How To Rank YouTube Videos on First Page of Google

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Brian Clark at Copyblogger once said the best place to hide a body is page 2 of the Google search results! Hilarious, right? But he's absolutely correct. Do you check page 2 for YouTube videos that answer your questions? I'm sure most likely not, and it's not only you. Research shows that 75% of people get all their information on the first page.

That's great news if your videos currently rank on page 1 of Google for relevant search terms. But what if you don't have videos or your videos are not on Page 1? Wouldn't you love to know how to rank YouTube videos on the first page of Google?

Of course, you would; that's why you are reading this! 

BUT, I'd like to clarify first why ranking videos on page 1 is important for your business.

Reason 1: Ranking YouTube Videos Solves Low Visibility Issues

Most business owners say that if more people knew about their product or service, their business issues (cash flow/revenue) would go away.

I'd revise that and say that if more of the RIGHT people knew about your business, your issues would disappear.

As mentioned, 75% of people don't search for information beyond Google's first page. If your videos aren't on the first page, you are burying your “diamonds” in a place where almost no one thinks they will be, let alone find them.

How do you know if your business is suffering from low visibility right now?

  • you have a hard time growing because you don't have enough sales, or
  • you have to do most of the work because you can't hire more staff, or
  • you have the capacity to help more people, but the "phone" is not ringing with new work.

Are you suffering from low visibility for your brand?

YouTube videos can help you solve low visibility. The fact is that Google owns YouTube and Google wants to rank YouTube videos on Page 1 of Google Search. Your customers go to Google to search for answers to problems. When Google puts your videos on Page 1, you solve your visibility issues by getting your videos in front of the right people.

Youtube channel sample report showing trends and number of views

Reason 2: Ranking Videos Builds Your Brand’s Authority

Who do you think people buy from? Those who can solve their problems or those who they THINK can solve their problems? Those who they think can solve their problems, of course.

It's one thing to be competent; it's another to be PERCEIVED as competent.

If your audience doesn't think you have enough industry authority to provide solutions to their pain points, even if you do, they won't come to you.

Photo of bearded young man wearing jeans shirt and thinking hard with eyes closed and fingers on templates standing near concrete wall with many question marks and lightbulb drawn on it

What does this tell you? How your audience perceives your brand can make or break your business.

Industry authority stems mainly from thought leadership. If you have had multiple years of experience serving clients and developing competence, and your knowledge can serve as a survival guide for your customers, you are a thought leader. But if you are not known, if your audience doesn't see you the same way you see yourself, they can never appreciate the value you bring.

You know your brand has low authority when the right people:

  • don't KNOW you
  • don't LIKE you or
  • don't TRUST you.

To use marketing speak, we call this the KLT factor!

Imagine how many people would come to know, like, and trust you when your YouTube videos rank on the first page of Google consistently! I think more than enough to keep your phone/inbox buzzing with work.

You've got to rank on the first page of the number one search engine in the world, and you've got to do that fast.

Now, I'm sure you are wondering how to rank YouTube videos on the first page of Google, especially with the increased competition. You'd be surprised to know that your competition isn't the only other videos in your industry. No! Your video content has to compete for space on Google's first page with:

  • Paid promotions
  • Featured snippets
  • Related questions
  • PPC
  • Local maps

If your video SEO strategy is weak, you might as well say bye to your video ranking on the first page of Google forever. But that won't happen because I'm here to show you how.

Let’s Get Right Into How to Rank YouTube Videos on First Page of Google!

YouTube Keyword Research

There's no search engine optimization without keywords, so ranking your YouTube videos on page one starts with finding what your audience cares to know about. Keywords tell you what your audience wants to know. As such, they are a huge part of your video SEO strategy.

Use the YouTube Search

Type a keyword in the YouTube search; you'll find a list of related target keywords pop up alongside. This shows that people are searching for videos optimized for such keywords. If you create videos about them, you have a higher chance of ranking on the first page of Google.

A sample YouTube site searching for the word SEO and showing several keywords related to it

Use Keyword Research Tools Such As Site Explorer

Keyword research tools tell you what people are looking for and specifically target topics with video intent. Go to on Site Explorer. The report brings out the search for the relevant keyword in the filter. 

A screenshot from Semrush showing results for

Check the number of visits and if the organic traffic is consistent. Inconsistent organic traffic indicates that people are losing interest in such YouTube videos, so you don't want to create videos in that category.

