5 SEO Tips for Video

[updated May 3, 2010]

When it comes to posting video online, there can be search engine optimization (SEO) benefits if you follow certain guidelines. Here are 5 things you should do with your video content to achieve SEO benefits.

As an example, check out this fantastic web video marketing campaign that is getting results. It’s short, simple, entertaining, and gets the point across.

Important SEO Considerations for Video Content

  1. Post your video everywhere possible.
    As long as you’re making a public video for your own website, go ahead and post it on as many other websites as possible, especially YouTube. Not only will it create buzz and make you easier to find, you will immediately gain valuable inbound links to your website — assuming you include a link in your user profile and the video description.
  2. Optimize your video posts on other sites.
    When posting your video on social media sites like YouTube, use your target keywords in your video title, tags, and description. And include your website address in the description and the video itself. Every time someone embeds your video or shares it on another social media site like Facebook, they will automatically grab your ideal title and description.
  3. Optimize the video page on your own website.
    Make sure there is relevant text content on the same webpage as the video, such as the video transcript or at least a detailed description of the video content. Search engines can’t hear or see; if you want their attention, provide text.
  4. Make your videos interesting enough to attract attention.
    Adding entertaining or informative video content is a great way to make your website more inviting and therefore attract more inbound links from other websites. Inbound links are a major part of SEO. The sample video above is a perfect example that is gaining  lots of attention and inbound links. Even I’m linking to it.
  5. You can incorporate SEO-friendly text into the video itself.
    Google and some other search engines can read the text portions of SWF Flash files even if they contain video content too. FLV Flash files, as used on YouTube, don’t contain the kind of text that Google can read. Here are technical references on SWF files from Adobe Flash and Google. You can add captions in YouTube and those can be read by search engines.

Does Google Rank Video Content Higher?

An added bonus for adding video to your website is that Google might give a slight preference to pages with video content. Since people like video, Google probably gives it preference as well since they want to keep their users happy.

Simply adding video content to a page is not enough to get Google’s attention, but if you follow the guidelines above, your web page should do well.

Further Reading

HOW TO: Boost Your SEO with a YouTube Channel (2010)

Top 10 Video Sharing Websites Reviewed (2010)

How to Use Video to Improve Google Ranking & Conversions (2009)

Video Storytelling Samples from a Pro (Media Shower Productions)

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  • It is also useful to create a video sitemap, as this will improve your prospects of getting the video to appear in the Google Universal Search results. A video sitemap is fairly similar in construction to the regular sitemap.xml but with some special video-specific tags.

    Full details at http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=10079

    Note: This is still in beta, but get in ahead of the others!

  • Thanks Ash, that is a fantastic addition to this topic.

  • The video sitemap or MRSS feed are incredibly useful to ranking well for video content, plus getting listed in Google Video search. It allows for putting meta data about video length, ratings (family friendly), and video image thumbnails into the feed to define and describe the content of the vids.

    Transcripts are hugely beneficial. YouTube enables closed captions for some videos posted there which get them indexed and makes them rank better within YouTube search by getting that closed captioning incorporated into the video search algo at YouTube!

    Here’s a YouTube case study describing a success story http://www.youtube.com/t/partnerships_success Full disclosure – they’re discussing my employer 🙂

  • Tim Tevlin

    Hi Val and thx for this solid bit of info . . . and in return you got two senior level pieces of feedback from Mike and Ash on video SEO tactics for video content placed on your own site or blog.

    From a local business marketing perspective I key not on optimizing video content for one’s own pages, but rather optimizing video content to be placed on YouTube and other third-party video sites simply with the goal of generating organic links on Google for a local-area business by having done so. So there are a few ways to slice what can be done with online video if you are trying to promote a business.

    The leading contributor of online video marketing news and insights is a site called ReelSEO.com FYI. Thx again!

  • Thanks Mike for your input and details.

    Here’s a good video that explains the power of closed captioning and proves that Google can read it when inserted in a video on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT1DmGHL-ZM

    I hear it’s fairly inexpensive to have someone transcribe your video into text for either posting on your webpage and/or adding as closed captioning. It’s more feasible than you may think.

  • Thanks Tim. I agree that it’s worth optimizing one’s YouTube video in and of itself. This can definitely be more important than optimizing the video page on your website.

    The more attention (comments, ratings, embeds, etc.) your YouTube video gets, the higher it will rank in YouTube search results. Since YouTube is the 2nd most popular place to do a web search, that rank is a big deal.

    There are ways to attract more attention in YouTube — that’s where optimizing comes in.

  • Niche Research

    Again, all of this
    revolves around the keywords that were selected during the research process.
    Essentially, the keyword research process is at the core of ranking websites
    and web pages for certain terms, making it one of the most important parts of
    the SEO process.

  • Really nice SEO Tips, I really need to get into the swing of making videos but it’s so time consuming compared to making a quality article but then again, I suppose when I get more than a 1mb upload it’ll speed things up. GJ on the Article.

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