A Lesson in Video SEO
Video is an investment. It’s a worthwhile investment but an investment all the same. Once you’ve spent your hard-earned resources on a beautiful, shiny new video, you want as many eyes on it as possible. You post it on your website, upload it to YouTube, and share it to social media. You distribute it as much as you can, but it’s up to the internet to do the rest, right? Well, here's some advice to make sure your video gets the attention it deserves.
1. Create a high quality video.
Creating a great video sounds straightforward enough, but it’s always good (especially if your video isn’t a Farmore video) to run through these video basics as a refresher.
But why is creating a high quality video relevant to video SEO? Search engines don’t “watch” your videos. But people do. Following user habits is one way search engines decide what is important. There are two big signals that search engines are looking for regarding video quality: time spent on site and bounce rate.
If your video is no good, visitors will stop watching, and the time spent on your site will be low. If your video isn’t titled well (i.e. if the title is not relevant to the content), users will stop watching and bounce from your site. A good video will grab your attention right away to keep people watching, increasing time spent on site. High quality videos will include a call to action at the end to convert users, keeping bounce rates low. So yes, video quality does really does affect video SEO.
2. Utilize YouTube
As you probably know, YouTube is one of the largest search engines in the world, second only to Google, in user searching. YouTube is also owned by Google now, so they share some of those bots. All those YouTube users are potential viewers for your video. You won’t find an audience of this size anywhere else. So use it. Upload your videos here, not just on your site. The more YouTube views you get, the better of a signal this is to Google that your video is high quality.
3. Add a relevant thumbnail
Think about when you’re searching for videos on YouTube. You don’t have time to watch them all and figure out the specific one you’re looking for. There are a few signs you notice along the way to help you determine that’s the one you want. Usually there are about three things I look for: one is the title and description (we’ll get to that in a minute), another is the time, but the third is the thumbnail.
Your thumbnails must be relevant to the video, otherwise I won’t click on it. Here’s a good example: I’m looking for ways to organize my closet.
I know just from looking at the thumbnail of the first video that this is not the kind of video I’m looking for, as this child does not seem to be a professional. I’m not going to watch this one. I don’t watch videos if the thumbnail isn’t relevant to what I’m searching for or if it isn’t interesting—and you don’t either.
4. Optimize the text
I already mentioned how important titles and descriptions are when you’re searching for videos, but let’s take a second to think about search engines some more. Search engine bots “crawl” sites indexing content. Since these bots aren’t visual, they rely on words surrounding the images or videos to give them clues as to how to index them. That’s why it’s super important to add keywords into your titles and descriptions.
Let’s talk about titles first. Every video title should be at least five words long and should contain a keyword or key phrase. Please note all five words should not be keywords; the primary reason to have five words is to avoid keyword stuffing.
Descriptions should also contain keywords, but they’ll be a lot longer than titles: at least 250 words. Anything less than 250 words isn’t enough for search engine bots to recognize. Now, it may be useful to include a script of your video here. That’s up to you and what your video is about.
Even the name of the file you’re uploading to YouTube can hold some SEO value. I definitely recommend adding a keyword into the file name. It’s a quick and easy step for some extra optimization.
I may not be a videographer, but I do understand SEO. And fortunately many of the same content SEO strategies apply to video SEO. They can be summed up with two simple rules. First, think like a user. (How do you use the internet? How do you watch videos? What are you looking for?) Second, think like a search engine bot. (What cues are they looking for? What will get your video to show up in search results?) Follow these rules, and you’ll maintain a solid video SEO strategy.
Have any tips of your own you'd like to share? Leave them in the comments!
About the author
I'm Autumn Nicholson. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and took the first editing job I could find, at a marketing company in South Carolina, and have been in the digital marketing field ever since. I'm passionate about high-quality content, impeccable grammar, and cute shoes. You can connect with me here: