We all know that Google tops everyone else in the search engine game, but plenty of us still don’t know that YouTube just lies second, next to Google’s spot. According to latest estimates, over 100 hours of video content is being uploaded to the popular online video platform every minute. What it means for brands is, YouTube can be a perfect avenue to tap and reach your potential audience.
Although uploading your content to YouTube seems like a mundane, it’s highly recommended to optimize your videos. Just like optimizing articles and other contents, doing so with videos can greatly do works that you never imagined could be achieved with YouTube videos.
Before anything else, it’s also important to note that the basic in SEO also applies in the case of video optimization. That is, content is the king! It’s a benchmark that every brand or marketer should highly put into consideration.
The rise of incorporating video contents on your website is rooted by the fact that it typically brings more engagement and interest to your site compared to traditional articles. To help you get started, we have compiled he best and proven ways to improve your video SEO.
Your first step in a video strategy is of course creating the video, so I recommend checking out this Forbes article about how to film a video as well as what types of subjects typically work well. After you have your video ready to go, you have to decide if you’re going to host that video on YouTube or on your actual website.
The vast majority of companies host their video on YouTube because it’s easy, free, the second largest search engine, and you can still post your YouTube hosted videos on your website. In short, it’s just easier to rank on YouTube; although there are several reasons, discussed here, why some companies prefer to host a video on their own site.
If you are going the YouTube route, there are several different criteria the YouTube algorithm looks at when it comes time to rank videos:
- How often the video has been viewed.
- How long someone views the video.
- How often the video appears in a person’s playlist.
- The number of positive rankings/comments.
- The number of subscribers the creator (you) has.
- How often the video is added to a playlist.
- How often the video was embedded on the web.
In order to create a video that has a good number of these factors, your video must be a quality video that is relevant to your audience, but also optimized for the YouTube bots. Below are a few video optimization tips:
This is an excellent place to start when it comes to optimization. Just as with a traditional piece of content, you want to be able to tell the bots what your content is about, and keywords are a huge part of that. You want to make sure your keywords are natural, but it doesn’t hurt to make it a point to include keywords in your title, description, and tags (discussed below).
Of course, part of using keywords for optimization is doing a little bit of keyword research, which you can make happen here. As you might have assumed, you have a better chance of ranking well on a YouTube search; however, it is possible to rank on both YouTube and Google GOOGL -0.02%. Certain keywords lend themselves to ranking well on Google, such as the popular example “cute cats.” Google knows that when people type this in they want to see videos as opposed to an article about why cats are cute.
Long story short, when you are choosing a keyword that might work well for YouTube, do a quick check to see if Google is putting video results for that keyword on the first page. If so, you’ve picked a good one.
Have a Catchy Title.
Of course part of optimizing your video is having a title that will really stand out, but what many people forget is that your title should also include your keyword to cater to the Google bots. The way in which you word your title will also affect your SEO. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the phrase “learn to snowboard,” you would want your title to say something like “Learn to Snowboard in 10 Steps” and not “10 Steps to Learn to Snowboard.” The beginning is always the best place for a keyword, and it has to appear natural.
Create a Thorough Description.
It’s important to remember that the YouTube bots cannot actually watch your video, so the content you have on the page is how YouTube determines the contents of your video. Your description is the spot where you can add the most text, so you need to make it count. This is where you should be utilizing your keywords—this will help you rank for those keywords as well as long-tail keywords.
David McElveen, Managing Partner of HigherVisibility, explained that he has found success when including a transcript of the video in the description. He says, “putting your transcript in the description is an excellent way to include relevant, keyword-rich content that will help both your viewers and your optimization efforts, particularly if you are discussing a confusing or involved topic. People typically want to be able to refer back to different sections of the video, and a transcription gives them another outlet to do that.” I’ve had great success with this as well, it will also help drive more organic visitors to your site/video as well.
When it comes to video, tags actually do matter. You want to use important key phrases and keywords as simply another way to let the bots know how your video should be categorized. Think about what your target audience might search for and then use those terms as additional tags for your video.
Sitemaps and Schema.org.
