Video search engine optimisation or video SEO is the process of optimising your marketing efforts and get more traffic and exposure to your video content.
As 82% of internet traffic is expected to be video-related by 2021, it’s vital that businesses focus on improving the amount and quality of their video content. However, without video search engine optimisation, even exceptional content is at risk of being lost in the crowd.
Whether it’s on YouTube or your website, videos need optimisation to reach your audience and get a good ROI. Here are six tips to improve your video SEO rankings and get ahead of the competition.
1. Research Your Keywords
Keyword research has always been a pillar of online marketing, but many marketers aren’t aware of how searchers will change their queries for video search. A term such as ‘life insurance’ for example, which is highly competitive in Google search, would almost never be searched for in YouTube.
This highlights the fundamental difference between the two services, as well as the approach to video SEO in general. People searching for video content aren’t looking for products – they want to be informed or entertained.
When doing video keyword research, Google Trends can be a helpful tool. It has a built in YouTube feature which can help to compare keywords against each other to check which are most likely to succeed.
YouTube’s built in account analytics resource is also a great tool and can list keywords that your viewers have used to find you. Along with the autocomplete function of the YouTube search box, these methods can be a great start for your video keyword research.
2. Maximise Text
As search engines can only index written words, it’s important to maximise text as much as possible for your video.
Each video you publish on your site should include a written transcript on the same page. Not only does this give viewers an added resource to scan, but it also allows you to embed your keywords and have them picked up by search engines.
Captions on your YouTube videos work on the same principle. They can improve your viewers experience while also providing information for search engines to find.
Placing keywords in the video title, description and tags will help to grab attention and maximise possible search results. Video tags especially can increase the number of suggested videos that you will be associated with and improve your video’s exposure.
Tools such as Tube Buddy can help you to find tags that your highly ranked competitors are using, which you can then use to associate your video with theirs.
Long video descriptions on YouTube can allow you to place more keywords and provide more information to search engines. They also enable YouTube’s algorithm to better understand your video, increasing the possibility of it appearing in the suggested viewing area.
A good video description should also invite the viewer to click on and view your video within the first 125 characters, as this length is revealed in snippet results for YouTube searches.
3. Optimise for YouTube
YouTube is the biggest portal for exposure of your video and should be a large part of your video SEO strategy. YouTube ranks a video and grants it more visibility based on a variety of different factors, including:
• Length of time a user watches a video
• Relevance to search query
• Number of subscribers to channel (indicates authority)
• Number of likes, dislikes, comments and other interactions
• Whether viewer continues to watch videos after yours
However, these factors are all under the umbrella of YouTube’s main metric for a successful video, which is that the viewer genuinely engages with and enjoys the video. Statistics such as number of likes and average watch time are just ways that YouTube uses to calculate this goal.
YouTube’s built in analytics can help you to learn more about your audience and see what they react to most and if they are tuning out at certain times. Putting your videos in a playlist can also help to improve audience view time and retention, while giving them a direct path to your other content.
4. Get the Technical Stuff Right
Video length can be an important factor in showing the YouTube algorithm that viewers are enjoying content. Longer videos have proven to be most effective with 7 to 16 minute videos receiving up to 50% more views.
External backlinks to your YouTube videos are still important, as links and video embeds on third party sites can increase your video’s authority and relevance signals. This can help it to rank well for keyword searches both in YouTube and in Google searches.
Producing your video in the correct format can be an important distinction and help it rank higher. High definition options and correct compression give users more options and deliver a better viewing experience. It will also improve loading speeds of the video without sacrificing quality.
Optimising your website’s videos for mobile devices is also a good idea and will stop viewers from dropping out because their video isn’t loading correctly. As mobile is a rapidly growing segment of internet traffic, this can be an important market to capture.
5. Optimise Your Video Content
When a viewer has finished watching your video, your opportunity to hold their attention and engage them is over. This is why each of your videos should include a clear ‘call to action’, which can direct the viewer to their next steps. These can include:
• Visiting your website for more information
• Watching another video on your channel
• Learning more about your product
• Liking, commenting or sharing your video
Remember that visitors on YouTube are usually seeking information or entertainment and will avoid aggressive marketing.
Experimenting with different approaches to your videos, from thumbnails and titles to topic and tone can help you gauge which approach is working better and continue optimising your content to maximise its effectiveness. Interesting video thumbnails in particular can go a long way to improving viewer’s click through rate.
As research from Google indicates, viewers are most likely to stop watching a video within the first 15 seconds. It’s important that your video content draws attention within the first 15 seconds to improve audience retention rates and secure a good result.
6. Promote Your Video
Promoting your video is an important part of driving initial views and traffic. Referencing your video on social media and in blog posts can help to influence viewer perception before they reach your content, improving the chances that they click on the video and stay engaged.
Early promotion is the key to expanding reach and ROI. Promoting your videos as soon as they are uploaded will increase their early views and improve their total performance. Some tactics to get more views after an upload can include:
• Emailing your subscribers list
• Posting across all social media channels
• Embedding in your blog
• Paid promotion
• Collaborations with others
Remember that getting your content viewed is only half the battle. Video SEO is pointless if your content doesn’t connect with viewers.
Prioritising content quality and providing a relevant call-to-action can help businesses capitalise on their successful video SEO strategy.