Chances are your last video initiative strained team resources. Whether it was cash, time management, or a lengthy production schedule with numerous rounds of edits; you’re now ready to see a return on your investment. But for some reason, your videos are still stuck on the second or third pages of Google. Why is this?
Perhaps your marketing team is creating engaging videos but the SEOs at your business don’t spend enough time optimizing them (or aren’t sure of the best practices when it comes to video SEO). Often, these teams aren’t aligning on a strategy to guarantee your videos have the best chance to be discovered and seen long term.
With video SEO, your content can have a powerful impact on your business – you just need to know enough to be dangerous.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through how exactly to optimize your video content (or what to ask your team for and why) so you can get it ranking quickly in SERPs.
Why is Video SEO Important to Your Marketing Strategy?
The truth is people love videos. They are consumers’ favorite type of branded content.
Adding video content to your website will increase users’ dwell times and lower bounce rates. In fact, the average user spends 88% more time on a website with video because they are so engaged. And the more website users are engaged, the easier it is for your brand to build trust, and the more likely these users are to purchase from your brand.
Not only do people love videos, but search engines do too. In the past, Google favored images – but now, they prefer videos. Why? The all-powerful search engine boosts sites that have multiple, accessible ways of consuming information, which makes multi-media hugely important. It all comes down to creating a rich user experience and search engines reward these efforts.
By implementing video SEO, you increase your chances of being on the first page of Google, which of course leads to driving more traffic to your website and getting more video views thereby boosting brand authority and trust.
How Does Video SEO Work?
Some people may think Google is automatically going to understand what their video is saying. This isn’t true (although inevitably it will be in the future). Google needs you to optimize your video content because it is not able to watch videos. That’s why a video housed on a sparse page that is not fully optimized for search engines or click-throughs will never rank on search engines.
It’s important to remember that basically any and all text on the page influence SEO. If you can optimize a web page, you can optimize a video. Here are some specific factors to pay attention to:
Video titles are going to be one of the first things people notice. In the same way, you use catchy, engaging titles for your blog posts, think carefully about the titles of your videos.
Do a little research with a tool like BuzzSumo to see what have been the most shared pieces of content around your keyword. Or do a quick Google search. What title hacks can you steal from these highly ranked or most shared pieces of content?
Don’t use clickbait titles that have nothing to do with the video content; this could eventually hurt your ranking. Use a minimum of five words in your video title (with keywords at the beginning). Deliver value.
Similar to a blog post, your video title will often be your page title and so this will pull through to SERPs (search engine results page). While it may be tempting, avoid overly branded terms that have meaning for your company but really carry no significance for the average search user – they won’t click-through.
Remember, users and search engines are looking at your video description to get a better understanding of the video.
Here are some tips to optimize your description:
- Make it at least 250 words
- Add keywords (but don’t go overboard)
- Write clearly and naturally
Perhaps you don’t give a lot of thought to your blog’s meta descriptions (*fingers crossed you do*) but this is the copy that is evaluated by search users before they click-through. The same is true of a video description. Use the tips above for both your meta description and video description, keeping the two sections congruent. That way if your video doesn’t pull through to recommended videos right away, you can be sure that your blog or site page is still pulling interested users in by explaining the value.
Okay, enough about keywords, here are some other elements that can affect video discovery and click-though.
We’re selling to people, right? The thumbnail of your video should always include pictures of humans. Your thumbnails should capture users’ attention and be visually appealing. Adding words to your thumbnail with a title also makes it more click-worthy.
You can create custom thumbnails by grabbing a still shot from the video and using a graphic design tool like Canva to add illustrations or text.
Your video length will change depending on your topic and business
Videos on the longer side (like case studies) usually rank higher because they answer all of the viewers’ questions and users have more time to become engaged with the content. We suggest making your videos around ten minutes in length for optimal results.
Online Video Platform (OVP)
You mean there are other options besides YouTube? Yes.
In fact, if you’re a B2B, you’ll want to find any video host but YouTube. Publishing content on YouTube often helps their platform’s SEO rather than your own. Meaning, if your video does rank, it will be on the YouTube domain. You’ll be competing with yourself for traffic and authority. If content is meant as a vehicle for both of these things, you just gave away a highly valuable piece in the chess game that is SEO. For this reason, you’re better off using a private OVP option like Brightcove or Wistia.
You can also try video hosting websites that are ad-free and optimized to WordPress like Jetpack or services that integrate flawlessly with social media like Vidyard.
Whatever you do, provide an excellent experience for your user. This means you have to control it (and yes, build it out), so social media platforms like YouTube or Facebook aren’t going to cut it.
4 Ways to Get Your Video Content Ranking Quickly in SERPs
1. Submit a Video Sitemap
A video sitemap lets you alert search engine robots or “crawlers” of video content on your website. While Google’s bots are constantly crawling webpages trying to find new content of value, sitemaps give them a guide. Doing this means your content may be indexed in SERPs within a month instead of three months or more.
Sitemaps are not only a great way of getting your videos appearing on search results, but they also make your videos show up on Google Video (the tab solely for video searches on Google). This will increase your SEO and drive traffic to your website – see, we told you that you don’t need YouTube!
2. Publish Video Transcriptions (and Optimize Them!)
Again, search engine crawlers aren’t able to watch video content the same way they can scan text on a website.
For this reason, you should publish video transcriptions (written text of the spoken content in the video) to help crawlers understand what your video is about and index it.
What is a Search Engine Index?
Don’t forget to optimize your video transcriptions with keywords, header tags, and inbound links.
3. Upload Captions Files
Adding caption files is another way to improve video SEO. You can use tools to automatically make caption files for your videos or try the cheap yet lengthy process of creating caption files yourself.
Overall, we’d recommend sending your videos to a professional transcription service. Of course, this is the best way to get high-quality results quickly, in a variety of formats.
Be aware: inaccurate captions can be seen as spam and will cause your video to be ranked lower in search engines, so take extra care to make your caption files perfect the first time around.
4. Repurpose and Publish Widely
If content is king, recycling content creates a dynasty. Maintaining top search results and consistently creating content of value is hard!
One of the biggest benefits of creating videos is you generate a wealth of reusable content.
The average speaking rate for a presenter or video host is 150 to 160 words per minute.
That means a 45-minute webinar is nearly 7,200 words of content.
7,200 WORDS = 7 KEYWORD RICH BLOGS!
Yes, even cutting the fluff, this 45-minute webinar just gave you a seven-part blog series that you can use in a demand gen campaign to convert those webinar attendees.
With this in mind, try to structure your content for repurposing, where possible.
Don’t have the time? That’s okay You can take the video transcript and scatter video clips throughout to create an easy blog. Add pull-quotes for the most interesting learnings.
Some video and transcription tools even allow you to cut and snip the video by highlighting transcription text. Do this to create shorter variations of your video to post on your social media channels to drive traffic.
Video SEO is necessary for Google to understand what your content is about – and decide if you should be boosted in the search rankings. Without it, you’ll be lost in the sleepy third, fourth, or fifth pages of Google (where nobody dares to go).
Optimizing parts of your video such as the title, thumbnail, and description can help even more people see your video content and drive traffic to your website. With our four tricks, your video content won’t go unnoticed and Google will reward you for giving your users a better experience.
Interested in some good video SEO vendor services? Check out 50 Wheel to compare and contrast video vendors.
If you found this post helpful, check out even more informative articles on SEO, video marketing, and content marketing on the Shine Content Strategy blog.