Creating a sitemap is the easiest way to let the bots know you have a video on your website; thus helping them index that video. This is the best way to help show people your video on your website as opposed to YouTube (this is the preferable option, it’s just more difficult). Visit this link from Google to learn how to create a video sitemap and more about why it matters.
Finally, schema.org is also a great way to ensure you have an optimized video. This HTML markup offers additional information to the bots (particularly describing your video), and it will no affect any video sitemaps that you’re already using.
Additionally, there are several more steps that one can do to help make sure the video you’ve uploaded stands out from the rest. You can simply add annotations, video rich snippets, and custom thumbnail images.
Link building, syndication and social media sharing can also help your video gain popularity. Put in mind that video content doesn’t neccesarily differ to traditional content. Just like your articles, as your video gains popularity, the more natural links and embeds will start to come, thus the more natural the SEO optimization will be.
Here’s further tips on how to optimize your videos for search engines.
With video expected to reach 90 percent of all web traffic by 2014, Google continues to hand over its search engine real estate to video content, pushing traditional web results further to the bottom — if not completely off — the page. While Google’s widely used “universal search” causes problems for organic web results by limiting its plain text results, it opens the door for websites with video content. Despite these new opportunities, businesses repeatedly neglect video in their SEO strategies.
From viral ads to mini-documentaries, internet videos are becoming the quickest way to offer unique content to a broader audience. Moreover, they are tools (which many e-commerce businesses already have in their arsenal) companies can use to complement their overall SEO strategy toward achieving a first-page ranking on Google, not to mention drive traffic, leads and content sharing. With a 41 percent higher click-through rate than plain text, according to Search Engine Watch, videos are integral to the success of any SEO strategy.
Here are five simple ways to start optimizing your video content for top search results.
If you’re in the business of selling footwear, posting a cooking video would be both out-of-place and ineffective. To successfully incorporate video into your web presence, make sure you’re providing useful and relevant information. Never upload a video for the sake of having videos. Google is flexible on what it considers video content, so there’s no excuse for having nothing at all. Animated slide shows, screen captures, and images work just as well as b-roll. When choosing what content to display, keep it short, 10 minutes at maximum. The longer the video, the more likely you are to lose your viewer’s attention. Divide lengthier clips into multiple segments that can be programmed for release over a period of time. Shorter clips enable you to associate each with more accurate keywords, which, in turn, increases views.
Host or post your video
For the location of your video, there are two primary options: host it locally on your own site, or post it on a third-party site, such as YouTube or Vimeo. Hosting videos directly on your page is the best move for increasing traffic to your site. Posting clips elsewhere, however, is the appropriate solution for maximizing total views and social media shares. Ultimately, the smartest bet is to host and post — but note that the upload process differs slightly for each. Make sure to include “video” in the title and description when hosting on your own site to make sure it’s properly indexed (this step is unnecessary on video-hosting pages.)
Use keywords in all of the right places
Google can’t analyze a video and “read” its content, making keywords and tags crucial components in allowing search engines to unlock your video’s contents. Google ranks videos primarily on the margin of overlap between search keywords and the clip’s title, so take the time to weave important terms into the naming process. From there, don’t skip the seemingly minute details: Make sure to utilize video tags, write a complete video description, and build an identifiable URL to increase your video’s exposure. Associating a text transcript with your videos is also a great way to provide search engines and sites like YouTube or Vimeo with an inside look, and make your content accessible to special-needs audiences.
Adjust your sitemaps accordingly
One of the most common video SEO errors is the belief that after posting a webpage with video content, the video is automatically indexed and linked to your site. This is not true. Without a video sitemap, Google is blind to the subject of your video and will be unable to index it or include it in related search results. Creating a video sitemap lets search engines specifically identify and tag your videos, making them recognizable by web browsers. An effective video sitemap should include the video file, a thumbnail image, a full title and description.
Spread the word
After optimizing your video on the back-end, it’s time to spread the word. Post links to your video on Facebook, Twitter, and your company blog. Allow and encourage viewers to comment and share your video with their networks. The more you promote your multimedia content, the more visible you’re likely to become, which can translate to more site visitors and, hopefully, more sales.
You spend a lot of time and energy creating video for your audience, so make sure that you make the most of it by optimizing it for search. Well optimized and relevant videos can deliver traffic over a long period of time.
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