How to Get the Best From Your Video SEO

Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director
 

When it comes to optimising your website’s performance through the most popular search engines, there are a number of different things you can do to help get the best results possible for your content.

Whether its copy, imagery or layout its important to optimise your site in order to ensure that you attract the right audience to your page and engage with them in the correct manner, ultimately leading to the desired footfall for your site.

This tactical approach to optimising the back end of your website extends to video content.

There are a number of different factors that ultimately dictate how your web content performs and SEO is a process that is constantly adapts as time goes on.

How to Optimise Video for SEO?

It can be tricky ensuring that you have ticked all the boxes in an effort to streamline and optimise your site. However, there are a number of different ways in which you can use the video content on your website to help with this task. 

From technical tweaks in the back end of your website to the quality of the video content itself, here are some tips to help you adjust video content as a means of improving video SEO.

 

video seo optimisation

Video Quality

The most logical place to start is with the video content itself. This is something that is paramount to improving the performance of your pages in the context of organic search.

Endeavouring to optimise video quality doesn’t mean that performing well on Google or YouTube necessitates high-budget, premium-quality videos.

In fact, if these videos have no relevance to the webpage it doesn’t matter if you’ve spent your entire marketing budget on a cinematic masterpiece or are uploading standard quality homemade videos, it won’t have the desired results on your page.

What is important is that the content and webpage itself follow a well-planned video content strategy that identifies a target audience and appeals to them in a particular manner.

If the content isn’t relevant to the webpage in question then viewers are more likely to stop watching after a matter of seconds.

These are trends that Google will pick up on, see as a negative mark against your website and ultimately consider the content to be irrelevant or poor quality.

Essentially, the better the quality of video from your audience’s perspective, the better the SEO results it will muster. If you are drawing in crowds wishing to view your content from start to finish then you are going to start seeing desirable results.

Title Your Videos Correctly

It sounds simple enough, but generic video titles are an extremely common error. Funnily enough files with names like “Video-1.mp4” aren’t going to perform nearly as well as uploads with content-relevant titles. Remedying this is not only effective but also easily done.

When choosing the title of a video, it’s important to make sure that you keep it relevant to the content of the page whilst also making it original and appealing.

For example, repeating the title of the webpage won’t help your cause in this scenario. Make sure that the title is eye-catching and relevant without being too complex. Using keywords is wise, yet Google and other search platforms are capable of understanding certain synonyms and insinuations.

It has also been suggested that retitling your videos soon after uploading them into your website’s CMS is beneficial.

Use an Intriguing Thumbnail

It’s a well-known fact that first impressions are of vital importance in the marketing world. If you want to attract a larger audience to your content then it is vital that you grab their attention from the outset.

It may seem obvious, but the quality of a thumbnail image is one way of doing this.

When trying to obtain maximum clicks on your video content displayed on Google or embedded within a webpage, nothing makes a person stop scrolling like an engaging thumbnail image.

website thumbnail

There are a few ways to help your video stand out from the crowd in this manner. Here are some of the top tips to help with thumbnail design:

Use top quality imagery

Using a good quality image that will pop out from the screen and demand the attention of your audience is key.

Obviously, the image that you should use depends on both the video content and the message that you are trying to portray, but it always needs to be relevant and in keeping with the theme of the page.

Using a screenshot is not a good way to do this. It won’t stand out within search engine results and typically they are of poor quality. You can use everything from text to logos on your thumbnail, just make sure that you are creative and make your video stand out before its even started playing.

Ensure that it is eye-catching when at its smallest

When showing up on search results, videos can appear on screen in resolutions as small as 116 x 65 pixels. If your thumbnail doesn’t get the right message across in this size then it doesn’t matter how incredible it might be, no one will even see it.

It is therefore important to ensure that your image has the desired effect at just 116 x 65 pixels, so that people are still drawn to it in the same manner.

Research simple design techniques

Studies suggest that there are certain things that are more likely to grab the attention of a viewer.

For example, in certain contexts, using faces on your thumbnail has been shown to create more of a connection with an audience, in turn making them more likely to choose a thumbnail with a face than one without.

Adhering to more general imagery design rules will also help, such as the rule of thirds. If the viewer connects with the image in some way then they are far more likely to click on it.

