The late Steve Jobs said “We are in the era of digital video, and it’s a mess”, I wholeheartedly vote for this statement as he rightly hit the nail right on its head. Consumers, in every moment of time, navigate this “mess” using video search. The success of businesses depends primarily on the ability to show up in such a search result. This is all that video SEO is about.

In this article, I will show you how to make your videos the best possible targets for search engines, why video ranking is such an important factor for your business, we will take a look at ranking factors such as tags, transcripts and how audience response can have such a great effect on your rankings. Most importantly, what search engines look for in your videos. Ultimately, you will be able to take advantage of the easiest and best path to high rankings that video provides. Let’s ride…

UNDERSTANDING VIDEO SEO

Before you think about how to rank your video, you need to first understand why this is so important. Creating videos has become a lot easier as sites such as PROMO with over 12.5M high-quality clips with professionally edited music in their library gives you the wing to fly or better still give your burdens to professional freelancers at fiverr . Your videos can show up in a few different places; on video hosting sites such as

1.Vimeo.com

2.Dailymotion.com

3.YouTube.com.

According to SimilarWeb, YouTube is the second most used site on the internet and the second most used search engine running only behind Google. As of today, Almost 5 billion videos are watched every single day and 23.35 billion visits per month.

Video search is fundamentally different…

Video SEO is driven much by user behavior as compared to typical SEO that is driven by relevance and authority. I will walk you through the difference as we go on and let you know that it is the difference that presents the opportunity. As we move on, note that it is the great content that triggers a response and makes your video rank against competitor SEO videos. Also, note that it is easier to rank higher with video than conventional search results. Search engines like Google and Bing have changed their treatment of organic search results over time.

It is therefore important to focus on video search rankings and their impact on organic search.

Videos attract links and improve general organic search rankings.

Videos present great content in the form of slide decks, pages with transcripts as well as social media images. Despite the numerous video hosting sites available, YouTube still dominates and so most of the attention will be focused on YouTube.

VIDEO RANKING FACTORS

The importance of video ranking factors cannot be undermined. Just like conventional search results, search engines use complex algorithms to build video SEO rankings. The best first practice is to consider the psyche of the various search engines. Every search engine such as Google or Bing wants to make more money. They, therefore, equate more views to more Ads(more views=more Ads). With this in mind, whenever you can deliver more engaging videos, that people will stick around and watch, means that you are going to rank higher.

What search engines look for…

Search engines look for two main factors

  1. They examine the audience interest in the video and
  2. Compare the relevance of the video to the specific search query

Search engines algorithm change all the time but these two principles remain the same. Though it is quite difficult to impart the first-factor directory but understanding it is very key. As you have upper hand on the second factor, here is your arsenal to make the best out of your videos to signal search engines about the relevancy of your videos. Audience interest is measured through their engagement with your videos.

Search engines measure audience interest through

  1. Number of views
  2. View Velocity
  3. View Quality
  4. Likes
  5. Comments
  6. Video Quality
  7. Channel Subscription
  8. Subscription Velocity

The number of views over time and the rate of growth of your viewership affect your rankings significantly and it is way too important to let it grow naturally than to cheat since search engines can find out and penalize you. Are people watching the whole video, or are you having a low quality say 10 seconds of a 2minutes video? The number of likes shows user interest and search engines understand this. All these are metrics used by search engines to rank your video.

Again, search engines measure the relevance of your video through;

  1. Keywords and Titles
  2. Video Descriptions
  3. Location Diversity
  4. Transcription

You have the upper hand to make your video more relevant to your viewers, consider using the appropriate keywords, describe your video to capture the attention of the viewer, at first sight, embed your videos on multiple sites and don’t forget to provide a video transcript when embedded on your website as a good practice.

NOTE:

Don’t

  • buy views
  • Stuff keywords
  • Bribe for reviews

Your account can be suspended or permanently deleted.

