How to SEO optimise your videos for organic search

June 4, 2019
Video searches are continually on the rise and video content marketing is showing no sign of slowing down. Technology company Cisco even forecasts that over 80% of all internet traffic will be video by 2021.

The two largest video-sharing platforms, YouTube and Vimeo offer unrivalled opportunity to get your message across to this growing audience. Harness the benefits of these platforms by learning how to optimise your videos for search engines.

YouTube vs Vimeo

YouTube is by far the largest video-sharing platform. It enjoys 1.8 billion monthly users and eclipses the traffic of its main competitors. When uploading a video on YouTube, users have access to a range of great features they can optimize to maximise the visibility of their videos on this search engine.

Vimeo is a far smaller hosting platform, but is not to be overlooked with 240 million monthly visitors. Vimeo tends to serve a more niche audience with a community-creative feel. Well optimised Vimeo videos are still able to rank as well as YouTube videos in search.


Which video platform you choose for your videos will depend on many factors such as time and money resources, your video marketing objectives, target audience. I invite you to read this article written by Converkit about the 8 best video hosting sites if you want to find out more about the topic.


How to optimise video content

Research video keywords

Keyword research is important to make sure your video content serves a purpose, answers your audience’s questions and matches search intents.

Use tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs to conduct your keyword research. My best advice is to turn to Google and perform searches which are relevant to your niche and see what queries bring video content in search results.

For example, the search query “how to optimise videos” brings up a video carousel with great content which also cover this topic. Now, try to do better.

How to optimise videos SERPs

Optimise your video title

Just like when you perform a search on Google, the search snippet plays a lot into which link we decide to click on. It’s the same on a video search results, make sure the title of your video is:

  • Optimised for your target keyword: remember that keyword research from above?
  • Is descriptive and solves a real problem: let you users immediately know what the purpose of the video is.
  • Is engaging and click enticing.

These videos below are great titles:

Videos with great optimised titles

Add transcripts, captions and subtitles

Search engine crawlers are very smart but can’t “watch” or “listen” videos easily. They need a bit of help from us to be able to “read” what is going on in your videos. Good news is, closed captions are crawlable by search engines so adding these to your videos will give them a nice SEO advantage.

Most video platforms will support automatic captioning but it will never be perfect and I recommend that you upload your own to make sure everything makes sense and is accurate.

Optimise your video tags and descriptions

These are your next two most important features to optimise for your video to be discoverable in search and on YouTube search.

Tags: add super relevant tags to your videos to help make them discoverable. Don’t overdo it and keep your video tags to 10 max.

Description: craft a unique description for your video that provide users with a basic outline of what your video is about.

Aim to write about 150 words and explain the purpose of your video in about 30 words to make sure this is visible to your user without them to click on “read more”.

Optimised video description

Choose a click-enticing thumbnail

Although a cute thumbnail is not a SEO ranking factor, which of these three videos would you likely click and watch to learn about video optimisation.

Examples of video thumbnails

A good title, a good description and a good thumbnail will tell your users what the video is about and encourage them to click. A good thumbnail equals more clicks equals better SEO.

Now that you know the basics on how to optimise your videos for search you can head over to blog post we wrote on how to optimise images for SEO and pick up even more tips. For example, did you know that file name and file size are both important in video and image optimisation?

WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY

It has taken eight years to find the Digital Company that can take our business into the future and bring returns that they promise. Mash Media’s service across all digital and social means is exceptional. Attention to detail and finding alternative means and methods to get the best out of our advertising dollar far exceeds other digital companies I have worked with. One special mention is the amazing work the SEO specialist in Camille Le Goff has performed on our website. This lady has endless energy and ideas that are more than usual spot on. Sharney Ryan should be congratulated in putting together a professional bunch of experts across all digital fields that focus not on the long term goals but the personal touches that makes working with them a daily pleasure.
Ian - Parrys Carpets.
Through many years of a changing internet landscape and states of the economy Mash Media constantly deliver what I believe is as good as you can get! We receive responsive personalised service that I have not experienced with any other provider, large or small. Forget the rest, you won’t be disappointed, Mash media delivers hands down the best return on investment in the online marketing world. Whilst there is never a guarantee that things remain the same (especially when technology is involved), you can be assured that the team at Mash Media will be one of the first to adapt and take advantage of on your behalf. This has been my experience to date and I have no reason to expect this to change.
John Travelli - Ceramo.
I have the honour ​of​ writ​ing​ a testimonial for Mash Media and in particular its owner Sharney Ryan. I have been with them for now over 5 years​! And wouldnt consider going anywhere else again.​ The​y are a great team who have a​ genuine interest in helping my practice succeed with Marketing, Adwords and Website​ & SEO has been superb.Prior to them advising me i had spent significant sums with large organizations, only to find that much of the budget was spent on their overheads and profit before being applied to my business.This company ​truly ​delivers.
Dr Ron Binetter - AIES.
I have been dealing with Sharney for many years and followed her from her last posting in a Corporation as Sharney displays skills and knowledge in this minefield of an industry. I am very pleased to be part of Mash Media’s growth from a one-man band to where they are today with employees and offices all over. We are treated well and never pushed to increase our spend like the big guys do. Sharney and her team make our digital life clearer and easier.
Richard Wilson - Richard's Tyre Power.
If there is a better Digital Agency going around than Mash Media, then I haven't found them. And I have been looking for a long time!! We had an urgent need to get a site up and Sharney and Ben turned it around in 72 hours. Took a brief, clarified the brief, made the brief better than I thought possible. A great overall experience and just goes to show, botique is better!
Vincent Kelly - Viridor.
Sharney and Michael made sure they understand our business and Mash Media have an excellent campaign manager in Michael. His attention to detail and his hands-on approach to optimising our adwords campaign is what brought us back to Mash Media. We tried another campaign manager during the economic downturn, but came back to Mash Media when it became clear they could convert more enquiries, in spite of the economy.
Andrew Langdon - Sentinel Self Storage.
4 years and counting with the awesome Mash Media Team. They have been doing a great job of looking after our Adwords. More recently they have created a couple of different tailored websites that proved to save our adword cost by over 40%.......these websites paid for themselves in 6mths over the old clunkers. Superb results. Lovin’ their work.
Alex Brown - The URECO group of companies.