4 Tips to SEO Your Videos for Google and YouTube

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Online videos have become a very useful method for sharing information. Not only is YouTube the second-largest search engine after Google, but it also has a massive reach across social networking sites. People watch more than 500 years’ worth of YouTube videos on Facebook every day, and they share about 700 videos on Twitter each minute.

These social engagement numbers demonstrate the huge reach that videos naturally have. Because videos can boost discoverability and drive consumer engagement, it’s important to make sure that people can find your videos when they search online. By applying these four basic video SEO techniques, you can make your videos search engine friendly and help your business videos show up in search when people look for your types of products and services.

1). Determine Quality Keywords

Since search engines can’t make sense of video content on their own, adding keywords you want to rank for to the video title and description is essential whenever uploading a video to YouTube. Choose keywords that best represent the video and terms consumers will search for when looking for products or services like yours.

According to Jeff Martin of Touchstorm, there are many tactics businesses can use to find qualifying keywords to help with their video SEO. For example, you can use keyword tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool to help determine the best keywords for each of your videos. However, you should also conduct searches for single and long-tail keywords within YouTube to help you understand the types of videos that show up on YouTube for each term. Seeing how many videos share your potential keyword, along with the number of views and related videos on the side bar, can help you determine keyword competition and potential viewership for your videos.

2). Optimize Video Titles, Descriptions, and Tags

Making your video titles, descriptions, and tags SEO-friendly is as important as using qualified keywords.

Titles: The titles for YouTube videos have a 100-character limit, and you should include your most important keyword close to the beginning of your video title. Also, according to Mark Robertson of ReelSEO, you should consider adding a standard video “trigger” keyword, a word that attracts attention in search engine results, to your video. Trigger keywords you can use are “review,” “how to,” “about,” or your business name keywords.

Descriptions: Video descriptions are a critical component of video SEO because they are the main copy associated with your video and the largest portion of text that search engines can read when indexing videos. YouTube provides up to 5,000 characters in the description, so use this space wisely and strategically craft the text for both SEO and viewers. Also, include the same keywords used to optimize your title so search engines and people will see a correlation between the two. The description should include a summary of the video along with a link to a resource, like your website, where viewers can receive more information.

Tags: Tags are an additional form of keywords that you think people will use when searching for your videos. Unlike keywords that you include in your titles and descriptions, you can select additional keyword tags when uploading your video. Your tags can use up to 120 characters, so make sure you select tags that are the most relevant and that best represent your video and appear in your title or description. You should also add tags for your videos in the order of importance, and always include your primary keywords first.

Here are a few more SEO tips to help you fully optimize your YouTube videos.

3). Create Video Playlists

Creating a playlist for similar types of videos can help improve their visibility on YouTube. Not only do video playlists appear within the YouTube search results, but other videos in that playlist can also appear in the sidebar of the YouTube player as related content when a viewer watches a video that’s included in the same playlist. This helps boost views of other videos you’ve added, rather than directing viewers to other content YouTube deems as similar but that may belong to other accounts.

Another benefit of having a playlist is that when a viewer watches a video within your playlist, the next video in the playlist will automatically start when the first video completes. This guides the visitor through your videos, and this helps you get more views within that playlist and expose viewers to other messages from your brand.

4). Add Transcripts, Captions, and Annotations

Adding transcripts and captions to your YouTube videos can be a great way to make your videos more accessible to a wider range of audiences on YouTube, such as viewers who are hearing impaired or viewers who speak a different language. Transcripts and captions can also help your video get found in Google and YouTube search results because, by adding a transcript, you are providing search engines with the exact content of your videos as content that can be crawled in addition to the title, description, keywords, and tags. Since search engines read interactive transcripts, having transcripts on your videos can boost your SEO efforts.

When used correctly, annotations can also be a great addition to your YouTube videos. Annotations are pieces of content that show up on your actual video display. Annotations that drive engagement, such as requesting a thumbs up, shares, comments, and subscriptions, can also help boost your videos within search results because viewer engagement can influence a video’s ranking in search results. Recently, YouTube announced several new features to their platform, including the ability to create and update multiple annotations across many videos at once.

Videos are a great way to boost your Web presence and diversify your online marketing. For businesses that are unsure about creating videos, there are some YouTube features that will make video creation much easier. One such feature is an easy-to-use editing tool within YouTube that provides a quick and simple option to help users edit their videos. Or for those who want additional help, YouTube’s new Video Creation Marketplace allows small businesses and brands to hire current YouTube video users who are already publishing videos on YouTube to create brand videos.

If you are already taking the time to create videos as part of your online marketing strategy or you plan to do so, it is important for you to optimize your videos like you would other elements of your online marketing. If not, you could be missing a valuable opportunity to get found online and engage with consumers.

Are you using videos to market yourself to potential customers? Have you used any of these ideas to help your consumers find your videos online? Let us know in a comment!

Tara Banda
Tara Banda is a content marketing manager for ReachLocal, a leading global online marketing firm. On the ReachLocal blog, she writes about how businesses can... Read Full Bio
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