Thanks to the powers of YouTube, internet surfers have enjoyed online videos for years. However, the evolution of Google Universal Search—specifically enabling videos to appear in SERPs— has pushed SEO optimization into a new realm of possibility. Online search marketers now need to consider optimizing video content to rank in Google. Inspired by Rand Fishkin’s SEO for Video Content, check out these top five best practices when optimizing a video for SEO.
Best Practice #1: Optimize video for keywords or key phrases.
Even though Google has evolved to include videos in SERPs, it still cannot read and index video content. However, there are some things you need to do to help search engines properly index and rank your video content.
- Include a keyword or key phrase in the title. This isn’t a must-do for your video. If you want a video to rank for a specific search query, you should consider it to improve chances of ranking. For other options for the video title, see Best Practice #2.
- Provide a detailed description. Start with your transcript and revise to make it reader-friendly. Don’t forget to include your keywords!
- Tag with important key phrases. Most video hosting websites allow you to include up to 20 key phrases to tag your video. This is a simple (and often overlooked) step to include target keywords for your video. The tagged keywords should still be relevant to the actual video content.
Think of the video title and description as your meta data. Make sure to include this for every video and optimize them with priority keywords.
Best Practice #2: Attract and maintain viewers.
Give searchers a reason to click on your video, and make sure they watch it in its entirety. With over 16.8 billion videos online, your title and content needs to scream above noise.
- Give it a catchy title. If your goal for the video is pageviews (and not necessarily keyword rankings), then choose a catchy, inciting title to attract clicks. Just like for other media and advertising vehicles, include attention-getting headlines that encourage searchers to watch your video over another.
- Keep it short. Unless you are posting the latest episode of Lost on Hulu.com, typically surfers will not watch a video that is over 5 minutes in length, unless the video content is not highly relevant and engaging.
Best Practice #3: Maximize viewership.
One of the best strategies to increase pageviews for a video is to let it spread by viewers. It’s important to make it for viewers to share your video. Each of these video settings will encourage sharing and help increase pageviews.
- Email to a friend. Allow viewers to easily email the video to a friend.
- Tweet please! Give viewers an option to Tweet. Include a temple Tweet and don’t forget to use the bit.ly URL shortener to track success.
- Enable embeddable links. This further encourages viewers to spread the word by making it easy for them to embed the video in their website or blog.
- Allow user ratings. Most searchers gravitate to content that has high reviews from peers. High-ranked videos tend to be saved by users and shared amongst colleagues and friends. So assuming that you only post quality video content, your video’s 5-star rankings will attract more pageviews.
Best Practice #4: Give credit (and links) where it is due.
Take advantage of branding and site links for all of your videos. Don’t miss a prime opportunity to associate video content to your brand, and also guide users to your site where they can learn more and potentially convert into revenue or a lead.
- Include branding. Videos are a great branding vehicle to build trust and an image with customers. Include your company’s logo on the video (and on your profile/channel) to reinforce your brand and increase awareness.
- Link to your own site. Use videos as a website portal to increase website traffic, sales or leads. Make it easy for users to get to your site to learn more. Include a website link on your profile and in the video description to drive traffic to your site.
Best Practice #5: Upload to relevant video sharing websites.
Start spreading you video on relevant video sharing websites. Many of the sites listed below offer free accounts, and all of them allow you to create a profile and/or channel for your company to host the videos.
With these five best practices you will have the tools to evolve your SEO campaign with Google Universal Search. However, it is important to consider the videos content and the target when before deciding to optimize and post a video. Don’t just post a video for sake of posting. Make sure the content is relevant and targeted to your audience.