Neil Patel

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What Kind of Keywords do Videos Rank For?

What Kind of keywords do videos rank for?

To know how to rank videos in Google, you’ve got to understand the algorithm (at least, as much as we can).

Search engines like Google want to deliver content to users with things they want to see.

The good thing is that most people want to see a video rather than read long-winded text posts.

Marketers are including video as a part of their campaign experience and seeing over 95% of video content converting the same or better than non-video content.

Yes, that’s right – you can combine your SEO and video strategy to supercharge your marketing campaign.

Catch viewers along the way as you optimize your videos to rank in the SERPs.

To show you how much potential your video content has to rank well, we analyzed 15 queries to see when videos would appear in the SERPs and how many opportunities there were for them to rank.

If you’re curious to see the results, let’s look at the importance of video content for your marketing strategy.

Why Video is Used In Marketing

Video is used in marketing to find and target your audience.

You’re not only delivering information to your audience, but you’re engaging their emotions, sparking dialogue.

Video content is dominating on all social media platforms.

So much so that our now pandemic-boosted media intake is around 19 hours a week.

A graph showing average hours of online videos watched per week.

Knowing this information, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can skip out on the video content bandwagon.

It’s time you get on it!

Businesses of all sizes are benefiting from video content.

According to a Renderforest survey, 78% of businesses agree that video increased their traffic.

This makes sense as to why your website and social media platforms are the best places to promote your brand because they are the top video distribution channels.

When you create unique landing pages with videos, you’ll likely increase conversion by up to 80% (based on the Renderforest survey). With a video on your landing page, you’ll have a 53% chance of showing up on page 1 of the SERPs.

But if you’re still feeling lost, I’ll help you with getting started with video marketing.

Do Videos Really Rank Often In Google?

Since Google started showing video thumbnails amongst search results, users are more influenced to click that result. According to a BrightEdge study, video thumbnails are showing up in 26% of search results overall, so that’s a decent chunk of the SERPs.

Google is now working on ways to fold in more short-form videos in search results for an even more satisfying set of queries for users.

Based on the video schema markup of your content, your videos may also earn you video enhancements like a live video badge or structured data for your learning videos.

NASA live streams from Google results.
Google results.

As you can see, Google is constantly crawling and indexing content.

This includes videos.

Remember: Google is all about giving the user the best experience that answers or shows what the user needs.

Now that you know why video is important and how to rank videos in Google, let’s get a feel for what it’s like to experience the benefit of video SEO.

How Videos Really Stack Up For SEO

31% of marketers use video to boost SEO.

A graph showing what the purposes for using videos is.

When websites include video, their video rankings improve because it improves page quality, and the amount of time visitors spend on the page.

More than 70% of marketers report that the expense of acquiring new customers has increased. But on the flip side, 83% of video marketers claim video helps them create leads.

That’s because video has impacted how:

  • Consumers shop
  • Sales teams communicate with and convert prospects
  • Service teams support and engage customers.

In short, video is extremely beneficial (and not only for increasing brand awareness).

Video may be a useful tool for sales to use while guiding prospects through the funnel, and it can do much more than enhance engagement. Backend analytics also assists sales in qualifying and prioritizing reeling in unresponsive leads.

What We Learned From Our Data

My team and I conducted 15 searches with various queries to analyze what types of queries video content was ranking for.

We pulled insights from SEMrush to see what the opportunity was for videos to rank within the SERPs. From there, we conducted an opportunity analysis on what exists for queries that video content most likely ranks for within the SERPs.

Let’s look at what we learned from the data insights surrounding how to rank videos in Google:

Query 1: What Are the Most Popular Queries for Videos to Rank For

We started with “What are the most popular queries for videos to rank for?”

The most popular queries for videos to rank for show strong results with a “What are/is” structured question.

We saw four videos ranked for this term before the organic search result. The SERP had video rankings and a PAA(people also ask) box, followed by the organic result.

This educational query gave us our first peek into how well these videos were being highly ranked by Google.

Educational SEO videos in google results.

Query 2: How to Build a Website

The next query was “how to build a website.”

This starts with one organic listing which is a featured snippet, a PAA box, two other organic listings, then video content ranking in around position four or five.

This query shows there’s opportunity for video rankings and the strength and competitiveness behind this “how to” (which Google seemed to like, based on the variety of search results containing videos).

