keto bread”:

keto bread

Google search results: keyword – “keto bread”

Of course, not all keyword searches in Google will include video search results. Google will first examine whether the searcher of a particular keyword will be interested in viewing video results. As users who search for “keto bread” are usually looking for recipes and prefer to watch videos, Google will include videos on keto bread recipes at the top.

Is YouTube SEO the Right Strategy for Your Brand?

YouTube videos have a huge potential – but it is also costly. To find out whether YouTube SEO is a good fit for your brand, you can consider (1) the demand of industry-related videos; and (2) the Google search results of your industry-related keywords:

Video Demand for your Industry

If the demand for YouTube videos related to your industry is high, YouTube SEO might be the right strategy for your brand. Here are some typical high-demand video categories:

● Beauty – such as makeup tutorials, unboxing videos of cosmetic products, product demos and comparison, etc.

● Food & beverage – such as recipes, unboxing of kitchenware, product demos and comparison, restaurant taste-tests, etc.

● Consumer electronics – such as product unboxing, demos and comparison, gaming videos, etc.

● Hotel & tourism – such as staycation vlogs that have been very popular since the pandemic.

Use the filtering function of YouTube search to find out the highest view count of industry-related videos. After entering your industry-related keyword, you can sort the search results by view count. Using “staycation HK” as an example:

staycation HK

Click “filters” in the top left corner, then choose “view count” from “sort by”. YouTube search results will be sorted according to view count in descending order:


YouTube search results: keyword – “staycation HK”; Sort by – view count

If you applie this filter when searching, beware of the region, category and relevancy of the videos in the search results, as they may include videos from other Chinese-speaking regions, or videos that are less relevant to your industry/product, like music videos.

The average view count of the top 10 videos related to the search term “staycation HK” is up to 313,000, indicating a high demand for online videos in the hotel industry. Also, the region, category and content of those videos are all directly related to local hotels.

Google Search Results of Industry-related Keywords

We mentioned above that YouTube SEO comes with a potential bonus of getting your videos onto the first page in Google. If the search results of your industry-related keywords in Google include videos (especially at the top), there’s a fair chance that YouTube SEO will help your brand reach more target audience. Leveraging industry knowledge, or use online tools like Google Ads, SEMRush or Ahrefs to find out industry- and product-related keywords with a high search volume, and see if their search results in Google include videos. For example, the first page of the search result of “staycation HK” includes YouTube videos:

YouTube videos

Google search results: keyword – “staycation HK”

Another example is “airfryer”:


Google search results: keyword – “airfryer”

And “foundation recommendation”:

foundation recommendation

Google search results: keyword – “foundation recommendation”

Your potential pool of industry-related keywords will probably be huge. It may include branded keywords, keywords including your product terms, or product-related keywords that do not include product terms. If you have limited time and resources, conduct keyword research from the searcher’s perspective and focus on keywords whose searchers will likely to be looking for video search results.

YouTube SEO Tips

Lastly, below are some tips to improve your YouTube video rankings:

● Optimize your video title, description and tags by including the targeted keywords or other directly or indirectly related keywords naturally (i.e. avoid keyword-spamming)

● Add subtitles – subtitles help YouTube to understand the content of your videos

● Add timestamps – Timestamps are like the table of contents of a book. They allow the audience to grab the main points of your videos instantly, enhance user experience and assist YouTube in understanding your video content (watch YouTube’s official tutorial video for more details)

more details

● Maximize audience engagements – besides content relevancy and view count, audience engagement is also a key factor of video rankings. Strategies to promote interaction include making the videos more entertaining to prolong the average view time, adding polls or call-to-actions (like giveaway, lucky draw, etc.) to encourage more comments, likes and shares from the audience.

YouFind provides integrated digital marketing services covering search engine, online advertisements, social media, etc. We are dedicated to constantly bringing you the latest marketing news so stay tuned.


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