YouTube has over 2.5 billion monthly active users as of April, 2023. 91% of respondents want to encounter more online videos created by brands in 2023. This means that many people from content creators to businesses are competing for their audience’s attention. With over 800 million video uploads, competition is like never before! – Viralyft

So, therein lies the question. With so much competition, how do you get your videos out there? How do you ensure that your video ranks for the right keywords?  

By optimizing your videos and channels, you can improve your chances of being found in YouTube’s search results and recommendations. 

However, optimizing your videos can be a long process requiring much work. This entails conducting keyword research, crafting captivating titles and descriptions, utilizing relevant tags, creating eye-catching thumbnails, fostering engagement, and prioritizing watch time to boost your overall performance and attract a larger audience. 

Remember, consistently delivering high-quality content and strategic promotion are crucial for successful YouTube SEO, allowing you to leverage the benefits of YouTube and video content effectively.

YouTube SEO: How to Rank Higher on YouTube and Bottle Rocket Media

Is YouTube Optimization worth it?

First, ask yourself, do you want to know how to rank higher on YouTube, or do you want to go viral? 

Virality is usually just luck, and let’s be honest, no hashtag has made something go viral. The definition of virality equates to rising numbers fast, leaving little control for the creator. 

Most times, viral videos are extremely entertaining, relatable, and raw. Think – unscripted or cleverly scripted.

On the other hand, ranking higher on YouTube requires building an audience, and a loyal one at that, resulting in exactly what so many of us work tirelessly to reach – consistent views and engagement, control of your content progression, and the ability to turn strangers into lifelong subscribers/customers.

In the end, we say it’s definitely worth it! By fine-tuning your videos, you’re positioning yourself for success in a very competitive landscape. YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, and the dominant video marketing platform, with 90% of video marketers trusting it. – Viralyft

12 Tips to Rank Your Videos Higher on YouTube

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s dive right in. Here are 12 tips to rank higher in YouTube search results.

1. Start with Keyword Research

Before creating your video, start by understanding what your audience is searching for. Identify relevant search terms using tools like Keyword Planner or YouTube’s own search suggest feature. 

For instance, consider the suggestions that YouTube provides when you enter the search phrase “how to make motion graphics.” 

YouTube SEO: How to Rank Higher on YouTube and Bottle Rocket Media

Or “how to bake cookies.”

YouTube SEO: How to Rank Higher on YouTube and Bottle Rocket Media

Use these suggestions as a starting point to identify what your audience is actively searching for.

2. Create Engaging Titles and Thumbnails

A captivating thumbnail and an engaging title will improve your YouTube CTR, since they’re the first thing your audience will see. 

An easy task to complete while attempting to increase YouTube rankings is to upload a custom thumbnail to attract more clicks. If you have the time and resources, make 1-3 thumbnails for testing purposes. After posting your video, you can switch to a new thumbnail to drive new engagement.

Here’s a fun fact, over 90% of ranking videos on YouTube have customized thumbnails?! Adding a special touch to your thumbnails will allow you to stand up against the competition. Take for example The Infographics Show on YouTube. They create a unique thumbnail for each of their videos.

YouTube SEO: How to Rank Higher on YouTube and Bottle Rocket Media

Remember, thumbnails harp on implied drama, showcasing the point of the video, a reaction, or a problem. The most popular YouTuber as of July 2023 is MrBeast, known for his eye-catching thumbnails and engaging video titles. 

Speaking of engaging titles, this is where your keyword research comes in handy. Always incorporate the search terms your audience is searching for in your title!

3. Use Hashtags, Tags, and Categories

Have you ever noticed hashtags in the description of videos? I bet you are wondering if they really do anything:

Hashtags are keywords preceded by a # symbol. Hashtags allow you to easily connect your content with other videos or playlists which share the same hashtag on YouTube and YouTube Music. Hashtags also allow viewers and listeners to find related content via search.

Youtube Support

To answer your question – hashtags are definitely worth the time! Alongside most social media platforms, hashtags are the go-to indicator for topics, trends, and statements. 

“Tags” are only visible to you while uploading a YouTube video. In the settings options, while uploading, there is an option to include selected tags relevant to your video topic.

Tags are descriptive keywords you can add to your video to help viewers find your content. Your video’s title, thumbnail, and description are more important pieces of metadata for your video’s discovery. These main pieces of info help viewers decide which videos to watch. Tags can be useful if the content of your video is commonly misspelled. Otherwise, tags play a minimal role in your video’s discovery.

YouTube Support

This is an optional touch, but we say, why not use it to your advantage? Add some tags relevant to your video, and see what happens. But avoid overstuffing tags.

