Video SEO: Real Tactics For Ranking Videos

Video SEO: Real Tactics For Ranking Videos

Videos are a central part of content marketing for many websites due to their popularity and ease of ranking. The value of videos is especially visible in their positive effects on search engine rankings. Below are a few tips for effectively using videos in your content.

Avoid Using YouTube for Video Hosting

This isn't a strict requirement for success considering how many users visit YouTube every day. However, YouTube definitely isn't the best video host for every situation. For example, you should host videos on your own site rather than YouTube if your keywords are causing videos to appear on search results pages. Always keep in mind that YouTube visitors don't often become website traffic. This means that if you want to use videos to build website traffic, your videos should stay on your own site.

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You have a number of options for keeping videos on your own site instead of YouTube without hosting them yourself. Numerous hosting services abound, such as Wistia, which lets you embed videos and even gives you an XML sitemap for videos that declares your site's ownership of them.

XML Sitemaps for Video

It's essential to make an XML sitemap for videos that stay on your own site and submit the sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools. As a result of this action, Google will be aware of your video without having it affect your rankings. There are plenty of services that will generate these sitemaps for this purpose.

If you're interested in making your own XML sitemaps, be sure to remember these five essential components for each one:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Play page URL - the page you want to appear on search engines
  • Preferred thumbnail URL for the video
  • Raw video file or player location URL

If you plan to place your video on Vimeo or YouTube, you'll need to use the player location URL rather than the raw file URL. In addition, videos put on Vimeo or YouTube should be given sitemaps that detail the video meta data. Always remember that XML sitemaps can have a maximum entry count of 50,000. Consider the following plugins if you're using WordPress:

Researching Keywords

The value of researching your keywords properly cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, many webmasters don't realize the importance of this when they're dealing with video. A variety of powerful tools can make keyword research easier for you. If you're using YouTube for video hosting, try YouTube Keyword Tool or YouTube Suggest. YouTube Keyword Tool can be exasperating because it's rarely functional. Although YouTube Suggest isn't exactly designed to find out how many searches are being performed for given terms, it's great for developing new ideas. The usual keyword research utilities are your best options if you're hosting video on your own site. After formulating keywords, you should put them in your:

  • File Name
  • Closed caption/transcript file
  • Comments
  • Closed caption/transcript file
  • Additional text on your site
  • Video Title

Video Transcription

Video content is harder for Google to analyze than text. As a result, the search engine won't be aware of what your video contains unless you're descriptive about it. With a transcription placed in the comments for your video, this won't be an issue.

HD Exporting

HD videos are known to work best with consumers compared to videos in standard definition. However, YouTube can't discern between videos that have been filmed in HD and those that have only been exported to HD. This means that it's best to scale down from HD size to player size for each video. Many factors affect whether this may be a concern, but to be safe, it's best to film or export every video in the best quality you can. Whether you're hosting videos on your own site or on YouTube, the importance of this remains the same.

Manipulation of the Embed Code

You can give users the ability to embed your video or let them use one generated by YouTube or Wistia. Otherwise, you can edit the video to get a link from it.

YouTube will give you an embed code, but you can easily add a link to your own site to improve its recognition. Finally, you can improve it further by adding a text box that selects text automatically. After completing this step, you'll have a classy text box surrounding the embed code for your video.

Of course, if you're using Vimeo Pro or Wistia, you'll have the option of editing the embed code in order to include links that further optimize your content.

Quality Headline

As with any other content, video should be given a quality headline. Magnetic Headlines ( is an excellent resource for learning to write powerful headlines.

It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

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