How to SEO optimise your videos for organic search

4 June 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.

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.

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”.

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.

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?

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