Below the “Tag” option when uploading, you’ll notice a dropdown menu to choose a “Category”, such as Music, Education, or Comedy.

If your video is educational, you can add details about its content.

4. Optimize Video Description

YouTube allows up to 5,000 characters for the description, so take advantage! You don’t have to use the entire 5,000 characters, but make it as long as possible while keeping it relevant to your video!

For example, you can take advantage by including timestamps, social media links, product links, and encouraging your audience to leave a comment. 

Going back to The Infographics Show channel, check out how they make use of the description.

YouTube SEO: How to Rank Higher on YouTube and Bottle Rocket Media

Do the same. Get creative! Provide context without overwhelming your viewers.

5. Use Cards and End Screens To Increase Viewership

Utilize cards and end screens to encourage viewers to explore more of your content and increase engagement. This is a Call-To-Action provided by YouTube that you should utilize. Cards funnel viewers through your channel. Win-win, right?

YouTube SEO: How to Rank Higher on YouTube and Bottle Rocket Media

6. Add Subtitles and Closed Captions to Your Videos

As a brand or content creator, you do not want any of your viewers to feel left out. That’s why you should include subtitles and closed captioning in your videos.

Not only will this make your video more accessible, but it will also benefit your SEO. While search engines can’t crawl videos yet, they can crawl text. By including subtitles and closed captions, you’re enhancing your video’s discoverability. Another win-win, right?

7. Get Trending

Discover the most popular videos and shorts on YouTube with the Trending feature. Updated every 15 minutes, the selection process considers factors like view count, video age, and performance compared to other recent uploads from the same channel.

You can’t cheat your way onto the trending list, but getting there is a goal you should set!

8. Build Playlists 

How often have you sat at home and binge-watched a season of your favorite tv show? Think of playlists as the same technique. It’s a curated experience of your channel. This is your opportunity to keep your viewers engaged.

Enhance your channel organization and boost watch time by curating playlists that align with your video’s overarching theme. By providing your viewers with more of the content they desire, you not only keep them engaged but also increase your overall watch time. 

Here’s a great example of how we use playlists to boost viewership. We’ve created a playlist focusing on our Corporate Videos. The minute you watch one video, you’ll be prompted to explore more of our work.

YouTube SEO: How to Rank Higher on YouTube and Bottle Rocket Media

9. Optimize Video Lengths 

In 2022, 11.7 minutes was the average YouTube video length. However, this does not mean your videos should be 10 minutes long. There is not a one-size-fits-all deal. 

When deciding on the length of a video, consider the needs of your audience. While longer videos can lead to more watch time, if the video isn’t engaging from the start, you may lose your viewers midway. 

So, what can you do in this situation?

Utilize YouTube Shorts. Shorts are super effective in getting your points across in a short period of time.

At the end of the day, you’re in control of how you want to present your content to your audience, but it’s important to put their needs first. The rest will follow.

10. Upload Regularly

When it comes to YouTube rankings, consistency is key! Set a schedule and stick to it.

Regular upload builds anticipation since your viewers will know exactly when to expect a new video from your channel. This anticipation turns the YouTube algorithm in your favor.

When viewers start watching your content around the same time each day, YouTube sees this as an engagement opportunity. As a result, it will start displaying your videos on the viewers Home feed. 

11. Get Inspired

You have many decisions to make surrounding your channel. Ask yourself the following questions to ignite some creativity:

  • What kind of content are you making? 
  • Who is it for? 
  • What are your goals?
  • How do you want to differentiate yourself from everyone else on the internet?

We wrote a whole article about creating SEO-optimized video content!

Our recommendations?:

First, get familiar with your industry presence on YouTube. Are there similar channels making the same content? 

Where can you fit in? It’s important to stay up to date while also standing out, and if you see something you like – go ahead and copy it, but put your own spin on it. And don’t feel bad about it. Everyone steals on social media; let’s all agree to call it a ‘Trend’!

For current creators trying to pivot, analyze your YouTube analytics to gain insights into viewer behavior and preferences, and based on present data, don’t be afraid to change your content. Sure, you may risk losing some viewers for now, but you can gain 10x that in the following months!

12. Call To Action 

Include a Call-To-Action in your video and video description to prompt viewer actions. Your selected CTA should be included in all posts!

You never know when a viewer will spark an interest, but when it happens, you want to have a link handy that is easy to click! We recommend ALWAYS prompting viewers to do something: click, subscribe, watch, like, comment, share, and all of the above!


Whew! That was a lot; honestly, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We’d love to help you develop the perfect video project for your brand and the SEO strategy that increases its visibility.

To learn more about Bottle Rocket Media’s video production services and other services like motion graphics services, connect with us to start your video project.