How To Get Your Video On The First Page Of Google
Everyone wants to get their video on the first page of Google. That coveted first page placement means more views for your video, more traffic for your site, and, ideally, more sales for your business. Improving your Google search ranking isn’t easy but you probably have more control over where your video ranks than you think.
Google hasn’t always been completely transparent when it comes to explaining how websites are ranked. To make matters more confusing, the factors that matter for a text-based page (like this blog post for example) are different than those for your videos. Many marketers give up before they even get started because they don’t understand the steps they need to take.
Don’t give up. The following seven tricks will help tip the odds in your favor.
Why The First Page?
Improving your content to help it rank high on search engines is known as search engine optimization or SEO. Video SEO is a similar process for your video content. Since Google accounts for more than 90% of worldwide search volume, it’s worth focusing on that search engine specifically.
First a disclaimer: No amount of SEO wizardry can guarantee that your video will absolutely make it to the first page of the Google search results. However, if you take the right actions, you can significantly improve your chances.
Here’s a sobering statistic: 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results, according to Hubspot. So if your video isn’t showing up on the first page of Google search results, it might as well not show up at all.
Fortunately, Google search placement is governed by something slightly more predictable than random chance. It’s based on about 200 Google search ranking factors. We don’t need to get into all of them here. Some are deeply technical and others are out of your control. Instead, we’ll focus on a few key factors that you can manage yourself.
As video has become more popular over the last few years, the competition for that coveted first page video result has become more fierce. More and more people are making videos. At the same time, Google has introduced new ways for people to discover videos.
You may spot video results in a carousel at the stop of your search engine results page (SERP). This area showcases those videos that Google thinks are most relevant to your search. The carousel isn’t always present and it isn’t always at the top of the page. Depending on your search terms, it might not appear at all. You can also click the video tab on any SERP to see only video results. But, the results you see in the video carousel on the general search might be different than what shows up in the video search tab.
Here’s what I get when I type IdeaRocket into the general search tab:
Versus the video search tab:
So ranking on Google video search isn’t an exact science, but with the right SEO tactics, you can at least make sure your video has a fighting chance.
How To Get To Page One
To improve your video SEO, you need some understanding of how Google ranks and indexes pages. In the most basic terms, Google sends a piece of code known as a web crawler to scan through your website and gather information about it.
You can imagine a web crawler as a media intern in a massive DVD warehouse. His job is to tag each video so he can quickly find the ones customers as for. If the intern does his job well, a customer can say, “Bring me cat videos,” and the intern can quickly pull a dozen cat videos for the customer to peruse.
That makes sense so far, but here’s where it gets tricky. The intern doesn’t have a DVD player, so he can’t watch the videos. Instead, he has to rely on the information written on the DVD case to organize the collection. Oh, and every minute people bring him hundreds of videos to catalog.
In the same way, web crawlers investigate the text on your website for information about your videos. If your title doesn’t make sense, your description is missing information, or there isn’t enough copy on the page. The intern, I mean web crawler, won’t know how to categorize your video and it will get pushed way down the list of search results.
On the other hand, if all of your information is in order, the web crawler can quickly understand what your video is about and you’ll be able to rank higher. Here are seven ways to improve your odds of reaching first-page rank on Google:
1. Get Smart About Hosting
Where you host your video changes how you’ll be indexed. Some hosting sites automatically include metadata to facilitate site indexing, while others require you to insert this information manually. If you’re not a professional web developer, that process can be difficult and time consuming. Look for a host that takes care of your video schema. Wistia, YouTube and Vimeo all fit the bill.
As you consider your hosting options, you may hear some experts claim that it’s a lot harder to get self-hosted videos to rank, because Google owns YouTube and has an interest in promoting YouTube results first.
The obvious solution is to host your video on YouTube, however, that might actually work against your wider SEO goals. If your goal is to increase awareness of your product or service, YouTube is a fine place to host your videos. However, if your goal is to drive traffic to your website, YouTube is more hindrance than help.
