Why should you care about YouTube videos?
Let’s reframe that question slightly by asking: “ Do you know which is the world’s second-largest search engine?” The answer – YouTube – might surprise you, as might its ownership. It so happens that YouTube is owned by the world’s number one, Google, and both are part of Alphabet, a small company with 2022 revenue reported over 280 billion USD.
Astonishingly, many people create videos, post them to their websites or to social media, but then forget to place them on YouTube!
Why is this important? Well, you might have seen video results appearing on your search engine results page – your ‘SERP’ – and video results give you a second chance to appear at the top of Google search results.
These typically appear on searches that are “How to” searches.
Here’s an example:
You can see that when I type “How to fix a lawnmower?” into Google, most of the search results, especially those before you scroll, are all video, so that if you have a page on your website that’s all text or text and photos, it won’t even appear on search results until someone scrolls down.
Not surprisingly, the top four videos on this Google search are from YouTube. A coincidence? I don’t think so.
What’s the take-away here? Pretty clear, I think, that if you want to appear on the front page of Google search results, you need to do two things: firstly, make sure you use video; secondly, optimise your videos for YouTube.
Getting started on optimising your videos for YouTube and search
Optimisation should begin before you even start the video production process. It has to be part of the process, not an add-on. Your video’s subject and even its title will factor into YouTube rankings, so you should start by knowing what keywords or key phrases your particular web pages are looking to rank for and create a video around those key phrases. There are some excellent resources for keyword research including Google Analytics, Google Ads, SEMRUSH and Moz.com. Go search!
Once you have these keywords and phrases, you can get started on the content of the video. You will want these key phrases to appear in your video a natural number of times. Not too many; not too few — a Goldilocks number, you might say.
Optimising your video on its own won’t ensure that people will watch it. One of the most significant ranking factors, in a soup of factors that Google keeps secret, is ‘watch time’. If Google starts by putting you on the first page of the search results, then people click on your video, but turn it off just three seconds in, the system will very quickly work out that it’s not worth showing. Don’t be part of that group.
Engagement is key, so your video must be one that potential clients want to watch your video to the end.
Your video content still needs to be engaging and be exactly what a viewer would want when clicking on your video. If their question was “How to start a lawnmower, ” and the first image they see is of a whipper snipper, they will immediately switch off. So, ensure your video is laser-focused on being relevant to what people are searching for.
Critically, make sure you choose a video production company – if you are getting the job done externally – that cares about what happens to the video once it is finished, and they will help you with all of the above.
So you’ve made your video … now what?
You can do several things at this stage to optimise your video, fleshed out in our checklist below. These all assume you have a YouTube account, so if you don’t have one, maybe now is the time – it’s free, so what’s there to lose?
- First up, check back again with the keyword/keyphrase research; make sure that you include this term in the video title.
- Include a lengthy description of what appears in the video, not just a transcript, so that Google knows, precisely, what the video is about. Be aware, however, that, on YouTube, there’s a 5000 character limit for your video’s description. You’re not rewriting War and Peace!
- When you upload the video to YouTube, ensure that you add relevant tags, including the keywords you created the video for.
- Choose an engaging video thumbnail to get people to click on the video in the first place. If you can’t find anything from within the video, create one and upload it to YouTube.
- Place the video inside a relevant category list on your YouTube channel.
- Create a relevant playlist for your channel with other similar videos.
- Create a subtitle (.srt) file and upload that alongside the video. This lets YouTube know what is being said (and when) in your video. It will also show Google that you have used the relevant keywords/keyphrases within the video.
- Add chapters, if that seems relevant to your video file, within YouTube. This helps YouTube navigate to particular parts of your video for particular searches.
- Keep an eye on your video analytics. YouTube has a great tool to see where people might be dropping off while watching your video, so if needs be, you can modify your video to suit. If something isn’t working, change it.
So there you are. All very much worth taking on board, so go on out, create some great content, and make sure it gets watched.
At The Jasper Picture Company, we believe we need to help clients get their videos “out there” once the three stages of video production have been completed. There really is no point wasting your time creating video content if no one sees it. If you think that we can help you, please let us know. You can either call 1800 JASPER (527 737) or email email@example.com
At The Jasper Picture Company, we tell stories.
We can tell your story, and we would love to work with you.