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The video format continues to gain importance. Its development is concomitant to that of social networks, which participate in its dissemination among the general public.

In 2021, the internet users spent 84 minutes a day watching online videos, compared to 67 minutes the previous year; in 2022 it will be 100 minutes. A growth that has brought a rapid increase in the production of videos by companies and brands, with a view to purchases or notoriety.

With more than 2 billion monthly users, YouTube concentrates most of the opportunities for an advertiser who wants to publish a video. However, with 300 hours of images posted per minute on the platform, it is impossible to give visibility to content without activating the levers of positioning on YouTube. What are these levers?


To understand the interest of positioning a video on YouTube, you must first understand the popularity of this platform in the world. These figures will give you an idea of ​​the extent of the phenomenon:

YouTube is the 2nd most visited website in the world, behind Google… which bought the platform in 2006, that is, one year after its creation by three ex-PayPal employees.

  • 2 billion users connect every month.
  • 1 billion hours are viewed every day.
  • 100 countries have access to the platform in 80 languages, which covers 95% of the world’s population.
  • 300 hours of videos are uploaded every minute.
  • YouTube is used by 87% of advertisers who practice video marketing.

For advertisers, these statistics are good and bad. On the one hand, the popularity of the platform increases the probability of making your videos visible: the more important the number of users, the more likely it is to reach a considerable part of them. But on the other hand, the overwhelming volume of content made available to Internet users tends to drown most of the videos in the mass. Thus, giving visibility to content is to dissociate a drop of water from the ocean that surrounds it.

Hence the usefulness of YouTube positioning: a method focused on improving the positioning of a video (or channel) in order to make it visible to the largest possible number of Internet users.


The notion of positioning on YouTube is not at all obvious. It is tempting to believe that the success of a video published on the platform depends above all on its intrinsic characteristics: thus, in principle, if it is well done, if its quality is professional, and it deals with a topic that interests Internet users, it should necessarily be found with your audience.

However, things are not so simple. According to Neal Mohan, Product Manager at YouTube, more than 70% of the time spent on the site is dedicated to viewing content recommended by the algorithm. This intervenes in the positioning of the videos on the cover page, in the search results, the flow of recommendations, the trends, the subscriptions to the chains, and the notifications.

This algorithm therefore largely guides the behavior of Internet users and determines which videos they will or will not watch. It is therefore essential to take into account the algorithm, key in the positioning of a video on YouTube if we hope to reach our audience.

The operation of the algorithm has evolved over time. Although its rules remain secret, we can nevertheless deduce some great trends:

  • Until 2012, videos were ranked based on their number of views. Problem: by making this criterion the main (read exclusive) positioning lever, the platform directly incited advertisers to clickbait (in essence: put an attractive, potentially misleading title to generate clicks and viewings). 
  • Between 2012 and 2016, the determining positioning criterion was the duration of the viewing, that is, the time an Internet user spent in front of a video. You don’t have to be an expert in YouTube positioning to imagine the resulting drift: an exponential increase in the length of the videos, artificial suspense in order to delay the processing of relevant information as much as possible and thus keep Internet users online for longer, etc. 
  • Since 2016, several criteria have been considered essential for positioning on YouTube: video quality, associated keywords and their location in different fields, user satisfaction, and engagement, content freshness, frequency of publication in the same chain, etc. Knowing that the number of views continues to maintain its importance, but more depending on other parameters.

These criteria determine a score attributed to each content, which allows the algorithm to recommend videos that correspond to their tastes and desires to users. YouTube positioning is intended to operate the appropriate levers to draw the algorithm’s attention to a particular video so that it stands out to users. A vision that should not be overlooked is the natural positioning of Google for the positioning of content in search engine results; proximity reinforced by the relationships that exist between the two platforms.


The duration of the viewing and the interactions are taken into account by the algorithm. Thus, these criteria are fully part of a positioning strategy on YouTube. They can be combined in a single, more global criterion: the retention of the audience in the video, but also, more broadly, in the channel/platform. We must not forget that the ultimate goal of YouTube is still advertising: the more time Internet users spend watching videos, the more susceptible they will be to seeing advertising, which in turn generates revenue. The algorithm, therefore, has the greatest interest in favoring content that makes users stay longer!

It is about working on two points:

  • The duration of the viewing, or “Watch time”, is a lever that continues to be essential in YouTube positioning. But in no way should it interfere with the quality of the video, or give the impression that the content is artificially stretched to retain the user’s attention. This means that a good video is not necessarily a long video… quite the contrary! An excellent technique is to practice teasing in the first moments: leaving questions on hold to answer them during the content.
  • Interactions designate the set of actions carried out by users: “like” a video, leave a comment or alternately you can even buy YouTube comments, subscribe to a channel, click on links that are forwarded to other videos, etc. It is a determining aspect of positioning on YouTube, to the extent that these interactions increase the time spent by Internet users on the platform, something that the algorithm especially appreciates. Therefore, the best method is still to encourage viewers to react, subscribe or click on proposed links through call-to-action (CTA) spread in the description and in the video itself.

Interactions are also of greater interest: they increase the popularity of a video and thereby send a positive signal to the algorithm.


The click-through rate (which determines the number of views) indirectly influences the algorithm, pointing to popular content. It is therefore an aspect of YouTube positioning not to be neglected, although it is not the most important.

To increase the click-through rate, three components of the video can be optimized:

  • The title – which should be as striking and attractive as possible
  • The placement of keywords in the fields – increases the chances of uploading the video in response to certain searches.
  • The customization of the thumbnail or vignette (the image that illustrates the video on the results page and on the channel page).

Applied with care, the YouTube positioning methodology allows you to improve the visibility of a video quickly, with concrete results. But beware: nothing replaces the quality of the content, not even well-managed technical levers.

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