Are you creating lots of useful and engaging videos to publish on your website?
That’s great – but even the best video content will fall flat on its face if you aren’t able to get viewers to watch it.
Video SEO is your ticket to get more exposure for the content that you publish on your website.
It involves optimizing your video, website, and the page that it is on so it can be found, listed, and rank better on search engines.
That may sound complicated, but as you start to understand what needs to be done to improve the video SEO on a website – you’ll see that it is actually fairly straightforward.
Improve Video SEO By Putting People First
Before going any further, there is one thing that you should keep in mind constantly when improving video SEO: People come first.
Although it is true that you want to optimize your video for search engines, ultimately it will be the people watching your video that should be your priority.
The videos that you create should cater to them, as should any steps you take to improve your video SEO.
It may surprise you to know, but putting people first can actually directly help improve your video SEO in some ways. By providing a better user experience you should improve your dwell time and other social signals such as likes, shares, comments, and ratings.
Search engines are starting to place more and more value on these factors – which should make them your top priority.
In fact moving forward it is likely that search engines will place a greater emphasis on factors tied to the user experience – so putting people first will help future-proof your SEO somewhat.
Keyword Optimize the Webpage
Keywords are the foundation on which SEO is built – and video SEO is no different. However it does have a twist to it because unlike text-based content, search engines can’t glean any keywords directly from videos.
Seeing as that’s the case it is all the more important that you do keyword optimize what areas you can on the webpage where the video is published:
If you’re self-hosting the video it is often recommended that you use a descriptive file name that contains keywords. It may not have a big impact on SEO, but it does not hurt.
The metadata should contain keywords that are relevant to your video, and placed in the title, description, and tags. It is best to only use one keyword per video, to avoid the metadata looking ‘stuffed’.
By transcribing the audio of your video and publishing the text right below the video, you will give search engines a lot more information about the video’s content.
Do not forcefully insert keywords into the transcript, but rather make it a point to say the main keyword you want to rank on out-loud at some point in your video.
In any case, odds are many keywords that you want to rank on will appear within the transcript naturally.
If you’re concerned about how the video transcript will look visit the rest of the page – add it into a collapsible element, so viewers can click to view the transcript if they want to.
Using Schema markup for your videos is advisable as it will not only provide you with an avenue to use keywords, but it will also give search engines more information about your video and allow them to list it as a ‘rich’ snippet.
The best place to start is with Google’s guide to Schema markup. Seeing as the information used will end up in the listing, the priority should be to make it as appealing as possible and get more clicks.
As mentioned previously, you should put people first – and that applies to the keywords you choose to target as well.
The keywords must be relevant to the intention that people have when searching for them. If you have any doubts, try looking at the existing top results to gauge whether or not your video has the same relevance.
Keep an Eye on the Page Speed
In recent years page speed has become a very important ranking factor for SEO – and could make or break your video’s ability to rank on search engines.
Considering it is so important, you need to keep tabs on how fast your web pages with videos are loading. In general Google expects web pages to load in 3 seconds or less – but a faster page speed is always better.
As a rule there are a few best practices you should follow that could help boost your page speed:
Only Publish One Video Per Web Page
Publishing more than one video per web page is rarely a good idea. Not only will it slow your web page down, but Google and other search engines only list the first video on the web page – meaning the rest will go unnoticed and be wasted.
Do Not Use Autoplay
If you were thinking about using autoplay – don’t. It will decrease the page speed of your website, and most people tend to prefer click-to-play videos anyway.
Embed Videos From YouTube
Technically this isn’t required but it can help increase the page speed especially if your web host is under a heavy load or doesn’t have the necessary bandwidth.
It is possible to use platforms other than YouTube as well, but it is the one that integrates most closely with Google.
If the page speed is still an issue, you should take other measures to improve it. Cutting down on the number of images, fonts, and design elements can help – or upgrading your web host may be necessary.
Improvements For Video SEO
In addition to everything listed above, there are several other improvements that you can make to your video SEO.
Submit Video Sitemaps
While there is some overlap between video sitemaps and Schema markup, it doesn’t hurt to use both – provided the information they contain is consistent.
Creating video sitemaps and submitting them to search engines could help your videos get listed faster.
Select A Good Thumbnail
One of the benefits of using Schema markup or video sitemaps is that you will be able to select a custom thumbnail for your search engine listing.
That is important, as a good thumbnail can dramatically improve the click-through rate of your listing, which in itself can help it rank better.
Be sure to choose a thumbnail that is relevant to the video and the keywords that people may use to find it. On top of that try to include a person in the thumbnail as that has been shown to improve its effectiveness.
Make Sure The Video (and page) Is Mobile Friendly
Overall your website should be optimized for mobile devices – including the video and the page that it is on.
It is best to use a responsive design that adapts based on the screen width of the device that is viewing it, to provide a good experience for mobile users.
Add Social Media Tags
Social meta tags are essentially additional markup that can be used to enhance your video listing if it is shared on social media.
Unfortunately different social media platforms use different markups, and Facebook uses Open Graph, Twitter uses Cards, and Pinterest uses Rich Pins.
Depending on your target audience you may want to prioritize some social media platforms and focus on them. Or you could cover all your bases and add as many social meta tags as possible.
Create High Quality And Engaging Videos
All the videos that you create should not compromise in terms of quality, and should be designed to engage viewers.
That should be their goal, as it will help to acquire better social signals (likes, comments, and shares), as well as other backlinks.
Be sure to convert your videos to the right format when you publish them as well, and check that their quality isn’t affected before and after they’re online.
Nowadays there are lots of software that will let you convert videos to the format you require, or you could use Online Video Converter for example.
By this point you should have a solid grasp of what needs to be done to improve video SEO. The only other thing that you should remember is that at the end of the day, video SEO is an extension of normal SEO.
What that means is that in addition to the specific steps listed above, other normal SEO factors can affect the ranking of your video.
The most notable of these would have to be backlinks – which can dramatically impact your video’s ranking.
The good news is that if you’re creating and optimizing video content while putting people first – everything should fall into place naturally.
High quality videos that are useful and engage viewers will invariably acquire more links naturally, and should start to rise in rankings of their own accord.
That is especially true if you’ve taken the steps that you need to improve your video SEO – and provide your video content with a stable foundation so that they can get as much exposure as possible from search engines.
Author: Mahendra Bajiya