There’s no dismissing the importance of SEO. It’s absolutely necessary to get found online and to source as many relevant views to your content as possible.
But trying to rank for poor quality or misaligned content just won’t work. Not even the best SEO can save content that people don’t find valuable.
And value matters today. Consumers want to solve problems, so that’s the kind of content Google is going to surface. Plus, it’s generally believed that search engines favor engagement and use it as an indicator of the quality of content. Things like time-on-page can indicate to Google whether it’s doing its job right — serving up relevant content to the right people.
When it comes to ranking videos in Google, however, you’ve got to look beyond technical SEO. You must think of the larger objective: engaging more buyers with content that solves problems.
After all, if your content isn’t educating and converting, no amount of SEO will solve that problem.
Take DIY pest control company, Solutions Pest & Lawn. They created a YouTube video that ranks on the first page of Google for the term “How to get rid of roaches New Orleans”.
Their video shows viewers four ways to deal with roaches. It’s a perfect example of how to give your audience exactly what they want. The video has generated just over 29 thousand views since it was published.
So, how do you bridge the gap and create the kind of video content that ranks well in search engine results and gives buyers what they want?
In this article, I’ll cover both these areas. We’ll explore video marketing funnels and why every local business should have one. I’ll also share a five-step framework for producing effective videos and five tips to optimize and give you the best chance of ranking high on YouTube and in Google’s carousel search results.
Why your brand needs a YouTube marketing funnel
All marketers are familiar with the marketing funnel and how it supports specific objectives at each stage.
Source: Britannia Press
A YouTube marketing funnel works the same way. It’s a funnel designed to attract, educate, and later, convert viewers into paying customers. Along with other content you produce, your video marketing funnel supports your buyer’s journey.
Ideas are everywhere
Creating videos for your funnel may seem like a slog, but it shouldn’t be. While there are many ways to source content ideas, one of the easiest is to repurpose already popular blog post content.
This works for two reasons: Firstly, your audience is filled with people who want to solve problems. If your blog post has generated a lot of traffic and engagement, you have a winning idea.
Secondly, your winning idea has been validated. If people are searching for it, a video has a high probability of being successful, as research shows 80% of people would rather watch a video than read a blog post.
To get started with repurposing, simply sort your blog content based on the number of views they’ve received. The most popular blog posts should be considered for repurposing.
If your blog posts are on the long side, why not consider segmenting ideas and using them in separate videos within your funnel?
Create videos for each stage
The videos you produce need to satisfy buyer needs at each stage. This means producing content for the top, middle, and bottom of your funnel.
Here’s what each stage should accomplish:
Top-of-funnel content: Diagnose a problem
At the top of the funnel, your viewers may be aware of a problem they face, but they might not completely understand it. To guide them along, create videos that educate them on the nature of the problem they face, which factors influence the development of the problem, and how to best diagnose their problem.
Pisgah Pest Control educates local residents in their video. They share why and how pests became a problem in the area.
Middle-of-funnel: Show how your business solves a problem
So you’ve helped viewers diagnose and better understand the problem they face; now it’s time to position your business as a solutions provider. Create videos that demonstrate your product or service in action.
If you’re a Californian interested in maintaining your garden throughout the driest periods of the year, you may have considered which types of plants to grow. Garden center McShane’s Nursery created a video to help its target audience. The video provides a walkthrough of the center’s plant selection along with advice on why each plant would make a perfect addition to a drought-tolerant garden.
Bottom-of-funnel: Share proof to persuade
Having attracted and educated your viewers, it’s time to give them a reason to commit financially. Videos at the bottom of your funnel should be designed to show how your business has delivered on its promises.
Painter/decorator company Matthews’ Painting shows they delivered excellent service in a short video testimonial. While they didn’t necessarily create a perfect YouTube Video, anyone in search of a trustworthy painting company is likely to watch this video and appreciate its humble and transparent nature.
How to create powerful videos
Now that you know how to find ideas for videos and what kinds of videos to create, here’s a five-step framework for creating them effectively..
Hook your audience
It’s important to grab your audience’s attention immediately. In fact, YouTube recommends that you hook your audience within the first 15 seconds or you’ll lose them.
But how can you engage your audience that quickly?
Lead with a strong statement or question that gets them thinking.
In McShane’s Nursery’s video above, Shaun McShane challenges a misconception. He tells viewers that it’s possible to create a beautiful garden with drought-tolerant plants and save water.
Identify a problem
Viewers seek out content that satisfies a specific need. Whether entertainment or education, that need is typically associated with a problem. Identifying your buyer’s problem is an important step in delivering a powerful message in your video. It helps stir an emotion. And as all savvy marketers know, people often make purchasing decisions to relieve a pain in their life.
