Everyone is saying it: content is king! So you invested a huge portion of your marketing budget into creating a video series focused on patient experience at your hospital, and you posted those videos to YouTube. And then… crickets. You get a few views and maybe a comment left by your mom, but that’s it. Why aren’t people finding and watching your video?
YouTube (owned by Google) uses a combination of factors to determine how your videos get found, watched, and shared. If you’re not getting views, chances are that you’re also not optimizing for search. From a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, there are a few things you can do to fix this:
1. Don’t Leave the Title, Description, and/or Tags Blank
The title, description, and tags are the #1 way to earn organic traffic to your video. You need to include relevant, descriptive keywords and phrases in each of these fields. Leaving them blank is simply not an option.
For video titles, best practice is to stay between 60-70 characters. Anything longer than that gets truncated in search results. The video description helps with long-tail search result rankings by giving you the ability to go into greater detail about your video content. You should also include a link back to your website in the description. For the video tags, include any keywords or phrases that you’ve already used in the title and description, as well as potential variations (such as “patient education” and “educate patients”).
Remember: this information needs to accurately reflect the content of your video. YouTube/Google can recognize blackhat SEO techniques and will punish you by lowering your ranking in search results.
2. Remember to Include Your Location
While brainstorming the best keywords and phrases to use, don’t forget to include the region or city your hospital serves. It’s great to reach a broad audience, but you should focus on reaching your target audience: potential patients in your service area.
Think of it like this: it’s better to reach 1,000 people living in your service area than 10,000 living in a different country, because the locals are more likely to use your services. Including location information in addition to well-thought out keywords in your video title, description, and tags will help guide those locals to your video. And while we’re discussing location, don’t forget to include your organization’s name as a keyword, too!
3. Don’t Use the Default Thumbnail
The thumbnail is the still image that represents your video in search results. The thumbnail is the first thing people see when your video pops up in search results, so it needs to be eye-catching, interesting, and representative of your video as a whole.
A strategically chosen thumbnail is a great opportunity to pique interest and compel a viewer to click your video. In our experience, we’ve found that thumbnails showing a doctor’s talking head is unlikely to engage viewers or initiate clicks. Take some time to locate the right frame that will interest viewers.
Typically, YouTube automatically generates three thumbnail options to choose between. YouTube also allows verified accounts in good standing to upload custom video thumbnails. If you have the option of uploading a custom thumbnail, do it! A well-chosen thumbnail can mean the difference between gaining a viewer or being passed over.
These tips can earn you more views and improve your video’s search rankings. It’s a great place to start, but there’s much more that can be done on YouTube (including incorporating our animations into your videos). In our next blog post, we’ll discuss optimizing your YouTube channel ROI with branding and calls-to-action.