Many brands, big and small, are choosing video over text or image-based content because that is what audiences want. It’s no secret, it never has been: Video content is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there.
Regardless of the type of video you end up going for in the end, How-to videos, testimonials, whiteboard animations… each one can serve as a distinct asset at different stages of the buyer’s journey. That said, it’s also true that if not implemented correctly, each one can end up underperforming.
Like any other tool, video needs to be handled properly.
As cool, interesting, and trustworthy as video can be, individual pieces of content can’t be useful if nobody is watching them! Which is why learning how to improve the SEO on video content is so important.
Plenty of video marketing statistics show that video content is an investment that can provide a lot of return. But you need to make sure it’s reaching your audience for that to happen!
But There’s an Ocean of Videos Out There!
Yes, there is.
More than 300 hours of videos gets uploaded to YouTube every hour! Of course it can feel daunting to try to get your videos ranking prominently on YouTube or in Google searches.
However, it’s not impossible.
It’s a matter of knowing your audience, anticipating their needs, and making sure you have the right videos waiting for them when they need it.
Video is always worth it. It retains your audience’s attention more than text and images together, and it makes your audience identify with your brand and product in a much deeper way.
It’s not just a matter of uploading your videos and hoping for the best. For every video with a great performance out there, there’s a SEO strategy behind it. And knowing how to do SEO alone is not the same as applying SEO for video content, in fact, there are specific areas of it that affect video rankings, and that’s what we’ve brought to you today.
By using the right SEO techniques in your videos’ promotion, you’ll make sure that your content stands out from the ocean of videos that brands are making every day.
Find the Right Hosting Platform
So, we can all agree that YouTube is a great video platform, right? It’s the biggest video website of the Internet, and the second biggest search engine (yes, it officially classifies as a search engine).
Right. But when brands are new to video creation and they need to upload your video somewhere, they usually don’t consider other options — and there are other options.
For example, there’s Vimeo, Veoh, DailyMotion, Metacafe… and there’s also the possibility of embedding videos on social media profiles directly. This is a great way to gain exposure because these platforms prioritize native videos in their algorithms.
Remember, though, that all the traffic that your videos get will stay on the platform that you choose to upload it to.
A great way to counteract this is to create specific landing pages built around your videos, but we’ll get to that in a second.
Optimize Your Titles and Descriptions
When they’re making a search online, what makes audiences click on a specific video? An interesting title and description, of course.
Titles must be attractive — keep in mind that audiences are looking for content that helps them know more about a certain topic, so create titles that respond to that.
An attractive title focuses on solving a problem: It introduces a quick and easy way to solve your audience’s needs. Also, keep in mind that search engines usually prioritize videos to solve “How To” searches. So a video named “How to Create a Storyboard” has more chances to appear high in searches than “Create a Storyboard in 3 steps”.
Descriptions are also super important: the first 150 characters of a video description will show in the search results. So, make sure to put the most important sentences at the beginning of your video’s description. When you’re optimizing your copywriting to serve SEO purposes, you need to forget suspense — leave that to Game of Thrones!
And a bonus pro-tip: Don’t forget metadata!
Pay attention to things like your video file’s name when embedding it on a website, and include valuable keywords in there instead of just naming your video “finalversionforreal_2.mp4”.
Thumbnails Are for Videos What Covers Are for Books
Everybody knows that saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Well, people may listen to that one, but when it comes to video content there’s no saying that counts.
Audiences do judge videos by their thumbnails, and it’s your job to optimize these thumbnails to make them as appealing to your target audiences as possible.
This small image usually is the only preview that your audience is going to see before they choose to watch your video or keep scrolling. Take your time and choose it carefully!
One tip: Don’t ever let the platform you’re uploading your video choose the thumbnail for you! Instead, upload one that’s specifically customized for your content. You could even add text if that contributes to the appeal of your video!
The Power of Using Transcripts
Did you know that more than 80% of video content is watched without sound? Even if you didn’t know this statistic, it can’t come as a surprise for anyone. Users are constantly looking at their social media accounts, and it’s not common for them to stop everything that they’re doing just to listen to a video.
So video transcripts come in handy, not only as a way of adding subtitles to your content (which is highly, highly recommended, as you could deduce from that 85% stat) but also as a way to include more keywords to your video in SEO-relevant areas.
