Video SEO 101

video seo 101

Ever since Google shifted from being a “search engine” to an “answer engine,” there was a drastic rise in zero-click searches, so much so that more than 50% of Google searches end without a click. It turns out that audiences are moving to different sources for content like YouTube–which has now become the second most accessed website in the world. Thus, one of the ways to secure coveted positions in search results is through video SEO!

Google loves videos, and so do its users. It doesn’t come across as a surprise that mobile video consumption increases by 100% every year. After all, Google features videos from YouTube (which it owns), in its native search result, drawing views from the right people.

Online videos are expected to take up 82% of all consumer traffic by 2022, and ignoring videos in your content marketing strategy could lead to significant sales opportunity losses. For perspective, studies have shown that 83% of consumers worldwide prefer YouTube to watch video content; ignoring video SEO will exclude a large portion of your client base from your marketing audience.

Apart from creating well-directed engaging videos, don’t overlook the SEO aspect of your video content. Videos are a form of rich media that presents a greater likelihood of sharing. When users share your videos, more backlinks are created, which can help boost your rankings. Videos get featured in SERP snippets and win position-zero (the top position on search results), driving relevant traffic to your business.

Video SEO is the process of leveraging and optimizing video content to drive organic traffic. Let’s discuss in detail how you can conquer video SEO:

Start With Keyword Research

Given that YouTube is essentially a video search engine, you need to approach its content creation strategically. This means starting with thorough keyword research to determine what your potential audience is interested in and what’s trending in your niche.

Start by going through popular searches for your related keyword on YouTube. Enter relevant keywords into the search box and let the auto-complete feature do the rest.

You can even use Google Trends to find the search volume for your potential keyword over a given period. Google Trends has a “YouTube search” option dedicated to this purpose.

If you’re just starting, targeting low-competitive keywords is a great way to drive the right kind of users to your site.

Create Videos With High Likelihood Of Engagement

The first 15 seconds are the most critical part of your video. This means that your video needs to be captivating and engaging from the get-go! Storytelling is a great way to keep your audience hooked and subtly present your brand to your potential client base. People also love tutorials and how-to reviews.

Based on the industry and topic, make sure to keep the duration of your video in mind. Longer videos make sense for educational content, while entertaining promotional videos should be kept short with the focus on enticing the user to engage with the content.

Total Watch Time (TWT)

TWT is possibly YouTube’s #1 ranking factor. It’s the amount of total time your video accrues in minutes.

YouTube prioritizes videos that achieve higher TWT. Think about it–when more people engage with your videos, the higher engagement signals to YouTube that your video is popular and worth ranking in search results.

Therefore, keep an eye on watch time, not just for videos, but also for your overall channel. A growing channel should see a monthly increase in this metric.

Utilize The Power Of Playlists

Playlists are possibly the most underrated promotional tool on YouTube. Create playlists around products, content genre, and broad categories to help people dive deep into a certain topic, which in turn drives up your videos’ watch time.

On-Page Video SEO Optimization

The Video Title

Your video title should serve two main goals:

  1. Let the search engine know what your video content is about
  2. Maximize click-through rates

The first goal is fairly straightforward– you must include the keyword you want to rank for in the title. While it shouldn’t be too wordy, make sure it is at least five words long.

The second goal requires you to be interesting, creative, and honest. The title should not only accurately portray the nature of your video content, but it should do so in a compelling way that grabs the users’ interest.

Note: Make sure the keyword is naturally incorporated in your title. You shouldn’t sacrifice the user-friendly component of SEO for keyword optimization.

Eye-Catching Thumbnail

Your video’s thumbnail image might just be more important than your video title in terms of driving clicks.

The thumbnail gives your audience a sense of what they’re investing their time into. If it’s dull and boring, the user will click on the next video in the recommended list within seconds.

We’ve seen that custom thumbnails that include graphical text receive a higher play rate. Make sure the thumbnail is visible, high-quality, engaging, professional, and uses colors that complement each other.

Some companies even get professional shots taken for their thumbnail image.

Attention-Grabbing Video Descriptions

Most people overlook the value of video descriptions. They allow you to expand on the information in your video, include links to related/ top-performing videos, add performer bios, and calls-to-action.

Use the “Show More” prompt to give more insight into your video. An enticing hook in the first sentence of your description will convince people to click on the Show more section.

What’s more, the description gives you another chance at including relevant keywords!

The Tags

YouTube tags give you a shot at including single keywords. Mine your competitor’s content for the best tags to get an idea. Around 5 tags should be enough.

The Transcript

The video transcript—AKA, the closed captions—is another piece of YouTube’s ranking algorithm puzzle. Don’t rely on the automated transcription process because it’s often riddled with errors. Either edit the automated version–or use a Virtual Assistant or transcription service to create one.

Moreover, since YouTube’s algorithms understand spoken words in a video, make sure to say your main keyword at least once or twice per video.

Create A Video Sitemap

If you create a large amount of video content, publishing it on your site can help increase engagement. Create a separate video sitemap to give Google a better idea of which pages have videos and what the video content focuses on.

Keep a Close Eye On Analytics

After optimizing and uploading your videos, the next step is to monitor and analyze their performance.

Go to YouTube Analytics at youtube.com/analytics to find out more about your traffic sources, the percentage of viewers that are subscribers, and the demographics. Once you have an idea of who is watching your videos, you will be better able to create content that caters to them.

Furthermore, combine the results of YouTube Analytics with a Google keyword rank tracker tool, like Rank Genie, to monitor your keyword ranking and optimize it.

With Rank Genie, you can analyze the performance of your targeted keywords across different devices and see which works best. Plus, it uses geo-specific rank tracking to help you spot new keyword opportunities and adapt your content creation strategy accordingly. Start your 7-day free trial for Rank Genie today!

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