The digital landscape has slowly shifted from text to video content. So we’ve put together our top 10 video SEO tips to improve search engine visibility and help boost your profile online. Besides the 60 hours of video content that gets uploaded to YouTube every minute, social media giants are further unlocking new video opportunities like 360-degree videos and the live streaming feature for marketers to experiment with.
In such a scenario, the forecast by Cisco about video ruling 82% of all internet traffic by 2020 seems too realistic for businesses to ignore. To rank high above your competition, you have to market your videos well and utilise decent video SEO techniques. But you sure don’t want to use video SEO strategies that may fail on the next search engine algorithm update. That would be a waste of time and resources.
1. Keyword Research in YouTube & Google Webmaster
First and foremost, identify the context of your video and think what sort of keywords your target audience may use to find such content.
Use keyword analysers like Google Webmaster to find relevant keywords. You should even check what keywords your competitors are using in high ranking videos that are similar to yours.
YouTube is the largest video search engine. Take advantage of it. Search for topics you deal with as a brand. The YouTube suggestions feature will show you the most searched for terms that are related, to utilise in your video SEO strategies.
This is a great way to get hold of what people are looking for.
Once you have identified the right keywords, look for the search volume that the said keyword attracts. Ideally, you should pick keywords with high search volume i.e. at least 1000 per month. In addition to that, also look for keywords with low competition and related search queries, and use these in your video’s meta description.
2. Upload Your Video With Keyword-Optimised Meta Description
Since search engines can’t read visual content (yet), they will rely on your video title and description to understand its context and match it with user’s search queries.
So you have to take care to title your video properly. Be short but informative and use keywords that you are optimising for. Once again, you don’t have to cram in as many keywords as you can.
Even in the video description, you should mention the keywords once or twice, (but make sure they are in context). Provide a short 100-200-word description for your video so that even Google knows what the video is about.
You have to draw the viewers in to watch your video. It is imperative that the first 125 words of your description are compelling since they appear as a blurb in the YouTube video search result.
3. Put on a captivating video thumbnail to encourage clicks
The thumbnail is the cover image of your video content. It gives people a sense of the context of your video, its style, its content and presentation.
Having an interesting thumbnail will encourage people to click open your video, generating more viewership and popularity, which ultimately helps your video rank higher.
So make sure that you include a high-quality thumbnail for your video.
When uploading a video on YouTube or Facebook, the site will generate a few thumbnail options from the video itself. You can choose one of the options. Or you can design custom thumbnail images that present the context behind your video. This way even if people don’t open your video, they will know what it entails.
Note: Google recently gave a demo of their new Video Intelligence API which can identify objects in the video content, enabling Google to “read” and understand the context of your videos.
If this is implemented in the next algorithm update, we may be able to search videos that have a visually higher context to our search queries.
4. Learn Insights from Video Analytics to boost your video traffic.
Almost all video hosting platforms including YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia & Brightcove have video analytic tools that you can use.
Since YouTube is the most popular of the video hosts, we’ll take that as an example to establish what you can do with video analytics to improve your video ranking and views.
Observing traffic is the least that you can do with it. YouTube analytics lets you have a look at where your traffic is coming from: Organically, from searches or from the ‘suggested’ section on YouTube.
You can tailor your channel according to the statistics. For instance, some of your videos might be popular in the US, another might fare better in the South East Asian countries.
These regions share different dynamics. You can identify what content works for what regions and make even better content that caters to specific niches.
Not only this, you can even have a look at what keywords attract what viewers.
Demographics are very handy to gauge how your content is consumed and by whom.
These are valuable metrics that can help you determine the changing faces of popularity and taste amongst your audience while giving you reliable numbers and details about what works and what can work to drive views to your video.
5. Get your video added to popular playlists.
Making playlists on your channel is a good thing.
Besides your own playlist, you can also search for popular playlists where you can feature your video content. And then go to the playlist maker’s account and on their about page, you will find an option to send a message. Use that to request them to consider adding your video to the playlist. You will be able to expose your video content to more users this way.
6. Host videos on your website too.
YouTube is great. It commands a whopping 68% video market share according to Datanyze. But don’t solely depend on that.
Ideally, you should be driving as much traffic as you can to your own website. While putting your website link in the video description is a good tactic, you should consider hosting your videos on your own website as well.
After all, Google loves videos. According to a Forrester survey, “pages with video are 53x more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results”. So, it makes sense to have a video on your homepage, ideally at the top fold of the page.
Oh, yes. Don’t forget to include a clear CTA at the end of the video itself. Doing so would increase your chance of conversion.
Plus, if there’s a video to watch, people tend to stay and explore your website for longer periods of time thereby decreasing the bounce rate. It helps Google know that you have valuable content on your website. This directly translates to better rankings.
7. Native videos rank higher on Social Media platforms.
On Youtube, your video may get lost in the crowd. But uploading your video on social media channels will guarantee views and engagement, at least by your friends or followers.
Multiple platform hosting simply means that you gain a wider berth that gives you more opportunities to exhibit what you produce.
That being the case, make sure that you host your video on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others of the ilk.
While you could easily post a link to your YouTube video, studies say that native videos (i.e. videos uploaded on the said site itself) will have higher organic reach as compared to external video links.
With the prevalence of hashtags, sorting and finding popular content is easy. You should look for trending topics (see Google Trends and the trend section on Twitter and Facebook) and include relevant and popular hashtags for your videos.
Appropriate hashtags mean that your video is better searchable and viewed more often. In addition, you might just create a trending popular hashtag courtesy your video.
8. Video Sitemap
Submitting a sitemap allows Google to know what video you have on your website, what it contains, and what its relevance is.
By far the most important aspect of submitting a sitemap is that Google starts listing your website for a video search result rather than a video hosting platform like YouTube, Vimeo or Wistia.
Plus, a sitemap enables Google to index your website much faster than it normally would by itself. Since you’re providing all the details to Google about your video, it can reliably show results that pertain to your website video.
9. Share your video link with bloggers and relevant industry experts.
More views translate into higher search visibility. So, don’t just wait for people to check and engage with your video.
Share links to your video, to your friends or industry experts and bloggers to actively increase your viewership and engagement. You can even write a guest post and have your video featured on it to improve search visibility.
10. Put on the video transcript for accurate voiceover caption.
Search engines can’t crawl a video for its contents. Sure, YouTube can auto-generate captions and determine what is being said in a video but those captions aren’t always accurate, and you don’t want your content to be wrong.
Therefore, manually adding video transcripts and closed captions are the best way to give a search engine an accurate measure of what your video is about.
The better a search engine knows what your video is about, the more chances it has of getting listed for relevant searches. This ensures better & accurate rankings in the future opening up the possibility of more viewership and potential sales.
Video SEO is by no means exhaustive.
There will be a lot more that Google will be changing as we move on from year to year.
But for now, the aforementioned techniques are a good way to cohesively channel your video SEO to attract more viewers. More viewers mean more potential prospects for your business which can help you secure better sales and an authority figure in the online sphere.
Regardless of the industry, these video SEO techniques remain applicable. You will have to tweak each of them separately as you see fit according to the industry and viewers you cater to.
Of course, you should never stop experimenting. That’s how you discover great things.
Related: 14 Tips For Beginners To Starting A Business Online
About the author:
Deepasha is an Entrepreneur, Visual Marketer and the Founder of Crackitt. Crackitt helps startups and enterprises harness the power of visual marketing to generate leads and close sales through Explainer Videos and Infographics.
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