Query 3: Best Table Saws for Beginners

For query 3, we went with “best table saws for beginners.”

There was no appearance of any video content until after the seventh organic result.

We saw a paid advertisement, a PAA box, five more organic listings, then the videos. The video rankings kicked in around position 13 on page two.

This lets us know Google isn’t prioritizing video content for this query. Maybe if the search was “how to use a table saw,” we would have seen more video examples.

Query 4: How to Use Salesforce

For query 4, we tried a “how to” structured search with “how to use Salesforce.”

There was an ad, an organic result, then videos shown.

Using sales force for video content keywords.

This video that pops up is “Salesforce for beginners.” Since it is an explainer video with structured data, Google is able to pinpoint the key moments for the user. This is another feature of their video enhancement styles you can maximize.

You can see the time stamp callouts of which parts of the video will be most helpful to the user.

This is a good reminder for you to ensure you’re helping Google help your target audience in efforts to get another loyal customer. Implementing schema is accomplishing exactly that goal.

Query 5: Ear Piercings Near Me

We didn’t get video results for “ear piercing near me.”

But mainly because “near me” searches are all about location.

Having good local SEO in place rather than video SEO set for this query will be more beneficial to your brand.

To still showcase visual elements, photos ads with your jewelry could help users during their search, but getting video rankings for this query wouldn’t be the best approach with Google.

Query 6: Ear Piercing Process

The next query we tried was the “ear piercing process.”

The results from Google went from a featured snippet to PAA box, three organic results, then video results.

These results were more educational, with suggestions from medical sources. Google takes this information seriously, recommending users seek medical help around this topic. So, if you’re a jewelry brand, you will likely not be prioritized in the search over a doctor/clinic. You should look for queries that don’t have heavy competition from YMYL sites if you don’t fall into that category.

Query 7: What are NFTs?

For this query, we went with another “what is/are” structured question: “what are NFTs?”

Video rankings came around in position 17, so almost the bottom of page two.

We went with a different approach, changing the query to “how to use NFTs.” This did not yield different results – there was still primarily only written content ranking in the organic positions.

Query 8: How to Dye My Hair Pink

This is another health and beauty how to query: “how to dye my hair pink.”

Shown was a featured snippet, PAA box, two organic results, then video content.

Google results for the term "how to dye my hair pink".

This is a query is all about showing you the best ways to go about dying hair.

Beauty magazines seem to run this search query, which makes sense, given their high authority. If, say, you’re an influencer who colors your hair, your video content may not be shown before one of these articles with instructional steps.

However, we see if you do take the video content route, Google will highlight your structured data to users, hopefully driving traffic to your content.

Query 9: Best Places to Visit in Bangkok

Our next query was about the “best places to visit in Bangkok.”

Surprisingly, video results do not display until position 20.

With the number of travel vloggers on YouTube, you would think something would have popped up earlier on.

However, with “best places to visit” as part of the search, the importance of video content in this search is not high. Oftentimes, listicles or blog posts are being pushed in this case. Perhaps because readers find it easier to extract this particular type of info from text compared to video.

Query 10: How to Oil Paint

For query 10 “how to oil paint,” we saw video results immediately in the SERPs.

Google results for "how to oil paint".

Since the skill of painting takes visual learning, a video would be best to display with a “how to” structured query.

To see if this holds true, we tried another search along the same lines.

Query 11: Oil Painting for Beginners

In query 11, we adjusted the oil painting search query to “oil painting for beginners.”

The SERPs started with paid ads, then a video was the first organic result.

Google results for the term "oil painting for beginners".

Oil painting is one of the oldest recorded mediums for artists, so these queries are well-developed for those learning the ropes of painting (especially beginners).

This is also an art form you really need to watch to learn brush strokes, abstract styles, and color combos. So, videos just make sense for a search query outcome to best help the user have a good search experience.

Query 12: Software Engineering for Beginners

Going along the same vein of “for beginners,” the next query was: “software engineering for beginners.”

The first result was an organic listing, then a PAA box, four organic listings, then a video.

Google results for the term "software engineering for beginners".

These videos solve problems, which Google also likes. There is a mix of “how to get started” and “tips for beginners.”

If your video solves problems and has developed structured data, Google will provide video enhancements for users who will likely find your video helpful.

Query 13: Different Ways to Lace Your Sneakers

For query 13, we tried the search “different ways to lace your sneakers.”

