SEO Your Videos – Best Practices for Video Search Optimization

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View our Complete SEO Guide for Video Content for up-to-date information and tips.

  1. Create Relevant, Unique, Informative Videos – How to videos are great when they provide step by step instructions and express options about topics that can be found to be useful and relevant. Dont create videos that are irrelevant or have little to do with your service, product, or brand. These will just cause confusion with your audience.
  2. Video thumbnails – A video thumbnail is what users see first when they make their decision as to whether or not to view your video or another. Video search engines and video sharing websites use different methods to grab and show the thumbnail for your video. Some engines use the first frame of the video while others, like Youtube, will often take the thumbnail from the exact middle of your video. Experiment with each of these sites to make sure that the thumbnail that they display is the right thumbnail that you want users to see and that will grab users attention, thereby encouraging them to view your video.
  3. Videos <5 min. – One of the worst things that you can do is to create a long-form video as most users watch videos 3 minutes or less. If you do have a video that is longer than 5 minutes in length, try to break it up into smaller videos and make sure to tag those accordingly. This will help increase the likelihood of users watching your video without getting bored. In addition, it will encourage the users to look for more content from your company.
  4. Sitemaps – For video that is hosted on your own website use of a video sitemap on your site will help to filter page rank as well as direct search engines where to index your content. Use relevant keywords within the anchor text of all links to the videos that are featured in your video sitemap.
  5. Surrounding HTML -In order to get your video to rank well, you clearly will need to provide the search engines with textual content that is relevant for them to index and rank you for. Therefore, it is helpful to surround your video content with relevant textual content (on-page) as well as related links, related information, etc… One great way to accomplish this is to add a text transcript or external captions as text that you publish on the page with the video.
  6. Descriptive Meta Data – Use relevant keywords in your metadata to optimize your video.   Include a keyword rich description of the video within the meta descriptions.
  7. Title – Make sure that you use the relevant keywords in your title as this is likely the first thing that the search engines will use to identify your video. Also try using a catchy or unique title that will not only give attention to your video but convey your theme, product, or brand.
  8. Tags – tag your videos with key phrases that are reflective of the content.
    1. Keyword “video” – Eric Papczun pointed out at the Search Engine Strategies conference in NY this past April, that a lot of people add the word “video” to their search query keyword phrase. As a result, make sure that you add the word “video” to your title, description, meta data, etc.
    2. Optimize your video for Important Key Phrases – You might want to optimize your video for terms users are likely to be searching for. Tag your video with these terms, consider naming the file name of the video with these terms in mind.
  9. Optimize URLs – In the same way that you do this for other web pages, you will want to optimize your URLs so that they to contain information about the video. Also, make sure you only have one video per URL.
  10. Branding – Many of us have found that video marketing is a great tool to help generate brand awareness with your potential customers. Use a watermark throughout your video to help incorporate your brand. This will help to drive users back to your main site if the video is hosted elsewhere.
  11. Inbound Linking – Link to videos using important keywords in anchor text.
  12. Syndicate – Submit your video RSS or MRSS. click here for a list of places to submit.
  13. Upload to Video Sharing Sites – Upload a couple of videos to portals like YouTube and provide links back to related content and other videos on your site.
  14. Allow Embed Code – Definitely enable sharing and allow users to embed your video code into their own blogs and websites. This will help to create backlinks to your video which can help increase the video search optimization as well as make your video go viral.
  15. Encourage Ratings and Reviews – When you encourage users to rate your video, search engines will pay attention to videos that have higher ratings. In addition, videos which get high ratings from users tend to be the same videos that users often mark as favorites and share with other users.


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