How to Get Your Videos to Perform in Search
First of all, always consider the platform before uploading a video.
Don’t plan to create an awesome Snapchat story with the intent to upload it to YouTube. The most important thing is to recognize the platform and deliver a product that will be welcomed in the context of that situation, whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram, Vine, or YouTube.
Keep in mind that if you get on Facebook Live and are just sitting there, going through some sort of programming or curriculum, and talking to comments, it’s going to drag on. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 or 30 minutes, it won’t be fun for anyone on YouTube to watch in a replay. If you broadcast with more intention and possibly reference a couple of comments here and there, that may be a good repurposing opportunity for YouTube. You want the audience to feel like they’re having a similar experience to when it was live.
Facebook and YouTube are about the same in terms of uploading. You take a produced piece of content, upload it, and put it out to the audience subscribing to that channel, whether it’s a YouTube page or Facebook page or profile. However, when people watch a video on YouTube, it’s an intentional move. They have to go to a video and click Play.
On Facebook and Instagram, posted videos are put in the viewers’ faces. When people scroll through their feed, they may or may not see it and they may or may not click the Play or Audio buttons to watch and listen. Plus, the audio on Facebook goes on when the viewer clicks it, so they could start listening at any point in the video.
Viewers go through a different thought process before they decide to watch a video on either one of these platforms, however, you can optimize these videos to perform in search in the same ways.
YouTube Still Matters
YouTube is a time investment. The issue is whether marketers have the patience for it. When you commit to YouTube, you’re investing in your archives for the number-two search engine on the planet. Videos on YouTube have a long shelf life and could perform very well in the future.
Optimize Videos for Search
The first 24- to 48-hour period of the video is key. If you can show momentum in that time and there’s no competition in search, your video could be the number-one result.
There are ways to get discovered in search, even if you’re not the first one there. If you can release a video, tag it, and include all of your copy accordingly, then it will have a chance to be on the front page of search. You just need to show that it’s more relevant than what’s already there. Newer videos are, by definition, potentially more relevant.
You can also be discovered because of referred content. That comes less from the search component. You don’t necessarily need to be on the front page to get traction and you don’t have to be there first. Plus, if you have competition, you can look at what they did to get on the front page and try to replicate it.
What indicators help something show up higher in YouTube search? YouTube really likes videos submitted by channels with high minutes watched, high retention, and high engagement. Someone who has subscribers, viewers, and engagement has a solid chance of going up in search.
Headlines and Description
Ideally even before you make the video, but definitely before you upload it, you need to have the focus keyword. Once you have that nailed down, the rest of the fields will line up. You’ll want the phrase or word you’re trying to rank for in search.
The description is also an essential component. In Google search, you can insert a meta description for any blog post. If you don’t, the first couple of lines of that blog post will appear as a preview in Google search results. If a YouTube video comes up in search results, the first couple of lines of the description will play that role.
Use your keyword in the description, as well as the headline. YouTube will weigh the entire description equally in its search. However, Google search will highlight the first couple of lines of the description; they’ll be less concerned about the later part of your description.
The first couple of lines are also important for the Watch page. You want the most important details (your keyword and call to action) above the fold so people will click the More button and read the rest of the description.
If you refer to something in the description and want to make sure the audience finds the link and the call to action no matter what, put it above the fold. You don’t want people to get lost.
Video Length and Tags
Those trying to rank in a search where they already have results should look at timestamps and length of those ranked videos. If the number-one result got its video done in less than five minutes, you should be within that time frame, as well. Looking at the front page of search, when a person sees a six-minute result versus a three-minute result, they will likely go with the shorter video. That’s human SEO.
Tags are really important. You have your focus keyword, which is prominently placed in the headline and the description. The tags are more of an opportunity to cover your bases.
Offer layman’s terms for how somebody would actually be searching for something. Think about all of the ways the video would be relevant to someone who has never met you, doesn’t know the terminology, and doesn’t know how to do something. Fill in the gaps for the searches you’re not trying to rank in, but certainly could if you had the opportunity.
Additionally, try using the Keyword Planner from Google AdWords to find keyword ideas. This can also help you with planning your headline and keyword description. You want to see how high the competition is for these keywords and if it will really benefit you to get your video in the right spot.
Above all, remember to pay attention to the platform and the viewers that you are creating the content for – and you will see positive results.