Video SEO: A Comprehensive Guide for Content Creators
One, keyword optimization, two accessibility, three SEO-friendly descriptions, and sold on the right way to optimize your video content for search engines. If you’ve never seen an auction happen live, welcome to the dynamic world of Video SEO! Digital content is king, but understanding and implementing video SEO are the pawns on the chess board that content creators and marketers utilize to win the game. This guide delves deep into the essence of video SEO, offering practical strategies to enhance your content's visibility and engagement and to make sure that your platforms are never faced with checkmate on search engines’ accounts.
We know, you’re probably wondering: can SEO be done for video? Not only is this possible, but it’s a best practice you may want to consider for your next video. It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking of a YouTube video SEO checklist, a TikTok SEO cheat sheet, or Instagram video SEO guidelines. We got you covered!
Deconstructing the logic behind video SEO is essential. The current trend is that of users increasingly favoring video over text, and if you don’t believe us, all the stats are pointing towards the steady expansion of video marketing as the most powerful strategy. Optimizing your videos for search engines translates into more open doors to a broader audience reach. For fellow marketers, that’s one step closer to making conversion opportunities a reality.
Remember our auction metaphor at the beginning of the article? As with Video SEO, this mention was not accidental: there is competition when it comes to trying to rank first on search engine pages. Of course, the technicality of SEO plays a major role in who wins the ranking race, but video SEO isn’t just about having your content be seen; it’s about creating and fostering meaningful connections with your audience. Sure, properly optimizing your video content means it appears in front of a wider audience, but it’s also about narrowing it down for a more relevant audience. Long story short, the end game is increased engagement and potential sales, depending on your overall goal.
So, how do you optimize a video from an SEO perspective? We’ve prepared a checklist for you to follow that will help you optimize video content on your website and separate video platforms.
Let’s start from the very beginning and gradually gain insight into SEO expertise for videos by going through some effective video SEO strategies you can implement starting today.
Keyword Research for Video Content
The first step you need to take is thorough keyword research. In short, you’ll be putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience (a great exercise for all video creators, by the way!). SEO for videos refers to the terms and phrases they will be using when searching for video content. One thing to keep in mind is that keywords in SEO for videos might differ from those for text-based content, so grab your metaphorical measuring tape and tailor your research accordingly. For instance, a keyword like “home workout” might have different search volumes and competition on Google than YouTube. Utilize tools like Google’s Keyword Planner and YouTube’s Search Suggest feature for this purpose.
Crafting Engaging Video Titles and Descriptions
Your video titles and descriptions should encapsulate compelling storytelling while integrating targeted keywords. Video SEO is all about finding the right keywords that determine whether viewers click on your content. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on video SEO for your website, YouTube SEO, a TikTok SEO strategy, or looking up keywords for Instagram SEO, as long as you make sure that the titles and descriptions are concise, clear, and incorporate your targeted keywords. For example, a YouTube video titled “10-Minute Home Workout for Beginners” is direct and keyword-rich, making it more likely to rank higher. A quick deconstruction of the title exemplifies a formula you could replicate: the length of the video, the actual content, and the audience it is targeting. Pretty straightforward, right?
Selecting the Right Hosting Platform
Choosing the right player in a game is much like SEO for videos: Your preferred platform can significantly influence the video's SEO performance. For instance, hosting a product demo video on YouTube can leverage YouTube's vast audience, while hosting it on your website with 3rd party video hosting solutions (such as Jetpack, Wistia, Spotlightr, and more) can provide detailed analytics and improve your site's SEO. Depending on your goals, both are excellent options. Remember to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each platform you’re considering as you’re constructing a video SEO strategy for your content.
This is one of those video SEO top hacks that SEO experts are using successfully. Although it’s one of the most accessible video SEO tactics, it is often overlooked for no particular reason. Ensure your video file names are descriptive and keyword-rich. This simple step helps search engines understand and categorize your video content better. For example, naming your file “beginner_home_workout.mp4” instead of “video1.mp4” can give search engines more context on what your video is about.
Accessibility through Transcripts and Captions
It’s a settled deal that transcripts and closed captions make your content accessible. Besides, there are many tools out there that act as AI subtitle generators so you can automate the entire process. Even better, they’re a video’s passport, making it easy to understand for people all across the world through translation. But did you know that they also feed valuable text to search engines? This is why a popular video SEO tactic is adding a full transcript to a tutorial video, which allows Google to crawl this text, enhancing the video's search visibility.
