With over 6 billion hours of video viewed each month YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, but the key to YouTube marketing is getting videos ranked in not just in YouTube, but in the biggest search engine in the world – Google.

You may have noticed that Google doesn’t just include websites in search results – it often includes pictures, videos, Wikipedia definitions, news, stock and share prices, Tweets, etc. – and that these additional results vary depending on what you search for.

This is known as Universal Search, and should be used as a key determinant in your content marketing strategy.

Google is trying to achieve two goals simultaneously:

  1. Understand the searcher intent
  2. Provide the best possible answer to satisfy that intent

The key here is user intent, and this is what determines what is shown in search results. Universal Search elements are “triggered” by what Google perceives to be the intent of the user’s search. Intent is determined using the user’s current search session and history (if any) and aggregated user behaviour.

To illustrate this, try searching for a very broad term, e.g. “microcontroller“.

This is a very general search, and Google thinks the user intent of this search is “informational” – i.e. I want more information about microcontrollers. Google provides results that match this intent, such as a Wikipedia entry for MCUs, or other sources it believes to have informational value.

Now let’s be more specific and search for “low power microcontroller“. Google interprets the user intent of this search as “transactional” – I want to buy a low power microcontroller. To satisfy this need, Google integrates shopping results within the usual list of website results.

So what user intent gets videos to be integrated within Google’s search results?

There are at least three types of intent that will trigger the display of videos:

  1. Comparative (this versus that),
  2. Instructional (“how to” or “learn”)
  3. Educational (“what is” or “history of”)

To put this into practice, now search for “how to program a microcontroller” or “how microcontrollers work“.

When optimising videos for search, as you would with any other search engine optimised content, include your keywords near the start of the video title (proximity is still very important) but also try to think about what search users might perform to find your video – what questions does it answer?