What Is the Most Important Ranking Factor for a YouTube Video?

Oct 7, 2020


YouTube video SEO is an important skill for you to learn as a content creator. Better video SEO will allow your videos to rank higher in the YouTube search results, leading to more views. Before you can start ranking your videos high in the search results, however, you must learn about the most important ranking factor for a YouTube video.

Many people believe that channel authority is the most important YouTube ranking factor. However, the number of views or subscribers a channel has is nearly irrelevant when it comes to ranking videos on YouTube. If you do not have good on-page SEO, your videos will not rank, no matter how large your channel is.

YouTube search engine optimization (SEO) has become overly complicated over the years. Many people make the process much more difficult than it needs to be. There are also a lot of falsehoods that exist online about this topic. Believe it or not, prioritizing the primary ranking factors for YouTube is often enough to rank a video for channels of all sizes.

YouTube Search Ranking Factors


There are quite a few YouTube search ranking factors that exist. However, many of these factors should be ignored. There are only a few ranking factors that should be paid any attention to. Simplifying the process and focusing only on the few factors that matter will help you rank your videos more effectively.

The different search ranking factors that exist on YouTube are:

  • On-page SEO
  • Channel authority
  • Audience feedback

Each of these ranking factors holds a different level of importance. Let's break down what each factor means in detail.

On-Page SEO

On-page search engine optimization (SEO) gets talked about a lot and for good reason. On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing the metadata of a YouTube video. Metadata consists of the title, description, and tags of a video. Typically, keywords are placed throughout the metadata of a video to tell YouTube what the video is about.

Channel Authority

Channel authority encompasses a lot of different things. When we speak of channel authority, we speak of how authoritative a channel looks in the eyes of YouTube. Views, subscribers, watch time, and more make up the authority of a channel. The larger a channel is, the more authoritative it typically is.

Audience Feedback

As with channel authority, audience feedback encompasses a lot of different things. Likes, dislikes, audience retention, and more fall under the audience feedback umbrella. Essentially, everything that tells YouTube that a video is "good" falls under the audience feedback umbrella.

Most Important Ranking Factor for a YouTube Video


At this point, you might be wondering: What is the most important ranking factor for a YouTube video? Is it on-page SEO, channel authority, or audience feedback? Many people claim that channel authority or audience feedback is the most important ranking factor. In reality, on-page SEO is the most important YouTube ranking factor.

YouTube wants viewers to be able to discover videos on the topics they are searching for. The best way for YouTube to determine what a video is about is to look at the metadata for the video. By helping YouTube read your metadata more easily by employing good on-page SEO techniques, you can position your videos to rank higher in the search results.

The best way to ensure that your on-page SEO is in-check is to make sure that your video fits the following criteria:

  • Target keyword selected and audited using TubeRanker
  • Target keyword placed in the video title
  • Target keyword and variations placed in the video description
  • Target keyword and variations placed in video tags

If your video follows the above 4 criteria, your video will already be better optimized than 99% of the videos published on YouTube. Remember earlier when I said people overcomplicate the video SEO process? Well, this should display to you why this is the case. Just focus on the above 4 criteria and your on-page SEO will be completely in-check.

How Do You Rank Higher on YouTube Search Results


Here's the deal: No video is guaranteed to rank in a certain position in the search results on YouTube. Remember, there are 3 main ranking factors- on-page SEO is just the most important out of the 3. However, this doesn't mean that channel authority and audience feedback don't have an impact.

With what I mentioned above in mind, there are things you can do to ranking higher in the YouTube search results. While not everything is in your control, you should still put your video in the best position to succeed. One of the best ways to give your video the best chance at ranking high in the search results is to select a good target keyword.

One of the biggest mistakes content creators make it selecting a target keyword that is too competitive. It doesn't matter how well you optimize the metadata of your video if you select a target keyword that is too competitive. Knowing this, it's in your best interest to select the best target keywords possible.

A good way to go about vetting keywords is to use TubeRanker. With TubeRanker, you can check the search volume of a keyword to determine if it's too competitive or not. There are different ways to check keyword competitiveness, but TubeRanker is simply the easiest and quickest option available.


Several ranking factors exist on YouTube, but one factor stands above them all in terms of importance. You now know the most important ranking factor for a YouTube video. Along with this, you know how you can optimize your videos to make sure the most important ranking factor, on-page SEO, in in-check.

Becoming good at optimizing the metadata of videos takes time. However, over time, you will begin to become more efficient and the process will become easier. Just know that there are tools available like TubeRanker that can help make the process easier for you. Ranking videos does become an easier process as you gain more experience.

Daniel James
Hi there! I’m Daniel, the founder, and CEO of Tubefluence. I help businesses and influencers utilize the power of YouTube marketing to grow an audience and generate leads.
TubeRanker offers the ultimate toolset for Creators & Marketers to optimize their videos against the YouTube algorithm and rank higher in YouTube & Google searches and recommendation engines.
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