SEO is all about producing fantastic content and then optimizing it to earn the best results possible – that’s how you earn higher rankings on search engines and gain greater organic traffic. In essence, the principles of video SEO are exactly the same. It’s all about making sure you’re putting out great video content that is optimized so that search engines can index and rank your videos on search engine results pages for the keywords and search terms that you’re targeting.
Videos are just another form of content (in fact, one of the most widely consumed forms of content online), so you need to give it the same care and attention that you would for an online blog or product page. The results can be amazing with good video SEO, and it’s becoming an increasingly important part of many business’s SEO campaigns. But, while the principles are the same as with other SEO, there are some vital differences when it comes to making a success of video SEO.
The catch is that search engines struggle to read video content in the same way that they read written web content. Search bots and crawlers can’t actually watch video content itself, much in the same way that they don’t read images. But this doesn’t mean that a search engine won’t index and rank your video content.
Rather, it just means that video SEO needs to be approached with even more of a focus on text metadata like the title and tags. When it comes to video content, it’s all about how best to optimize the way in which you describe your content to the search engine and inform it of the video intent and purpose. It requires a slightly different approach to normal SEO (which is why a lot of SEOs don’t deem it to be worth the hassle) but video SEO can yield fantastic results.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last ten to fifteen years, you’ll have noticed that Youtube has become a lot more than just funny cat videos and amateur homemade content. Today, people use video content online for all different purposes – entertainment, education, product research and much more. And not only are people increasingly using video content online, but an increasing number of people are doing so – and this figure is quickly rising.
According to Cisco, in 2020 there is around one million minutes of video being viewed on the internet every second. Not only that, but around 82% of all organic consumer web traffic takes place through video content. Now, that’s an awful lot of web traffic to be tapped into – and these numbers are only increasing year on year.
Of course, it’s worth considering the fact that there’s still a big difference in audience between video and written content online, and while some businesses will barely survive without video, some still largely rely upon users searching for text content. But video SEO is quickly becoming a make or break situation for a lot of brands, sectors and industries – video marketing is quickly taking over and evolving, and if you want to keep ahead of the curve then it’s time to start thinking about getting involved.
Without the right video SEO, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re producing great video content or not. Optimizing this content for search engines is what is going to get you ranking highly on YouTube, Google and other search engines. If no one can find your video content, then you’re missing out on potential organic traffic, brand building and conversions. That’s why video optimization is so important.
So we already know that video platforms are some of the most widely used on the internet, and that visual content is increasingly becoming how the wider audience chooses to search and consume media. This then begs the question – why are so few businesses investing in video optimization?
SEO is about producing high quality content that attracts attention, traffic and links naturally over time thanks to excellent optimization. And platforms like YouTube and the advancements made in smartphone and similar technology have made it easier than ever before to quickly and easily create video content.
But video content has long been ignored and under-used in most SEO circles. While more and more brands are branching out to produce relevant content through video, SEOs often don’t put much of a priority on video results. Most will instead opt to focus on more traditional existing content forms like written content creation, infographics, tools and images. This largely has to do with the effort to return calculation that all SEOs have to make when choosing how their time is best spent.
The truth is that making awesome videos and coming up with great video ideas isn’t easy. The best videos out there have strict upload schedules, great ideas, high production quality, excellent editing, and more – all things that take a lot of time and investment.
Making relevant video to a high quality and in the right video format takes a lot of planning and effort, but the results can be fantastic. Ranking videos isn’t always easy, but it is quickly becoming the best and fastest way of expanding your brand and reaching a larger target audience. Video content is incredibly shareable and easily consumed – and it’s quickly becoming your consumers’ first choice when it comes to search.
One of the main reasons that the bulk of SEO marketers don’t invest in video SEO is because of the fact that it requires quite a different approach to standard SEO. There are a few different reasons for this.
1. Google Doesn’t See Video Content In The Same Way
As we already mentioned, Google and other search engines can’t actually watch and understand your video clips and content. This, in a way, gives you less room in which to optimise.
Now, metadata is always an important part of technical SEO, but with video SEO you really need to pay attention to the little things. When it comes to your video description, video title, metadata and more, you need to absolutely make the most of the space you are given.
Whether you employ the use of a video transcript, use captioned videos, focus on the video thumbnail, optimize your online videos all the target keywords you need or anything else, video SEO requires a fresh approach.
2. Most YouTube Traffic Doesn’t Actually Come From Search
Of course, it’s incredibly important when employing video SEO that you optimize your videos as much as possible for Google search and YouTube search in order to increase your organic traffic visibility. After all, the people actually searching for relevant videos are more likely to find your content valuable and useful, and are more likely to convert and return to your brand.
But most YouTube traffic doesn’t actually come from search, which is a bit of a nightmare for SEO. This is because most YouTube traffic comes through the unique way YouTube chooses to present and deliver content – through its browsing features like recommend and suggested watching. Think about it: when you last went on YouTube, how many of the videos you watched did you actually enter a specific search for?
Around 15-25% of video consumption actually comes through search. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to optimize for YouTube’s suggested videos and other features – it just requires a slightly different approach.
3. People Still Use Google and YouTube To Find Different Types Of Content
Great content that works in text form won’t necessarily make for great video content. Why? Well, it’s because the audience still uses Google very differently compared to how it uses YouTube.
