If you’re looking for new ways to expand the search engine visibility of your website, SEO video marketing might be your next logical step.
It’s a great opportunity for you because according to one report, only 31% of marketers use video marketing to increase their SEO presence. Many use it to generate sales or create awareness on social media channels, but few harness its technical prowess to actually move up in the SERPs.
So, if you’re not sure how to use video marketing for SEO and don’t know how it works, this article is for you.
What is SEO Video Marketing?
Just like blogs and images, video can be indexed and visible on search engines. SEO video marketing is all about making the minor technical tweaks that make that possible.
This is really handy for industries that rely on how-to or explainer videos to drive traffic. If you have a kid’s art website, for instance, you may have a tutorial on how to draw a great white shark. When someone logs on looking for instructions, you want your video to be the first thing they see.
In a lot of ways, people today have the same approach to video SEO that they used to have with blogs. The “if you write it, they will come” approach doesn’t work anymore for written content, and pretty soon, it won’t work for videos either.
If you want your videos to be visible, you have to be intentional with your strategy. Make those changes now so you don’t have to go back and alter your specs later.
Why is Video Important for SEO?
More visibility for your content means more traffic, which usually results in more revenue. Every content creator wants their material to be seen by others, which is why SEO is so important. When it comes to video SEO however, there are a few points that are worth mentioning.
Video Improves Your Engagement
We sometimes forget that Youtube is — at its heart — a social media channel. It’s seen by many as a depository for video content, harvested for links and entertainment purposes.
But Youtube has more than 122 million daily users. In fact, Youtube places second behind only Facebook in terms of global active users.
You can’t afford to ignore this platform. It allows users to engage with a different type of your content than they would elsewhere.
Tragically, no one will ever see your videos though unless you take care of the SEO. Increased views lead to increased engagement, which is what you’re after when creating your content.
Video Increases Dwell Time
How long a user stays on your website is called its “stickiness” factor. Considering the average dwell time for a user on a web page is 52 seconds, the more you can increase that, the better.
Some experts even argue that increased dwell time is a ranking factor on Google. It makes sense then, that a video on your page will result in a higher ranking for that page.
It’s all theoretical of course, but anecdotally speaking, it works. Plus, optimizing your video gives you yet another lever to pull to get your site ranking.
And if you’re in a highly competitive niche, it just might be the difference maker you need.
Internet readers are obsessed with graphics. Whether it’s a meme or a killer infographic, people love to consume information visually.
You know what else they like to do with visual information? Share it.
Seriously, if you’re looking for a way to build backlinks for your site, you can’t go wrong with video. Chances are, your competitors aren’t doing it that much, so you’re more likely to get shares.
But again, nobody will ever see those videos if they don’t rank. When someone searches for the aforementioned great-white-shark-drawing video, they’ll only see yours if you’ve taken the time to optimize the video for SEO. They see it, they share it, and you get backlinks.
How Does SEO Work for Videos?
SEO for video works the same way that regular search engine optimization works.
Just like a regular webpage, Google will index your site about once a month on average. When they do, they’ll examine the relevant metadata. This includes both the header and the metadata on the page itself that are optimized through the schema.
If you want to force Google’s hand, you can always submit your sitemap to Google manually. Or, if you want to take a more hands off approach, use a plugin to handle these technical aspects for you.
What you’re ultimately hoping to gain from this process is higher search rankings for sure, but ideally, a rich snippet. These are the little visual previews that occur in the SERPs, such as the one below.
As you can see, the creators of this video have not only optimized it for keywords (see below), but have also partitioned out different segments with keywords, such as “bathing supplies” and “bathing gear.”
If they have affiliate links in the description of this video, chances are they’re generating substantial revenue from this high-traffic affiliate niche.
You can check to make sure your site is indexed inside of Google by visiting google.com/video. Just input your video’s URL and see if it appears. If it does, you’re off and rolling.
5 Easy Steps To Add SEO to Videos
Think of your video content the same way that you do your text content. You most likely know the basics of optimizing a web page (if not, check out our guide on how to create blog content to help you out).
The following steps are similar but have a video-based twist. It may require a few more digital graphics skills, but if you’re creating videos anyways, the assets you need should be readily available.
Step 1. Choose Your Platform Carefully
For most people, Youtube will be their first and last spot when it comes to uploading video content. If that’s you, that’s totally fine.
The one major drawback with relying on a Youtube channel (and to a certain degree, Vimeo), is that you don’t own those platforms. Just like people forget that Youtube is a social network at heart, we also forget that uploading content to them essentially transfers ownership.
In other words, if those sites go down, or if they choose to suspend your channel, you lose your momentum.
You may still have the actual video content — you don’t sign away those rights — but you lose your target audience. All that time you spent developing the SEO and rankings inside of those platforms is gone, forcing you to start all over again.
For that reason, some choose to use a video hosting platform to put the videos directly on their website. They don’t get to take advantage of the “social” aspect of their videos, but they own their traffic. In turn, they can use videos as a part of the customer journey that eventually leads to conversions.
If that’s you, use a service like Wistia to host your videos on your site directly. It might be a little more cumbersome, but you’ll have complete ownership of your content marketing.
