How important is video SEO? If you want to rank higher on YouTube or in Google searches, it pays to pay attention to optimizing your videos for both Google and YouTube.
Video SEO has become extremely important because of the rise of mobile devices and social media platforms. In fact, over half (62.06 percent) of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. This means that if you don’t optimize your videos for mobile devices, they won’t get seen at all.
Here are a few mobile video SEO statistics that might surprise you:
- 78 percent of people watch online videos every week, and 55 percent watch videos online.
- Mobile viewers tend to watch longer videos.
- Mobile viewers prefer videos that are optimized for their device.
- Viewers retain 95 percent of messages when watched in a video.
- 92 percent of mobile viewers share videos with others.
- 79 percent of people say they were convinced to buy/download software after watching a video.
- 86 percent of businesses use video for marketing. This is up from 63 percent over the prior three years.
But, video SEO is not just for mobile. It’s effective for desktop too. Read on to find out more about what you can do with video SEO.
What, Exactly, Is Video SEO?
Video SEO is optimizing your YouTube videos to be indexed and rank high on the search engine results page (SERP). A lot of people think that it’s just about uploading great quality videos and having lots of views. While those things certainly help, there are several other factors to consider when trying to optimize your videos for SEO.
There are many different ways you can use video SEO to boost your traffic and rankings. You can use keywords within the description, tags, and even the thumbnail image. In addition, you can optimize your video to make sure that it ranks well organically. This includes making sure that it meets certain criteria such as length, resolution, etc.
How to Optimize Your Videos for Search
If you’ve been thinking about creating some educational videos for your blog or website, it might be worth considering how much effort you put into making sure those videos are optimized for search. While there are many factors involved in determining where a video ranks in search engines, one of the biggest is whether or not the video is hosted on a well-optimized video sharing platform, such as YouTube or Vimeo.
For example, uploading a video to YouTube takes anywhere from ten seconds to several minutes depending on the size of the file. Once uploaded, you can edit the description, tags, and even add annotations.
Vimeo offers similar features, including editing capabilities. There are no limits on how long you can keep a particular video online, but you do need to purchase a premium plan in order to get that option.
The main difference between the two platforms is that Vimeo allows you to host videos on its servers, whereas YouTube hosts videos on theirs. So, if you’re looking to increase the amount of traffic coming to your website, you’ll likely want to use a platform that doesn’t rely on third party servers.
Create and Upload a Transcript of Your Video
Video transcripts are one of the most underrated ways to improve your SEO. They don’t just help people understand what you’re talking about; they increase the chances that people will find your videos in search engines. Another accessible element of videos includes adding captions.
Adding captions to your videos are always helpful. While they may not be helpful for some audiences, there are those who keep their sound off on their phones. Adding these captions can help those have a more enjoyable experience in the now versus pushing the viewing of the video to much later. Also, they help for accessibility for those who are hearing impaired. And, we are of the opinion that you should always include captions in your video where applicable for these reasons alone.
Video transcripts come into play when you want to include a word-by-word transcript of your video, either on your site, on YouTube directly, or both if you’re so inclined. If you’re looking to increase the amount of text on your page, consider using video transcripts. Not only does adding video transcripts to your page mean you can rank better for certain terms, but it also helps your page become more accessible to users.
If you’re uploading a video to YouTube, you can include a transcript of your video in your video’s description. You can upload multiple transcripts, each of which covers different parts of your video. This lets you cover more ground without having to repeat yourself.
When someone searches for your video on Google, this could potentially help improve your search engine rankings as a result, both for the video itself and the associated same video page on your site.
Create an Engaging Thumbnail Image
When it comes to optimizing your YouTube channel, one aspect that many overlook is the thumbnail image. While the thumbnail doesn’t necessarily make up the entire visual experience of your video, it does play a huge part in whether or not someone watches your video. In fact, according to Wistia, there are three things that make a great thumbnail:
- It must be engaging. This could mean ensuring that it’s funny, informative, or just plain interesting.
- It should be visually appealing. If it looks like something you’d find on Pinterest, it probably won’t do well.
- It should be highly relevant to your brand. A generic “website” thumbnail might work, but it’ll likely look out of place compared to the rest of your branding.
