Are you disappointed with your company’s search ranking? Have you tried a video strategy yet?
Nobody can deny that video is the king of content: a billion hours of video are watched on YouTube every single day. And YouTube is the second-largest search engine. With numbers like that, it stands to reason video content could help you improve your ranking.
But with 400 hours being uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s easy for any one video to get buried in search. Be aware that not just any video will drive up your ranking. You need to create the perfect video for your audience and optimize it to rank high.
In this article I’ll teach you how I got the number-one spot on YouTube and some tips for your video to shine on search engines, helping to improve your ranking, as well.
How to Improve your Search Ranking with Video
1) Include Your Brand Identity
Your video is one key element of many that will build a sound brand identity. If that personality is unique, your brand will be recognizable for your prospective client. Ask yourself: Who would your brand be if it was a person? What would it sound like? Why is it different from other brands?
Watch this example to understand how to do it with an animated video:
2) Define Your Target Audience
One of the key steps for a successful video is to define your target audience.
Gender, age and location are basic demographics that you need to narrow down in order to develop a successful creative strategy. You could also think about psychographic data such as periods in the life cycle or social class.
Don’t forget to analyze seasonality and purchase behavior: Is there a time customers buy your products more than others?
If you build a well-thought-out profile, your video will deliver what they need.
3) Focus on Giving Solutions to Their Problems
What are your audience’s pain points? How can your brand help them to solve those problems?
An easy way to address your audience’s needs is to create a story in which somebody has an issue (your target audience) and your brand will be the hero who help them to sort it out.
Check out how you can achieve that by combining live action with animation:
4) Keep It Entertaining
You don’t need to use a formal tone to be taken seriously. Even if you have a B2B product you can entertain your audience with a hint of humor. Don’t forget that this can be applied to what you say and what you show.
Here you have an example:
What could be more serious than financial transactions? This video, however, uses animation to be dynamic and entertaining.
5) Bring Out Emotions
Don’t forget that emotions underline most of our purchase decisions. Apart from the product’s features, try to think about what kind of emotions it triggers. This could be a key element in your video.
How will your client feel while enjoying your product? Happy? Relieved? Powerful? Whether your video is 30 seconds or three minutes long, you need to tell a powerful story that includes a start, a development and an end.
That story should be driven by well-developed characters to whom your audience can relate. Emotions—no matter if it’s love, disgust or awe—make your video more shareable, which will have a drastic impact on your rankings.
Watch this short video in which a brand tells a short story about a family and their feelings when they enjoy their product.
6) Use the Power of Educational Videos
First, you need to know that Google’s algorithm prefers video content to answer certain kinds of search queries:
- Tutorials (“Photoshop tutorial,” “How to paint a wall”)
- Fitness (“Yoga class”)
- Reviews (“New Galaxy S9”)
- Funny videos (“Cute babies”)
- Explainer videos (“How a business works”)
In general, people are visual learners, and they prefer a short explainer video to a long-form article. So they look for videos on a wide range of topics to help them solve everyday problems, whether that be learning a new skill, deciding which phone to buy or losing a few pounds.
When creating an explainer video, think about what problem you can solve for potential customers. Then think about how they would search for the answer to that problem online. Tailor your video to that search and your video should gain some serious organic traffic.
7) Hook Your Audience
Whatever length you choose, bear in mind that YouTube’s algorithm rewards audience retention. If people watch the whole video (or most of it) the platform assumes it provides useful information and quality entertainment.
Nothing is more important than hooking your audience from the beginning. The topic should be stated as soon and as clearly as possible but, don’t show all your cards too soon.
Ask questions that your viewer wants to know but don’t answer them immediately.
For example, this is how our relative audience retention graph looks for our video “What’s the best explainer video style?”:
8) Engage Your Audience
Subscribing and liking are two of the most important metrics that YouTube values. Take advantage of YouTube Cards to encourage your audience to take any of those actions.
Comments also have great value when it comes to driving up your rankings. Have you tried to ask questions directly to your audience? You could even let them get involved with the creation of a new product, for example.
Check out this video to know how an outdoor gear company provides useful information to its target audience by teaching them camping recipes. In the end, they encourage the viewer to subscribe and watch related content with this image:
9) Make Sure Your Video’s Length Is Friendly
To establish the ideal length of a video is tricky because it depends on how complex the topic is. Some experts say “the shorter, the better.”
But in a recent analysis of 1.3 million YouTube videos, Backlinko found that longer videos significantly outperform shorter videos. According to the research, the average length of a first-page YouTube video is 14 minutes, 50 seconds.
