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What Are Google Suggested Clips?

Google’s suggested clips are featured snippets containing the thumbnail, title and link to a YouTube video that answers a patient’s question.

The video is time stamped to the section of the video that answers the specific question.

In case you haven’t seen one yet, here’s what it looks like in Google search results for “what is robotic cancer surgery”

Clicking the video, title or link of the suggested clip sends users to your website.

How Do You Get on Google Suggested Clips?

While some search terms that exactly match the video title can rank well, Google serves the traditional text featured snippets as well.

Often suggested clips seem to be triggered by "how to" queries.

What Factors Determine Suggested Clips?

Since suggested clips are a type of featured snippet, no one really knows how Google decides what query deserves a featured clip and what video it picks. But by analysing the queries, Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and videos we have some theories.

It seems that there are 3 parts that go into choosing a suggested clip:

  1. Video relevance: Does this video answer the query, concisely and fully?

  2. Quality and/or authoritativeness of the video: Can the information in this video be trusted?

  3. Choosing where the answer starts?

This is very similar to what goes into choosing normal text-based featured snippets. Which makes sense, since Google considers suggested clips as the same type of feature. They are also factors that go into a video’s ranking in Google search results.

Why Consider Short Videos and Google Suggested Clips

These video snippets take up such a huge amount of real estate at the top of the SERPs, optimising your YouTube videos for these snippets can be a huge boon for your website authority, traffic and new patient enquiry.

How to Optimise YouTube Videos for Suggested Clips

Even though we don’t know exactly how Google decides when to award a video a suggested clip snippet, there are some optimizations that will make them more likely.

These optimizations happen in 2 places:

  • The video itself

  • The video’s YouTube page

Creating a Video for Google Suggested Clips

The key to claiming a suggested clip is to create a video that answers a user’s "how to" “what is” “What happens” “how does” style questions.

Step 1 - Start with some targeted research just as you would when creating a written article for featured snippets. Maybe consider a long tail keyword phrase.

Step 2 - Make your video content hyper-focused to a single topic or question. A simple “How to ..” is much better than a long video like “The Complete Guide to...”.

Step 3 - Then get right into the answer. Speak your question and answer out loud early — in the first 10 seconds of the video. Google will “hear” all of that content. YouTube and Google will better understand that your video answers the search query and in transcription.

Other Short Video Tips

Minimize opening and title sequences — just a short animated logo is good enough — and move any messages (reminders to like/subscribe, channel updates, etc.) to the end.

Optimise Your Video’s YouTube page

Once you have answered your question in an engaging way, it’s time to optimise the actual YouTube page that the video will appear on.

This is a much more traditional form of SEO, and a lot of this part you’ll likely be very familiar with.

The 3 things you do control become really important:

  1. Video title: This is like a page title or <h1> tag on one of your pages. They’re a major ranking factor in both YouTube search and Google search results. What’s really important with suggested clips is use the question as a video title.

  2. Video description: Consider a full video transcript, a table of contents with links to different parts of the video and a basic 3-sentence overview. Explain what question they are answering and how they will answer it.

  3. Video file name: Google relies on the video file name to understand what’s going on. Use your keyword phrase as the title, using hyphens as word separators (of course).

What Factors Don’t Impact Suggested Clips

Google does not seem to rely on normal metrics when it comes to choosing Suggested Clips (eg: number of views, subscriptions or YouTube search rank). Your video does however have to rank above a certain floor.

So, apparently, there is something else at play here.

Things Are Always Changing

Google Suggest Clips have been featured now since mid-2017, but they were rare and hard to trigger. However, lately they have started seeing them more and more frequently.

Google may still be ironing out the details of how exactly they want these Suggested Clips to work. However, the basics of optimizing for informational user intent by answering questions in an informative and engaging way likely won’t change.

Next Step

We can script, create and distribute short-form keyword targeted videos for your specialty. Contact us if you wish to learn more.