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How to Make SEO-Friendly Videos

Creating videos is a great way to inform and engage an audience. However, for your video campaign to be successful, it should also reach users who aren’t already familiar with your brand. To do this, it’s important your video displays in the search results for related search engine queries. Although there are a number of techniques that can be implemented, let’s dive into some of the methods that will give your videos the greatest chance at gaining visibility.

Video Optimization Best Practices

1. Take Advantage of Video Markup: The very first step in making your video SEO-friendly is to help Google properly index them. In most cases, the page where your video is embedded is not descriptive enough to allow search engines to index your video. Google requires three key pieces of information to properly index a video:

  1. A title
  2. A description
  3. A thumbnail

To pass this information to Google, you have two options: On-page markup or video sitemaps. On-page markup is hidden, descriptive text added within the source code of your web page. Schema is a markup format that has been collaboratively designed and supported by the three major search engines: Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. To learn more about on-page markup and implementing it on your site, visit schema.org. Video sitemaps are XML documents which describe your videos to search engines. You can learn more about video sitemaps to get started.

2. Optimize Text Content: Similar to optimizing webpages, keyword research should be performed before creating your video to find popular terms people are searching for related to your video’s topic. You can find relevant terms by simply typing a query into the search bar of YouTube or Google.

search bar auto-population results

Optimizing the title tag and meta description for the page on your site where the video will be embedded will also help search engines understand what your video is about. It’s also important to make sure the keywords are highly relevant to your video’s topic and not just working as click bait that will disappoint the user and make them bounce off the page. If you’re hosting the video on your site, make sure there is supplemental information relevant to the video’s topic on that same page. The goal is to provide relevant, informative content that encourages users to share your video.

3. Include a Video Transcript: Speaking of content, adding a transcript to your video is another way to include text that search engines can crawl to determine what your video is about. Video transcripts also provide additional room to optimize with keywords, making your video more SEO-friendly. In addition, video transcripts make your videos more accessible to other users – especially those who may be hearing impaired or are not a native speaker.

video transcript example

4. Upload the Video to Multiple Locations: Hosting the video on your site is a great way to attract visitors to your website and convert leads. In addition, hosting the video on your own domain ensures search engines won’t direct traffic to another site. However, if you’re wanting to increase brand awareness, posting your video on multiple platforms (i.e. YouTube & Vimeo) will allow you to reach a larger audience who may not already be familiar your brand. In addition, publishing your videos on YouTube and other video hosting platforms will ensure your videos are automatically optimized for mobile viewing. This brings us to our next point…

5. Ensure Your Video is Mobile-Friendly: In late 2016, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing, meaning Google will predominantly use the mobile version of a site’s content for indexing and ranking. These days, most users are viewing videos on their smartphones. So, it’s more important than ever to ensure your site and videos are responsive to mobile-viewing. Additionally, it’s best to avoid using Adobe Flash. Although Flash has some advantages, this technology typically slows down the loading speed of your site. Slow sites typically have less user engagement, higher bounce rates, and lower organic visibility overall.

mobile device video

This is not a comprehensive list of optimization techniques, but these methods will ensure your videos are primed to gain greater visibility within search engines. Although the technical aspects of video optimization are necessary, a video campaign must not ignore the human element. Crafting a well-optimized video that is informative, entertaining, and evokes emotion will pave the path for tremendous results.

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