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Video SEO – 9 Ways to Improve Your Search Ranking

According to Wave.video’s recent research on the State of Social Video Ads for 2018, businesses use video ads to drive traffic to their website, promote new content and boost website conversions.

Habits of people are changing rapidly. In this fast-paced world we’re living in, people are quickly adapting to new technological solutions. Due to these innovations, people have moved away from written communication and started embracing video instead. It provides more information than text, it has a higher engagement rate and it increases ROI for many businesses. This form of communication is dominating social media and all digital marketing platforms as well. 

However, to create successful video content you will need more than a high-quality production and a great concept. You will need to optimize your videos for search with SEO (search engine optimization).

Is video SEO the same as regular SEO?

SEO is a marketing discipline which is focused on growing visibility in organic search engine results, according to Moz’s definition. It’s organic content that doesn’t require paying to make your target audience notice it. All you have to do is follow SEO guidelines such as the recommended number of words on a page, number of words per sentence, or the way you or other sites link to each other. The biggest difference between video and regular SEO is in the type of content you’re trying to optimize. With video SEO, you’re optimizing videos to be indexed and to rank on the search engine results pages for specific keywords. 

Businesses are well aware of the benefits of video marketing and they’re increasingly incorporating it in their marketing strategies. Animoto states that 56% of consumers believe if a company has a website, it should have video content on it. However, it’s one thing to create videos, and another one to optimize videos. Luckily, there are a lot of optimization tactics that can ensure your videos have a better ranking.

1. Define your video SEO goals. 

The first thing you should do when thinking about incorporating SEO into your video strategy is to know what you want to achieve with it. Defining goals at the beginning will help in creating video content later. With your clearly defined goals, you will know how to publish and promote the content. From the SEO side, there are two goals to achieve – link building and generating social shares or increasing conversions. To achieve the first one, your videos need exposure to thousands of people who are your target audience. To achieve the second goal, you’ll have to attract more visitors to a website first and then optimize it to convert them into paying customers. Whatever your goal may be, make sure you know it before you start working on the SEO for your videos.

2. Choose the best video hosting platform.

To have a successful video SEO strategy, you will have to choose the best video hosting platform to suit your needs. If you want to drive more traffic to your website and increase your brand awareness, platforms like YouTube and Vimeo are the right choice for you. If you wish to include your videos into your existing website or social media platforms, you can check out some of the popular video platforms such as Wistia or Vidyard which allow you to incorporate video anywhere you want. 

3. Create an engaging thumbnail image for your video. 

When working on your video, make sure your thumbnail image is as engaging as the video itself. It’s the first thing your viewers will see, even before viewing your video. That’s why it’s so crucial that the created thumbnail image is something that will make them want to click the play button. The thumbnail image needs to be clear, easy to understand, relevant and appealing to the viewer’s eye. When creating one for your next video, keep in mind it will directly affect your click-through rates and engagement rates as well.

4. Add the title and description.

When you’re writing articles for a blog, you’re always adding the title and meta description. The same is true with videos. Don’t use the first thing that comes to mind. Take some time to find the right title and description which will engage your target audience and achieve great results. Always include your keywords into titles and descriptions. However, you shouldn’t overuse them! That means your title and description should have keywords that apply to that particular video and not your whole content strategy. 

5. Don’t forget about the captions.

Since the majority of people consume online content from their mobile devices, one trend has become quite popular on social media and elsewhere – muted videos. That’s why marketers came up with the idea of inserting transcripts into videos. For instance, you can watch a whole video online without sound and read the captions below. This allows your video to have a wider reach and is great for SEO as search bots will go through that text as well. Make sure your captions are grammatically correct.

6. Optimize for mobile.

Just a few years ago, desktop usage strongly dominated when compared to mobile in regards to the way people consumed online content. Today, most content is consumed through smartphones which is why mobile optimization has become a priority for video SEO. Of course, nobody denies the benefits of desktop views. They’re still an inevitable factor in driving traffic. Mobile optimization means your website and video player need to be responsive to mobile viewing. The process has become so simplified that now many hosting services automatically offer it for your content. If you optimize your native video for mobile users to enjoy, you will maximize traffic and your ranking in the search engines. 

7. Everything should be optimized for SEO.

Video is not the only content you have on your page. The rest of it should be aligned with your video content and optimized for SEO. If your whole page isn’t SEO friendly, search engine crawlers won’t even bother to crawl the page. Your video can have a poor ranking in the search engine result pages (SERPs) due to lack of SEO content on the page. Did you know that video consumption is expected to increase to around 80% of all internet traffic by 2019? If you’re creating high-quality video content and making sure your page covers all SEO components, your website will gradually move to the top of the result pages.

8. Start with collaborations and partnerships.

You probably already have some content collaborations or marketing partnerships with other professionals or companies to extend your reach to their platforms as well. You can do the same with videos! To increase the exposure of your video, why not include others in your video? A great example of that is a joint webinar from two separate companies, discussing one chosen topic such as ‘Great SEO Tips for Your Video’. Also, link building will help your video get the exposure you want in the same way it helps your blog articles. Your partners can even share the link on their social media channels or include the video in their existing blog content. 

9. SEO is amazing but you will need more.

To ensure your video gets great results, you will need to go beyond optimizing the website content for SEO. With the dynamic changes of a digital world, your video strategy should never rely on one element, even though it’s something as important as SEO. If you do just rely on SEO, be aware that it’s constantly changing and Google is known for their mysterious algorithm shifts. Considering all that, you should be up to date with all the trends in the online world. Also, although organic content may be the majority of your video and digital marketing strategy, don’t forget about paid promotions. Businesses that combine organic and paid content for search engines are most likely to end up on the first result page of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.  

The best tools for your video SEO:

  1. Animatron offers different solutions such as their online video editor and explainer video maker, and both are very nifty when it comes to editing existing videos or creating new explanatory videos.
  2. Google Analytics provides you with detailed information about your audience. Find out where they are active and start promoting your videos there.
  3. Canva is a great free graphic design tool. With it, you can easily create a professional and engaging thumbnail image in a minute or two.
  4. DrumUp is a helpful tool for those who are publishing their videos on Youtube. It allows you to schedule video distribution to various social media channels.
  5. Keyword Tool will help you find those keywords you should include in your title and meta description.
  6. 3Play Plugin allows you to create a fully interactive and accessible video experience for your viewers. You can add captions, interactive transcripts and audio description with it. 


There isn’t a success formula for your video strategy. When used the right way, videos are a strong, powerful form of content and will greatly contribute to your SEO and digital marketing strategy. Implementing these strategies will certainly improve the ranking of your videos. Be sure not to skip any of them and enjoy your recordings!

About the author


Georgi Todorov

Georgi Todorov is the founder of ThriveMyWay, a place for online entrepreneurs, bloggers, SEO specialists, and freelancers to find success in their own way.