9 Tips on How to Optimise your Videos for SEO

9 Tips on How to Optimise your Videos for SEO

With online video revenue growing at 110% annually, more than any other form of advertising, video is where it’s at right now. If you’re not producing videos then you’re going to be seriously lagging behind your competitors. But getting behind the camera is just the first step. There’s a whole other world for you to consider to get your hard work seen by people who are also your target and ideal customers. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to optimise your videos for SEO to give yourself the best possible chance of ranking. 

Choose the right platform

One of the most important aspects to any content is the platform. Content will always be King. However, with increasing platforms available to pretty much every target audience out there, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right platforms for your target audience. At the bare minimum, you should publish your video to YouTube. This platform is key to getting your videos ranking. Not only is it owned by Google, but it is also the main video website that people go to, almost automatically. It has universal video playback making it the most convenient option for both you and your viewers.

To maximise the potential reach of your video, we’d also recommend uploading to other hosting platforms such as Dailymotion and Vimeo. Every little helps towards the rankings. 

One platform you should look to avoid is Flash, not just from an SEO point of view. Google and other search engines won’t be able to identify your video if it plays on Flash, so all of your other optimising efforts will be wasted. Many people also view Flash as an annoyance on the web, so best steer clear altogether. 

Keyword research

You need to make sure that people are actually searching for the content you want to produce. There’s little point creating a video that solves a problem when no one is looking online for a solution. Keyword research is the way figure that out. Here are a few tools you can use:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Moz Keyword Explorer
  • YouTube Suggest
  • Google Suggest
  • Answer The Public

Plan properly

Not many content creators can just pick up a camera and start filming something coherent and interesting. Even the videos that seem completely off-the-cuff have some kind of planning that has gone on in the background. So before you get in front of the lens, sit down with a pen and paper and plan out what you want to happen. This can be a rough sketch of ideas or can be a full script, whatever you need to make it work. 

Planning is essential because your video could do all the right things and get that #1 spot, but if you don’t give the viewer what they’re looking for, they’re just going to bounce right back. 

The first thing you’re going to need is a strong hook. The initial 10 to 15 seconds of your videos are the most critical, and it’s after this point that you lose the most viewers if you haven’t peaked their interest by then. Unfortunately there isn’t a formula or a “one size fits all” approach. The hook will depend entirely on your niche and the subject of your video. But don’t worry, there’s always a hook to be found.

Next you want to make sure that your video satisfies the searchers’ intent. You should already know what people are searching for thanks to the previous step. You have the problem, now give them the answer. 

Finally, whatever you do, make sure your content is relatable and natural. It’s fine to have a full script laid out, but what’s not ok is reading that script word for word in front of a camera sounding deadpan. Use a script as notes and allow yourself to loosen up a little bit. It makes for much better content, trust us.

Create content that mirrors your brand

With video content now so popular on social platforms making sure that your output represents the brand behind you is just as important! Simple techniques and kit can initially help turn yourself from a person with a phone and bad audio into a professional vlogger. Think about purchasing a DSLR and tripod, choose well-lit environments to film in and learn about post-production (people don’t want 7 minute videos when it could be less than 2 if you know how to edit). If you’re thinking of stepping up the level of content, a professional video production company could help you create a high quality of content on a regular basis. Leaving you to focus on the important stuff.

Optimise for mobile

A key point not to be missed in this day and age. Mobile optimisation is one of the key pillars of video SEO, and indeed a lot of SEO in general. If your website doesn’t look good on mobile, then that’s a lot of traffic you’re missing out on. Video viewing on mobile devices has not only overtaken desktop but has left it behind in the dust, so it’s essential you’re keeping the mobile user in mind at all times.

Thankfully, it’s no longer as difficult as it once was. All you have to do is make sure both your video player and your website itself is optimised for mobile viewing. Video hosting platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo will optimise your content automatically so need to worry there. Double check if you use any others and get to work on that website if it’s not up to scratch. 

Optimise for keywords

Remember those keywords you spent time looking into before? This is where they come into play. Just like with blog posts and web pages, your title tags and meta descriptions are very important. They play a part in your rankings and click-through rate so spend time crafting keyword-optimised and descriptive meta data. Use the keyword research that you conducted at the start of your planning to come up with the best possible titles that are both SEO-focused and descriptive enough to entice viewers in. 

Another important part of video optimisation is ensuring that your content is “shareable”. You want your video to spark something in your viewers – whatever that may be – that makes them share it with their friends and family, and for publications, bloggers and journalists to link back to in their articles. That means it must be of a high quality, interesting and engaging, and give them something valuable that they won’t find elsewhere.

The more people are watching and sharing your content, the stronger the signal it sends to Google that it is important.

Transcribe

Leading on from the above, having a transcription is essential to help push your video higher up the rankings. Google’s crawl bots look at text – as of now they are incapable of “watching” a video or looking at images to rank them – so you need to give them a helping hand. 

While your title tag and meta description will do some of the leg work, the more text you can attach to your video, the more it will help search engines understand and “read” your video. Captions and transcriptions will help massively. 

It’s important that your target keyword / keywords are mentioned several times in your video (depending on the length of course, you don’t want to look spammy!) as when you transcribe it will also appear there. 

Video thumbnail

The video thumbnail is the very first thing the searcher will take note of and, if it doesn’t look appealing, they just won’t click on it. Think of it as the homepage of your website or the front cover of a book. It needs to be attractive, interesting and relevant to the title and content. It should look sleek, professional and be of high quality. A dark and grainy or out of focus phone camera shot just isn’t going to cut it. 

Promote, promote, promote

Last but not least, you need a plan in place to get your video out there amongst potential viewers and customers. Posts with videos attract 3x more inbound links than plain text posts.

However, it’s no good just publishing your video and waiting for people to come to you. They need some encouragement. 

Utilising your social media platforms is key here. Post about your video a couple of times a week, and encourage people to comment and share their thoughts and to share it with friends. Ask your staff to share it too. The more traffic you can drive to your content, the higher it’s going to rank.

With online video revenue growing at 110% annually, more than any other form of advertising, video is where it’s at right now. If you’re not producing videos then you’re going to be seriously lagging behind your competitors. But getting behind the camera is just the first step. There’s a whole other world for you to consider to get your hard work seen by people who are also your target and ideal customers. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how to optimise your videos for SEO to give yourself the best possible chance of ranking. 

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Simon Owen

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