Search Engine Optimization Tips For Online Videos

camera-stand-01There’s a growing trend towards the use of online videos to market products and services.

We live in an age where smartphones and tablets have blazing-fast internet speeds, so it only makes sense for consumers to watch a video as opposed to reading sales copy. It’s a faster, more convenient, and let’s face it: videos are fun to watch.

According to a comScore press release, online video recently reached a milestone marker with 50 billion views in a month — and this number continues to grow higher and higher with each passing month.

YouTube alone receives over 50 billion unique monthly visitors from 61 different countries. Overlooking the massive reach of video is a serious mistake that can leave a business miles behind its competitors.

Why Video SEO Is Important

The problem is that most business owners and marketers fail to perform even the most basic SEO on their videos. They ‘assume’ search engines will pick up and rank their videos for their target keywords, but this doesn’t always happen.

You have to remember that search engines are unable to watch videos, so they rely on other signals to help determine a suitable ranking for it. Search engines are able to read text, but they cannot read videos and images.

Investing some of your time and energy into optimizing your videos will result in more traffic and hopefully more sales. People searching for a specific term in Google may stumble across your video, at which point it entices them to purchase your product or service.

If your video isn’t properly optimized, though, you are already dead in the water.

Choose YouTube

There are well over a dozen video hosting websites out there, some of which include Vimeo, DailyMotion and MetaCafe.

While these hosting sites offer some attractive features, there’s no better choice in terms of SEO than YouTube.

It offers a clean, easy-to-use interface that’s perfect for uploading your videos. And since it’s owned by Google, it’s safe to say YouTube videos receive a little more SEO love than other videos.

Create a Relevant Name For Your Video

One of the most common mistakes business owners make when uploading videos to YouTube is using a generic file name. As we previously mentioned, search engines are unable to view the content of a video, so they rely on other factors to determine where, and how, it should rank.

File name is a factor that’s known to play a role in the ranking of an online video, so make sure it reflects the video’s topic/theme.

Let’s say you upload a video on how to pressure wash vinyl siding. Rather than leaving the file name some generic string of characters, perhaps you could rename it to “how-to-pressure-wash-vinyl-siding.mp4.” Search engines will scan the video and notice the keywords in its file name.

Add a Transcript To Your Videos

Adding a transcript to videos published on YouTube is a powerful SEO technique that will encourage higher search engine rankings. Google not only uses the text found in a video’s transcript to help determine its ranking, but it also indexes the text.

When a person searches for a specific term that’s found in the transcript, the video may appear in their search results.

You can read more about how to create a transcript of a YouTube video in this official Google help article. Basically, you have two different options available: you can type the video’s transcript using the “add captions” option, or you can create a file and upload it to your account. A third option, however, is to use an automated transcript tool like CaptionTube.

Note: CaptionTube is still in BETA and may not offer 100% accurate transcripts of your videos.

Creating a transcript by manually typing each word into a text file will yield better results, but CaptionTube is a great alternative for marketers uploading dozens or hundreds of videos a month.

Don’t Forget The Title

The title of a video also play a major role in determining its rankings. You obviously don’t want to spam target keywords randomly throughout the title, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with including a few them in a natural manner. In most cases, Google displays the title of YouTube videos in their search results.

Above all else, though, create a title that’s relevant to the content portrayed in the video. You’ll only hurt yourself in the long run by using irrelevant titles on your videos.

Other Important Tips To Rank Your YouTube Videos Higher In The Search Engines:

  • If possible, upload your video in HD rather than SD format.
  • Upload a custom avatar and “channel art” to your account.
  • Add “custom links” to your official website and “social links” to your social media pages.
  • Enable viewer commenting on your videos.
  • Choose an eye-catching thumbnail.
  • Allow viewers to embed your videos on their own websites (enabled by default).