How to Reverse Engineer your Competition’s YouTube Videos

Updated on | By | Under the Category Traffic Generation, Video Marketing

Make no mistake about it, video is a very powerful marketing tool. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words do you think a video is worth? We’re talking millions of words. We’re talking persuasive words too. Video is a great way of truly influencing your audience. You can manipulate what they see. You can manipulate what they hear. You can control the emotional range that they would form to your content.

This is a huge amount of power. With great power, however, comes great responsibility. You need to present your content in such a way that it truly does its job and really adds value to the lives of end-users viewing your video. Video is also a very powerful business to business marketing platform. If you are selling to other businesses, they would need certain information. They would need to see certain information described. The great thing about video is you don’t just talk about the value you offer, you can actually show your prospects the value you offer. That’s how powerful and immediate video can be.

Another reason why you should be paying attention to YouTube videos is that it is easier to rank with your YouTube video on Google than with regular search. Many tests confirmed this. If you try to rank on certain highly competitive search terms, chances are, your website’s not gonna show up in the first page. You might work really hard, and this can result in you showing up in the second page. But if you truly want to show up on the first page fairly quickly, you need to use YouTube videos.

Sadly, SEO for YouTube videos is often overlooked, misunderstood or confused. If you’re going to try to figure out the right keywords, the right video content, the right page elements, you might be working until the cows come home. Even then, you might still do a really bad job. There is one shortcut that you should try. You should use your competition to do your homework for you. That’s right. You can reverse engineer your competition’s existing YouTube videos so you can gain a competitive advantage. Not only do you get to engage your target customers in a very vivid and powerful way in video, but you might also rank faster using YouTube videos.

Here is how you reverse engineer your competition’s YouTube videos.

Research your Competition

You already know which websites are competing against you. You already know which businesses are competing against you. Go to YouTube and try to look up their videos. If you can’t find their videos, look for related companies. Regardless of whatever niche you are focusing on, somebody is already on YouTube trying to market on that niche. Find those videos. Once you have isolated your competitor’s videos, take note of the most common keywords they use.

Take a look at their titles. Take a look at their videos. Take a look at their descriptions. Study their pages. Figure out what they are doing right. You can easily see if a video is doing well if it has a lot of page views, if it has a lot of comments, and if it has a lot of likes or thumbs up. Study the actual video content. Take a look at the description. Wrap your mind around what they are doing right.

Next, figure out what they are doing wrong. There is no such thing as a perfect video. There is no such thing as a perfect YouTube page. There is always something you can improve. Pick a part these otherwise successful videos and see what they are missing. Keep track of these because you are going to not make those mistakes with your own video pages.


When trying to SEO the title for your YouTube video, you just have to use standard SEO practice. Your title must have your target keyword, and it must be readable. With that said, you might want to revise your title many times over. You might want to keep revising the title until you are sure that it can attract the attention of your target audience. Don’t expect to write your title in one sitting. You might have to revise it many times over until it is powerful enough. It must be readable. It must be engaging and must attract people’s attention. This is not something that you can do randomly. This is not something that you can hope to get lucky with. It takes some work. Give this the amount of time it deserves.


Just like with the title, the description must grab attention at the top and must be readable. Moreover, the description must be helpful and have your target keywords. You have to write your description in such a way that it adds value to the video on your YouTube page. Finally, you must put your URL in your description. This is the main way you will get traffic from your YouTube video.


Look through your competitors’ videos and take note of the most common tags they use. Use the most common tags that your competitors have picked out for you. Remember, you are using them to do your homework for you. Don’t get too crazy with the tags though. Stay within the five to seven range.

Popularity drives ranking. You have to remember that for your YouTube video to show up high on YouTube searches, your video has to be popular. YouTube ranks their videos based on popularity due to the assumption that popular videos must be high-quality videos. If you’ve been watching YouTube for quite some time, you know that this is not necessarily true. Still, that’s how Google thinks. So, you must follow this line of thinking. You have to figure out a way to make your video popular.

You have to figure out a way to naturally boost the number of views your video gets. There are all sorts of services that try to artificially boost the video pages, but these will eventually fail. Instead of using shortcuts like that or cheap tricks, focus instead on growing video’s popularity naturally. I am, of course, talking about using social media to push the popularity of your video. Once, you’ve put up a YouTube video, get on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and other very popular social media sites and just plug your YouTube video. Also, don’t be shy about buying traffic for your YouTube video.

You can use cheap traffic sources like a link redirect service. These are very cheap traffic sources that would flash your link to your YouTube video with a very interesting screen shot to a huge number of people. Get enough people to click through and your video can get quite popular. Of course, this doesn’t excuse you from producing crappy videos. The best way to make a video popular is the simplest way: produce quality videos.

Embed your Video on Many Pages

YouTube uses SEO rules that are quite similar to traditional SEO. YouTube also pays attention to links to a particular video. Your video gets a link when you link your video to your YouTube page from websites, blogs or web2.0 websites. Another way your YouTube counts links is when you embed your video. You can do all these by using social media. It’s very important that you do this naturally. Don’t use spam services to promote your video. If Google catches you doing it, you might get banned from YouTube. Not worth the risk.

High Ratings and Heavy Comments

As mentioned above, YouTube ranks your video based on its perceived quality. YouTube thinks that if there are a lot of people giving you a high number of thumbs up and lots of comments, chances are, that your video is good quality. This is why it’s crucial for you to focus on producing high-quality video. When you were studying your competition, you were taking notes as to video quality. Is the video grainy? Is the video badly edited? How is the sound? How are the graphics? Does your competitor’s video use a script? Figure out what they are doing wrong and produce a better-quality video. Your job is to get good ratings and get good comments.

Don’t expect your YouTube SEO and content creation efforts to produce gold the first time you try. Real success online is like real success offline. You achieve it one step at a time. Don’t expect things to happen overnight. As long as you’re paying attention to what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, and you continue to experiment, chances are, you will hit that magic formula in the future. Once you get this formula for successful YouTube pages, nothing can stop you from turning your YouTube videos into gold.

About the Author: Lewis Crutch

As the administrator of Marketing Bees, Lewis Crutch manages all of the free advice and tips available here on the Marketing Bees blog as well as spending time putting together in-depth marketing related courses covering a wide range of topics including email, content and social media marketing.

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