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Top YouTube SEO Myths
by Dr. William Sen | CEO and founder of blue media

Top YouTube SEO Myths

Don't Believe These YouTube SEO Rumors

Before we demystify the top rumors and myths around YouTube,  you might want to check our Complete Guideline for YouTube SEO.

Myth 1: Higher Quality Videos Will Get Higher Rankings

Many would think that if they created a great video which might even be revolutionary, the chances of going viral is immense. Unfortunately that is not true. It should be, but it is not.

No matter how good or interesting, or revolutionary your video might be, there is no reason for YouTube to rank it high for these simply reason: The YouTube ranking algorithm is just a machine. It doesn’t feel anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise when it watches your video. It can’t understand nor comprehend the cultural, sociological, educational, entertaining, or humoristic values of a video. Computers are not able to do that as of 2023.

What the algorithm can measure however is everything based on numbers — these is what is behind YouTube’s Algorithm: it sees analytics and what’s called key performance indicators (KPIs). As I had mentioned prior in my article “How to Get Higher Rankings,” the important KPIs are such as Retention Rate and User Engagement Rate.

However, if you don’t have any views on your video yet, YouTube won’t be measure it.

And if your video is not ranked high, you won’t get any views.

I have mentioned in my article “How to Attract Clicks On Your Video” how to actually break this challenging cycle.

But that is the main reason that chances of a video that has a less views will ever go viral. Of course many YouTubers were able to launch their YouTube career by their video going viral such as Casey Neistat. However, that was more than 10 years ago.


Myth 2: The more Subscribers, the Better the Rankings

The number of subscribers is not a ranking factor. In fact, you can have a million subscribers and have even fewer views and engagements than a channel with only 5,000 subscribers.

Your subscribers are a wonderful way to get views to your uploaded video right away. That helps to show YouTube that users are engaging and are watching your video. 

Sure, the quality of subscribers is somewhat important. But not as much as you think. Below are a couple examples:

One of our clients hasn’t been doing much on his YouTube channel but had gained an enormous number of subscribers over the past 6 years. When we started to continue and ramp up his channel by publishing new and high-quality videos on a regular basis, almost none of his subscribers would watch it.

That’s not surprising.

Because most of them had forgotten they had subscribed to that channel years ago. The client’s subscribers actually started to unsubscribe once we had published the videos  — because some of them start seeing the new videos and were wondering why or if they had ever subscribed to this this. They simple had forgotten about it, and therefore unsubscribed in a cleansing effort.

One other client had bought a YouTube channel with a massive number of subscribers thinking they would get the attention of thousands of subscribers right away when publishing their own videos. However, the former channel owner had no specific topic and was creating a huge variety of topics, such as random movie reviews, politics, herbs, fashion, and many more. Thus, the channel had a variety of subscribers who thought they were subscribing to a Star Wars movie channel, natural remedy channel, fashion channel and so forth. In the end, that variety of subscribers didn’t help the client at all to have rankings or views to establish a successful channel — the client had to get new subscribers that were actually interested in what the client was actually focusing on.


Myth 3: I’m a Celebrity in the Real World, I Will Also Become a YouTube Superstar

I see it every time: Famous people, and even movie stars start their own YouTube channel thinking:

‘I’m popular, why not be a YouTube star on the fly?’

It’s quite simple: the YouTube automatic algorithm will treat you like anybody else. You won’t be visible on YouTube at first, therefore nobody will even take notice that you are on YouTube. You might attract some of your fans from other channels such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter. However, if these channels don’t have high reach and do not follow a social media strategy, it will still be hard to attract more users to your YouTube channel.

YouTube is another game, and you need YouTube SEO and a YouTube Marketing Strategy solely tailored to your YouTube channel.


Myth 4: The Longer My Videos, the Better the SEO

I often hear that longer videos will give you a higher reach, bring in more subscribers, and even rank higher. That’s not true at all. One-minute videos can be as successful as 20-minute videos. Do not force yourself to create a certain length of videos. The important thing is that you get your point across in a video that has high quality and arouses interest.

Most people who recommend lengthy videos have monetization in mind: Because longer videos display more ads. However, lengthy videos can jeopardize your Retention Rate, if they get tiresome because of their length.

I talked about the importance of the Retention Rate in my article “How to Get Higher Rankings.” Make your video as long as it needs to be, not more, not less.


Myth 5: YouTube Video Description Will Provide SEO

Not long ago, YouTubers started to utilize keywords with high search volume in their description.

Unfortunately, YouTube pays little attention to the description as of 2023. The utilized keywords are a ranking factor alright, but its effect is so minuscule that it’s not worth the work if you ask me.

I tend to recommend my clients to create a blog about their videos instead, and then use valuable text in there. The SEO on websites will bring much more traffic from Google Search if you use that description on your website.

Put your your keyword utilization efforts on a website or blog. YouTube Description is not the place for it as YouTube does not care much what you write on your description. This might change in the future, but YouTube’s standpoint on the Description field is quite clear at the moment.


Myth 6: Videos With More Likes Rank Better

Not from a technical standpoint. YouTube doesn’t punish dislikes. In fact, Google will rank the video higher, when people engage with a like or dislike the same way. Before YouTube made their dislikes invisible, lots of dislikes would drive users off which will then result in fewer views or lower Retention Rates. That’s one of the reasons YouTube got rid of it in November 2021.

The more reason to understand that YouTube really does not care about dislikes.


Myth 7: The More Views, the Higher the Ranking

Views don’t matter when it comes to rankings.

Not videos with higher views rank high, but high ranked videos get more views.

This reminds of my mom once telling me that I should play basketball to be a big tall boy. You don’t get tall from playing basketball, tall people play basketball.

It looks like videos with more views are ranked higher, but that’s misleading at first glance. There are millions of videos with enormous views, which are not ranked: you just don’t see them on YouTube anymore for that particular reason.

CATEGORIES Search Engine Optimization
About the Author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. William Sen CEO and founder of blue media

William Sen has been an SEO since 2001 and is a Software Engineer since 1996, and has been working as an Associate Professor in Germany for the University of Dusseldorf and Cologne. He has been involved in developing custom SEO tools, large website and software projects. William has a PhD in Information Sciences and has worked for brands such as Expedia, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Bayer, Ford, T-Mobile and many more. He is the founder of blue media.

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