YouTube is a powerful marketing platform, but in order to make the most of it, you need to get your videos ranked in both Google and YouTube searches.
While there are many amazing resources that discuss how to rank your videos on YouTube, there is not a lot of information out there when it comes to ranking videos in Google search.
This is what we’ll discuss in this post, so you can learn more about how to have your videos appear along with text results in Google searches.
Focus on Keyword Research
Keywords are essential for ranking written content, and this is no different when it comes to video results. To rank your videos on Google search, you need to find keywords that actually allow for video results.
The good news is that there are lots of different SEO keyword research tools available so you can determine which keywords would work best for video results. We use a combination of Ahrefs and SEMRush for keyword research, but I always recommend using these tools along with actual Google searching terms.
Depending on the kind of search you perform, the video might appear in different places. For example, if you search for a particular keyword in Google, you might notice that the visual results only appear on the second page. To rank your videos, you need to focus on getting them on the first page instead.
To do that, make sure that you are targeting keywords that have videos on the first page on Google. While it is not always easy to find which keywords would rank your videos better so that they appear on the first page of Google search results, it’s essential to find a balance between ranking and the ultimate business goals of your company.
Create a Video Sitemap for Your Website
Creating a video sitemap for your website is an easy way to tell Google that you have video alongside your text results. If you are not familiar with creating a sitemap, you can follow the instructions provided in Google’s official guidelines for video sitemaps.
A video site map is helpful even if you don’t have your videos hosted on YouTube, because it allows Google to recognize your videos and place them in search results alongside your text.
We’ve had clients with videos hosted on Vimeo, but after creating a sitemap, Google started to recognize the video content and feature it in search results.
We recommend the Yoast WordPress Plugin with the Video SEO plugin for creating a site map. While this is not a free plugin, it is one of the easiest ways to generate site maps even if you are not familiar with them.
To rank for competitive keyword searches, you should build links to your video URL and embed the HTML or other websites. By building the correct links, your video will rank for the keywords you want, but you need to be careful because building the wrong link may get your video flagged as spam.
Remember that your main goal is to rank the webpage alongside the video, so it’s essential to focus not on YouTube ranking strategies, but on more traditional SEO strategies instead.
On-site optimization should include title tags and meta descriptions of your page. In contrast, video optimizations should take the form of editing your video title and description to include your keywords.
Transcribing Your Videos
Google’s search algorithm relies much more on text than video content, which means that transcribing the video whenever possible is an excellent way to optimize your videos.
However, for a video to benefit from transcriptions, it needs to make sense in a transcript form. Script-driven videos perform best, whereas a “best moment” type of video is not really suitable for transcribing. How-to videos and tutorials are perfect candidates for transcribing because they typically feature keyword-rich content that will help your video rank in Google searches.
To transcribe your video, you can use the original script you had when you made the video or get the video transcript from YouTube if you don’t have the original text available. Many businesses choose to outsource the transcription of their videos if there’s a lot of content involved.
Adding Custom Thumbnails
When you try to rank video content in Google Searches, you need to make sure the thumbnail that gets generated that way is clickable. To make thumbnails more inviting, it’s often necessary to add custom thumbnails. That way, you can control the first impression the user gets and is clickable even if shared across social media platforms.
By default, YouTube auto selects random screens from a video and allows you to choose one of three screenshots. As you may have already noticed, these screenshots are more often than not random, unflattering captures that are unlikely to catch the attention of users and make them click on it.
This is why it’s important to create custom thumbnails and bypass YouTube’s suggestions altogether. By choosing well-thought thumbnails, you get the chance to tell the user exactly what the video is about and increase your Click Through Rates at the same time.
Studies on Video SEO prove that ranking videos along written content in Google is a process loosely based on the traditional SEO approach but with a twist to suit visual content. By ranking videos together with conventional search results for a website, you can easily improve your Click Through Rate due to the thumbnail that users are more likely to click on than merely a chunk of text.