Video marketers spend countless hours, budget, and resources producing incredible videos as part of their content marketing campaigns and strategies. However, many content creators aren’t aware that without proper SEO research, their videos likely won’t reach as many audiences as it could and should.
Relying on virality alone and jumping into irrelevant trends as tactics to get into the spotlight aren’t a sustainable solution either. If your content isn’t showing up in Google and video platform searches, all the effort spent on video production can be a huge waste of money and time - especially for companies.
So how do you ensure your videos are reached by target customers and amass plenty of views, every time? Follow our 7 tips for optimizing your video for SEO.
What is video SEO?
Let’s get started with some SEO basics by answering some of the most frequently asked questions on the subject.
What is SEO and why is it important?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Whenever you create a new blog post, a text page for your website or a video landing page, Google and other search engine bots crawl (a.k.a. scan) your site to measure the relevancy of your page’s content to your title tag, meta description, and keywords.
Search engines look at all this data in order to index your website and determine its placement on their search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific search queries.
Great SEO strategy (and having a high SEO score on every page of your website) is essential to ensuring your high-quality content consistently receives relevant inbound traffic from new audiences. This is important because Google also penalizes low-quality or irrelevant content by pushing it further back in the search result pages or even removing it entirely from Google search results.
How is video SEO different from regular SEO?
Traditional SEO focuses on using keyword research to optimize text-based content on your webpage, with the goal of ranking a high placement in search engine results like Google.
When it comes to video SEO, marketers need to adapt their SEO strategy and keyword research to complement the requirements and guidelines of their respective video hosting platforms, like YouTube or Vimeo.
Why is it hard to get right?
As more and more companies and influencers jump onto the SEO train, there’s been a sharp increase in competition for search ranking and search terms. Even when it comes to niche video content, there exists a competitor for likely any topic or theme that you can think of.
It’s also important to remember that SEO tools aren’t a magical all-in-one solution and shouldn’t be relied on alone as a marketing strategy. Low-quality videos that viewers don’t want to watch cannot be expected to perform well, even with the best SEO strategy behind it.
Your video content marketing should be always creative, highly relevant, and also still adhere to search engine performance criteria to guarantee maximum performance. If you need more insights on developing a video marketing strategy, check out this blog post.
7 tips to optimize your video for SEO
1. Create high-quality videos that really serve your audience
Your videos should always serve a purpose to your viewers, whether it’s inspirational storytelling, educational, learning how to do something new, or creative entertainment.
You want to create content that attracts viewers to click and watch, but is also of such high quality that it encourages people to reshare your video link with others.
2. Choose the right video hosting platform
There are many video hosting platforms online to choose from, both free and paid. Each has their own pros and cons; for example, no ads in the video player, but limited customizable options for embedding. It’s a good idea to research each platform before deciding which you want to use for regular video hosting.
You can also decide to upload your video content to multiple video hosting platforms to increase discoverability and exposure. Some of the most popular free options are:
3. Find the relevant keywords you want your video to rank for
Keyword research is usually the first step in the SEO writing process and is extremely important when you’re aiming for high placements in search engine rankings. You want to understand what terms your target searchers are using when they’re looking for your type of video, so you can optimize your CTR (click through rate) in both organic search and paid results.
Luckily, there are a plethora of options on the market for keyword research - and we’ve got a few free SEO tools we recommend below. To determine the right one for you, don’t forget to take into account what platform (search engine or video hosting platform) you’re planning to publish each piece of content to.
Depending on your content theme and how competitive that sector’s keywords are, you’ll probably need to tweak and adjust until you find the right balance between opportunity and demand - but generally you don’t want to go too broad, nor too specific when searching for keywords.
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced SEO marketer, the following tools are handy and easy-to-use for keyword discovery:
- YouTube's auto-complete feature
4. Optimize your video's metadata with target keywords
Video metadata is all the digital information about your video, like:
- Date created
- Video length, etc.
This information is saved and indexed by the video hosting platform when you upload it, in order to determine accurate placement in video search results.
After you’ve done your keyword research and have a solid SEO strategy laid out, you can optimize your video’s meta details with this information while uploading to the hosting platform like YouTube.
To increase your video’s visibility, add your top keywords while copywriting your video’s title, description, and tags. Keep this metadata consistent with the theme of your video and integrate your keywords naturally. You want it to sound unique and interesting, but avoid clickbait, as you could lose subscribers and hurt your brand’s credibility.
5. Create engaging thumbnails to attract clicks
Thumbnails are designed to give viewers a visual idea at a glance of what your video will be about. Some best practices to keep in mind when creating and editing thumbnails for your videos:
- Keep it simple and informative - don’t clutter one space with conflicting text, image layovers, etc.
- Maintain a consistent style across each channel - thumbnails that follow the same template or color scheme look more aesthetically coherent and clickable.
- Use colors and engaging elements to grab attention - you’re likely competing with hundreds, if not thousands, of similar videos that exist on your topic. Make sure yours is the one that stands out from the crowd and gets watched!
- Use fonts that are easy to read on your video thumbnail - Viewers scroll past content that is confusing or difficult to understand. They’re drawn to click videos when they know what to expect!
6. Create a dedicated page for your video on your website
To help your video get the most SEO exposure possible, we recommend creating a page for each of your videos and embedding the video at the top of the page.
Adding video to your website pages adds a video thumbnail next to your Google listing result, which is categorized as a “rich snippet”. Rich snippet content is preferred by Google as higher quality pages in search ranking results, meaning more visibility and higher click through rates for your business.
If applicable, add a transcript of your video to the page as well, so readers who aren’t able to watch with sound, or cannot finish watching at the moment, can easily read the content at their own pace. To make the visitor experience even better, you can integrate a website chatbot in case they have questions.
Creating dedicated video pages with transcripts increases exposure for your video by enabling your content to be listed on the Google Video results tab. This means your video pages create another inbound traffic channel with which new users can discover your business and content — a win-win scenario!
💡 PlayPlay Pro Tip
Don’t forget to optimize the text of your video transcript for SEO the same way you would for text content on a traditional blog post or website page. Yoast and Rank Math are great plug-ins to use for SEO optimization on your Wordpress site.
In order to take data-based decisions for your optimization, you should track your video metrics. Learn more in this blog post!
7. Promote the video on all appropriate channels
Finally, you’ve produced and published your video on your favorite video hosting platform, and written great SEO for it on your website and metadata. What now? The fun part, sharing it with the world!
Get creative with the channels you distribute it on - from social media and ads, to email marketing and diversifying to new video platforms. This increases your video’s visibility, but also the number of ways that viewers can reshare your content with their networks.
You’ll probably have a larger subscriber following on certain platforms, but it’s worth the effort of sharing your video across multiple sites. The reason being: the higher your video engagement is on any video hosting platform, the greater the chances it will rank on Google's Video tab!