Agitate the problem
Identifying a problem, while important, isn’t enough to influence buyers. You need to agitate it. You need to create context through examples and share why a certain problem must be solved along with the consequences of not addressing the issue.
In their pest control video above, Pisgah Pest Control uses a doodle to illustrate why pests find their way into a home and what kinds of pests you could end up dealing with if you don’t take action.
Provide a solution
Introducing your solution is the easiest part, but don’t gloss over how it applies. Take the time to close any open loops by answering questions you may have introduced earlier. Also, be clear about how your solution provides benefits to the buyer.
Close with a call to action
Finally, end your video with a call to action. This can be anything from an invite to visit your website, downloading a guide, or watching the next video in your marketing funnel. Whatever it is, make it relevant to your buyer and where they are in their buyer’s journey.
Tips for getting your videos to rank in YouTube and Google
Once you’ve created high-quality videos, it’s time to give them the best chance at ranking in YouTube and Google. Follow these six tips to position your content competitively:
1. Tools to find your keywords
There are many ways to find terms to use as keywords for your videos. And while they may all offer a collection of results, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and Google Trends offer insights that are helpful for content creation and rankings.
While Ubersuggest doesn’t offer a YouTube keyword tool, it still helps you gauge search volume. It also offers a ‘Content Ideas’ tab filled with results of content that currently ranks competitively in search results. You can use these ideas to create stronger videos.
Google Trends is best used as an indicator of interest in a certain topic.
Google Trends shows search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 represents peak popularity for the term, while a value of 50 means that the term is half as popular, and a score of 0 means there isn’t enough data for your term.
It’s important to note that when turning to Google Trends, you should select YouTube Search to get YouTube-specific results, as these will differ from Google web search results.
Ahrefs offers a little more than Ubersuggest and Google Trends. You can get search volume, related phrases and search trends, clicks, and more.
They’ve also introduced a new feature called the ‘Recently Added’ report. It shows new terms added to the Ahrefs database that include your chosen keyword. These new terms can be used to create new content ideas around searches that have started to generate more search volume.
With your keywords ready, it’s time to establish intent.
2. Identify the intent
Intent is one of the most underestimated elements in content marketing. When used correctly, it helps brands create content that buyers want. Establishing intent is all about focusing on your buyer’s needs.
And this is important when using a keyword that may have high search volume but doesn’t indicate much else.
For example, if you are planning to create a video on pest control in Pisgah, and came across the term “roaches,” one word wouldn’t be enough to know what people searching for that term want.
If, however, you searched for “roach removal”, that would be a clearer indicator of a searcher’s intent.
Identifying intent, therefore, means that you need to always identify a problem your audience has. This is especially critical as it can save you from committing resources to a new video for a term that’s not aligned with the results you’re after.
3. Use location-based titles
Both YouTube and Google use robots to crawl the web in search of content that best satisfies their users’ queries. And for local businesses, including your location is a quick and effective way to tell search engines that your content is relevant to people in your area looking for answers.
But don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your titles — don’t stuff your location along with a keyword into a long line of text. Make it readable for humans first and keep it as short as possible.
4. Include YouTube tags
While they may not be quite such a considerable ranking factor, tags still matter to YouTube because they help the search engines find content. That being said, while still relevant, tags are best used sparingly.
Too many tags tells YouTube that your video is filled with tons of information. While this may sound valuable, it could lead to a lower ranking. The search engine may not prioritize your video because it can’t determine what your video is really about.
Instead, use Brian Dean’s (Backlinko) TAB formula. It involves using one targeted keyword (exact match), two-to-three alternative keywords (related terms), and one-to-two broad keywords (related to the broader niche).
5. Optimize your descriptions
YouTube and Google rely on text to index content, and when it comes to YouTube videos, descriptions offer marketers the opportunity to draw people in.
Build strong descriptions by sharing an overview of what’s in your video. Be brief (100-150 words) and organically weave keywords into your text. Creating readable and interesting descriptions can lead to more watch-time (an important YouTube ranking metric) as people read your description when your video loads.
6. Add videos to your Google My Business listing
Local SEO is as much a branding exercise as a technical approach to positioning your business for more sales. As Google and YouTube reward engagement, the more visits your listing receives, the greater the probability of gaining more views on videos tied to your listing. And with more views, the higher the probability of ranking your videos in search results. So, take advantage of this low-hanging fruit by adding videos to your listing.
SEO is a crucial component of marketing today, but it can’t save weak content from ranking poorly.
Therefore, marketers and SEOs need to focus on applying a content-first approach. Create the right kinds of high-quality videos to attract, educate, and convert audiences first. Then, implement a strong SEO strategy to rank content and you’ll be able to successfully boost your local rankings using video.