Embedding Videos and Using Schema Markup
This is where we’re getting a bit more into technical advice: embed videos on your website and utilize schema markup for improved indexing by search engines. This great, lesser-known video SEO tactic helps search engines understand the video context, and as a result, the video’s visibility can be enhanced in search results. This also makes your video eligible to be displayed in a rich snippet format, that provides an immersive experience for the audience. A better experience, a bigger CTR, right?
Promoting Videos Across Social Media Platforms
We’re sure you’ve heard of distribution strategies so far. If you’ve been wondering how this applies to SEO for videos, you’ve come to the right place. Share your videos on various platforms to increase brand awareness and direct traffic to your website. This cross-platform promotion is a key ingredient for building your brand's online presence. Did we mention it’s one of the video SEO tactics that also allow you to improve your workflow and save time? An example of repurposed content is a YouTube video that is broken down into bite-sized TikToks or edited into an Instagram Reel.
Do keyword research
- Identify primary, secondary, and long-tail keywords relevant to your content.
- Use tools like Google Trends, AnswerthePublic, TubeBuddy, or Google Keyword Planner to find trending and relevant keywords.
- A great hack is to use the Google search bar to find related search terms. Assess the potential of new topics you can approach in your video SEO strategy by analyzing the recency and views of top videos. Think of it as effective, yet legal espionage ;)
- Be mindful of keyword cannibalization and adapt your video SEO strategy accordingly.
Optimize video elements
- Eye-catching thumbnails are the first thing your audience sees. Make it stand out and SEO optimized.
- A great video SEO strategy is to include keywords in your video file name, tags, and closed captions to enhance discoverability.
- Captions aren’t a hit just for the accessibility they bring to the table but also allow for the inclusion of important keywords. If you don’t believe us, remember that around 80% of people are more likely to watch a video with captions.
Perfect titles and descriptions
- A title optimized for video SEO includes the main keywords.
- Another obvious thing experts do in SEO for videos: writing detailed descriptions using keywords. This also includes CTAs and links to social media or websites.
- Next up, use relevant hashtags in your descriptions for improved discoverability, but keep the balance by not overusing them.
- Refresh, renew & redo. Updating titles, descriptions, tags, and thumbnails of older videos can help them gain traction again. Video SEO is a constantly changing battlefield, so give your troops the best and latest equipment by maintaining and updating video content.
Use the engagement and navigation tools social media platforms provide
- Organize your content when the platform interface allows you to do so, such as YouTube or TikTok playlists. Content that is classified under the right category with the right keywords wins the race.
- Encourage viewers to engage with the content. Whether that’s likes, shares, subscriptions, comments, or even using your personalized hashtag, it is a great video SEO tactic.
- Take advantage of platform-specific possibilities: YouTube Cards, Instagram carousels, and TikTok trends.
- No video marketer is a stranger to creating a sturdy content distribution strategy. Use this great video SEO tactic.
- Adapt your message and share your videos on other social media platforms. Need we say more?
- As part of your overall video SEO strategy, try to post videos regularly.
There are free and accessible solutions that help you with monitoring your video’s performance, as the last step in your video for SEO journey. Tools like the built-in YouTube Analytics, TikTok Analytics, or Instagram Analytics can provide valuable insights into user behavior and how your content is performing. Some of the metrics you might want to keep an eye for are:
- Views count
- Engagement rates
- Website traffic referrals
Keep track of them and ask yourself what is the cause-effect relationship between spikes. You can try to have an annual review to see what changed, why, and how you can use all the numbers as insights to your advantage.
Now that you’ve decrypted the art of video SEO and you’re all ready to apply this knowledge in the digital playing field, we’ve prepared an extra set of resources to help guide you through your video SEO journey. We know that all social media platforms have their knick-knacks, so we’re walking you through it all with handy tips and tricks. Here are the video SEO extra resources our experts compiled:
- The 2024 YouTube Video SEO Checklist
- The 2024 Instagram Video SEO Checklist
- The 2024 TikTok Video SEO Checklist
Video SEO is a dynamic and challenging component of any successful digital marketing strategy. Think of implementing all the steps listed above as moves on the chess board. Use the keyword research as pawns to enhance your content’s visibility, analytics as the bishop that helps you navigate the board, and engagement as the powerful rook, taking you one step closer to a steady win. Understanding the intricacies of these social media platforms is much like understanding winning moves for chess: it helps you continuously evolve as a strategist and translates a video SEO win into reaching a wider audience that resonates with your content.