6 Tips to Optimize Video for SEO

If a picture is worth a thousand words and one second of video is twenty-four consecutive pictures, then one minute of video is worth 1.4 million words! That’s a lot of SEO power!

OK, so that’s not how SEO works, but you get the point. Video is a ripe (and insanely popular) low-hanging fruit of SEO potential just waiting for you to pick. Here are six simple steps that you should be taking with every video project to maximize your SEO power.

1. Write for the transcript.

Search engines can’t understand the content of your video without help. The almighty transcript helps them “watch,” understand, and rank your video, so keep your transcript in mind from the beginning. Start with a script. Identify searchable keywords to incorporate and highlight throughout the video—just like you would for a written article. The quality of your script directly impacts your video’s SEO. (Plus, including a transcript also improves accessibility.)

2. Label everything intentionally.

Every identifying word related to your video affects SEO. Even the video’s original filename can impact its ranking. Label everything, and be intentional about the descriptors you use. That list of keywords from step 1 should be your main vocabulary source. The video title, description, and tags are so often treated as an afterthought. But they are built-in SEO hotspots just waiting for your keywords! Incorporate as many keywords into them as naturally possible.

Additionally, always create a custom thumbnail for your video. This won’t affect SEO directly, but a well-designed thumbnail will attract more views than a well-written title.

3. Decide where and how to host your video.

Off-site platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia are free and quick to load, but they take people away from your site and might actually outrank your site in search results. If you’re going to send viewers off-site, make sure to present them with several ways to return to your site.

Certain paid versions of Vimeo and Wistia allow you to host their platform on your site, so your site gets the credit in search. If you’d rather embed your videos on-site, find an appropriate balance between desired image quality and loading speed. Creating a dedicated page for each video can help with this.

4. Maintain your video sitemap.

The video sitemap tells search engines where your important (and rankable) video content lives on your site. Think of it as a treasure map that tells Google, “There is some gold here, but there’s tons of gold over here.” A properly maintained video sitemap can be one of the most important factors in accurate search rankings based on your preferred keywords.

5. Make it shareable.

Make it easy for viewers to share your video. A shared video bypasses the process of searching by forcing the video directly into people’s social feeds. Shares are one of the fastest ways to get eyeballs on your video. Plus, Google factors both views and shares into its ranking algorithm.

6. Pay attention to analytics.

The internet is a living, breathing organism. A clear and concise snapshot of your video’s analytics keeps you nimble and able to adapt quickly. For example, if you want to see if your viewers are staying engaged with your content, check out your average viewing time and drop-off rate.

Want to dive deeper?

Click Rain can help you configure your analytics reporting to tell you which keywords are working most effectively as trends and viewer preferences shift.

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So many companies pay big bucks for a killer video and then fumble the ball on the one-yard line by not taking advantage of its SEO potential. By keeping SEO in mind from the very beginning of your video project, you can maximize all 1.4 million words-per-minute of video SEO glory. Here’s to boosted video rankings!