Video SEO is a critical part of any marketing strategy. And ignoring it can harm your business in drastic ways, especially if video plays a pivotal role in it.
Search engine optimization or SEO is an important part of the entire content marketing landscape. The success of any content, be it video or text, hugely relies on search engines.
It is vital for ranking any form of content on the top of SERPs or else your videos or articles wouldn’t even attract any eyeballs. SEO is not just essential when it comes to ranking written content. Even video marketers need to incorporate video SEO or optimize YouTube videos in order to rank high on search engines.
So, here we are at your disposal telling you the 17 best video SEO practices that you can implement if you wish to optimize your YouTube channel and make the most of it.
1. Pick the right video hosting platform
There are three different options for displaying videos on a website, and all act differently for your video SEO optimization. You could upload a video directly on your website/page, or embed from another platform like YouTube or Vimeo, or even use a private hosting site, such as Wistia.
Self-hosting is not so feasible as it takes really long for videos to load or they’re cut in between unless you have an amazing hosting plan. This doesn’t really benefit the SEO video optimization.
Whereas, embed videos usually play smoothly and without any disruption on webpages. The main difference between the two options is that embedded video is able to keep visitors glued to your page, while a Vimeo or YouTube embed may result in directing traffic to their own platforms.
2. Prioritize videos on the website
When it comes to video SEO, search crawlers are quite lazy. They don’t crawl through the entire webpage, instead, they stop looking once they find even one video.
A good video SEO practice means placing that one video which requires the highest attention on SERPs before any other video. If you want to optimize other videos, it’s better to use separate web pages for them.
3. Try to hold the viewers’ attention
Holding or capturing viewers’ attention means making people watch or listen to most of your content. This also indicates higher views as well as audience retention which can drastically impact your entire video SEO.
Begin your video by offering viewers a valid reason to watch it. Mention the problem which your video can solve, and tell them what they’ll gain from watching it. Try to lure them to make them watch it till the end.
4. Use relevant keywords for higher search results
Not every Google search result shows a video on the ‘All’ page.
Google is aware of which video is more relevant for some questions than other videos and also takes note of the keywords that match with relevant videos. You should aim at such keywords while working video SEO, as these have the potential to drive more views or visits.
If you enter a specific keyword or phrase and Google doesn’t show any video, it means that the keyword you use doesn’t prioritize video results.
5. Use long-tail keywords
Short, generic keywords such as ‘women shoes’ are mostly popular on search engines, and these have more competition on SERPs. It’s really hard to show above dozens of other footwear manufacturing companies nurturing the relevant keywords for years.
Besides, long-tail keywords such as ‘winter boots for women’ are searched less but they tend to benefit the overall video SEO as these keywords suit the content as well as the audience you wish to attract.
So, next time you are looking for keywords, don’t concentrate on generic keywords with huge search volumes. Try to aim at more specific keywords/keyphrases.
6. Create Clickable Thumbnails
Click-through rates really influence video SEO. And a catchy thumbnail is good for starting a great CTR.
Your main aim should be to create a thumbnail that is both attention-grabbing and understandable no matter the screen size. So, it’s better to use an image as an object or subject against an uncluttered background. And if you want to add text to your thumbnail, keep it in bold and bigger letters.
Tip: If you want to know how to optimize YouTube videos for search engine results, you don’t have to use the automatic freeze-frame thumbnails offered by the platform. You can also use an online thumbnail maker and post a custom image.
The better your thumbnails, the more exposure your videos will get, which will eventually benefit your video SEO process.
7. Optimize the titles
A basic video SEO tip is to include your main or primary keyword in your video title. And it should appear natural. I suggest placing the keyword at the beginning of the title so that it can be easily recognized by algorithms.
While the latter part of your video title can include brackets or parentheses to give better context to the video so that the viewers are compelled to click on it.
Moreover, bracketed spaces are also useful for tackling unnatural keywords.
8. Write lengthy & detailed video descriptions
This trick works best for optimizing YouTube videos or on other similar hosting platforms.
Search crawlers aren’t so good at recognizing audiovisual content. So, how to deal with this problem? The answer is simple – long descriptions!
