Marketing / Digital Marketing

8 winning tips to ensure your video content is SEO-friendly

Updated: Jun 18, 2020 · 8 min read

video seo optimization

Who doesn’t like video content? As visual beings, humans find videos much more engaging and entertaining in comparison to other forms of content. According to the latest video trends shared by Google, 6 out of 10 people would rather watch an online video than television. What’s more, viewers retain 95% of the messagewhen they watch it in a video form compared to 10% when reading.

Most businesses want to rank high in search engines results. As a result, they're willing to hire digital marketing experts who can come up with innovative strategies to engage their audience. The growing popularity of video content and its high engagement rate has made it critical for businesses to include videos as a part of their core digital marketing strategy. In fact, 87% of marketers are already using video as a marketing tool.

Video SEO is critical for businesses wanting to see their content at the top of the search list. Read on to learn how you can give your videos the much-needed boost, making your content more accessible to viewers worldwide and driving traffic to your site.

1. Go for the best video hosting platform

To ensure that your video reaches a large audience, you need to choose the right video hosting platform. Though YouTube is the most popular (and recommended) choice among marketers, it's definitely not the only one. YouTube and Vimeo offer free video hosting and can be used to build general brand awareness. All your website videos should be uploaded on these platforms, enabling them to rank in the search engines.

Besides, video hosting sites like Dailymotion, Wistia, SproutVideo, Brightcove, and Vidyard offer paid video hosting. Their services are ideal for small businesses with little or no brand visibility. These platforms offer benefits like reliable hosting, higher bandwidth and speed, no ads, advanced video analytics, and features, such as call-to-action (CTA) buttons, heat maps, forms, SEO metadata, A/B testing, and social media integration that improve your video reach.

Further, the more platforms you upload your video on the more times it will register with Google and other search engines. Thus, it's wise to maximize your video’s exposure by sharing it on all your social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Depending on your audience demographics, marketing goals, and budget, you can choose the most appropriate video hosting platform for your business. However, if you want search engines to crawl your site, you should embed your video on your website. We will discuss more on this in the next point.

2. Embed the video on your website

Without a doubt, video hosting sites are an invaluable asset for video SEO. However, embedding the video on your site can indirectly affect your SEO by engaging visitors, and encouraging them to stay on the page longer. Thus, an engaging video embedded on your site will tell Google that your page is appreciated by your target audience.

Here are a few things you should bear in mind when embedding a video on your webpage.

  • Make your video the focus of your page. This will help get more views and improve your page ranking.

  • Google indexes only 1 video per page, automatically ignoring the other videos. Hence, it is best to embed 1 video per page.

  • Use the target keywords in the meta title and description on your webpage. Choose a unique keyword for each webpage and video.

  • Include the target keywords in the H1 tag, alt text of the image files, and the site’s URL.

  • Include a detailed description of your video and video transcript along with the keywords.

Notice how Moz includes all these factors in each of their Whiteboard Friday videos.

[Image Source: Moz]

Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday is Moz’s flagship video series to reach and educate its audience on complicated SEO concepts in about 10 minutes.

3. Optimize your video for mobile viewing

Over 75% of the world’s video viewing is mobile. Further, Google’s mobile-first indexing allows the search engine to use the mobile version of a site’s content for indexing and ranking. So, if your website video is not optimized for mobile viewing you're not only missing out on your audience, but also at risk of getting a poor search engine ranking.

Multi-device optimization is no longer a nice-to-have feature; it’s necessary. Make sure your site and video player are responsive to mobile viewing. You can also upload your video on a video hosting platform like YouTube or Vimeo, which convert and optimize videos for mobile viewing.

4. Create shareable and linkable content

Regardless of how good you are at creating a solid SEO strategy, if your audience isn’t watching your video, you're missing the boat. Engaging video content along with effective SEO tactics are what will make your video visible and boost your video’s search ranking.

Create unique, relevant, and informative video content that your audience will appreciate. Further, make sure your video is shareable and linkable, giving your audience the impulse to share or link your video whenever required. This will not only improve your video’s reach, but it will also give it more authority on Google.

Include a hyper-specific CTA in your video or its description, encouraging your audience to rate, review, share, subscribe, and visit your website. Check out how Brian Dean uses a hyper-specific CTA in a creative way to encourage his viewers to engage with his video.

Image Source: Backlinko YouTube Channel

Lastly, allow viewers to embed your video on their site or blog. This will not only earn you inbound links but also boost your page’s ranking on the SERPs.

5. Optimize metadata

Search engines scan through the title, description, and tags to understand the topic of your video and rank it in the search results. Optimize your video’s tags, metadata, title, and description by including the target keywords naturally and offering details pertaining to the description, length, and the video filename.

Further, search engines tend to give videos more weight when the target keywords are placed at the beginning of the title. Front-load keywords (within the first 60 characters of the title) in your video’s title tag, allowing it to show up in the top search results.

Image Source: Backlinko YouTube Channel

The video description is the perfect place to use primary and secondary keywords. YouTube generally allows you to write a 5000-character description. Use it to your advantage and create a description that highlights the key points of your video content just like Brian Dean of Backlinko has done in his video on getting more traffic.

6. Create a video sitemap

Video sitemaps enable search engines like Google to understand the details of your video content. A video sitemap is a text file usually packed with data, such as the title, description, run time, intended audience, and the video thumbnail. When you submit the video sitemap to search engines, you're sharing useful information about your video with them, which allows the search engine to index and rank your video.

Thus, rather than looking for videos embedded in a page through natural crawling, search engines like Google can easily find your content using the video sitemap.

7. Use a striking thumbnail image

Thumbnails significantly improve your video’s click-through rate. An effective thumbnail includes striking fonts and colors and gives a compelling description that’s not click-bait. Make sure your thumbnail stands out and exactly describes what your video is about.

Notice how all of Niel Patel’s videos use attractive thumbnails, leaving viewers wanting to know about the video and encouraging them to click on them.

Image Source: Neil Patel

8. Add captions and video transcriptions

The more text you attach to your video the better it will rank on Google. This is because Google is a database of text. Therefore, adding captions and transcriptions with the intended keywords to your video will optimize it for the search engines.

You can either add them to the audio portion of the video or to the description box, along with the page’s HTML. This will not only enable the search engine to discover your video content, but it also provides the viewer with an overview of the video.

Final thoughts

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million clicks. Because of its high engagement rate and return on investment, video is growing in popularity, making it the most consumed media in this digital age. Thus, businesses can no longer ignore the importance of optimizing video content for YouTube, Google, Bing, and other search engines.

Make sure you use the effective techniques shared in this post to create SEO-friendly videos that are highly preferred and rewarded by search engines.

Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of The 20 Media a content marketing agency specializing in content & data-driven SEO. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at 80th Annual Conference of Florida Public Relations Association, Accounting & Finance Show, Singapore, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee and other major events. As a passionate SEO & content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory and Inc42 to name a few.

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