The 4 “Must-Haves” to Get Video Ranked on the First Page of Google

Getting video ranked on the first page of Google is obviously the goal for anyone using video content and video marketing in their overall business or sales strategy. You’ve probably heard it before, “If you are not on the 1st page of Google, you’re not going to be found.” It’s probably true. Think about it, when was the last time you searched past the first page of search results?

If you’re serious about getting a video ranked and found then you first need to upload your video where everyone else is watching the video and that means you’re likely going to host your explainer or marketing video on YouTube, and that’s definitely a good idea. YouTube gets more than one billion unique users a month: that’s a huge audience and many times more video views than even Facebook is getting. While sites like Vimeo and DailyMotion also exist, they certainly aren’t the go-to video streaming service on the Internet. That’s YouTube’s throne, and it will reign for years to come.

When you upload your video to YouTube, don’t forget to make sure that it is optimized for search; search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of doing all of the right things to make sure the search engines can find, understand and properly index your content. This is a critical step in your marketing strategy, and yet it’s one that often gets forgotten. Because YouTube isn’t home to long-form written copy and blog posts, SEO goes out the window. However, where there is text, there is still the ability to optimize your videos for search.

Even if you aren’t hosting your video on YouTube, consider optimizing the website or the page where you embed your video. This helps to get a video ranked in Google as well as your website. it and your website rank better in Google’s algorithm overall.


The best tip you will ever be given about getting videos ranked on the first page of Google is to focus on content. No matter how much SEO effort you put into a video, videos that aren’t worth watching won’t rank very well because no one will watch the video all the way through, share it, like it, comment on it or subscribe to your channel or vlog to see more of your videos. Total video views may be the most important factor in achieving 1st-page results.

Google repeatedly mentions user experience when it discusses how it ranks content. High-quality content is content that gets views and gives people a reason to share it. The more traffic and social signals a video generates, the higher that video will rank in Google’s search results. Also, creating high-quality content means that it’s more likely to get shared by other social media users and website owners.


Search engine rankings are primarily decided by text-based variables. Write great video titles, research and tag your video with the correct keywords and write a compelling description. Video content can’t be “read” in the traditional sense, but Google can index and understand the text associated with your videos. Creating a compelling, keyword-rich title is the most important factor in getting a video ranked, but tags are a close second. If you don’t tag your YouTube video, then it won’t rank well – it’s that simple. Because tags make videos more discoverable, they relate directly to a video’s search engine ranking. Some have suggested that the video’s description on YouTube may be more important than the video itself when strictly speaking about search engine optimization.


Remember how your video content can’t be “read” by Google? This is true, but only partially. If there is dialogue or text-based animation in your video you must upload a closed caption file to your video if you are serious about getting videos ranked on the first page of Google search results. Search engines CAN and DO index the closed captioning files you can upload to YouTube with your video. Videos with captions rank higher because they make video content more accessible to the hearing impaired, viewers who speak a language different than the dialogue in the video and those viewers who are in an environment in which they cannot hear the audio track of the videos they’re watching. Again, optional closed captioning probably provides better overall user experience and Google says that makes them happy.


Bounce rates greatly affect a website’s search engine rankings, but did you know YouTube has their own version of this variable? YouTube utilizes this metric by prioritizing videos that lead to longer viewing sessions over those that receive more clicks. When users stay longer, your video’s search engine ranking improves.

Watch time is the result of the previous three Video SEO “must-haves.” You increase your watch time by creating quality content that is relevant to the title that is then liked and shared. You make videos discoverable by properly tagging the video, writing a detailed video description and captioning your videos. You can also include video annotations and calls to action that keep them on YouTube, like linking to another video in a series that you’ve posted.

These are a few simple, but crucial, ways you can improve your video’s YouTube and search engine rankings. Creating great videos is most important but keep in mind that all text you create online has the capability of being spidered and indexed by Google, too. No matter where or how your videos are hosted, getting videos ranked highly in search engines is also dependent on the words you surround and associate your video with.

Author: lscottharrell

L Scott Harrell is a startup founder and CEO of InnerJam, Inc. His work is focused on developing online projects involving personal development, community building and destination marketing.