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Top 17 Tips for Video SEO: SEO Video Marketing, YouTube Video SEO, and More!


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Saying that video search engine optimization is merely important is an understatement. It is vital.

Search engines are an instrumental part of the digital world, and they can make or break the success of even the greatest videos.

Now, it’s easy to appear on top of the SERPs when you have the budget to hire dedicated video SEO services. However, if you don’t want to break the bank, if you produce content sporadically, or if you simply want to learn how to optimize YouTube videos on your own, you might find yourself drowning in pages about how to do it.

But fret not – we are here to help. In this piece, you’ll find every basic – and not so basic – building block for a robust video SEO optimization!

So, without further ado, here are not one or ten, but 17 SEO tips video marketers should know about.

Let’s get started!

Video SEO optimization

#1. Choose the Right Video Hosting Platform

You have three different alternatives when displaying a video on your website, and all bring different results to your video SEO optimization. You could go with a self-host video (that is, a video uploaded directly to your page), an embed from an outside public platform like YouTube or Vimeo, or one from a private video hosting site, like Wistia.

Self-hosting is hardly ever an option. Unless you have a terrific hosting plan, videos can take too long to load, cut intermittently, and sometimes users can’t visualize them. How can that benefit your SEO video strategy?

On the other hand, embeds tend to play smoothly on most webpages. The big difference between the two alternatives is that an embed from a private video hosting site will keep visitors on your website, while a YouTube or Vimeo embed will often direct traffic to their own platforms.

Now, that’s not necessarily bad for you. It all depends on whether you are working on your website, Vimeo, or YouTube video optimization.

Video marketing guide for 2020

#2. Prioritize the Videos on Your Website

Search crawlers are kind of lazy when it comes to video and SEO. They don’t go through the entirety of your webpage registering every video there is. Instead, they quit looking after they’ve found the first one!

Any good video SEO service would put the piece you want to rank higher on SERPs before any other video. If there are other videos that you want to optimize for search, consider using separate webpages, as long as they don’t compete with each other on other aspects, like their related keywords.

#3. Capture & Hold Your Viewers’ Attention

This tip not only works for optimizing your SEO video strategy but also your overall video content!

Capturing and holding viewers’ attention means that people will be hearing most of your message (yay!), but it also translates into higher Viewer Counts and Audience Retention – a factor that can highly impact your overall video SEO optimization.

Start your video by giving viewers a good reason to watch it completely. Address a problem that your content can help solve right from the get-go, mention what they will gain with your video, or lure them in by hinting that the most valuable part is at the end. If you do it right and your content is good, people will stay glued to their screens!

#4. Go with Keywords that Prioritize Video Results

Not all Google searches return video results on the ‘All‘ page.

Google knows video content is more relevant for some queries than for others and earmarks the keywords that match with videos. Those are the keywords you should aim at when working on video search engine optimization, as they have the potential to actually attract more views and visits to your online presence.

More often than not, if you look for a specific term and no video shows up, it’s probably because that keyword doesn’t prioritize video results – and may never do! So, avoid wasting your video SEO efforts on those keywords if possible.

#5. Create Clickable Thumbnails

Click-Through Rates have a huge impact on your video SEO optimization. And a good CTR starts with an attractive custom thumbnail.

The overall goal here is to make your thumbnail noticeable and understandable from any sized screen. So, use an image with a simple composition like a subject or object against an uncluttered background. If you wish to add text to it, make sure it’s in big and bold letters.

Pro tip: If you wish to know how to optimize YouTube videos for search, forget about using the automatic freeze-frame thumbnails the platform offers. Use an online thumbnail maker and upload a custom image that really does the trick!

The better you get at generating clickable thumbnails, the more exposure you’ll end up giving your videos, and the greater you’ll benefit your SEO video strategy.

#6. Leverage Long-tail Keywords

This is one of the SEO tips video and digital marketers alike can benefit from.

While short, generic keywords like “women shoes” are highly popular on searches, they also entail more competition on SERPs. Imagine how hard it is to appear above hundreds of other shoe manufacturing companies that have been nurturing those keywords for years!

On the other hand, long-tail keywords like “summer shoes for women” amass fewer searches but are more likely to benefit your overall video and SEO strategy, as they can be tailored to better fit your video content and the audience you want to attract

So, next time you are researching keywords, don’t focus on the generic terms with massive search volumes. Aim at the specific keywords that can be easier to compete on.

Protip: When it comes to YouTube video optimization, you should look closely at the search bar’s suggestions. Just type a generic keyword related to your field and see how YouTube suggests you complete the sentence. That’s a goldmine for popular long-tail keywords!

Video SEO optimization

#7. Make the Most Out of Your Video Title

You are probably tired of watching search engine optimization videos telling you to include your main keyword in your title in a natural and attractive way. Don’t worry – we’ll give you SEO tips video experts hardly ever talk about.

For starters, we recommend placing your primary keyword at the beginning of your title. This simple trick carries weight with algorithms. That said, the latter part of the title is another video SEO optimization goldmine.

There you can use brackets or parenthesis to provide more context about your video to better entice more viewers to click on it.

Bracketed spaces also prove helpful for dealing with unnatural keywords. Suppose we created a video titled “How to Optimize YouTube Videos for Search [SEO video YouTube].” We would be using a keyword that would be impossible to include organically in the title otherwise!

#8. Don’t Use Clickbait!

For the sake of making enticing thumbnails and titles and boosting their click-through rates, many try to trick viewers into thinking their video touches on a topic that it actually doesn’t address.

These infamous clickbaiters might obtain high click-through rates at first, but you know what else they get? An awful amount of dislikes, lots of angry comments, and worst of all, a massive bounce rate. Not a good recipe for an effective, long-term SEO video strategy.