A screenshot from Semrush showing results for's organic keywords

Use Low-Competition Keywords

Ranking above videos from hugely popular channels can be difficult and even feel impossible when you are just starting. Those channels have credibility, authority, and video backlinks. So, how would you compete? Target low-competition keywords to start. This video SEO strategy works for my clients and me. For example, "SEO tips for service businesses in 2023" would have less competition than "SEO tips."

Ok! So, you're probably wondering, "How can I tell if it is a high-competition keyword?" That's a great question; I'm glad you asked. I got YOU!

  1. Search for the popular keywords in your industry on Google.

A screenshot from google searching displaying google search results about the keyword "seo tools"
  1. Check the number of videos at the top of the search results in the Video Pack or Video Carousel. If Google has listed videos, then the term is “High Competition.”
  2. Check the organic results to see if any are “” If results exist, then the term is “High Competition.”

Repeat the above exercise to find target keywords that are less competitive but equally relevant to your audience. This way, you’d have a higher chance to rank your YouTube video.

Optimize Your YouTube Video

I'm sure you know you can't just create your videos, dump them on your YouTube channel and sit back, waiting to rank on Google magically. That won't happen, except by some stroke of luck!

But you aren't waiting for luck now, are you? Instead, you make yourself lucky by optimizing your videos from the video's title, custom thumbnail, and closed captions to the YouTube description, etc., to rank your YouTube videos on Google.

How do you do this?


A man in a blue superman hat, Atiba de Souza discussing a video episode in Traffic Keys about "The 7 Most Common SEO Mistakes And How to Avoid Them"

Your video title should be compelling enough to stop your audience in their tracks and optimized enough to rank on the first page.

  • Use the video keyword in your title but make it sound natural.
  • The best titles are around 60-70 characters. 
  • Avoid clickbait video titles. Don't tell your viewers they'll be shocked, but nothing is shocking in your entire video! This makes your brand appear less credible, and people will start to lose trust in you. Once Google picks up this user behavior, it automatically assumes that people don't like your video and ranks it lower. 
  • For interviews, add the name of your interviewees to your video title, especially if they are popular.
  • For local companies, add the company name and location to the title. 
  • Odd numbers perform best “7 top”, “11 ways”, “3 secrets”, etc.
  • Transformation titles work well…” How I went from x to y,” etc.


A man in a black superman hat, Atiba de Souza showed in different YouTube videos from Traffic Keys YouTube channel and showing samples of YouTube thumbnails

YouTube thumbnails matter because they give viewers a clue about your video content on search engines. A great thumbnail graphic can attract a viewer's eye to your video faster than the title.  Think of it this way; the title of your video is for the search engine, while the thumbnail is for the viewer.  When designing your custom thumbnail:

  • Use bright colors and contrasting images.
  • Include a close-up shot of a human face wherever possible.
  • Use fonts, colors, and shapes that are consistent with your brand. This ensures the image can easily be viewed on mobile and desktop devices.
  • Ensure the text is large enough to read on any device. Use Dropshow to make the text bolder.
  • When saving an image for your thumbnail, choose a size of 1280 × 720 pixels at a 16:9 ratio.

Video Description

A screenshot of a man in a superman hat, Atiba de Souza in a Traffic Keys video episode about "The 7 Most Common SEO Mistakes And How to Avoid Them" showing a sample YouTube video description that includes a brief summary of the video is all about and also the links to author's other resources like the social media platforms

Have you ever ignored a YouTube video because you couldn't tell what it was about at first glance? You most likely have. Video descriptions are summaries that pique viewers' interest in your videos, attracting people at first glance. 

What else do they do? They help rank your YouTube videos fast on search results as you can include target keywords. Your video description can also contain links to related videos, your site’s links, or your social media platforms. To create an optimized description:

  • Write a keyword-rich description, including your target keyword and secondary keywords. However, don't overstuff your video description with keywords such that it loses its flow. 
  • Also, include your video keyword in the first 200 characters. 
  • Add the links to any resources mentioned in the video. You can promote your affiliate links naturally if you have any.
  • YouTube allows channel owners to set up templates for video descriptions in the settings to ensure you include all necessary information. You should have links to your social media platforms, homepage, associated websites, email address, and a call-to-action (CTA) for the viewer to subscribe. Remember, you must tell your audience WHAT TO DO. Also, ONLY add one CTA.


