When you think of search engines, a few big names probably pop into your mind: Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Did you know that the second-largest search engine on the internet is YouTube? If your business isn’t on YouTube, you’re missing out. If you’re on YouTube but not optimizing for video SEO…we can help. Here are ten tips to improve your video SEO rankings:
Videos with Value
Unless you’re uploading Cinnamon Challenge videos, your viewers probably look to you to provide information, give instructions, or solve problems. Be useful and informative to your audience. Flash and pizzazz are great, but if the core content of your videos doesn’t help your audience, your appeal is sure to fizzle out. Don’t let your videos end up in an “epic fail” compilation – form follows function, forever and always.
Don’t just upload “video1.avi” and call it a day. If you don’t put effort to organize your videos, why should a viewer take effort to watch them? Little steps to organize your videos can pay big dividends down the road. Always fill out your entire video settings. Make sure to have a separate landing page for each video. Group related videos on playlists as your library grows. Also make sure your channel page is completed along the same lines.
Nothing is worse than creating an awesome video that viewers watch and enjoy, then quickly forget. This is why you should always be interactive and include a call-to-action element. Encourage them to click other videos, subscribe to your channel, visit your website, or subscribe to a mailing list. Driving conversions is one of the key pillars of this entire operation, so don’t miss the chance.
Metadata, like your titles, description, and tags, is vital to video SEO. The YouTube bots use metadata to index your content, rank it in search results, and determine suggested videos. Think about it: if someone types “how to tie a tie,” how will they find your video if the title is “video001.mpeg?” If your description is useless and you don’t use titles, how can the YouTube bots figure out what your video’s about and show it to people looking for content just like yours? Filling out your optimized titles, descriptions, and tags takes only a couple minutes, but is the key to discoverability. Don’t neglect the HTML code for your video landing pages, either.
Your videos exist in an audio-visual format, but you can create an additional use out of the same content with transcriptions. For one, it makes the video more useful for deaf individuals or people who can’t listen at that exact time. Furthermore, it helps improve the keyword density on the page, which can contribute to improved keyword rankings for those terms. Even if you don’t want to include the transcriptions, you can always repurpose the content on your company blog and share on social media. Transcriptions help with search engine indexing, improve usability for your viewers, and give you bonus content.
YouTube (and other popular video sites like Vimeo) serve very useful purposes as video hosts. But if you want to get full SEO value from your videos, you are best served by hosting videos on your own domain. When you do, you will drive video search back to your own domain. When you host on YouTube and embed the video on your site, you’re handing over precious SEO value to a monolith company, instead of your own. Trust us, YouTube doesn’t need the extra cachet! Host on a subdomain on your own site instead and reap the SEO rewards.
A properly configured video sitemap is at the foundation of good video SEO. Every video should increase a link to a video landing page. This is why it’s so important to have a video gallery. As always, take care to fill out all of your metadata. When choosing an online video platform, choose on that automates your video sitemap to save you time and hassle in the long run.
YouTube as a Waypoint
Companies with good video SEO strategies think of YouTube not as the final destination, but as a stop on the way back to your own video gallery on your own domain. There are several approaches if you want to enact this strategy. For example, upload short previews of your video to YouTube, with calls-to-action encouraging visitors to come to your site to see the rest.
Embedding allows others to post your videos on their own site, but ultimately it links back to your own domain. Make it easy for others to embed your videos as you enjoy the SEO boost that results.
Remember, videos are just one part of an overall strategy of being seen by the right eyes. Always implement a tracking system so you can measure your success and make adjustments in weaker areas.
These ten tips for video SEO can help you improve your rankings and attain your broader strategic goals.