Aha! Interesting point, right? Keywords are gold to SEO campaigns, and having an extra place to add them beyond just the title and description of your video is like finding a pirate’s treasure. The keywords on your transcript will work in your favor when search engines rank the page in which your video is embedded in.
Prioritizing Videos for Embedding
This means one thing and one thing only: Make videos the stars of your marketing strategy.
Video dominates the marketing world, and people tend to choose video content as their primary source of information. You should build your websites around your video content, not the other way around.
Embed your videos in your landing page in a visible spot: don’t make your audience scroll down to find them — keep them easily accessible and visible. A minute of video is worth a thousand words, so make sure to embed them above the fold!
Create Dedicated Pages for Your Video
Did you know that when you create specific landing pages for your video, Google ranks them higher in searches? They actually suggest choosing one main video and then complementing it with related information.
You should do it, not only because search engines prefer it, but also because it makes a lot of sense.
A website full of videos won’t be able to retain a visitor’s attention for very long, and we all know that the Internet user’s attention spans are short and very hard to maintain. (If you don’t believe me, just check how many tabs you have open on your browser right now).
Don’t try to make your website a copy of YouTube. Instead, choose one video that’s relevant for your target audience and make it the main piece of your landing page.
Video Landing Page Optimization
If you’re following Google’s advice and creating a landing page built around your main piece of video, don’t forget to optimize it too!
Yes, of course, your video needs to follow SEO rules, but your website is part of the video campaign too, so it also needs some optimization love.
For this, you’ve got to work on everything that can be worked on. Create optimized meta descriptions and titles. Write copy that includes relevant keywords and that flow with your video’s theme.
Basically, make everything come together under one cohesive concept and purpose.
Do Not Divide Your Audience’s Focus
You want the spotlight – and your audiences’ attention – on your video alone!
We mentioned in passing in an earlier point, but it’s worth it to go a bit more in-depth on this topic: When online, people’s attention spans are really, reaaaally short. Focus and concentration are a real issue for marketers everywhere, so communicating a video’s core message at the beginning has become essential.
Actually, experts say that the average attention span has been reduced to less than 8 seconds (which is basically shorter than the one of a goldfish!). These 8 seconds are how much time you have to capture your audience’s interest by giving them information that’s useful and relevant for them.
And, please, do not put multiple focus points in a single landing page! As we mentioned before, you should choose one video that’s the main one in your website and keep it above the fold, accompanied by information that supports it.
Proper SEO is Just the Start!
Video content is an investment. A very good and profitable one at that, if done right. If you want your money to return properly, you need to focus on more than just SEO.
Yes, optimizing videos with SEO techniques is a very important piece, but just that on its own is not going to be enough.
These areas are important in order to boost a video’s visibility and effect, but SEO is always changing and evolving, and it’s important for marketers to keep updated on that in order to make their video content perform up to expectations.
If you want to boost your videos and get your money’s worth, you need to include other elements, like effective CTAs, localization, and higher production quality.
You can also benefit a lot from promoting your content through advertisements. Video is the kind of content that performs best, not only for organic posts but also for ads.
With a strong hook at the beginning of the video (if you thought people had short attention spans with regular video, don’t get me started about ads… ads of any kind!), you’ll be able to communicate a message in a much stronger way through video advertisement than through images or text.
People trust video, and trust brands that use high-quality video. Use that in your favor!
Just to sum it up…!
Search engines usually favor video content over plain text because audiences prefer the format. Even though that’s a fact, the truth is that in the ocean of videos that get uploaded to the Internet every day, it’s hard to make your content shine.
That’s why marketers need to optimize strategic SEO areas to boost their videos. Videos are a great tool on their own, but distributing them correctly means that they’ll reach much more people, which means more awareness, more conversions and, eventually, more sales.
That’s a great thing to have in exchange for choosing a nice thumbnail, rewrite a bit of copy and create a landing page. Right?
If you need to take one thing out of this article, let it be this: Your videos need to be optimized, yes, but they also need to be interesting and relevant to your target audience.
You need to find a way to balance both elements, high-quality content and a sensible SEO strategy, to get the full benefits all around.
And if it all feels like a bit too much, don’t forget that any video production company worth their salt will be able to guide you to the right steps that follow the creation of your amazing video.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.