Video & YouTube Optimization

Video Optimization For Professional Services Firms: YouTube vs. Google Rankings

Video marketing is the future, and the future is now.

According to a recent study, businesses using video marketing as a lead generation channel benefit from 66% more qualified leads every year. 82% of Internet traffic worldwide will soon come from video streaming.

As a professional service firm, videos can become a valuable marketing tool for attracting new clients. But creating videos and getting eyes on those videos are two very different things.

That’s why it’s so important to have a video optimization strategy for your firm.

Understanding how video content ranks on different search engines is one of the key factors to success in this space. I created this guide to explain the differences between YouTube and Google for video rankings.

YouTube vs. Google Ranking Algorithm For Videos

For those of you who don’t know, Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) also owns YouTube. So when it comes to videos displayed in Google’s SERPs, it should come as no surprise that YouTube is favored over other video platforms.

Google denies that it shows favoritism to YouTube content. During a Q&A session with Google webmaster trend analyst Gary Illyes, Gary says that YouTube videos rank well on Google because of the way those pages are structured. Theoretically, YouTube content would rank just as well in Google’s SERPs, even if the platform wasn’t owned by the same company.

With that said, the numbers don’t lie.

A 2020 study published by the Wall Street Journal clearly shows that YouTube dominates the rankings for video content in Google.

For example, one particular video on Facebook has 1+ million views and roughly 900 comments. The YouTube version of this video with the same title has about 182,000 views and less than 400 comments. But the YouTube clip was more prominent in the search results than the version posted on Facebook.

Another study conducted by Perficient shows that 83% of YouTube videos were shown in the carousel of Google’s SERPs.

YouTube videos Google’s SERPs

This is a significant advantage over videos hosted on other platforms. Non-YouTube videos appear in the carousel just 21% of the time.

64% of videos on other platforms appear in the organic results, compared to just 2% of YouTube videos.

Non-YouTube videos appear in the carousel

Videos featured in the carousel or rich snippet sections of a Google search will definitely draw more clicks and traffic than ones pushed down into the general organic results.

Let’s look at another example to explain why this is important for professional services firms.

For simplicity’s sake, I ran a quick Google search for “how to hire a business lawyer video.” These were the top results:

how to hire a business lawyer video result

The top four hits are all videos from YouTube.

At the bottom of page one is the first non-YouTube video in the SERPs.

first non-YouTube video in the SERPs

This video posted on Facebook has over 10,500 views. How many views do the YouTube videos have that are displayed at the top of the page? Here are the numbers listed in the order that they appear in the results:


The Facebook video has more views than all of these! Yet the YouTube videos are more prominent in the rankings.

What does this tell you? Obviously, video popularity isn’t enough to rank high in the SERPs. Your firm must have a comprehensive optimization strategy to have success in this area.

How to Rank Videos on YouTube

All of your firm’s marketing videos should be uploaded to YouTube. Based on what we’ve discussed so far, it’s clear that this is the best way to get your content seen.

But how can you get those videos ranking high within YouTube’s search engine? Follow these tips and best practices below:

Prioritize High Engagement

Quality obviously can’t be measured. So it’s not a direct factor in the ranking algorithm. However, quality has a direct correlation with views, likes, and comments. So keep this in mind as you’re creating YouTube videos for your firm.

Conduct Keyword Research

Believe it or not, YouTube keyword research isn’t as complex as Google keyword research. YouTube search predictions are a great way to get inspiration for keywords. You could also search for the most popular videos in your legal niche to see what keywords are ranking.

Video Quality

According to a recent study, 68% of videos on page one of YouTube are in HD. If your videos are poor quality, grainy, and look like they were recorded on a flip phone from 2007, they probably won’t rank well. It’s worth investing in a camera, microphone, and potentially lighting equipment to ensure your videos look professionally made. Otherwise, they could do more harm than good.

Video Length

Make sure your videos are long enough to adequately address the question, subject, or provide value to viewers. Obviously, the length will vary from topic to topic. But generally speaking, it’s better to be as comprehensive as possible when you’re publishing videos on YouTube from your firm.


Technically, tags don’t boost your rankings. However, they can cause your content to show up in the “suggested videos” column. As a result, this can drive more views and engagement, which ultimately boosts your rankings.

How to Rank Videos on Google

Even though YouTube and Google are owned by the same parent company, the ranking algorithms differ from platform to platform. So you’ll need a slightly different approach to have your videos rank high on Google.

Upload Videos to Your Firm’s YouTube Channel

As previously discussed, YouTube videos rank higher on Google compared to videos on other platforms. So always start by uploading your videos to YouTube. From there, you can always repurpose those links on Facebook, Linkedin, Dailymotion, or other platforms. But the YouTube video will have a greater chance of appearing on Google.


Similar to other types of web content, Google favors videos with high authority. One of the best ways to build authority for a video is with inbound links. If your YouTube videos are linked out from highly authoritative websites, it should increase that video’s position in Google SERPs.


Consider using tactics like email marketing, PPC, or social media campaigns to drive engagement on your videos. Google will recognize this engagement and ultimately rank your content higher.

Final Thoughts

Your firm needs to produce video content. But those videos are useless if nobody sees them. The best way to get your videos in front of prospects is with a video optimization strategy.

If you don’t have a YouTube channel, make one right away. All of your videos should be uploaded here first. Using Facebook or other video platforms alone won’t be enough to get your videos ranking high on Google.

Whether Google wants to admit it or not, it’s clear that YouTube videos are favored in the SERPs.

Need some help with your firm’s video optimization strategy? Contact our team here at McDougall Interactive for a consultation.

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