Topics we’re about to cover:
- Choose the right keywords
- Add your keywords to your video meta data
- Add a transcript
- Optimise your video thumbnail filename
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation — in other words, rank higher in search engines such as Google and Bing.
Search engine optimisation almost always involves finding certain keywords (or key phrases) that people enter into search engines, and then strategically using them in content. SEO is a practice that is usually used to rank web pages or blog articles higher. But it’s entirely possible to optimise a video for search as well. In fact, in our experience, it’s one of the most underused tactics to up the performance of a video!
How video SEO gets you more ‘bang for your buck’
When you properly optimise a video, it will turn up higher in the search results when someone looks up information about a related topic. Do your video SEO right, and when someone types ‘your keywords’ in Google your video could be on page 1 of the search results.
Together with the right context, an enticing thumbnail and a head-turning headline, this should result in more views of your video.
After all, it is presented to more people interested in the topic. And if your video is engaging and has an appropriate, clear call to action, more views should in turn result in more conversions: traffic to your website, Facebook page likes, email opt-ins — or your preferred goal. (Read our other tips to boost your video ROI here.)
Sounds awesome, right? Now how do you get started? Video SEO: step-by-step
Optimising a video for search is different from optimising a web page. For example, you’ll want to use keywords that actually generate video results. Because here’s the thing: Google doesn’t show videos for every query. There are ‘types’ of search queries where Google prefers to include videos in the results, such as:
- How-to keywords (“how to change oil” or “How to optimize your video for SEO” ;))
- Reviews (“headphone review”)
- Tutorials (“learn to windsurf”)
- Fitness or sports related keywords (“Jumping jacks”)
- Funny videos (“amazing fails”)
There are two ways to measure the popularity of keywords. First... To get hold of these video keywords, simply test: type appropriate keywords video in Google and see if there are video results. Always check in Google Keyword Planner whether your video key phrase has a proper search volume (at least a few hundred per month) to be worthwhile.
Meta what? Search engines can’t ‘read’ a video — they have no idea what it is about. Unless you tell them what it’s about. And that’s exactly what meta data does. Examples of meta data are:
- the video filename
- the video title
- the video description
- the tags
Use your chosen key words in each of these to leave no doubt to search engines as to what your video is about. Note that readability of your title and description always comes first. You’ll have to do this separately for each platform: YouTube, Wistia, Vimeo et cetera.
There is however a way to make it even clearer to search engines what your video is about: transcripts or captions. Transcripts are word-by-word texts that accompany your video; captions are subtitles.
When you add these to your video, Google can read what your video is about, so you’re giving yourself an even better chance of ranking higher. Wistia and YouTube have transcript & captions options built-in. They automatically use the right code so Google can read it, too.
This one is for the perfectionists ;-) If you upload a video to Wistia, for example, you can upload a custom thumbnail. That is the image that search engines use to display your video in search results.
Your thumbnail has a filename, say ‘video-thumbnail3.jpg’. However, it’s smarter to use key phrases in that file name. Let's use this blogpost as an example: ‘how-to-do-video-seo-in-4-easy-steps.jpg’ will give your SEO an extra boost! There you go: another way to get the most out of your video!