July 7, 2014:
When thinking about the term “SEO,” the big 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) immediately come to mind. Truthfully, I almost always optimize content according to Google best practices, however it’s important to realize that YouTube is actually the world’s second most popular search engine. According to YouTube’s website, “Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth.” And the world’s interest in video content is not slowing down. This Cisco report found that video content accounted for 66% of all consumer internet traffic in 2013, and that number is projected to reach 80% by 2018.
As more people look for online videos to get information, businesses need to change and adapt their content strategies to remain successful. Fortunately most websites are already leveraging some kind of video content. A recent Web Video Marketing Council report shows that 93% of marketers use online videos, and 82% believe that video marketing has had a positive impact on their business.
But with all of that new video content hitting the web, how can you ensure that your material stands out? While the obvious first step is putting your video on YouTube, I’ve put together a list of six tips that will help optimize your video content and better position your videos in front of your target audience:
Write the title of your video the same way you would write an HTML title tag for an important landing page – it should be under 65 characters, eye-catching, and include your most important keywords. If you have the space, consider adding your brand name to the end of the title as well.
The following is an example of an optimized video title:
The first 30 characters of a video description are used as a meta description in search results, so it’s important to have your core information and keywords in the first few sentences. This should also include a link back to your website, or the blog post used to introduce the video. And don’t stop there – completely fill out your video description to help search engines gain a better understand of your video. The more information you write, the better chance your video has of showing up for additional search terms.
Here is an example of an optimized video description:
Nobody wants sit through a long video. Wistia recently reported that for a video 4-5 minute long, fewer than 60% of your viewers will watch the whole thing. Creating concise videos will help keep your audience’s attention and prevent them from clicking out of the video. If your video is over ten minutes long try splitting it up into multiple clips or turning it into a video series.
If you have an embedded video on your website or blog post, look into adding schema.org markup. This tagging vocabulary helps search engines better understand your video content, and will get your content featured with rich snippets in search results.
Derek wrote a blog post on schema for B2B marketers here, which includes references to the video schema tagging vocabulary as well.
Search engines still struggle with crawling video content (for now). A simple solution to help search engines index your video content is by including a transcription of the video content on your web page. The Moz blog does a great job with this on their Whiteboard Friday videos. For YouTube content, adding subtitles and closed captions can be just as effective.
Similar to Google and Bing, video platforms such as YouTube use a ranking algorithm to determine what videos show up for specific search queries. These results are influenced by hundreds of different ranking signals; some of the top YouTube ranking signals include:
- Channel strength
- Number of views and comments
- Social shares
- Keywords in title and description
- How long people watch the video
In order to set your video up for success, it’s important to consider these ranking signals when creating and uploading your content. For an extended list of YouTube ranking factors, check out this infographic from Tag SEO.
Unfortunately it’s becoming increasingly difficult for marketers to have their videos stand out, as video content is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to broadcast and share information online. Hopefully these tips have provided you with some ideas on how to properly optimize your video content and have them show up higher in search results. If you have any other ideas on how to optimize video content, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!