Tagging your videos help YouTube and Google to know which topics and searches they are relevant to. It is both a video and YouTube SEO strategy that puts your video content in the faces of the right people. If you don't tag your videos, Google finds it challenging to feature them in search results. 

The right YouTube tags can also lead to more views, subscribers, comments, and likes on your videos, which increases your ranking. To optimize your tags:

  • Include your exact target keyword and other variations in your video tags. 
  • Use high-competition tags too, which improves the chances of your Youtube videos showing in "suggested videos" when people watch similar videos to yours. 
  • Be clear and concise when writing tags. Don't mislead people with your video tags, as that could jeopardize your search traffic and ranking in video results on Google. 

Closed Captions

A screenshot of a man in a superman hat, Atiba de Souza in a Traffic Keys video episode about "The 7 Most Common SEO Mistakes And How to Avoid Them" which shows a closed caption (in English) of his video

Some viewers rely on closed captions to understand your video before they can engage with it. Additionally, captions help people who are hard of hearing to follow your video and make it more accessible to a broader audience. They also serve as avenues for people to learn new words and phrases. To optimize your closed captions:

  • Use Descript to create your own SRT (transcription file). The SEO benefit is that Google uses it to "watch" your video and determine what your video is all about. Using keywords in your videos helps you rank more effortlessly.
  • The SRT file is the second most important file for ranking your video AFTER the title. 
  • Make sure your captions are timed correctly and match the video's dialogue. 

Video Chapters

A screenshot of a man in a superman hat, Atiba de Souza in a Traffic Keys video episode about "The 7 Most Common SEO Mistakes And How to Avoid Them" which shows several chapters of his video that were split into different portions

Video chapters split your videos into different portions so your viewers can easily rewatch them. They are SUPER important because when done correctly, they BOOST your SEO. Also, they increase your odds of ranking for MULTIPLE and additional keywords beyond the target keywords. Your video chapters should follow the same conventions as the video title.

Cards and Endscreens

A screenshot of a man in a superman hat, Atiba de Souza in a Traffic Keys video episode about "The 7 Most Common SEO Mistakes And How to Avoid Them" which shows a sample card at the end of the video encouraging the viewers to view other contents that they may be interested in

Cards and end screens are two different things you can use to optimize your YouTube video. Cards promote your videos and channel on YouTube by encouraging viewers to check out related content they might be interested in. This grows your YouTube channel and keeps people engaged. Info cards can feature a video, YouTube playlist, channel, or link. 

You use endscreens to put up a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your video, urging viewers to take a specific action (like subscribing to your YouTube channel). This can increase the watch time on your YouTube video if done correctly. Your videos must be at least 25 seconds long to have an endscreen. However, endscreens aren't available for video sets made for kids in the YouTube Music app, flash videos, mobile web, or 360 videos.


A screenshot of a man in a superman hat, Atiba de Souza in his playlist of Traffic Keys Podcast

If you have a bunch of videos on the same topic, gather them into a collection. It increases your watch time and the discoverability of your YouTube account. You can add your competitors' videos to your playlist, as it keeps subscribers glued to your channel. 

Use Keywords in the Video

Don't shy away from mentioning the target keyword in your video. It increases your chances of ranking. However, do away with fluff. Viewers can tell when you are overstuffing your videos with keywords, making you sound funny. Create high-quality content with lots of value. Use more active and shorter verbs too. 

Clear Audio and Video

You don't need the most sophisticated tools to create YouTube videos. But you need artistic intelligence to make the most of what you have! 

A man in his mid-age wearing blue polo and shorts, with his headset in place during a conference or video recording
  • First, I would recommend investing in a good microphone. There are many affordable ones you can get in e-commerce stores. 
  • Give value. Your entire video must be high-quality content from start to finish. Your audience wants to be convinced that you have the answers to their pain points. Trust me; they can tell if all you've done is memorize some lines spiced with industry jargon. Empathize with your audience, but also be authoritative about your responses. This way, you'll speak from your heart, and your viewers will come to trust you. Soon enough, you can build a loyal audience, improving your Youtube ranking in search engines. 
  • Speak clearly. This makes your audience see you as confident. Also, it helps Google hear the video keyword, which improves your YouTube rankings.
  • As much as you can, be consistent with creating videos. Consistency is the core of YouTube marketing. Research shows that posting videos at least three times a week increases your "recommended views" in the YouTube algorithm. As such, you've got to balance quality and frequency. I'll advise you to set up a YouTube studio in your home to make your video production less stressful.

