Higher Education Marketing

4 Steps To Improve Your School’s Video Rankings on YouTube

Date posted: November 15, 2011

A recent study shows that YouTube is one of college students’ favorite platforms to look for information and entertainment. It is a unique opportunity for your school to catch prospects’ attention and give them a direct feel of your campus, your faculty and student body.

Here are 4 tips to make sure that these great videos are actually easy to find and ensure your school’s ranking on search engines.

1. Optimize your channel name

YouTube should not be your only presence online. It should be part of an integrative social media strategy. That is why it has to be integrated into your overall branding efforts. Ideally, your name should be the same as the one you use on other platforms. For best SEO results, it is ideal to have a word in your name that could relate to any of the videos you will be posting. Choose this name carefully, as you will not be able to change it later. Get started with customization here.    

2. Optimize your tags 

As with text posts, correct tagging will go a long way for your school to rank high on search engines. The key here is to have a short list of keywords for your school (link back to Keyword post). Don’t forget to make sure one of these keywords is “video”.

  • Titles: put keywords first, and branding at the end.
  • Description: include keywords in the descriptive text, as well as subscription and links to your channel page. Include both broad and specific keywords. Place the keywords you want to carry the most weight first. YouTube recommends writing 12 tags or more.
  •  Transcript: Include a full video transcript as it is another opportunity to add text with your keywords.
  • Annotations: make sure you index the content added to the video via the Annotations option.
  • Video file name: Rename manually videos to avoid the Video1. It would be another lost opportunity to improve your SEO.

3. Constantly post new content

YouTube rewards frequency, so publishing content regularly is the best way to ensure a higher ranking. To continuously create new content, keep a list of video ideas close by. This list can include:

  • School and Program Videos such as presentation videos, a word from the President, graduation ceremonies; graduates discussing the benefits of their training at your school; the video of the week, etc.
  • Career videos: success stories, careers available with degrees from your school.
  •  Community videos with events on campus; involvement of your school in your local community (geographic community); tutorials about a specific subject your school specializes in (learning community).

4. Strategically promote your videos  

Embed your videos If your school has a blog or traditional website, make sure you embed your YouTube videos in them. (Make sure you do not  promote your competition with the Related Videos). Link, link, link

  • Share all your YouTube content automatically to Facebook and Twitter.
  • Go back under YouTube account setting and click on “Blog Setup.”  This will allow you to link your blog with your account and thus post your videos on your blog directly in just a few simple clicks.
  • Link your channel and videos to your other social networking profiles, your email signature, and various presentations.

Get involved in the YouTube community The more “Likes” they will get, the higher your videos will appear. YouTube algorithm loves videos that bring traffic to other videos or channels, so the best way to rank high is to become part of the YouTube community.

  • Add a link to your school’s website, and a link to the channel in all the social media platforms.
  • Leave comments on popular videos in your niche. Comment early so your comments will appear at the top and will be viewed by your core audience within the first hours following the post.
  • Create campaigns to encourage comments. As long as your channel does not get thousands of viewers every day, respond to each and every comment. Building comments early also helps increase the video's ranking in search.
  • Join Groups
  • Advertise on YouTube

What have you been doing to improve your school’s positioning in social media?

The conversation continues The YouTube Creator Playbook is the best resource for anyone trying to improve their marketing efforts. Check out the 10 Commandments of Video Marketing from Tina Fotopoulous on WebSEO Analytics and How TO: Boost Your SEO with a YouTube Channel from Mitchell Harper of BigCommerce.


Passionate about web and content marketing, I write about all things social media in higher education.