Video Thumbnails are one of the most important elements of your online presence. They are the visual representation of your brand. If done correctly, they can help increase views, conversions, and even sales. However, many marketers overlook this crucial element of their marketing strategy. Making sure that your thumbnail image is engaging helps do the selling of your video for you.
Focus on the Video Title and Description
Just like it does for a blog post, YouTube searches look at both the title and the meta description when deciding what to show in the search results. These elements play a role in determining whether a viewer watches the entire video or skips over it.
The title and description are often overlooked when creating a video, but they can make a big difference. In fact, according to a study conducted by Moz, optimizing these areas increased views by almost 200%.
In addition to improving the quality of your videos, you’ll want to optimize the title and description to increase your chances of being found. This includes ensuring that your keywords are included in the title and description, and that each element contains relevant information about your video.
For example, let’s say you’re trying to rank for “how to build a deck.” You might write something along the lines of, “How to Build a Deck – DIY Decks Made Easy.” While this sounds great, it doesn’t really tell anyone anything useful.
Make Sure the Rest Of Your Page is Optimized and Relevant to Your Video
YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for online videos. In fact, according to YouTube, there are over 4 billion hours watched every day. So how do you make sure your videos are getting seen? One way is to optimize your video for SEO. This is done by following certain guidelines set out by search engines.
For example, if you want to rank for “how to grow tomatoes,” you’ll have to follow some basic rules for things such as on-page optimization, meta description tags, alt text tags, etc. But even though SEO is very important, it’s not always enough to guarantee that your videos are being viewed. There’s still another factor that plays into whether or not people actually watch your video. And that’s relevance.
What does that mean? Well, it basically means that you shouldn’t try to cram keywords into your video without having something to say about those words. Otherwise, no one will care. Now, we aren’t saying that you need to write a book about growing tomatoes. We understand that sometimes you just need to show off a product or talk about a topic.
However, if you’re trying to rank for a specific word, you’d better have something to say about that word. After all, why would someone want to watch a video about growing tomatoes if there wasn’t anything interesting about growing tomatoes?
Make Your Video the Prominent Focus of Your Page
The most important thing you can do to improve the performance of your videos is to ensure that they are visible to search engines. If the video isn’t displayed prominently enough on your web page, it won’t show up in the search results.
In fact, studies have shown that the average person spends less than five seconds scanning web pages. So, if your video isn’t visible within those few seconds, it’ll never rank well.
To help boost your video’s visibility, consider making sure it’s the main focus of the page. In addition to being visually appealing, this strategy helps keep visitors engaged with the page longer. And if your site has multiple pages, putting the video on every single one increases the likelihood that it will be indexed quickly.
Like with a blog post, you need to publish an amazing video and hope it gets seen. But, you also need to optimize your videos around keywords that people use in YouTube searches. And, yes, we’re talking about keyword research here.
When you publish a video on YouTube, it’s also important to think about what you want people to do once they watch it. Do you want them to read your blog posts? Click on one of your ads? Visit another site? Or maybe you just want them to see your video and move on? There are many different ways to make sure your videos rank well in searches.
Optimize Your Video Title
You have two goals with your YouTube video title. You want to make sure that your video title includes at least one targeted keyword, and that it’s optimized for CTR (click-through rates).
First, let’s take a look at the anatomy of a great title.
Let’s start by considering goal #1: Including your target keyword.
Here are some tips on how to make sure your title includes your target keyword.
Use Your Target Keyword Where You Can; Avoid Keyword Stuffing
If you’re trying to rank for a specific keyword, don’t limit yourself to using that word in the title. Instead, try to include it throughout the entire body of the video as much as possible. This way, when someone types that same keyword into YouTube, they’ll find your video.
This is especially true if you’re targeting long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are more difficult to rank for. They usually have three or four words instead of just one.
So, if you’re ranking for “how to grow tomatoes,” you might want to add “tomatoes” to the beginning of the title, the end of the description, and even the tags.
By the way…make sure that you avoid keyword stuffing everything. Strike a balance between optimizing and sounding natural versus engaging in keyword stuffing the entire way through your video elements.
Create Video Titles That Are Consistent
Another tip is to make sure your titles are consistent across all of your videos. That means that each time you create a new video, make sure its title matches the other ones.