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PICKING A VIDEO HOSTING SERVICE

Your video needs to be hosted somewhere to make it accessible to your viewers conveniently. You can choose to host it on sites like YouTube and Wistia or place it on a file storage service like Amazon S3 or on your own web server. Let’s talk a little more about hosting your video on YouTube and other services as well as doing it yourself.

First, let’s talk about the many reasons why you might want to host your videos anywhere else apart from YouTube.

1. Unsuitable Content

2. Video Length: longer than 15mins and you have to verify.

3. Larger Size: larger than 128 gigabytes

4. Not Advertiser friendly: like adult content

5. You only want the content on to embed on your own site

6. Sales content: limited to some content partners

7. Total control

We are in the YouTube world and as a digital marketer aiming to maximize your profit, you may want to consider it keenly. It has a huge audience and it’s free. You have some level of control over your video and format, and as the biggest video search engine on the planet, you are in good hands.

My advice: YouTube is the BEST option to go for your online video marketing

SELECTING YOUR VIDEO’S TOPIC

Users actually search for topics in desired information, they look for help, answers and guidance instead of keywords and search engines understand this, so should you. Consider topics and phrases for keywords as in problems faced by your audience, updates etc. For instance, “Broken Relationship” is a keyword, consider “How To Fix A Broken Relationship” as a topic, which is more reasonable when it comes to video search. Consider topics as a broader and better way to generate audiences engagement. Use questions to research your topics.

1. Use search engines’ search suggests to pick up your topics.

2. Use the search suggestions at the bottom of SERP

3. Use good online tools like answerthepublic.com to get related topics, questions, and phrases.

RESEARCHING TAGS

  1. Include Misspellings
  2. Include Broader Category
  3. Included entities

Make sure to include misspellings in your tags to cater for all those who might fumble typing in your topic, example forty and fourty. Again, when for instance, you are making a video about “Video SEO” you can include “Digital Marketing” as a broader category. Also, don’t forget to include entities when making a video. Taking, for instance, making a video on Video SEO, you want to include SEO in your tags.

Caution, don’t use irrelevant phrases and don’t spam

Tricks

  • Start with your most specific tags
  • Organise tags into most relevant phrases
  • Remove stop words like “AND”, “IF’, “BUT” etc.
  • Type your tags in a text document and copy and paste into your YouTube or any other video site tags’ field.
  • Use all the characters provided: 500 characters on YouTube
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WRITE GREAT TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS

Think of your video titles and descriptions as the magnet to pull your targeted audience to watch your videos. The more compelling your video title and descriptions are, the more clicks you get.

Rules for writing your video titles.

  1. Make sure your title is fully descriptive
  2. Include your target phrase in the title
  3. Make sure your title makes sense
  4. 60 characters or less
  5. Let your title be in the action format
  6. Write for benefit
  7. Write for humor

You can change your video titles later, if your video isn’t getting the views and rank you need, consider modifying the title.

Rules for Video Description

  1. Include the target phrase once or twice
  2. Include a call to action
  3. Include takeaways
  4. Use all words: 800 in the case of YouTube

Note: no stuffing and no spamming

MAKE GREAT THUMBNAILS AND INTRO

Your thumbnails generate an instant emotional response to your videos.

Rules for creating great thumbnails

  • Don’t use credits or title shots as thumbnails, instead use a frame from the video itself
  • Don’t use text unless you really need to.
  • Show faces with the motion your video will reflect or demonstrating the particular activity
  • Place your brand in the thumbnail
  • Use cards to
      • send viewers to next video
      • ask them for feedback
      • send viewers to a playlist

GET  SUBSCRIPTIONS, COMMENTS, AND RATINGS

The more subscriptions, comments, and ratings you get, the more search engines consider your video to be engaging and thus rank your video high. The simplest way to get subscriptions and comments, as well as ratings, is by ASKING. There is no better way than to ask the viewer to leave a comment or subscribe to your channel. Don’t forget to respond to comments politely. Don’t delete negative comments. Try and turn comments into content. Also, create a playlist that will give the users hint of your other videos.

