This post was published by our friends at Rankings.io.
Video is a crucial component of any online marketing strategy. People love good video, and it continues to play an effective role in setting yourself apart from your competition.
Regardless of the platform, you can employ SEO principles to get your videos more views, more engagement, and more exposure. Below, we’ve compiled a list of strategies you can use to get more views with video SEO:
Simply enabling closed captions will not make videos rank better in search directly.
Among the key factors search engines use to rank content are signals from the users those search engines serve.
If people like what Google gives them—as evidenced by the number of views, click-throughs, or time on a site—Google is likely to share more of that content.
Closed captioning on videos is an accessibility feature that, when enabled, accomplishes two things:
- It makes your video accessible to a wider audience
- It makes the video easier to understand for the new people it’s reaching
Wistia, Youtube, and Vimeo all have closed captioning features in their dashboards.
For example, here’s how you set your captions on Youtube.
Click more on your video (the three little dots), then select ‘Add Translations’
*Note: You’ll have to confirm a caption disclaimer in your channel settings before this option will appear.
Then just confirm the language the captions are supposed to be in.
Another side effect of enabling captions is that a video may fetch more views on social platforms like Facebook, which often disable sound by default.
Transcribe Your Videos
Search engines cannot crawl video or image content and understand what they are. A search spider knows it is crawling an image or video file—but it cannot tell what the content is about.
Transcribing your videos is a great way to alert Google to the subject of your video. It also accomplishes a lot of other objectives:
- It provides relevant, keyword-rich content for Google to crawl
- It makes your video content more accessible to a wider audience
- It creates an opportunity to make another page on your site or blog
- It creates an opportunity to link out or link internally to other content inside that transcribed text
- It enables you to get more mileage out of your video investment
Transcribing videos is also some of the easiest content to produce because you’re just rewriting verbatim what you hear in the video.
Many commercials and even narrative and documentary files typically use scripts. If you have a script, it may only require a little formatting and then boom, you have text content for the internet.
Many people are willing to provide cheap transcription services on Fiverr and other freelancing websites, too.
If you’re doing a lot of transcriptions, court-reporting students might work for internship credit. You could reach out to local community colleges or universities for leads on that kind of help.
Keywords in Video Files
When Google crawls a web page, it looks for the keywords that a person used to determine the page’s relevance.
The more places you can put your keyword phrase, the more likely Google will think the page is relevant.
Video is a little trickier because the content is usually hosted on your site and you don’t have all of the same opportunities for keyword placement.
Naming your video file after the target keyword phrase, however, is some low-hanging fruit you can try.
It won’t shoot your video to the top of the search results alone, but it’s one more opportunity to rank the video for the phrase you’re targeting.
Keywords in Video Titles
Just like the video file name is a place for a keyword, so is the title of the video. When videos show up in search, the titles are often the first thing people see.
Whatever platform you’re using to upload your video, most have an area where you can insert a title.
Make sure you place your target keyword phrase in the title of your video. Also, make sure that it is front-loaded (as close to the beginning of the title as possible).
In the example above, the 5th result had most of the phrase that I originally searched for and it was pretty close to the beginning of the title.
Notice that the 3rd result had my keyword phrase too but it was so far at the end a user may never get that far before scanning the next result.
The initial results weren’t relevant at all because they talk about learning SEO and not specifically video SEO.
If you still have room in the text box where the title goes try to include some synonyms for your target phrase as well.
Google uses a metric called Dwell Time to determine how much engagement a search result gets. For video, the same metric can be applied.
The more a person watches a video, the more likely it is that the video is a good match for the search term a person used to find it.
In general, you want to drive more engagement to your videos. That can take the form of likes, shares, view time, number of views, embeds, or any other metric related to social proof. Here are some tips to accomplish those goals.
- Encourage people to share from within your video (either film it, or use call outs or overlays, depending on what’s available on the platform you’re using)
- Get your network to share, comment on, like, and otherwise interact with your video
- Take advantage of social share features in video platforms or if you’re embedding the video on your site
Basically, you want to make a video that people actually want to watch and then promote the heck out of it.
The Dollar Shave Club launch video is a great example. It’s short, punchy, entertaining, and takes you for a ride the moment you start watching it. I even watched it again for fun while writing this post.
In 2016 Google finally announced that links were one of its top ranking factors for websites in search results. SEOs have more or less known this for some time and basically, the quantity and quality of inbound links pointed at a website determine how well it ranks in search.
When it comes to video, the same principles apply. If a large quantity of links from high-quality sources points at a video, it will more likely rank well for relevant keyword phrases.
You can get links from anywhere online. Start with the low-hanging fruit like your own website, your social profiles, local directories, business listings, etc.
After that, you need to get creative. The best place to start is with your own network. Ask the people you work with, like partners, customers, and vendors, if they will link to your video.
In general, the harder it is to acquire a link usually means it comes from a better or more authoritative source; and hence is better for SEO.
Create a compelling thumbnail
The video thumbnail is often THE most compelling thing we see that makes users click on a video in a search.
All the leading platforms allow you to choose a custom thumbnail for your video.
Anytime you upload a video, you should always opt to choose a custom thumbnail. Make sure it’s related to the overall theme of the video and that it creates an urge to click.
Choosing a good image alone won’t help the video rank better in search, but it will improve the click-through rate, which is a metric search engines look at.
Producing a good video is only half the battle in promoting your business online. You also have to give serious thought to how people will find it. Though you can use a variety of paid methods, for long-lasting exposure that will pay dividends far into the future, SEO is the way to go.
Chris Dreyer is the founder and CEO of Rankings.io. With over 12 years of experience in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Chris has helped hundreds of law firms, physicians, and small businesses get first page positions in search engines. He is dedicated to helping lawyers get more leads and win more clients.