For example, let’s say you have 10 videos on your channel. Each one has a unique title like “How To Grow Tomatoes.” The next day, you upload 11 videos. All of them have the exact same title: “How To Grow Tomatoes.”
You’re not going to receive any penalties for having duplicate titles, however, it does mean that viewers won’t know which video to watch. If you want to avoid this problem, we recommend creating unique titles for each video.
Your Video Description: How to Optimize It
YouTube recommends videos based on what you have already watched. If you want to make sure that your videos are recommended, it pays to write longer descriptions for each one. While shorter descriptions won’t hurt you, they’re unlikely to help you much. In fact, there are some studies suggesting that short descriptions actually decrease the chances of your video being recommended.
So how long do you really need to describe your videos? There isn’t a clear answer here. But we’ve found that most people don’t need to go beyond about 150 words. You might think that adding another 50 words wouldn’t matter too much, but research suggests otherwise. When you add those extra 50 words, you’ll increase the chances of getting your video recommended by 10 percent. So if you write just 250 words, you could see a 15 percent improvement over the average video.
Tags in YouTube Videos
Tags are a vital part of how you describe your videos on YouTube. They help people find your videos and they’re used to determine what ads you’ll see. If you’ve ever wondered why YouTube keeps asking you to add tags to your videos, here’s why.
Tags are also a crucial part of how YouTube determines what it thinks about your video. For example, if you upload a video called “How To Make A Tic Tac,” YouTube might think that you want to show it to kids. Or maybe you uploaded a video about making money online. In both cases, YouTube will use those tags to decide whether or not your video is appropriate for children or adults.
So, what do you tag your videos with? Well, it depends on what type of content you’re uploading. But, generally speaking, there are three types of tags that matter most: keywords, categories, and descriptions.
Keywords – Keywords are words and phrases that you’d like to rank for. You can choose quite a few keywords per video. These are the ones that you’ll see at the top of the description box. As long as you provide relevant information for each keyword, you should be fine.
Categories – Categories are broad terms that categorize your videos. Think about this like genres. For example, let’s say you wanted to upload a video about How To Build An Electric Guitar. One category might be “Guitars.” Another could be “Electric Guitars.” Depending on the video, you might even want to use multiple categories.
Descriptions – Descriptions are short summaries of your videos. This is where you tell people what the video is about. Again, this is similar to writing a headline. People read the description box because it gives them an idea of what the video is about without having to watch it.
If you’re wondering why YouTube wants you to fill out your tags, it’s because YouTube uses those tags to help determine what sort of audience your video appeals to. If you’re targeting kids, you probably shouldn’t be tagging your videos with things like “funny,” “music,” “movies,” and “adults.” Instead, try adding some kid-friendly tags such as “kids,” “family,” “learning,” “education,” etc.
Be Sure to Include Your Keywords in Your Video Tags
The last thing you should do is to include tags that include relevant keywords in those tags.
For example, let’s say your target keyword is “grow tomatoes.” You could write something like this:
“How to Grow Tomatoes – Learn how to grow tomatoes from seedlings to mature plants.”
That’s a pretty good title. But, it doesn’t really tell anyone anything. What exactly can they learn from watching this video?
Instead, try writing something like this:
“Learn how to grow tomatoes from seeds to mature plants.”
That tells people exactly what they can expect to get out of the video. And, it helps them decide whether or not they want to watch it.
Say Your Target Keyword in Each Video
When you create videos, try to include one or two keywords within each video. This makes it easier for YouTube to find your videos when someone searches for those terms.
If you’re paying attention to this article, saying the keyword in your video means that it will show up in your video transcript, and thus will show up on your page text if you include a transcript.
And if you include your transcript in your video’s YouTube description, then it will show up there too.
So, the next time you shoot a video, think about adding a sentence or two that explains your target keyword(s). You don’t have to go into great detail; just enough to let people know what you’re talking about.
Video SEO Allows You to Do More With Your Videos
When it comes to video, there is still an additional component to optimizing your videos by using video SEO.
It’s not just a “set it, and forget it!” proposition. When you craft your videos well, you too can experience great returns on your investment. The higher the quality of your videos, the more people will come to your channel.
But, you still have to promote them through social media and YouTube if you want people to see them.
When are you creating your next video with video SEO in mind?