Videos are one of the most successful ways of reaching customers and prospects online. In fact, YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. Videos are also easy to watch on mobile devices, and they’re effortlessly shared amongst friends and colleagues on smartphones and tablets. Plus, videos stand out on search results pages due to where they’re displayed, so optimizing their SEO is great for increasing clickthrough rates. But these are just the given benefits — you can supercharge your video's chances of rising to the top of search by following these five video SEO must-have best practices.
1. Use Keyword-Laden Titles, Tags and Descriptions
There are many similarities between SEO for text articles and SEO for videos. A key common factor is the use of keywords in the title, tags and description of each video, because although we can look for images and videos online, search engines don’t have the ability to crawl or scan them like text-based pages. Therefore, descriptive text is needed to provide the search engine with clues as to what the video is about. Tags also help with internal searches on websites such as YouTube or Vimeo.
2. Allow Your Video to Be Embedded
Although there are rumors that backlinks are no longer good for SEO, that claim is patently false. As long as the backlink is relevant, it is still beneficial. Allowing other people to embed your video on their websites gives you automatic backlinks and marketing collateral without taking any time out of your busy day. They get to use your excellent material, and you get the credit and backlink, which is clearly a win-win situation.
3. Optimize Your YouTube Channel
Besides the individual videos, you can also optimize your YouTube channel through your profile, channel descriptions and tags. Fill out your fields as fully as possible using the keywords that best fit your company's branding to give Google something to crawl. If you have a large company, you may also want to create more than one niche channel for different audiences with different keywords.
4. Include a Transcription of Your Video
You can combat the limitations of Google’s crawling capabilities by including a transcription with your video — you give more text to pull keywords from. Customers don’t always use the search terms we think they will, and long-tail keywords from your transcription will drive more traffic to your video, and subsequently to your website.
5. Incorporate Video Rich Snippets
Adding rich snippets to your video gives search engines specific meta information that will show up in search results under your title. But you can go beyond that to improve SEO and clickthrough rates — you can also add video rich snippets that show up as tiny videos next to the text of your search result.
These snippets can be video sitemaps or plugins that are informative and helpful for searchers — plus they make your chances of getting a click higher.
Take a Shot, and See Improved Traffic
By using these five SEO techniques with each of your videos, you will find that you get a much better return on your investment, and much more engagement on your website. These tips are the foundation which allows Google to crawl your videos and channel so they can appear higher up in search queries matching your keywords and topic. If you consistently include the right keywords in your meta information, optimize your video for embedding, optimize your video channel and include transcriptions and rich snippets, then you’ll be very pleased with the improved results. The combination of all of these details will propel your video to the top of the search engine results page on a consistent basis, driving traffic and sales in increasing numbers to your website.