Posted on Dec 18, 2018

SEO for Video Content: A Brief Guide

Video content is everywhere online, and consumers love it. In fact, according to HubSpot, 85% of people say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2018 and beyond, and 72% of people prefer to use video to learn about a product or service. And the average consumer watches around one and a half hours of video content online every day.

Also, according to HubSpot:

  • 76% of marketers say video content has helped them increase sales,
  • 47% say it helped them reduce support queries,
  • 76% say it helped them increase traffic on their websites, and
  • 80% of marketers say video has increased dwell time on their websites.

So, video content is something that online consumers want, and it yields positive results for marketers and website owners, too. If you haven’t begun developing and sharing more video content online, today is the time to do it.

But with the influx of video content online, how can you make sure your video content stands out in search engines and continues to yield positive results and conversions for your website? The answer: SEO (search engine optimization).

Read this brief guide for more about how to implement SEO for your video content.

Define Your Video Content Goals and Strategy

Before you begin developing video content and optimizing it for search engines, you must first know why you want to create video content and what you want it to accomplish. Do you want your videos to generate more traffic to your website, generate more sales, generate more awareness of your brand, reduce the number of support queries you receive, or something else? First, define your overall goals. Then develop a strategy, plan, and video content calendar that includes things like how you’re going to develop the videos, where you’ll share them, how often you want to share, etc.

If you skip this step, you’ll never be able to tell whether your SEO strategy is working after you implement it. You will be able to analyze SEO data and information such as how many views your videos receive and where they’re being shared, but you won’t ever be able to tell if your videos are truly yielding the results you want and or need them to over time.

Optimize Your Video Content for Mobile Devices

According to eMarketer, more than 75% of worldwide video viewing is done on a mobile device. So, if people can’t easily view and share video on a mobile device, your content will never rank well. Google also tends to rank mobile-optimized videos much higher in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) because they’re more likely to be viewed.

Research Keywords

When developing content, research keywords for the title and content of your video as well as keywords for content that is shared alongside your video (i.e., email content, social media posts, website content, etc.). And keep your target audience and what they’re already searching for in mind.

To research keywords, enter the words you want to use in the “search” bar in YouTube and see what video results appear. Take note of the type of content that comes up and how many results come up, as this will be what your video content will be competing against. Or check out 15 BEST Keyword Research Tools for SEO [2018 Reviews] to discover other tools that can help you research the right keywords for your video content.

Improve Video Metadata

Once you determine the right keywords for your video content, be sure to include them in your metadata. Keywords should be in your video tags for search engines to find. And include them in filenames before the videos are uploaded to your website or social media channel. Use keywords in your video descriptions and other information that search engines will crawl as users make queries and search for information across the web. Your videos will never be found on a regular basis by your target audience if they don’t include keywords users are already searching for.

Include Video Transcriptions and Schema Markup

Search engines can’t actually view videos to determine what each one is about as they search for results for each query. They can only scan text, some images, and code, which is why the text of video transcriptions helps so much with SEO. To learn more about how you can do this, read Google’s Tips for Creating a Transcript File or watch this YouTube video.

Also, include schema markup language (also known as “structured data”) on your website pages that include videos so that they’re easier for search engines to scan. Read SEMRush’s detailed post, How to Use Video Schema Markup on Your Video Pages and check out  for more information. And don’t forget to use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure your videos are easy to scan and find in search engines, and that they appear the way you want them to appear on SERPs.

Create a Sitemap for Your Video Content

A video sitemap as an extension of your existing website’s sitemap can tell search engines more about the category, title, description, length, and target audience for each video you embed on your website. You can also use a video sitemap to give search engines more information about your video such as a play page URL, expiration dates, restrictions, and platforms. Read Video Sitemaps and Video Sitemap Alternatives by Google for more information.

Embed Videos in Text-Based Blog Posts or Web Pages

When you embed your videos in text-based blog posts or web pages, you’re providing search engines with even more text to scan – text that should also include keywords and phrases for your content, making it more likely to appear in SERPs. You should also embed videos on website landing pages before sharing those page links in social media posts and emails; they will generate more traffic back to your website. And when your website receives more traffic, it ranks higher in search engines.

Share Your Videos on Social Media

YouTube is already the world’s second largest search engine, and people are consuming more video on the site every day. Be sure to create a YouTube channel and share your video content there if you want it to rank well, as most of the videos that appear in Google SERPs are also shared on YouTube. And consider sharing video content on Facebook as well; the site gets over 8 billion average daily video views.  

Encourage Likes, Comments, and Sharing

Encourage your viewers to like and comment on your videos and to share them with others. The more views and engagements a video receives, the better it will rank in search engines and across social media outlets. Also, encourage your viewers to subscribe to your video content or to receive emails with links to videos embedded on your website. It will allow them to watch more than one of your videos, which will help your website and videos rank even higher in search engines.  

Be sure to follow the tips outlined in this brief guide if you want your video content to be optimized for search engines.