Video SEO Tips: How to Optimize Your Videos for Google and YouTube

Online videos have become a very useful method for sharing information. Not only is YouTube the second-largest search engine, right behind Google, they also own the most videos shared and watched within social networks. People watch over 500 years’ worth of YouTube videos on Facebook every day, and share over 700 videos on Twitter each minute.

These social engagement numbers demonstrate the huge reach that videos naturally have. And as videos can boost discoverability and drive consumer engagement, it’s important to make sure that people can find them when they search online. By applying these basic video SEO techniques, you can make your videos search engine friendly and help your business videos show up in search when people look for your types of products and services.

Determine Quality Keywords

Search engines don’t have the ability to make sense of video content, so it’s important to add keywords you want to rank for to the video title and description whenever you upload a video to YouTube. Choose keywords that best represent your video, and which target terms you think consumers will search for in search engine queries when looking for products or services like yours. According to Jeff Martin of Touchstorm, an online video company, there are many tactics businesses can use to find qualifying keywords to help with their video SEO. For example, you can use keyword tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to help determine the best keywords for each of your videos. However, you should also conduct searches for single and long-tail keywords within YouTube to help you understand the type of videos that show up on YouTube for each term. Seeing how many videos share your potential keyword, along with the number of views and related videos on the side bar, can help you determine keyword competition and potential viewership for your videos.

Optimize Video Titles, Descriptions, & Tags

Making your video titles, descriptions, and tags SEO-friendly is as important as using qualified keywords.

Titles: The titles for YouTube videos have a 100-character limit, and you should include your most important keyword close to the beginning of your video title. Also, according to Mark Robertson of ReelSEO, you should consider adding a standard video “trigger” keyword, or a word that attracts attention in search engine results, to your video. Some trigger keywords you can use are: “review,” “how to,” “about,” or your business name keywords.

Descriptions: Video descriptions are a critical component of video SEO. The video description is copy that is associated with your video and the largest portion of text that search engines can read when indexing your videos. YouTube provides up to 5,000 characters in the description, so use this space wisely, strategically crafting the text for SEO. Make sure to use the same keywords you used in your title so search engines and people will see a correlation between the two.  The description should include a summary of the video along with a link to a resource, like your website, where viewers can receive more information.

Tags: Tags are an additional form of keywords that you think people will use when searching for your video. Unlike keywords that you include in your titles and descriptions, you select additional keyword tags when uploading your video. Your tags can use up to 120 characters, so make sure to select your tags wisely. Rather than picking them randomly, select relevant tags that best represent your video and that appear in your title or description. You should add tags for your videos in order of importance and always include your most important keywords first.

Want to know how to optimize YouTube videos? Here are a few more SEO tips to help.

Create Video Playlists

Creating a playlist for similar types of videos can help improve their visibility on YouTube. Not only do video playlists appear within the YouTube search results, but other videos in that playlist can also appear in the sidebar of the YouTube player as related content when a viewer watches a video that’s included in the same playlist. This helps boost views of other videos you’ve added rather than directing viewers to other content YouTube deems as similar, but that may belong to other accounts. The other benefit of having a playlist is that when a viewer watches a video from one of your playlists, the next video in the playlist will automatically play when the first video completes. This guides the visitor through your playlist, helping you get more your video views within that playlist and expose viewers to other messages from your brand.

Add Transcripts & Captions

Adding transcripts and captions to your YouTube videos can be a great way to make your videos more accessible to a wider range of audiences, such as those who are hearing impaired or speak a different language. Transcripts and captions may also help your video get found in Google and YouTube search results because by adding a transcript, you are providing search engines with the exact content of your videos as a content type they can crawl in addition to the title, description, keywords and tags. Since search engines read interactive transcripts, having them can boost your video SEO efforts.

If you are taking the time to create videos as part of your online marketing strategy, it is important for you to optimize them as you would your search advertisements, social content, and business website. And because videos are engaging and easy to share by nature, they can also help you boost your Web presence and diversify your online marketing.

Are you using videos to market to potential customers? Have you used any of these ideas to help your consumers find your videos online? Let us know in a comment!

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Tara Banda

Tara Banda is a digital marketer in Dallas, TX and a Content Marketing Manager for ReachLocal. She focuses on helping businesses develop their voice in order to connect and engage with the right audiences. Tara has worked on campaigns and promotions – including social media, email marketing, video, advertising, guerrilla marketing, and event marketing – for both small businesses and globally recognized brands. In her spare time, she likes to cook.

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