How to SEO Video

Posted on January 28, 2013

Do you upload video content to Youtube to supplement any projects or campaigns you may be running? Do those videos have only a handful of views despite your best efforts? If this is the case then that means your videos aren’t optimized for SEO, and will probably never reach your intended audience. The solution to this is video SEO, a process very similar to that of website SEO optimization, but aimed specifically at videos and the sites they’re hosted on.

According to Nate Elliot at Forrester, videos are 50 times more likely than anything else to rank on the first page of Google. And this comes as no surprise: Youtube is the second largest search engine next to Google, and home to thousands of years worth of user-uploaded footage. Statistics show that more than 48 hours of new content are uploaded every minute, so it’s crucial that you consider how you upload and tag your content for SEO purposes.

So how do you do this? To start, follow these 12 tips to improve your video’s chances of being seen.

  1. Produce Quality Content: This is a big one. Your videos need to be relevant to your brand/product/service, and should provide the viewer with as much meaningful information as possible. Especially useful are instructional videos that describe a certain process step-by-step, and videos that express opinions or discuss a particular topic are useful as well. If you’re outsourcing video production to a different firm, ensure that they understand the importance of these topics, and be sure to scan their portfolio to ensure that they know what they’re doing when it comes to making videos.
  2. Title: Keyword research will help you a great deal with this. Create titles that contain key words related to your brand or service. Think about what makes headlines on newspapers eye-catching and interesting to you and use that to make titles that are interesting and appealing to visitors.
  3. Tags: Avoid complicated terminology and obscure keywords when tagging your video. This is another place where your keyword research will come in handy. Consider placing these terms not just only in your title, but also in the tags as well.
  4. Description:  The description should not only provide information on the topic of your video, but it should also be keyword-rich since search engines analyze both the tags and the description when indexing videos.
  5. Links: Thanks to changes made to Youtube’s service, you can place annotations and links within your video. Leverage this feature to link to content relevant to that of the video, perhaps on your website, or on a related website. This has the effect of enabling you to direct traffic towards a specific area on your site, or to a specific product, where you can then engage them however way you need to.
  6. Transcripts: Search engines still need text to index content, and oftentimes tags and the description just aren’t enough. One way to help your video out is to include a full, HTML transcript of the video’s audio. Most of the time the transcript on its own will be more than enough to index it without having to edit it for keywords.
  7. Manage Length: Your video shouldn’t be too long, to avoid driving people away. Think about it, how often do you sit through a long and boring video? Remember the phrase, “less is more”, when planning a video and keep it to a reasonable length.
  8. Video Sitemaps: Like ordinary sitemaps, video sitemaps help Google and other search engines index your content. Use Google Webmaster Tools to help craft one for your site, and make sure to use relevant keywords in the anchor text of the links that lead to your videos.
  9. Branding: This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyways. Incorporate your brand and logo into every video you make.
  10. Embedding Options: Anyone who uploads to a well known video portal like Vimeo or Youtube will already have this covered, but if you’re hosting it on your own site, give people the option to embed your video on social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. This will help your video “go viral”, giving you valuable exposure, backlinks, and helps improve your advertising reach.
  11. Syndicate: Don’t forget to post videos on your RSS feed and syndicate it to increase your exposure across as many online platforms as possible.
  12. Share the Love: Share your video everywhere you can – social media, email contacts, RSS feeds, send it out and get people to watch it. Good content improves your brand image, increases your exposure, and widens your audience – all of which translate to a bigger bottom line.