Video SEOWhen it comes to delivering a message, they say a picture is worth 1,000 words.  If a picture is worth 1,000 words, just imagine what a great video is worth. This is doubly true, as it relates to your SEO. Which is why I often encourage clients to take advantage of YouTube and video SEO.

Online video has caused nothing short of a revolution in the world of Internet marketing.  According to the 2014 Visual-Networking Index by Cisco, video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer web traffic by 2019. Likewise, eMarketer projects that approximately $7.77 billion will be used worldwide to budget online video advertising over the course of 2015.  This represents a pattern of exponential growth over the next four years.

Why is Video So Effective?

  • It creates an immediate human connection with your audience
  • Many ideas are communicated most clearly and concisely through video
  • Video is a medium that can be at once both informative and entertaining
  • It is perfect for mobile internet users

Successfully integrating video into your SEO practices allows you to keep your users engaged in your content. Not only that, but in return for the value that quality videos can give your users, the search engines reward you. Here are seven of the best practices to improve your search rankings through video SEO.

1 – Keep Your Videos Short and Simple

Keeping the videos on your site short and sweet will help reduce load times on your pages. Pages with slow load times can adversely impact user experience. This is why search engines, such as Google, tend to rank pages with faster load times higher than those that load slowly.  Additionally, you can keep your videos short by using animations and incorporating photo montages. Another way to ensure that your videos are not too big is to review the script and cut out anything that’s unnecessary, during the conceptual phase.

2 – Host Your Videos on YouTube

YouTube is the leading video hosting site in terms of volume, but it also happens to be owned and run by Google. As such, it is part of their content network, which could explain why websites that host embedded YouTube videos tend to outperform sites who host their own video content.

Additionally, when you upload your videos to YouTube, you’re maximizing your exposure and widening your audience. YouTube also allows you to take advantage of its social sharing and commenting features, which can result in even greater exposure. This gives you the additional benefit of being able to upload longer videos, without worrying about slow load times on your site.

Meanwhile, YouTube gets more video content and the user has more content to choose from, which means when you use YouTube to host your online videos, everyone wins!

3 – Amplify Your Video SEO by Optimizing Video Titles and Descriptions

YouTube ranks videos according to algorithms. Instead of a random human being sitting there watching everything that gets uploaded, YouTube looks at the text accompanying your video to establish its subject matter. It is therefore important to use descriptions and titles that are rich with relevant keywords, since this will help users to find your videos.

The title is a critical element, as it relates to video SEO strategy. The title should consist of the channel’s branding, alongside suitable keywords. Think about how the title will appear next to the video thumbnail in Google’s search engine result pages (SERPS).  Descriptive words like “how to”, “demonstration” and “review” are good choices, along with keywords pertaining to the topics you are covering.

Tags are words used to organize or describe your video’s content. On YouTube, tags work similarly to the way hashtags work on Twitter or Instagram. Try using popular tags, as this will help your video to appear next to similar videos that users are searching for via tags.  Another key video optimization strategy is to use highly-targeted niche keywords. Of course, you’ll want to first make sure that all of the keywords are relevant to your video.

4 – Use Video Transcripts and Sitemaps

A detailed transcript can make it much easier for search engines and surfers to find your video. It will also make it more convenient for the users who may want to scan to the middle of your video or watch, without the sound. In fact, some users may just read the transcript and then visit your site without watching the video at all!

Video sitemaps are basically extensions of the web property’s general sitemap. They allow customization of meta data such as duration, age appropriateness, rating and view count. They also contain keyword labels.

5 – Get Backlinks from YouTube

When writing the description for your video, don’t forget to include a link to your website. This could be the simplest tactic on the list, yet you’d be surprised at the number of YouTube videos that fail to include a link. This boosts your search engine performance and also helps to direct traffic directly from the video to your website. This not only benefits you, but it helps the user, as well.

6 – Use Social Signals to Capture More Engagement

Be sure to integrate relevant video content into your social marketing campaigns. For example, you can embed your YouTube videos directly onto Twitter and Facebook, driving engagement on these platforms in the form of re-tweets, likes and shares. This, in turn, boosts your view count and generates more buzz around your content, with the end result being improvement in the SERPS as Google and the other search engines encounter your social signals.

7 – Encourage Users to Embed Your Videos on Their Websites

When other users embed your content on their websites, they drive traffic right back to your YouTube channel or website. So be sure to encourage other webmasters to embed your YouTube videos so that you can grow your viewership. While approaching other webmasters might sound intimidating, it is easier than you might think. This is especially true, if you’ve already begun the process of commenting on related websites and building relationships.

In closing, video can offer a major boost to your search rankings, but only if you employ sound search strategies. I hope that you’ve found this video SEO guide to be a helpful resource. But most importantly, remember that to see results, you’ll need to take action. So follow the steps above and unleash the full power of video SEO to enhance your site’s performance!