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8 SEO tips to improve your video search rankings

Evan Livermore

Every single day, 30 million users log into YouTube to watch 1 billion hours of video content across 38 million channels.

These incredible stats showcase why YouTube is not only the dominant player when it comes to video but also why it’s the second largest search engine in the world, lagging only behind Google.

Savvy marketers know that creating quality video content is only half the battle. If they want their videos to get seen (and leverage this incredible volume of video traffic for their business) they need to optimize their video content for search the same way they would for written content.

Here are our top SEO tips for improving your video ranking.

  1. Choose your keywords carefully

    The competition is fierce when it comes to search rankings – especially on YouTube. Everyone is fighting for the top spot. That’s why it’s essential to ensure you strategically choose the keywords you use in your video.

    Unless you can compete with highly competitive keywords, pick terms that have decent volume and low competition, which will give your video content a better chance of ranking.

    Read our blog: How to create a consistent stream of fresh content can boost your SEO ranking

    Need help with keyword planning? Try the same tools you would use for SEO and PPC like Google Keyword Planner, MOZ Keyword Research Tool, SEMrush or Google Search.

  2. Optimize your video title

    It goes without saying you need to include your chosen keywords in the title, in the description and in the tags of your video. But you’ll also want to optimize the title of your video to align with the intent of your audience.

    We know that search intent is predominately informational, commercial, navigational or transactional. So it’s crucial you understand the intent of your customer before writing your video title.

    Read our blog: How to create a killer local SEO strategy for your business

    For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you might make a video with tips for staging your home. Instead of a title like ‘Home staging ideas,’ you’ll want to consider the intent of your audience – they likely want to stage their home to increase the sale price. So a better title would be ‘How to stage your home to sell for top dollar.’

  3. Add keywords to your video file name

    The actual file name of your video is an often overlooked keyword opportunity. YouTube uses this file name as a ranking factor when it comes to displaying your video content in search results. Including the target keyword in your video file name will improve your chances of ranking highly in search results and gaining search traffic.

  4. Perfect your video description

    Don’t rush through the description for your video – it has a huge impact on the ranking of your video content. YouTube recommends putting the most important keywords in the first few sentences of your video description with a max length of 200 characters. Your description should be useful – so make sure to remove any information that isn’t relevant to your user.

    Read our blog: How to leverage customer reviews to boost your SEO performance

    Like other search engines, the language you use should be natural – not just a string of keywords. Find ways to make the description sound conversational while including your keywords.

  5. Optimize your thumbnail image

    When it comes to enticing users to click on a YouTube video, what’s even more compelling than a well-written title is an eye-catching thumbnail. These small photos are the first thing that grabs people’s attention on a search engine results page (SERP).

    A well-designed thumbnail increases the chance of someone both clicking your video and sticking around to watch it. Rather than using the generic thumbnails that are created when you upload your video, design a custom thumbnail. Use a bright background with close-up, high-quality images. You’ll also want to add a title with an easy-to-read font and, where relevant, include images of a person.

  6. Leverage the power of hashtags

    Hashtags are a real marketing workhorse when it comes to search marketing. Used across social media platforms, they play an important role in video content as well. Use hashtags that are relevant to your keywords and audience in your video description, so your content appears when users search for a specific hashtag.

  7. Select the best video category

    YouTube’s advanced search enables users to search by category. There is a predefined list of categories you can choose from, so make sure you select the one that best matches the topic of your video.

    Choosing a category increases your chances of getting found by users who have an interest in the topic your video is covering.

  8. Include subtitles and closed captions

    Closed captions and subtitles are the text version of the spoken audio in a video.

    Closed captions allow deaf and hard-of-hearing people to experience the video and include background sounds and speaker changes. Subtitles assume the viewer hears the audio and, as a result, do not contain the background sounds or notifications for speaker changes.

    It’s essential to include both of these files with your video as they contain all the text ofthe audio in your video, like a transcript. These files also include time codes to help match the text with the speech and visual elements in your video.

    These transcripts can be crawled by search engines in the same way as a blog post. Simply create an SRT file for following these instructions from Google. When uploading your video, select your file and video language.

    If you need more support leveraging the power of search marketing for your video content, we can help. Creative Guild has a team of video and search marketing experts with years of experience creating high-ranking video content for our clients. Get in touch with us today to find out more.