• Brie E Anderson

Video Search Engine Optimization

Updated: May 19, 2020

If you are looking to increase your organic traffic and rankings, video search engine optimization may be the right step for you to take. More often videos are showing in the SERPs and it’s even been found that having a video on your page can increase your chances of ranking on page one 53x! How could you ignore that?

A Brief Explanation of SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the art/science of manipulating your web presence to increase your rankings for specific user searches. For instance, if a business sells lawnmowers, they may want to show up when people search “what to look for in a lawnmower” and to do so the business would need to do a little bit of SEO.

To start the process, the business would look at the search engine result page (SERP) and see what types of content are being returned.

The first thing to show up for this query is a featured snippet, it looks like this:

This is a pretty common featured snippet. It gives a direct and simple answer based on the content on the website. So, now, the business should go look at the website and see what the content looks likes and if anything could be done better. This is the list that Google pulled from to create the featured snipped:

But right above it is… A video! This video to be exact:

Google Video Rankings

Videos are becoming a larger part of a business’s web presence. According to Statista, from 2013 to 2019, the number of hours uploaded to YouTube by minute has increased 5x. That being said, knowing how to optimize videos for search is becoming increasingly important.

This can be clearly seen in the SERPs. The video that is on the Consumer Reports page is also first in the video carousel later on in the SERP. That means that Consumer Reports takes up three spots on the SERP: the featured snippet, a video in the video carousel and a regular organic listing.

This is a major SEO win! The more space you can take up on the SERP the better.

Video SEO Strategies

Time to get to the specifics. There are many factors that go into ranking a video, both on Google and on YouTube. We have compiled a few of them for you.

SRT Files and SEO

If you look at the video above, you can see that there are words overlayed on the screen.

These words come from a SubRip Subtitle File, which is essentially a timestamped transcription of the video and creates the closed captions. This transcription is extremely important for adding context to the video because, as it turns out, Googlebot (Google’s site crawler) can’t watch videos! And because it can’t watch videos, it relies solely on the video transcript for context on what goes on in the video. The SRT file that Consumer Reports used was extremely beneficial to their SEO strategy.

Need to create an SRT file for your video? Use Quicc! Your first 5 minutes are free.

Ranking YouTube Videos

Hosting videos on YouTube is a good way to boost your SEO when it comes to both Google and YouTube. When Tubular Insights analyzed almost 500 queries, they found that 55% of queries return videos and over 80% of those videos are hosted on YouTube.

So, how do you rank your YouTube Videos? First and foremost, you should always fill out all of the possible information. Your videos should have:

  • A keyword frontloaded title

  • A complete description of at least 200 words

  • Longtail keyword tags

  • Appropriate playlists

  • Custom, engaging thumbnails

  • Use appropriate categories

Once all of those details have been taken care of, the rest is out of your hands. Google and YouTube look at engagement signals like subscribes, likes, shares, embeds, comments, etc.

Knowing When to Use Video

There are a few different times that video content can be the most effective. Perficient Digital found that the classes of queries that are the most likely to return videos in the SERP are:

  1. Informational videos

  2. Tutorials

  3. How-tos

  4. Reviews

  5. Entertainment

Taking this into consideration, businesses should keep an eye on the SERPs of the keywords they would like to rank for and whether or not they include video, especially if they fall into one of those five categories. There are tools that can track this for your, tools like Moz, RankRanger, and SEMRush. Once you know which keywords are returning video, you can prioritize your video strategy accordingly.

This is a great starting point for anyone looking to get started on their video SEO journey! Be sure to check back for more advanced tips later.

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