The 3 Elements of Good Video SEO

Video is by far the most engaging type of content on the web. Outranking text and photo combined, people are able to get so much more information across in video form than they are able to with any other format out there.
However, simply publishing a video online isn’t enough to get people watching it. Like everything, the person not only needs to focus on producing high-quality content, they also need to go about promoting it correctly so that it can actually be discovered.


There are three key elements that factor into how well a video will rank.

Define A Purpose For Every Video

This may seem like a broad tip, but it’s actually essential to ensuring that every video is working towards the overall goal of a company. Every video should have a defined purpose and CTA (call-to-action) in order to engage viewers.

The best videos will have topics that were researched previously to ensure that they match what the target audience is after. They should answer a question the target audience has, give instructions for something the target audience wants to do, or provide information on a topic the target audience is interested in.

Costomer research should be completed prior to creating a video in order to determine:

  • What topics the audience will be interested in
  • What titles the audience will likely click on
  • What information the audience wants to derive

Ideally, a business will publish multiple shorter videos that are laser-targeted to a particular topic/sub-topic versus publishing lots of long “overview” videos that touch on many different things. The former is better because it allows for better keyword optimization and it also offers more value to viewers. Plus, shorter videos are easier to digest.

The video strategy at a company should always take the video’s subject, length, and its relevance to the audience into account when deciding whether or not a topic should get the green light.

Over time, a business can build up a strong, informational channel that gives them a great deal of authority in their industry so long as they double-check every topic to ensure it will truly be useful to the target audience.


Decide Who Hosts It

For many, the simple choice will be to upload the video to YouTube and then embed it on to their website and anywhere else they want to share it. This obviously has its advantages.

First and foremost, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (next to Google) and that greatly increases the chances of their video being found. By being present in the YouTube search engine, you can optimize their video’s metadata to help entice people to watch it.

Of course, by putting their video on YouTube, suddenly you receive third-party advertising on their own content.

When they embed a YouTube video on their page, that can affect the branding of their page because of the YouTube branding on the video itself, and because of the video recommendations that will pop up when their video is complete. That can end up taking a great deal of attention away from their own content.

If they really want to make their video branded to fit their website, self-hosting might be the way to go. However, the big thing they need to keep in mind there is that a self-hosted video can quickly slow down their servers. That’s why they need to use a dedicated video hosting platform that will keep their site speedy.

When it comes to SEO, there is no real difference in the eyes of Google whether they have embedded the video from YouTube or hosted it themselves. However, one important thing to factor in: While their YouTube video can be found on both YouTube and Google, their self-hosted video will never have the chance of being on YouTube.

YouTube also gives the creator the chance to build up a subscriber base, strengthening their channel and (in turn) boosting their video rankings ever so slightly within YouTube. This also builds authority and encourages future viewers to watch and subscribe.


Use Searchable Transcriptions

Google has already admitted that transcripts for videos on their site will directly improve SEO, and that’s something worth listening to.

Multiple studies have found that transcripts truly do have a positive impact on SEO. One radio show (called: ATL, The American Life) found that 6.68% of their search traffic was all thanks to the transcripts they wrote for each and every episode. When they added the transcripts, they saw a 3.89% increase in inbound links and a 4.36% increase in inbound traffic.

Other studies have found that adding a transcript earn 16% more profit than video pages without a transcript. Meanwhile, a YouTube video with captions added gets about 7.32% more views compared to videos without.

In other words, transcription is a valid tactic to use for video SEO and, fortunately, there are many different ways to go about having their video transcribed. They can either do it themselves, if they have some extra time, or they can hire a freelancer/transcription agency to do it for them.

Their searchable transcription should be implemented on the same page as their video, which will prove extremely beneficial for their ranking. Let’s face it, while technology has advanced, it has not yet advanced to the degree where Google and other search engines can understand what a video is all about.

There are many reasons why people should include a transcription as standard practice with every video they upload:

  • Transcripts help give context to the video content for search engines, helping them further understand what the content is about and, therefore, rank it for relevant search terms.
  • Transcripts help people understand what the video is about, which is essential for those who do not want to watch the video or who are hearing impaired.
  • Transcripts allow them to repurpose the video’s content into text format, giving them more rankable, high-quality content.

If a person just posts a video on a page and nothing else, that page isn’t going to get anywhere in regards to SEO. Search engines have no idea what that page has. Search engines can’t understand video (yet), so it’s basically like a blank page.

In fact, that is a powerful way to look at video SEO. When they are optimizing a page with a video on it, they should act like that video content is invisible to search engines. Now use words, which search engines can understand, to fill in the gaps.


Putting These Tactics Into Action

It all begins by choosing the right topic for the video content. Sitting down to complete some customer research and come up with a list of about a dozen video ideas would be a good start. Titles should then be created and tested for each video, and then the content creation process can begin.

Simply participating in some preliminary research to ensure that a given topic will be of interest to the audience can end up saving a business a substantial amount of time and money.

Otherwise, they may find themselves publishing video content that simply doesn’t speak to their intended audience. That will equate to video content that no one wants to watch.

For people who decide to host a video on YouTube, they will need to include a long description. This long description will enable them to make the most of keywords while also giving context to the video, as talked about above.

Aim for 300 words (not keyword stuffing, just writing naturally) to describe what’s in their video. They can even summarize the key points.

For those self-hosting their video, a meta description and other information should be added to the video to take advantage of keywords and other info that search engines will want to use to rank the content.

YouTube videos should have captions written manually for the best viewer experience. Auto-generated captions also hold a lot less weight when it comes to SEO since they tend to have so many mistakes. Instead, video publishers should take the time to caption their content themselves as soon as they upload.

When embedding a video onto a page, always make sure it is accompanied by written content that provides a clear explanation and context for the video. In many cases, this content should be capable of standing on its own, without the video. If it can, that means search engines have plenty of content to process in order to understand what the page is about.

All transcripts should be made searchable so that people searching relevant terms have a greater chance of coming across the video’s written transcript. When they click-through, they will be given the option to either read or watch, which will greatly boost engagement.

Putting in the extra time and going that extra mile will allow a business to take their video strategy to the next level, and build a great deal of authority while they’re at it.