Comments and Subscription

Encourage your viewers to leave their thoughts and become part of your YouTube family. The more YouTube subscribers you have, the higher your engagement and rankings of your YouTube videos on Google. However, try to reply or react to the comments under your video.

Video Length

Your video needs to be long enough to add value to the viewer and no longer. There is no ideal length for content. A one-minute video about how to perform open heart surgery isn't sufficient, and a ten-minute video on how to open a soda can is way overkill. Video length is directly related to the complexity of the topic you are delivering. If you've made an awesome video, the right people will watch it no matter how long.

Follow the Rules

Like every other community, there are guidelines every YouTube user must follow. If you don't respect the rules, YouTube will take down your account, and you can't create another one if that happens. As part of YouTube's community:

  • Don't use hate speech, offensive jokes, or abusive words in your video. You can convey your message politely and civilly.  That said, it's 100% acceptable to be opinionated and share your thoughts.
  • Don't use copyrighted music or content in your video. YouTube and Google are highly sensitive to copyright materials. 
  • Avoid spamming YouTube with your videos. Follow the right steps, and your Youtube ranking will increase. 

Use YouTube Shorts

A screenshot of a man in a superman hat, Atiba de Souza in his sample YouTube shorts of Thoughts of Thought Leadership YouTube channel

Take one of your long-form videos and list the possible questions the entire video answered. Use those questions to create snippets. If you are already thinking you have to create new videos to make snippets, stop. Don't worry; you don't have to make new videos. 

Create the snippets and upload them as YouTube shorts and on other social media platforms whenever necessary. Don't forget to link to the original YouTube video in the snippets' description. I tried this method with two of my clients, Cletus and Russell, and they both had outstanding results.

Cletus' Result

original videos                      3
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Shorts created                     18
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
views of original videos    88
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
views of all shorts         2055
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Increase Views of Original Video
YouTube Subscriber Increase
Page 1 Rankings

Russell's Result

original videos                     10
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Shorts created                    48
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
views of original videos   332
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
views of all shorts           3191
Current Progress
Current Progress
Current Progress
Increase Views of Original Video
YouTube Subscriber Increase
Page 1 Rankings

Promote Your Videos

Who wants to light up a candle and cover it? No one. You must be the first salesman of your videos. Before your YouTube videos automatically rank on page one of Google, you've got to promote them first. How? Follow these steps.

Optimize Your YouTube Channel

You have to optimize your channel page to rank your YouTube videos on both Google and YouTube. Use a profile picture that accurately represents your brand and target keywords in the "about" segment. Avoid spamming your YouTube account description with keywords so it doesn't bore your readers. You'll find that you'd have more views and subscribers on your video channel when you do this, thereby increasing your domain authority and indirectly showing Google why you should be on the first page.

Contribute to Q & A Sites

People worldwide ask questions on Q & A sites such as Quora and Reddit daily. That's great for building authority and driving awareness to your brand. Get on these platforms and give answers to questions you are an expert in. You can include the links to your YouTube videos within your responses and use the embedded YouTube video to drive traffic to your website or YouTube channel. You'll also get more quality leads and YouTube subscribers.  

An android phone inside a blue jeans pocket with Reddit app installed
Use Social Media Sites

Social media is another great way to promote your YouTube videos. You can create posts and embed the links to your YouTube videos to attract followers to your channel. Besides, promoting your videos on these platforms is a link building exercise relevant to YouTube video optimization.

Leverage Embedded Videos

The amount of video backlinks you can get on your YouTube videos significantly influences your chances of ranking on the first page of Google. Look for how you can embed your YouTube videos in the blog post you write, whether for your own site or on private blog networks.


What's there to lose if you don't take action right away after reading this? Everything! Your competitors aren't sleeping on their game, and you shouldn't either, whether you've started creating videos or not. I understand that doing what's outlined above can seem like extra work for you or your clients, but if you don't go the extra mile, your business will remain where it is or, worse still, decline. 

However, if you decide to take action and stay consistent, you can be sure your efforts will pay off, and your YouTube videos will rank on first page of Google. 

Can you imagine how much that means for your business when it's consistent? You are dominating your industry! Who wouldn't love that? Everyone does, and I have started achieving that. Will you join me?


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