Write an Engaging and Relevant Meta Description

Much like choosing the correct title for your video content, optimising the meta description attached to the video in the back end of your website by using the correct wording is also key to performing well.

Meta descriptions are a key element to every page of a website when looking to improve SEO. It is important that you use wording that is both engaging and relevant to your content and its relationship with your audience. 

Not only does this HTML attribute help to improve the positioning of your content within Google and other search engine results pages, but it also often appears under the search result itself.

This means that it is the first piece of text that people will see after finding your video, so you must take this opportunity to draw them in with a succinct but eye-catching description. Keywords should be used where possible to ensure the best performance with the correct crowd.

As a rule, meta descriptions should typically be no more than 160 characters, as Google will generally cut the wording off at this stage regardless. This way it looks far slicker if your meta description doesn’t tail off at the end with an ellipsis.

Create an Effective Video Sitemap

Video sitemaps are a means of letting Google know more information about the content of each video on your website. A good way of optimising video SEO, sitemaps typically outline information such as the length of the video, what category it should fall under and whether or not it should have an age-appropriate rating.

This will let Google know the relevance of the video to certain keywords when crawling your site, in turn connecting you with the right audience.

Video sitemaps are recommended for websites that are large, have a lot of rich data (videos and images) or are not particularly well linked with relevant internal and external pages.

Google may not always make use of a sitemap and instead crawl through the text on the page itself to retrieve the data that it desires, but it is a good idea to keep all bases covered by providing sitemaps for each of your videos regardless.

Utilise Effective Video Schema Data

Schema (or schema.org) refers to a set of tags that you can add to a page’s HTML to improve the way that your page is both searched and represented by search engines.

It is a feature used by Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo! that presents snippets of relevant information about a page within its search engine representation. This can be anything from the author and publication date of a book to the type of cuisine and opening times of a local restaurant. 

Depending on the nature of your website, using effective schema data can be a valuable tool when it comes to making your page stand out amongst the crowd.

It can also be used to present a star rating for your business or product, which is a brilliant way of drawing eyes towards your website on a search engine (provided the reviews are positive of course).

Make Use of Video Captions

Adding captions to the bottom of your videos may seem unnecessary, but the benefits of doing so are undeniable when it comes to video SEO. Whilst SEO technology is extremely smart and developing on a daily basis, it is still far from assessing precisely what the content of your video is about.

writing video captions

This is why adding captions will help crawlers discern what the content is actually regarding and its relevance to certain subjects.

There is the added benefit of appealing to a wider audience, with those who are hard of hearing or not fluent in the language being far more likely to watch a video with captions.

Studies also show that 80% of people using captions are not nard of hearing, using them for watching videos in public spaces. Therefore, the benefits of using captions to optimise a video is twofold and goes beyond video SEO.

Index Your Main Video Higher up the Page

If you are looking to improve the video SEO on a page containing multiple videos then you should bear in mind that Google will typically only index one video per page.

When the search engine crawlers are assessing the content of a page, they are unlikely to proceed past the first video that they encounter.

Therefore, you need the most relevant video to sit at the top of the page. This isn’t a consideration that should alter your website entirely but it is good practise and something to consider when designing a new webpage for your site.

Opt for Inline Embedding When Possible

Google often picks up on strange and unpredictable features when crawling a site for the information that will make it shoot towards the top of its search results.

One such feature is the way that your video is embedded into the page. There are a number of ways that video footage can be embedded into a webpage, but research suggests that inline embedding is the most effective when it comes to considering SEO.

This is most likely due to the fact that in this format, the video doesn’t need to be clicked in order to trigger the JavaScript that delivers it.

video seo practices

Conclusion

There is no set recipe for success when improving site SEO, whether through video or any other means. Instead there are guidelines that you can follow which, if done correctly, are sure to help your page appear in the right places and stand out from the crowd.

It can seem an intimidating task, but there are plenty of guides, such as those provided by Moz, which can help you get on your way with SEO.

If you adhere to the tips outlined above it wont guarantee you will shoot to the top of the rankings (a lot of video SEO is down to interpretation) but it is sure to point your website in the correct direction and lead you in the direction of your desired results.