We got one featured snippet, a video, a PAA box, then organic listings.

Google results for the term "different ways to lace your sneakers".

We see more video searches with those Google enhancements showing users exactly which part of the video will solve their problem quickly.

Query 14: Yoga Class for Beginners

For “yoga class for beginners,” video was the first ranking result.

Likely because, like the paint queries, you need visual instruction to really get it right.

Google results for the term "yoga class for beginners".

The closed caption and key moments in Google video enhancements are a guide for users. It shows them what to expect and what kind of workout to expect.

Google gets really specific with this style of video query. So, you can attract more users by showing them what to expect and showing off your unique skill in how you’re editing your videos that will benefit them.

Query 15: Personalized Jewelry

For our last query, “personalized jewelry,” we saw no video results.

The art behind jewelry making takes time and concentration – you likely wouldn’t have time to film the process often. Plus, it seems Google rules video out because most people care more about the final product’s look rather than the process.

Insights from Our Data

Of our searches pulled, 10 out of the 15 searches conducted had a video on page one of the SERPs.

Meaning, 66% of these searches had video content that was ranking well.

2 out of the 15 searches had videos sitting on page two of the SERPs. So, in 12 out of 15 searches conducted, there was video content on page one or within striking distance.

If we conducted an opportunity analysis to see just how many keywords are out there that have informational intent, we would be here all week (maybe all month).

However, if we isolate specific phrases used to populate videos, such as “how to” and “for beginners,” we can see what potential opportunity exists for videos to rank.

Different facts about how video is ranking in Google.

Knowing that most queries that videos will rank for are “how to’s,” we conducted an opportunity analysis on how many queries potentially exist with “how to” tied to it.

When looking into SEMrush, if we type in “how to” in the keyword magic tab, we can see all the related search queries for “how to”.

SEMrush results for the term "how to".

There are over 70 million keywords that have a collective total of 700 million for MSV. If we filter this down and make the assumption that most videos created for queries that have informational intent – where they are going to teach someone something –leaves us with 3 million and a total MSV of over 450 million. With that, we can assume that about 20% of “how to” search queries will populate with a video.

We can do this same practice with keywords that would include “for beginners.” Looking at all keywords with the “for beginners” included in it, we can see that there are over 350,000 keywords that have a total MSV of over 6 million.

SEMrush results for the term "for beginners".

When applying the informational intent filter in the Keyword Magic tool in SEMRush, we see this number drop to about 20,000 with a total MSV of almost 3 million.

SEMrush results for the term "for beginners".

Combining this with the “how to searches” we now have about 3 million keywords that have a total MSV of almost 500 million.

Why am I showing you all this?

There are millions and millions of keywords out there that have informational intent. Finding the keyword opportunity that works well for your business to create educational videos will help improve your content marketing strategy and improve overall sitewide performance.

The largest takeaway here is that videos populate for queries where you are teaching others something.

Marketers need to be aware of the types of keywords they are targeting to have videos ranking on the Google SERPs, and getting good video rankings.

While video is very effective overall, you also need to think about the information you want to share. Is video the single ideal delivery system for your message, or do you want a mix of text and video content?

Test it out and see how your audience and search engines respond.

Frequently Asked Questions

How important is video in marketing?

These days, the importance of video content has gone up significantly. It’s become the most popular of all content types online because of how engaging it is, with 82% of the global internet traffic being from video. It’s driving digital marketing, and no matter the size of your business, now is the time to be investing in it. 

How can I get my YouTube video to rank on the first page of Google?

Based on our research, “how to” and “for beginner” keywords will be best for how to rank videos in Google. They’re one of the most popular video content types at almost 30% of the video watched per week, according to Statista.

How do I make a ranking video?

To make a ranking video I recommend:
Choosing keywords that align with your content
Use those keywords in your title and description
Make sure your video content is engaging
Optimize for mobile viewing
Add subtitles and closed captions


So, do you see the importance of video content now?

I probably should be asking: are you ready to start investing in video marketing?

Even if you just start with embedding videos on your landing page, you’ll be able to make an appeal and connect with your audience.

The trick is to remember your visual storytelling which is why educational and informational videos with “how to” and “for beginner” in the keywords are how videos are ranking high in Google SERPs.

Get video in your marketing strategy to improve your brand awareness and establish authority in your industry.

What are you ready to show or tell your audience through video content?

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