Your target keyword strategy will usually have to adapt to consider video platforms and that user base. Think about it: if you’re looking for some video clips of your favourite stand up, are you more likely to search in Google or on YouTube? It’s probably going to be YouTube, where you know there’s going to be a greater number of other relevant videos too.
On the other hand, say you need some mortgage advice. Where are you going to look? Sure, you might make a search on YouTube (and there might be some great video content out there), but at the end of the day something like that is going to see far more traffic on Google. When it comes to searching for authoritative, informative and detailed guides and tips, Google and written content is probably still going to prevail over video search.
This means that video SEO requires the ability to adapt between platforms. To grow your organic search traffic means you need to have your finger on the pulse of your audience. Perhaps your brand and business is more suited to written web content overall – but that doesn’t mean you can’t produce great video content that expands and broadens your search results too.
1. Use a Video Transcript and Captions
We know that search engine bots can’t actually watch and understand video content itself yet (although – watch this space). So how do we ensure that Google is getting a full understanding of our video intent and content when it crawls, indexes and ranks it?
One of the best ways you can improve this is really very simple – include a transcript and closed captioning. These are great for a lot of different reasons.
Video transcripts and captions make your content more accessible. Those with hearing disabilities can’t enjoy non-captioned content, and a lot of people enjoy watching with captions on anyway (for example, when you don’t want to wake up a housemate when you’re still up watching YouTube at 2am). But they also make the job of the search bots a lot easier too.
Video captions and transcripts help give crawlers a clear and comprehensive idea of what your video content is all about – it will be approached in much the same way that it approaches a web page of text. And Google is essentially a database of text, so it follows that the more text you can add, the better. It makes your video more indexable, increasing your chances of earning search results.
You can even optimize these transcripts with your keyword strategy and research in mind, boosting your video with that extra bit of SEO juice. In short, attaching as much text as possible to your video content will make it more search bot friendly, leading to better search engine recognition.
2. Optimize Your Metadata
Metadata is a known ranking signal, and this doesn’t change when you move it to video SEO. In just the same way that you would optimize meta title and meta description, you should do so for your video content when trying to gain video rankings.
Crafting your video title and video description should never be a throwaway task – use your keyword research and make the most of the space available to give search engine bots the chance to better understand your video intent and topic.
Even simpler than this – pay attention to the name of your video files. In much the same way you optimize image file names for Google, think about optimizing your video file names too. Include target keywords or a brief but accurate description of the video.
3. Optimize for Mobile
For years now mobile search has been creeping ahead of desktop search (having become Google’s primary focus along the way), and the same is true for video. Most people view their video content from a smartphone, tablet or other mobile devices, so it’s important to apply the principles of mobile SEO when producing video content. Your video SEO will seriously struggle to get off the ground without it.
While video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo are well built to accommodate mobile viewing, you’re probably going to also be uploading your video content to your own site. That makes it important to ensure that your website is well optimized and responsive for mobile viewing.
4. Make a Great Thumbnail
It’s important to stand out online, especially against your competitors. When a user makes a video search, the chances are that they’re going to be bombarded with relatively similar content and video titles. Thumbnails are a known factor in how people decide which video they are going to watch.
The thumbnail is literally the first thing a user sees when they enter a search (and we all know that first impressions count), so it’s a powerful tool if you can use thumbnail images that grab attention at the point of contact.
You’ll need to make sure that your thumbnail is reflective of the video content and title – bounce rate is a thing when it comes to video views too. While a lot of people simply choose thumbnails from their video, it’s worth investing in creating some custom thumbnails that are a bit more enticing and engaging.
5. Share Your Video Content Across Your Channels
One of the best things about producing a lot of great video content is the fact that you’re also creating incredibly shareable content too. The video format works across platforms and is easily digestible. Whereas a 2000 word detailed blog post might not be as impactful when shared across Facebook and Twitter, these social media platforms love visual content.
There’s absolutely no reason not to upload your video content pretty much everywhere you can. Social channels in general encourage video sharing, so uploading to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more is a great way of finding out how exactly the different content you produce performs on different platforms.
Anyway, who doesn’t want more social shares? Now, it’s certainly important to get your video content right for social channels, but shareable video content across platforms can lead to more backlinks to your website, not only increasing your brand and audience, but raising your authority when it comes to the search engines.
6. Don’t Just Focus On YouTube
When it comes to video marketing, it’s pretty clear that YouTube is the king of the hill. With an unrivalled audience, universal video playback, great mobile optimization and phenomenal user experience and convenience, the YouTube user base can’t be ignored.
But YouTube also has its limitations. While it is hands down the best place to increase your brand awareness and find new consumers with video content online, it also likes to keep its viewers to itself. A problem with YouTube and similar platforms (and a reason SEOs turn away from video in general) is that it can sometimes be difficult to direct all that wonderful organic search traffic you’ve begun to generate over to your website. A lot of people who go on YouTube stay on YouTube.
You should always add your video content to your own site. Not only can it help to bring in more traffic and boost your site, but it also raises the user experience and overall engagement and interaction with your site. People really do love video content – it’s easy to consume and adds to the overall impression of a web page.
You can even add things like video schema markup to your own web page in order to give those search engine crawlers a helping hand when it comes to indexing your precious video content.
If you’d like to hear more about how video SEO works, why you should invest in it, and how the team here at Embryo approaches video content, get in touch with us today
. Video consumption is the future of content – stay ahead of the curve with Embryo.