Marketers spent a few years getting the better of Google ranking algorithms and the smart ones have learned the ropes by now. However, the world of content marketing has by now moved from plain text to video in a big way. And video SEO is a different ballgame altogether, substantially modifying the rules and forcing marketers to reorient everything they know about SEO. The idea now is to rank not just on Google, but on YouTube, the second largest search engine, as well as many other popular video platforms.
Now YouTube alone is a colossal beast to tame, with 300 hours of content being uploaded every 60 seconds! How do you compete with a volume like that? On the bright side though, there are 30 billion people visiting here every day, meaning that if you make a good video, there are plenty of people waiting to watch what you have to offer. This, however, can only happen if you’re able to get your video in front of the right audience, and that takes optimization.
You need to optimize so that YouTube and other platforms see the value in your video and can clearly understand who it is meant for so that the video can be promoted to the right people via recommendations and suggested videos. Not only that, you need to enable your video to rank on the universal search for relevant keywords. See those chosen few videos that top Google search results for some keywords, you need that spot. So let’s talk about how to get your video in front of the right eyeballs with some video SEO best practices:
Choose the Right Platform
Think video marketing and most people just picture YouTube, and rightly so. There are, however, other avenues.
If your goal through the video is to promote brand awareness and ensure that maximum people view, like and share your video, then YouTube is your master key. In that case, you need to optimize your video for YouTube. We’ll talk about that in detail a little later.
If however, your goal is to bring traffic to your site using video, note that very few people on YouTube click on an in-video link to visit websites. Most people simply move on to suggested videos.
If digital marketing for onsite traffic is your priority, you need more than YouTube. You need to rank in organic search results. Got an explainer video for your expert investing solution, make sure it ranks whenever someone Googles ‘How to invest’.
The video name and description offer you only so much space for optimizing for keywords. Submitting a video transcript not only helps you include more keywords to improve your chances of ranking but also make it easier for the bots to crawl your content and rank those keywords. These transcripts help Google index your video and bring traffic to your page. On YouTube too, adding a transcript in the description can help get your video ranked higher for relevant search results.
High-Quality Custom Thumbnails
Your thumbnail doesn’t have to be a lackluster, dimly lit screenshot from the video itself. It is the thumbnail that entices viewers to choose your video over the others in the list. Invest in creating a custom thumbnail for your videos, one that’s compelling and beautiful. Consider taking a custom photograph or creating a graphic for it. Keep the thumbnail contextual, so it gives an idea of what the video holds. Using text in the thumbnail too can be a great boost for your clickability as well as SEO.
Title and Description
Of course, there’s the title and the description, which are probably the first thing you’ll begin optimizing. So be sure to optimize your title and description, not only by including keywords in it but also by making them sound exciting and promising. The title should suggest the solution the video is about to offer. The description too must assure the viewers that your video covers everything they are looking for.
Don’t skip the keyword research to make sure you target the most searched phrases. Leverage the handy YouTube suggestions to get a better idea of what your target audience might be searching for. Make it interesting and compelling.
Here’s a tool that can help you take your keyword research and optimization a step further. TubeBuddy Tags is a Chrome extension that helps you find out what tags are your competitors’ videos ranking for. Once you install TubeBuddy Tags, you can easily find out what tags are bringing the most traffic to your competitors by clicking the ‘tags’ tab on their videos. This helps you incorporate the high-inflow tags into your videos, or you could also use this to stay away from tags with too high competition already, and focus on something more niche. If you see a tag garnering a ton of interest but the video itself is sub-par, you could upturn the competition by producing a better video for that tag. This here is a great tool to stay in the loop and make sure you don’t stay behind the competition.
When you talk about ranking and optimization, analytics simply cannot stay far behind. Keep a close eye on your video’s performance using YouTube analytics, to find out where your video could use a little fine-tuning. Monitor the key video metrics like total watch time, user engagement, audience retention and more to find out how viewers are interacting with your videos. Are they leaving within the first 15 seconds? Are they sticking around almost till the end but dropping just a tad too early? Maybe you need to produce shorter videos. Those are some valuable insights you can draw from your YouTube analytics to further fine tune your video rankings and results.
Ranking your blog posts and ranking your videos are quite distinct. The above steps can help you ensure your videos stay interesting for the search engines, so they rank you high consistently, bringing in a steady supply of traffic and inbound links. Some things, however, never change. Be it blogs or vlogs, you need to keep your content on-point and engaging, offer real value and answer key questions. So before you go optimizing your vises, ensure that you’ve put all the good stuff in the video to begin with. Having done that, these tips will help you ensure that maximum people are able to see that value and appreciate it, rewarding you with engagement, leads, and conversions.
Tim Ferguson is a writer and editor of Right Mix Marketing blog. He enjoys writing about SEO, content marketing, online reputation management, social media, AI and Big Data. When he is not writing and editing for Right Mix Marketing, he spends time on learning more about content marketing and getting better at it. You can follow him on Twitter at @RightMixMktg