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The Basics of Video SEO

As video content has become more popular with consumers, video marketing has become a much more viable tool for businesses. As a top web development firm, we regularly recommend the use of video content because it helps build a better brand experience as well as deliver content in a desirable, easily-digestible format. With that recommendation also come our instructions on the basics of video SEO to make sure that there is a clear understanding of how to reach a bigger audience through search rankings.

Popularity of Videos

Videos have become one of the most popular methods to absorb content. YouTube has over 1.5 billion active users each month alone. Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter are also platforms where video content is on the rise.

With the increased speeds available on networks combined with current technology, watching videos on mobile devices or desktops has never been faster or easier. When you add to that the flexibility you have with the types of content videos can deliver, from instructional to informative to customer support, it makes sense as to why this is such a valuable way to share information.

Basics of Video SEO

Today we want to cover the basic concepts you should be using for video SEO working under the assumption that you have created good video content which people will find appealing. There are specific steps that should be done for each and every video you are going to post if you want to maximize exposure:

  • Keyword Homework – Keywords are a driving force behind search results for both Google and YouTube, therefore, you need to spend adequate time doing your keyword homework. This should be done on both platforms because plenty of people search directly within YouTube for information while other people use a search engine like Google which can then pull results from YouTube. You should run searches on both platforms to help generate a list of possibilities. From there you can use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to check the search volume of each possibility
  • Maximize Metadata – Your metadata acts as a secondary tool in search so it is important to optimize it properly as well. By Metadata we mean the tags, filenames, and descriptions. The filename might not seem important, but you should be including your primary keyword as the filename because there are some web crawling tools that do track and factor it in. Tags are a very critical part of the equation because they act as a quick summary of what your video content is. This again is a place to use your primary keyword. You can use more than one tag per video but make sure it is relevant to the specific content in the video. Finally, there is the description which is a fantastic space to describe in detail what your video is about. YouTube allows up to 5,000 characters and you should use as much of that as needed to precisely and concisely describe the content, making sure to use your primary keyword a few times.
  • One-to-One Ratio – The ideal ratio for video publication is one video on one page. There are a couple of reasons for this with the most important being how Google tracks videos. When Google finds a video on a webpage it then associates that page with that video and ignores additional video content on the same page. You should also only post a video once on your site because you risk duplicate content issues. One video per page will also help each page focused on a single keyword/concept.
  • Use a Video Sitemap – Google encourages the use of video sitemaps, and that alone should be reason enough to use one. In a nutshell, a video sitemap provides Google or other search engines with metadata for the video content on your website. It becomes an extension to your existing sitemap. Google will then make the included video URLs searchable on Google Video which just means more exposure for your content!
  • Use Video Transcripts – This is a useful method to ensure that search engine bots fully understand that content of your video. By providing a complete text transcript, the bots will be able to crawl and index all of that information to help understand the video content and rank it properly. Video transcripts are also very helpful for anyone who cannot access content from a video or people who are not able to listen to the audio such as deaf viewers or even those who do not speak the language in which the video was made as they can then use a program like Google Translate on the transcript.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that video content is one of the most popular types of content on the web. If you are using or plan on using video content then it makes sense to understand the Basics of Video SEO so that you can maximize the video’s visibility and search rankings.


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