A lengthy description of more than 250 words is easily recognizable by search crawlers. If you include enough information with relevant keywords, your entire video SEO strategy will improve.
9. Never use clickbait
A lot of times marketers/creators try to make compelling thumbnails or titles to boost their click-through rate and bluff the viewers into thinking that the video is about a topic that it doesn’t even address.
Clickbait may increase a click-through rate initially, but as time goes on they also bring along a lot of hate comments, dislikes, and eventually a huge bounce rate. This is not at all an effective SEO strategy.
10. Insert tags
Video tags give an idea of what your video is about to the search crawlers. This also helps in the positioning of your particular keywords. In addition to this, you can also check the tags that work for your competitors as it helps to hone your own SEO strategy.
Tip: YouTube recommends using relevant tags for targeting keywords/keyphrases that are usually misspelled.
11. Add a transcript
A transcript is a written version of a video and adding it works great as it helps crawlers better understand the video. It also allows users to add more keywords.
A transcript also has captions in the video which makes it easier to reach to wider audiences while resulting in a higher completion rate. All this takes your video SEO to the next level.
Tip: Try not using the automatic transcripts for YouTube SEO as these are usually incorrect.
12. Include Timestamps in your How-to videos
Almost every video SEO company wishes to place its tutorial on Google’s Key Moments. This is useful for showing specific parts of your video addressing a specific query.
You can do this by adding timestamps to the how-to videos created by you.
Timestamps facilitate a good viewing experience while offering links of specific moments or bits of your videos to Google.
Tip: Show your timestamps in the description section along with a label describing them
13. Use cards and end screens
Cards are placed inside a video for directing the viewers to other videos on the channel. End screens are also used for this purpose but they are placed with a thumbnail at the end of the video.
Using end screens and cards increase the Watch Time. To simply put, they make viewers stay longer on your YouTube channel, which will lead to a higher ranking on SERPs.
14. Use Transitive Verbs
If you create tutorials and wish to have them featured on Google’s Suggested Clips, try making direct and to-the-point videos.
Google displays video content that is precise and doesn’t beat around the bush. A section of a video will only appear in a Suggested Clip if it has transitive verbs. For example, ‘Send an email’.
15. Improve user engagement
User engagement acts as an important factor for your video ranking on SERPs.
Though user engagement relies more on the viewers, you can still prompt them to like, comment and share, and subscribe to YouTube SEO videos.
Having said that, avoid using more generic ways and try to opt for a personal tone. For instance, instead of asking viewers to comment on your video, try asking them a specific question about their experience or opinion.
16. Analyze the keywords you are ranking for
This trick works extremely well for optimizing existing YouTube videos. Go to the Analytics dashboard and then ‘Traffic Sources: YouTube search’. Here, you’ll see all the keywords that your video currently ranks for.
This helps in analyzing the YouTube video optimization, but also in finding new keywords that the video organically ranks for.
Include these news terms in your video’s meta description, meta tags, transcripts, etc. This will increase your chances of ranking higher for a query you may not even think of.
17. Don’t just depend on Video SEO
Algorithms take many SEO factors into consideration before determining your video’s ranking in the search engine results pages. Interestingly, one of those factors is the number of views on your videos.
In order to increase your views, you not only have to improve your SEO video ranking but also produce quality content and showcase it as much as possible.
You can promote your videos via email or social media to grow your view count organically. The algorithm will definitely notice this!
I am a staunch believer that quality matters more than quantity. However, when it comes to video SEO strategies, marketers require both.
Video SEO is a vast space in itself, and it relies on various factors. Not to mention, it’s continuously changing & evolving.
This is why using the above 17 video SEO practices will prove to be a boon to your video marketing strategy.
About The Author
Digital Content Specialist at Explainer Video Production Company (EssenceStudios). She holds a Bachelor’s & Master’s degree in Journalism & Communication from Manipal University, India. Passionate about creative writing, she loves reading as well! Always keen to explore new places & opportunities. On a never-ending quest of pushing her boundaries as a writer & editor.