An Introduction to SEO for Video

With Google continually making changes to the layout of their first page of results and rolling out updates to punish low-quality pages, it has never been more essential to use every technique at your disposal to compete for a top spot. If you’re a website owner or SEO practitioner, then you know that’s it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments, and that’s why today we’re going to go over how to roll-out an SEO for Video strategy that will help you rank highly and improve your traffic.

Benefits of a Winning SEO Video Strategy

If you’ve already been link-building for years and are happy with the results, you may be asking yourself why you even need to roll out an SEO campaign with video. You might be surprised to find that there are numerous practical benefits, which include higher click-through-rates (CTR), more exposure and impressions, the advantages of rich snippets and higher audience-engagement levels. Since Google’s Panda roll-out, we know that Google values the time that users spend on a page / website, so incorporating sticky content like video is essential.

Setting Objectives Early

The first thing we need to do when rolling out an SEO strategy for video is to set objectives. What are you hoping to achieve with this campaign? Do you need to hit the top spot for a certain keyword, or do you want to set yourself up as an expert in a particular niche? Who are you trying to target? Do you have a set budget, or are you willing to spend as much it takes? All of these points need to be considered to give you the best chance of success. There is no right answer – the best answer is the one that fits your goals and abilities. If you’re unsure where to start, try looking at your competitor’s websites and video strategy to get an idea of how they’re approaching the situation. 3rd Party or Self-Hosting?

One of the choices you’ll have to make when you decide to include video in your SEO strategy is deciding whether to host the videos yourself or to use a 3rd-party solution like Youtube or Vimeo. Obviously there are pros and cons for each option, with Youtube and Vimeo available for free while self-hosting includes additional costs. The advantage of self-hosting is flexibility and the ability to completely optimize every element of your strategy, from adding in rich snippets through to being able to channel people directly to your website from the search results page, rather than having them go to a 3rd-party first. The disadvantages of self-hosting include the increased strain on the server, a lower-profile platform and limited or complicated sharing options. I’ll show you how to optimize for each option next.

SEO Optimizing Self-Hosted Video

If you decide to the self-hosted route, there are a couple of things that you can do to really enhance the impact of your video.

  • Transcribe the Video. Find a good video-transcription service and add the transcription to the same page. Although video-annotation technology is improving and will soon be the norm, at the moment the only way to get the dialogue within a video onto the page is via transcription.
  • Embed a Video Sitemap. Create an XML Video Sitemap so that Google can crawl your videos. This is absolutely essential if you’re going to self-host your videos, as without it your videos don’t exist to Google, and won’t show up in the search results.
  • Optimize the Video Meta Data. When you add a self-hosted video, you can add lots of additional data about the video and allow search engines to crawl it. In addition to standards like Titles and Descriptions, you can add information regarding publication date, subject video length, dimensions, thumbnails and author.

SEO Optimizing Youtube

Optimizing video for Youtube (and other 3rd-party video sites) is much simpler. Basically what you want to do is make sure that your title, description and tags are relevant and searchable. A good tool to help you come up with the most relevant keywords is the Youtube Ads Keyword tool. You can also try typing in certain phrases to the Youtube search bar and see what the Autosuggest results are – these will give you clues as to what people are searching for.

Once you’ve gone through the above processes, and made your decisions as to how you want to approach your video SEO strategy, the next steps are to create great content and start your link-building! Keep in mind, though, that this is just the beginning, so keep using the resources that are out there on the net to learn more and continue optimizing your video SEO strategy.

Jacob E. Dawson is an entrepreneur and inbound-marketing consultant with a passion for creating value! He works with Delivery Hero Follow Jacob on twitter @jacobedawson and on Google+.


  • 11 years ago

    Another essential for your YouTube Video Description is to put the full URL back to your website (including the http://). This makes the link ‘live’ and viewers can click to your website or other destination. James Burke.

  • 11 years ago

    SEO is admittedly not an easy industry to pursue. Learning about videos is a great addition to your SEO method and technique arsenal.

Leave A Comment

Related Posts