“Ranking” refers to where a video ranks in search results, as well as the likelihood it will appear as a suggested video. In fact, on YouTube, suggested videos (which appear in the right sidebar or at the end of a video) are the number-one traffic source. Suggested videos are like the engine driving a viewer’s session duration.
Search is the second most important traffic source. If someone types a term in the search box, hopefully your video is in the top three places or at least on the first page. Just as ranking well in Google search can make or break your business, ranking well in YouTube search has important benefits, too.
Sean learned about the benefits of SEO on YouTube by starting a channel in his namearound 2010 and just experimenting. During this time, Sean made a video called Gift Ideas for Him, in which he reviewed things he already had around the house. Although the video is several years old, it still ranks in the first four spots when someone types Gift Ideas for Him in the YouTube search box. The video gets views not only during the holidays, but also throughout the year.
A well-ranked video is not only a way to get “views while you snooze” (as Sean’s friend Sunny Lenarduzzi says), but also a way to make money with affiliate marketing. In the Gift Ideas for Him video, Sean mentions that affiliate links to all of the products are in the video description. Through this video experiment, Sean began to see how a high-ranking video could help drive affiliate traffic plus other business goals, like leads, email list signups, or promotion of your own product.
In fact, ranking videos and doing affiliate marketing with Amazon Associates via YouTube is how Sean became a full-time entrepreneur. This tactic eventually replaced all of his other income as he continued to put out strategic, ranked videos that were monetized on the back end.