DEVELOP TRANSCRIPTIONS AND CAPTIONS

Rules for Better Transcriptions

  • Transcriptions should be precise
  • Don’t use automated transcription and captioning
  • Create it in a plain text file
  • get a professional transcription of your video or do it yourself
  • Make your transcript caption friendly
  • Upload your transcript

IMPROVE YOUR VISIBILITY

Use Social Media To Announce Your Video

Leverage the major social media sites to announce your video;

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Instagram
  • Reddit
  • Hacker news

My advice…make sure to write a description of your video to give the viewers hint about what they will see if they click on the play button, do not leave them in the dark. Also, note that videos under 5 seconds won’t count by search engines, they want to see proof of engagement, they, therefore, filter out short plays.

Tips to post your video on Social Media

  • Consider the time of day and time zone
  • Consider paid advertisement
  • Respond to comments

CREATE A XML VIDEO SITE MAP

Under normal circumstance, Search engines will link directly to the relevant video page such as YouTube, in order to optimize your video page, you need to get that page indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing. The best way to do that is through XML Video Site Map.

What XML Video Site Map does:

It lists:

  • Videos
  • Then pages they are on
  • Titles and descriptions
  • Other optional information as;
            • video thumbnails
            • Reviews and ratings
            • Number of views etc

Use the following good tools to help you get it right:

  1. WordPress Plugins Eg. google XML Site Map for videos

2. Search on Google to find the one that works best for you

3. Use paid ones that will generate it for

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CREATE AN OPTIMISED PLAYLIST

Make a collection of your videos and group them under a common name to make it easier for your viewers to get access to all your videos. Creating a playlist is one of the good practices to help optimize all your videos. It improves viewership and alongside improves overall rankings. Playlist drives secondary ranking signals, increasing engagement. YouTube for instance tracks playlist’s performance and then uses it to boost all videos on that playlist. YouTube Automatically queues videos in a particular playlist which is extremely great for you to get your next video watched.  Playlist help new videos get boosted when previous ones are already doing well

Some Good Deals About Playlist

  • It provides a powerful call to action for viewers
  • They get their own title and description which allows you to optics for broader topics
  • Viewers can like and share videos in a playlist which is a plus
  • Your entire playlist can be embedded on your website

Rules for Playlist Optimisation (YouTube)

  • create a topical playlist
  • Group them into commonalities
  • Write a fully descriptive title
  • Embed your playlist on your website
  • Suggest other playlists
  • Get added to other playlists

CREATE AN OPTIMISED CHANNEL

Your channel page is your arsenal when it comes to video SEO. You have to give it all your best to optimize it for your best biggest broadest key phrase.

Factors to Consider:

  • video upload frequency
  • video upload recency
  • Channel subscribers and
  • Aggregate channel views

Note: don’t fake anything

Do well to make your channel as appealing as possible. Customise your background image (2560×1440 pixel image and export as JPEG/PNG). The maximum background file is 4megabytes. Again write an impressive descriptive title. Also link your page to your other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter etc.

Best Practices:

  1. Set up activity feed sharing
  2. Use sections to integrate related contents
  3. Group videos into playlists
  4. Create a channel trailer

Note: check to see if everything is OK before clicking publish

VIDEO ANALYTICS

It is very paramount to consider your Video Analytics as you seek to optimize it. For the purpose of SEO, you should care most about engagement: Watch Time, Audience Retention, Subscribers Quantity and Velocity,  Likes, Dislikes, Comments, Shares, Videos in Playlists, Playback Location, raw views, Device Report,

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CONCLUSION

I see video marketing as the pivot around which you should revolve to optimize your online business.  Look for great video marketing tools, capitalize on every video site and other social media sites to make the best out of your digital marketing strategy.

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