12 video SEO tips to help improve your search rankings

Written by: Jason Bayless | December 14, 2016
Over recent years, internet marketers and entrepreneurs have been turning to video to boost online presence and increase revenue. In fact, many people utilize online video as their sole strategy to earn an impressive income. How do they do it? The key is utilizing effective video SEO tactics.

Whether you plan on boosting revenue or you’re just looking for more exposure, you’ll benefit from this comprehensive list of a whopping 12 tips for improving your search rankings with video SEO.

1. Audit Your Filename

Most people don’t think twice about the actual filename for their video before uploading, but it actually plays a meaningful role in video SEO. Simply enough, be sure to name the file “yourkeyword.avi” before uploading. It takes only a couple of seconds, and it can help the search engine crawler understand what your video is about.

2. Pay Attention to Your Title

Like the filename, a search engine can use a title to discern the content of your video. You’ll always want to include your targeted keyword(s) within your title. Likewise, you should ensure that it briefly describes exactly what your video is about.

3. Put Effort into Your Description

If you can, keep your video description to roughly 2 or 3 lines. The description should be keyword-rich, and it should contain a full explanation for your video.

4. Take Advantage of Closed Captioning

Closed captioning is a nice feature that allows users to display a transcript on screen that is synced with video (provided that there is speaking included). Your keyword should be included at least once somewhere in the closed captioning text for your video. Believe it or not, search engines will crawl closed captioning information to determine the context of your video.

5. Create a Great Thumbnail

Don’t make the mistake of allowing YouTube (or similar services) to choose a random thumbnail for you. Your thumbnail is a lot like a storefront sign for your video. You’ll want to create a visually engaging thumbnail that makes use of color, vibrance, and a high resolution for the sake of aesthetics.

6. Keep Your Users Engaged

YouTube, among other search engines, will penalize videos that simply can’t keep users around for more than a few seconds. In other words, if viewers are bored by your content, or if they don’t find it relevant enough, YouTube will automatically rank it lower in search results. Focus on churning out good, useful content will keep users around for the duration of your videos.

7. Use Tags Wisely

Of course, your tags will be yet another place where your keywords will shine. Use your keywords (even the long-tail words) to tag your video, and be sure to use quotation marks to tag various phrases with more than one word. For example, you might want to add quotation marks around “best iphone apps 2016” if it were hypothetically one of your keywords.

8. Use Interactivity to Get Your Users Involved

You can easily take your video content to the next level by adding interactive elements to it. For example, an in-video form, survey, quiz, or link can spike your user’s interest, and it can also drive them to respond to your call to action immediately.

9. Create Awesome Content

Recycled content has no place in SEO. You should always create content that legitimately interests users and solves problems for them. It should also inspire users to return in the future.

10. Ensure Your Content is “Share-able”

Social media is currently a super highway for viral content. Viral posts on social media all have one thing in common, and it’s “share-ability”. It can be digested quickly, and it’s entertaining or useful at face value. Ensure your video content is share-able and useful.

11. Add a Video Sitemap

A sitemap can be the difference between a good search ranking and a bad one. It offers general information about your video, such as its title, description, and duration, but it also provides important information such as live streams, country restrictions, or platform restrictions.

12. Allow Embedding

Lastly, you’ll want to make it easy for your users to use your video in other areas of the internet (which is somewhat like sharing). Embedding offers up the potential for more exposure, and this is always a good thing. Ensure your content can easily be embedded to other spaces online.