Plus, any relevant video can rank on Google, even if it’s not posted on YouTube, as long as you have strong SEO. To prove it, here’s what I got when I typed “Video Content Marketing” into my Google search. Notice that none of these videos are hosted by YouTube.
2. Include Transcripts When Possible
Remember, web crawlers can read, but they can’t view videos. So including a transcript massively increases the amount of data the web crawler can access. All of that extra information helps them match your video with the search terms most relevant to it.
Planned videos have scripts, which you can easily publish underneath your video. For live videos, creating a transcript will add time and expense. If you don’t have the resources to make a transcription, at least include a well-written summary that references relevant keywords. The web crawler will still be able to find useful information.
If your transcript or description of a YouTube video includes time stamps related to relevant points, Google may even decide to serve up the specific section of your video that exactly answers the searcher’s question. How’s that for relevant?
A note about captions: Since web crawlers can’t watch your video, they can’t read captions either. However, captions still contribute to your video SEO by improving the viewing experience. The better the experience, the longer viewers will spend watching your video and increased watch times can help boost your SEO. So include captions whenever you can.
3. Invite A Click
Google takes view rates and clicks into account, so make sure people actually want to click on your video. Choose a thumbnail that is inviting and as relevant as possible. Smiling faces are always a good choice. Your hosting platform might auto-generate a thumbnail for you, but you don’t have to use it. Instead, comb through your video to find an image that truly conveys what the video is about. You can also create a custom thumbnail that includes a text overlay, several scenes from the video, or anything else you can fit in a graphic.
Your descriptions and title should also be inviting. The user should know at a glance exactly what the video is about and whether it’s relevant to them. Be creative, but make sure that whatever your title promises your video delivers. So if you promise 7 tips for ranking on the first page of Google, you must have seven tips and they must be about Google ranking. Otherwise, people will bail out before the end of your video, and that’s bad for your ranking.
4. Use Keywords
We’ve touched on this in some of the tips above, but it’s worth focusing on: Use keywords in your title, description and any accompanying page copy. Just as you would research keywords for a blog post, you should also research and use keywords in the copy surrounding your video. Keywords should be relevant to the video and reflect user search patterns.
However, don’t get so wrapped up in keywords that you forget who you’re writing for. Yes, the web crawler needs to understand what your video is about, but so do users. Use correct grammar and spelling. Most importantly, avoid using the keyword over and over in an attempt to sound relevant. That’s called keyword stuffing, and search engines are on to that trick. It won’t fool users either.
5. Promote Your Video
Video views have a compounding effect on ranking. The more views your video gets, the more popular it appears, and the higher it will rank. The higher it ranks, the more people are likely to discover it, improving rank even more. Give your video a leg up by promoting it as much as you can. Send it out in email, link to it in a blog post, and share it across your social media platforms.
6. Organize Your Content
Even if you have several videos on the same topic, limit yourself to one video per page. Web crawlers tend to stop when they identify a video. They won’t go looking for a second one on the page. So the second, third and fourth video in your series will be ignored unless you host each one on its own page.
If you want the video to rank and not just the page itself, make sure the video appears “above the fold.” That means it’s close to the top of the page. Users shouldn’t have to scroll through a bunch of text to find it. The ideal setup is: title followed by video followed by description or transcript.
7. Make A Great Video
None of the SEO strategies above will work without a high quality video. Google search ranking is about more than whether your descriptions match the keyword. Google takes engagement into account. So, if your description promises one thing and your video delivers another, you’ll fall in the rankings. If your description matches the search term but your video has poor audio, a disjointed storyline, or other quality issues, you’ll fall in the rankings.
On the other hand, if you have a high quality video surrounded by relevant text, you’ll rise quickly. Staying on the first page of Google search rankings starts with a great video. If you’re ready to create high-quality video, contact IdeaRocket to get started.