You should think about your particular needs to establish the perfect length for your video.
10) Optimize Your Video Using Strong Keywords
The first step to optimizing your video is to know what your potential clients are searching for. First, brainstorm words that are related to your business and your video topic. Think about the questions users would ask Google to find the information on your site.
For example, if you have a tutorial video on how to snake a drain (and you sell drain snakes), think about the things people would search for: “how to snake a drain,” “snaking a drain,” unclogging a drain,” etc. Those are your long-tail keywords. Keywords related to your business — drain snakes, plumbing, clogs — would be your short-tail keywords.
You can then research your keywords in a keyword planner tool like Google AdWords and compare how many search queries that set of words has had on average.
You’ll notice a lot of the short-tail keywords have hundreds of thousands of monthly search queries, meaning that a lot of companies will fight to rank for them. Your ultimate goal is to rank higher for those keywords, but that’s hard to do when you’re just starting out.
Instead, you should try for some more specific long-tail keywords that will be less competitive.
Let’s see an example:
Our company, Yum Yum Videos is an animated video production company and its keyword was “explainer video” which has huge competition:
To rank one of our videos on YouTube, we chose a long-tail keyword, “Explainer video styles,” which has a maximum of 1K average monthly searches:
The strategy is to start with a medium-competition keyword that’s easier to rank for and rank on the high-demand keyword in the long term. Following this strategy — and the other techniques that I explain in this article — it’s high in the Google ranks, being one of the first videos to appear.
11) Optimize Your Video on YouTube
YouTube looks at many features to understand what your video is about. Those features also grab your audience’s attention.
Include your long-tail keyword toward the beginning of your title and be brief and clear about your content.
Write a paragraph telling the viewer what your video is about. Use two or three keywords without repeating them too much. Add a link to your web page and your social media profiles. Remember, that’s why you‘re creating a video! You should also include the keyword-optimized video transcript like we did here:
Use your keyword first and some variations of it later. You can also add tags about other topics that your video covers. Don’t be afraid to use the same tags as your competitors. That way, your video will be added to their suggested video sidebar.
You can see YouTube tags with apps like VidIQ. These are the ones we’ve chosen for our explainer video:
When viewers see a list of YouTube results, they’ll click on the most engaging one. The percentage of people who click on your video is your click-through rate, or CTR, and YouTube’s algorithm pays close attention to that.
When a video is uploaded, you can choose a thumbnail from the three options that YouTube randomly generates, but those are probably not the best ones.
To boost your CTR, create attractive thumbnails that clearly state the topic of the video. For example, between these four options we chose the upper-left image for our video:
Captions and Text Overlays
Most users are mobile, and that means they probably won’t turn the sound on when watching a video. aIf they don’t understand the content, they will keep scrolling.
To prevent that, your video should be able to stand on its own without sound. Adding captions and overlaid text will help your audience understand the content even on silent mode.
12) Boost Your Video With YouTube Ads
Investing some money on YouTube Ads will give your video an initial boost and increase the chances your video will be liked and shared.
Once you get some traction, stop investing and see how your view rate grows organically. The more it grows organically, the more your brand gains credibility.
13) Increase Views by Embedding Externally
It’s very hard to make YouTube rank your video on the first pages from the start, that’s why viewers have to find it somewhere else first.
Embed your video anywhere you can: on social media, blogs, newsletters, etc. That will increase the views of your video. Eventually, YouTube will notice and start suggesting it.
On this graph based on our “What’s the best explainer video style?” video, you can see (in red) how in the first three months around 95 percent of our viewers came from external sources (outside YouTube).
Later, that number dropped to 35 percent and the rest (green and blue) comes from YouTube’s suggested videos and YouTube’s searches, getting 300 percent more views per day if we compare it with day one.
14) Embed Your Video on Your Webpage
When a video is displayed on a site, people tend to stay on the page longer to watch it. The longer people stay, the more trust Google will give your site and the higher it will rank.
That time will also allow your brand’s message to sink in. Your visitor will probably have a higher level of interaction, clicking on different pages, another positive signal for Google’s algorithm.
An engaging video can help you communicate your core message and values in a compelling way that will build up your brand reputation online and boost your rankings effectively.
Take your time to think about what is the absolute best video for your product, who is your target audience and what they need.
To prevent your video from getting buried in the results, don’t forget to use keywords strategically.
Take engagement factors into account and be prepared to see your video climbing up the search rankings! Do you think you can get to the number one spot?
Víctor Blasco is the founder and CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos.
He is also an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. Aside from running the business, he loves studying Chinese philosophy and is a real geek for science fiction films and comics!