YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (right after Google). And being owned by Google, good rankings on YouTube can help your rankings on Google.
But before we get started, let me smash a couple hopes and dreams to the ground.
Product videos will only rank well for product keywords, and there are normally a lot less people searching for your product than educational topics.
For example “corevalve evolut r” is probably searched a lot less than “what is aortic stenosis” by patients and isn’t going to rank for broad health keywords.
That’s why companies like Ethicon make product videos and high level educational videos.
It covers your prospects through the entire buying cycle instead of just when they’re ready for product specific info.
Step 1 – Don’t Make A Boring Video (Don’t Skip This Part Even Though It Seems Obvious)
I know we talk about avoiding boring all the time around here, but just to make sure we’re on the same page let me make one thing clear:
You don’t make your video un-boring with special effects or cheesy tricks, you do it with interesting content for your target audience.
A video explaining how bariatric surgery helps you lose weight is going to be boring to skinny people. But it can be music to the ears of someone struggling with obesity.
Now obviously if your prospects (whether physicians or consumers) aren’t interested in your content, it’s going to do nothing for sales and may even hurt your brand.
But it’ll also hurt your rankings on YouTube.
The good news, if you get this right it can mean lots of positive exposure for your brand. The Cleveland Clinic worked with HeartValveSurgery.com to make a terrific video on Aortic Stenosis.
This 4 minute video has more views than Dr. Oz’s! And out of those 80,100 views it’s got a healthy bit of likes and comments.
Bonus Tip: If You Want Your Video To Rank In Google AND YouTube Focus On 4 Kinds of Keywords
You’ve got to remember that people use YouTube like a search engine and if you want bleed over from Google there are certain kinds of videos you’ve got to create.
Brian Dean from Backlinko has a great list of “video keywords” you can check out, but Dean’s big idea is to focus on keywords that have videos pop-up in Google search engine results pages (SERPs). Some of the most relevant ones for medical companies are:
- How-to (“how to lose weight”)
- How does (“how does gastric bypass surgery work”)
- Reviews (“corevalve review”)
- Funny videos (medical device companies haven’t had any big hits here, but brands like Kmart or Grey Poupon drove millions of people to a video blatantly building their brand)
Step 2 – Make Sure Your Video Is The Right Length
After studying billions of data points YouTube actually revealed that longer videos were getting more engagement than shorter videos.
It makes sense when you think about it.
A 60-second video might hook your attention but it just doesn’t have enough time to tell me something interesting enough (or even controversial enough) to make me want to comment.
Since longer videos with higher engagement also means more places to put ads in the video, YouTube obviously has a vested interest in keeping viewers watching.
This trend isn’t new.
Back in 2012 our friends at YouTube realized that people can stuff keywords into titles and descriptions and even fake views, but engagement is another story.
So they decided to shift ‘Time Watched’ to a key metric in the video ranking algorithm.
That means boring videos that may have an exciting title or even a catchy thumbnail image to get the click are going to drop like a stone if viewers aren’t sticking around.
Bottomline, make your video long enough to tell a decent story (we usually aim for >3 minutes with 30 to 60 second “teaser cuts”), but be sure viewers are hooked in and learning something useful.
Step 3 – Target The Right Audience In Your Paid Media Campaign
This is a short one, and a take off from the don’t-make-your-video-boring point, but you’re going to kill your engagement percentages if you go too broad with your media campaign.
Sure, big view numbers are nice, but big ROI numbers are better.
If you’re advertising directly on YouTube that will mean more work in terms of finding video placements that make sense, or on Facebook you’re going to have to fire up your Power Editor and
Step 4 – Add Captions To Your Video
Confession time: I had no idea what kind of impact captions had until yesterday. But when I came across Reel SEO’s findings that captions increased ranking it made complete sense.
YouTube and Google have great web crawlers but they can’t watch a video. Captions, just like a transcript give the bots an extra data point
While I can’t see inside their ranking black box, I picture it sort of like bonus points.
Imagine your competition produces a video with similar content, the same keywords and just a high quality as yours. And their whole goal is to knock you out of the top YouTube spot.
Since your videos are so similar the score is tied, but when you add captions (and they don’t) you get bonus points in YouTube’s eyes. It’s like an extra keyword list for them.
Bonus Points: Automatic YouTube Captions (For A Fee)
If you don’t feel like making the captions yourself, here’re two simple resources
- Premium: 3Playmedia offers a straightforward service that will quickly make your captions. They’re a good choice if you have a large library so you can go with their volume discount.
- Cheap: Our good ole friend Fiverr has a slew of captioning services. It may be cheap, but for just one or two videos we’ve been able to work with freelancers to get solid quality (even in multiple languages). Here’s a gig we’ve had success with in the past. Very responsive and same day turnaround.
Step 5- Optimize Your Video’s File Properties
Just like close captioning, getting your video file optimized is another “bonus point” zone.
Most people don’t touch their video file names which means you can get a leg up on the competition with this trick.
There are 5 components to pay attention to in your video filename
- Tags – put the keywords that go with your video here
- Name – I focus on an interesting title that will get people to click, but it’s helpful to have your keywords in there too.
- Comments – A place to put a little bit about your video topic. Don’t keyword stuff, just make it a decent, short (<<100 words) description.
A Checklist To Speed Up The Process
My suggestion is to make your own personal checklist to be sure all your videos come up as high as possible on YouTube, which can also cross over to Google.
Perhaps I’ll post mine