Step 2. Place Your Keyword Strategically
Keyword research is a big part of any kind of digital marketing strategy. Without it, you’re just shooting in the dark.
Thankfully, how you rank videos is very similar to how you rank anything else on your website. It’s just a matter of putting the right words in the right places.
For starters, pay attention to your video title and description. You’ll want to make sure that the keyword you’re targeting are at the front.
Front-loading your keyword helps Google with “crawlability.” Despite being a trillion dollar company, Google is remarkably lazy. If you don’t have your keywords at the front, there’s a lower chance they’ll take the time to read the rest of them.
Do the same with your description, but make sure it all sounds natural. Remember that Google prioritizes reading for humans above computers, so don’t force the words. Work them in naturally.
Once you have the target keyword placed near the front, flesh out the description with complementary keywords. These should be lower volume but may help you rank for auxiliary terms.
One area you may not have thought of is your video file. Before you upload your video, make sure you name your file with the target keyword.
Why? Because just like images on your page, Google can’t crawl videos (yet). They need to “read” something and your video file name makes perfect sense.
Step 3. Tag Your Video With the Right Categories
If you plan on uploading your video to Youtube, proper categorization is a must. Often times, people will just do a video search for a general topic, like “how to remove training wheels.” You’ll want to categorize your video that teaches that appropriately. Head to “advanced settings” to tag it the right way.
Choosing the right category is sneaky hard. You might think that a video belongs in one category, only to wind up with zero traction. Furthermore, you may place a video in a certain category but Youtube decides not to show your content.
To uncover which category your video belongs in (and make sure it ranks), reverse-engineer your competitors. Look for similar Youtube content and see commonalities between the top-ranking videos.
If you don’t ever want to upload your video to Youtube and want to keep it strictly on your website, much of this still applies. Group similar videos inside of categories and tag them with individual topics. At the very least, you’ll increase dwell time on your site as people follow a certain playlist to watch multiple videos.
Step 4. Upload Your Own Captions
There’s at least one really compelling reason to include captions with your videos. Nearly 69% of people view video with the sound off. Without captions, people are just staring at moving pictures or they’ll bounce off your page entirely.
But there’s another reason why you might want to include captions on your videos: the captions can help you rank.
Most social media channels will give you the option of adding captions automatically. These can be hilarious, but it can also impede your SEO.
You can upload the file to your video yourself using your SRT file, or you can copy and paste it directly onto Youtube when you upload the video. Either one is fine as long as it’s accurate (in other words, insert your target keywords into the video itself before doing the transcript).
Another step to consider is putting a transcript directly under the video on your website. While it may not look awesome, video can be a gold mine for SEO.
When you consider that the average 10-minute video contains 1,500 words, and that blog posts should be at least that amount, each video essentially amounts to a long-form blog post.
At a time when content is king, that’s a competitive edge you can’t afford to ignore.
Step 5. Focus on the Graphics
The thumbnail is almost as important as the SEO itself.
While good search engine optimization will get you ranked, getting a user to click on your video is the next step. If nobody watches your video, Google will notice and show users other videos instead.
Most people don’t even consider what their thumbnail looks like. Most video platforms will choose one at random from your video, and for most, that’s good enough.
This is when you need to consider your video marketing strategy. Using similar colors, fonts, and design schemes will help people feel more familiar with your brand. They’ll more quickly be able to identify your video — good or bad — from the pack.
Should I Use Software?
If you’re not confident in your SEO skills yet, you can always use a service to help. Keep in mind that many of these services are paid, so if you’re just starting out on a shoestring budget, weigh that heavily in your decision-making process.
Arguably the most widely used SEO video marketing software, TubeBuddy has a lot going for it. You can research keywords, create thumbnails, and even auto-translate your video’s descriptions and titles. As the internet becomes more globalized, this will continue to be a huge deal.
TubeBuddy isn’t a software; it’s actually a browser extension that fits seamlessly on your browser bar. It’s easy to use and is utilized by some of the top Youtubers online.
Fortunately, there’s a free plan, but you might find the features limiting after a while. Pricing for the paid plans starts at $4.99 and goes up to $24.49 per month.
Whereas some SEO video marketing platforms help you with the entire video process, HyperSuggest only handles keyword research. But if that’s all you need a tool for, this is one you have to look at.
Not only can you get accurate search reports for keywords, but you can also monitor trending topics. You also get CPC forecasting data in case you want to run paid ads.
The pricing is aggressive: $19 per month for the basic plan with 100 credits per month. The pricier plans are $29 and $69 per month and offer more tools and credits.
Tubics claims to have worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, such as Samsung and Asics. If that’s the case, then it stands to reason that just about any content creator will find what they need on Tubics as well.
Their toolset is diverse. From a single platform, you can do tag generation, keyword analysis, analytics, and AI-based recommendations to boost your channel.
At nearly $100 per month for the basic plan, you have to be extremely dedicated to optimizing your video content. If that’s you, Tubics should be provide everything you need.
Where Does SEO Video Fit Into Your Overall SEO Strategy?
If you’ve maxed out your written content strategy, SEO video marketing should be your next step.
Even if you haven’t even dabbled in written content, it should still be on your radar. The world is turning more and more towards video-based content, so the time is now to include it in your plan. Let it grow organically over time, and you’ll be thankful you did later.