If you are interested in YouTube video optimization, then clickbaiting is even less convenient! The platform can punish you with a low position on their SERP and end up burying your content.

#9. Make Lengthy and Detailed Descriptions (YouTube Video Optimization)

This tip mostly goes for those interested in how to optimize YouTube videos or videos on similar hosting platforms.

Search crawlers are pretty bad at understanding audiovisual content. And how does any good video SEO company tackle this issue? They resort to description boxes!

A lengthy description can help you make your video more comprehensible for search crawlers. That is if you write enough details for them to fully understand your video. Moreover, in a long description (over 250 words), you can tackle more keywords, taking your SEO video strategy to the next level.

Having said all that, don’t go overboard, ok? Put all the crucial information before the jump – whatever “see more” button divides your description, and keep the content after to a few paragraphs at most.

ebook: How to rank N1 on Youtube

#10. Include Tags

Video tags aren’t as relevant as they once were, but hey, anything that can benefit even a little bit your SEO video strategy always comes in handy.

Tags can give crawlers a better sense of what your video is about, which can feed into how well you position for certain keywords. They are also useful when it comes to learning from your competitors. Checking the tags that are working for them will help you hone your video SEO optimization and content strategy.

Pro tip: Another valuable piece of advice for those who are curious about how to optimize YouTube videos: The platform recommends using tags for targeting keywords that are often misspelled. A dummy-proof YouTube video SEO strategy!

#11. Include a Transcript!

Remember that we said crawlers are not that good at comprehending audiovisual content? Well, uploading a written version of a video’s content – that is, a transcript – can help them really understand what it is about. Plus, you could include more quantity and variety of keywords!

A transcript also allows you to have captions in your video, which not only make your content reach a wider audience but also result in a higher completion rate – another factor that benefits your video and SEO efforts!

Pro tip: On a YouTube video search engine optimization, we don’t recommend using the automatic transcripts that the platform provides since these are often inaccurate. Good transcripts are a critical SEO video element, so we recommend you to upload your own, or at least edit the ones that YouTube provides.

#12. Use End Screens & Cards (YouTube Video Optimization)

Cards are elements placed inside your YouTube video that redirect viewers to another video on your channel. End screens serve the same purpose, but they appear with a thumbnail at the end of the piece.

These features can extend viewers’ Session Watch Time. Put simply, they make people stay longer watching content on YouTube, something that the platform may reward you for with a higher position on the SERP. After all, it’s convenient for them too!

Moreover, the videos you would link will get more clicks – another influential YouTube video SEO factor.

#13. Add Timestamps to Your How-to Videos

Any video SEO company dreams of having their tutorials shown on Google’s Key Moments. This is a feature that shows specific fragments of your video that match a particular query. Want to know how to get there?

Well, start by adding timestamps to your how-to videos!

Timestamps not only help people have a more comfortable viewing experience, but they also provide Google with links to specific moments of your videos. This way, the platform can show the different steps that your tutorial is divided into.

Pro tip: Want to know the best way to optimize YouTube videos for appearing on the key moments feature? Indicate your timestamps in the description box alongside a concise label describing them. This way, Google will be more likely to feature your video.

#14. Use Transitive Verbs

Here’s a tip that experts who offer video SEO services don’t often talk about.

If you produce tutorials and are keen on having your content featured by Google’s Suggested Clips, you shouldn’t create videos that beat around the bush.

Google features tutorials that are concise and to the point. In fact, a video fragment can only appear as a suggested clip if it contains transitive verbs – you know, verbs that require an object, like “send an email.”

So, to be featured on top of Google’s SERP as a suggested clip, remember to use these kinds of verbs and direct explanations.

#15. Analyze Which Keywords You Are Ranking For (YouTube Video SEO)

This trick is for those of you looking to optimize their existing YouTube videos.

You can visit the Analytics dashboard and go to ‘Traffic Sources: YouTube search.’ There you’ll find all the keywords that your video is currently ranking for. This allows you to not only analyze how your YouTube video optimization is working, but also to discover new keywords that your video is organically ranking for.

With those new terms in mind, edit your video’s metadata (description, tags, transcript, and more) and include them in it. You would enhance your chances of ranking higher under a query you weren’t even aware of!

Video SEO optimization

#16. Boost User Engagement

User engagement is one of the SEO video factors that can most dramatically impact your ranking on SERPs. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the hardest metrics to control.

Yep – user engagement depends more on your viewers than on yourself. Still, you can always prompt them into leaving comments, liking, sharing, and, in the case of a YouTube video optimization, subscribing.

That said, try to steer away from generic pitches and resort to more personalized encouragements. For example, instead of asking viewers to leave a comment, ask them a specific question regarding their experience or opinion. Pay attention, and you’ll see experts doing so in search engine optimization videos all the time!

#17. Don’t Just Rely on Video Search Engine Optimization

Algorithms take lots of video SEO factors into account before deciding your ranking in the SERPs. Unsurprisingly, one of those factors is your videos’ views.

To boost your views, you not only need to enhance your SEO video ranking; you also have to create quality content and show it to the world as much as you can.

By promoting your videos through social media or email, the view count will grow organically, and the algorithm will take notice!

The Takeaway

We firmly believe that it’s not the quantity but the quality that matters. However, when it comes to SEO tips, video marketers need both.

You see, video search engine optimization is a world of its own. It involves various factors, and it’s continuously changing. That’s why knowing a few tips and tricks on the subject would be deficient in developing an integrated strategy.

Today, you have learned 17 SEO video tips, and that’s a lot! But please, don’t stop there. Keep on learning about this valuable topic and, hopefully, your videos will consistently land on top of the SERPs.

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