Should You Optimize Your Video Marketing Strategy for Search Engines?

by Jayson DeMers

Video marketing is becoming more popular and more effective. Internet speeds and availability have made it easier and more feasible to stream video regularly, and mobile devices have also made videos more convenient –especially when compared to reading an article with the same content.

On top of that, competitive pressure from the millions of brands already capitalizing on video marketing has made it a more sought-after choice for businesses.

There are many tactics you can use to make your video marketing strategy more effective, such as choosing more appropriate topics or advertising it to the right demographics. But if you want to squeeze as much value out of your videos as possible, you’ll need to consider how they fit into your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.

Optimizing Videos on Your Site

There are a few different ways to optimize your videos, depending on where you’re hosting them. If you’re hosting them yourself, on your own website, there are a few tricks you can use to ensure they’re optimized correctly:

  • Compress your files. For starters, you’re going to want your video to load as quickly and as painlessly as possible. To make that happen for your visitors, you’ll want to compress those video files. The smaller the file is (without sacrificing quality), the faster it will load, and the happier your users and search engine algorithms will be.
  • Use a popular format. Some obscure file types won’t be recognized easily by search engine crawlers. Make sure you’re using a mainstream file type, like .mp4.
  • Use solid titles and descriptions. As with most of the content on your site, much depends on how you title and describe your work. Make sure you include a concise, descriptive title for each of your videos, featuring one or two keywords you’d like to see the video rank for. You’ll also want to include a 1-2 sentence description that goes into a bit more detail on what users can expect from the video.
  • Offer a written transcript. One easy way to ensure your hosted video ranks higher is to also offer a written transcript of the video on whichever page is hosting it. It won’t take much time to generate and should add several hundred words of naturally optimized content to the page, giving it more credibility.
  • Build inbound links. It’s hard to get any page to rank without sufficient inbound links pointing to it. Make sure you spend some time building links pointing to your best videos (and/or pages where those videos are embedded).

However, it’s usually recommended that you don’t host your own videos. It’s much more reliable to host them offsite, and merely feature them on your website where applicable.

Optimizing Videos for YouTube

You can follow some of the above tips when uploading to YouTube and embedding on your site as well. In addition, there are some other considerations you should bear in mind to optimize for YouTube search:

  • Capitalize on the right keywords. Much depends on your ability to title and describe your video with strong keywords — ideally ones with a high search volume and low competition, just like in your mainstream strategy. YouTube has an entirely different selection of keywords and phrases to target, so don’t rely exclusively on data from Google Search.
  • Pay attention to watch time. Videos that are watched for longer periods of time tend to rank higher than their short-watched counterparts. Make sure your content is engaging enough to keep viewers occupied for several minutes (at a minimum) before they click away.
  • Get more subscribers to your channel. Videos from channels with a large number of subscribers will always rank higher than equivalent videos from unpopular channels. Accordingly, video marketers should spend some time working on their subscriber counts, inviting more customers to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and doing more to promote their YouTube presence overall.
  • Encourage reactions. Reactions (i.e., likes and comments) also play a role in how your video ranks in YouTube search. Try to encourage people to leave more comments by facilitating an open discussion and earn as many likes as you can.
  • Make sure your video is sufficiently long. YouTubers make more money on videos that are at least 10 minutes long — a controversial rule that has led to the cultivation of (often unnecessarily) longer content from creators.

Video content isn’t going away. YouTube has more than a billion users (a number that’s increasing daily), and more than 500 million hours of videos are watched on that platform alone every day.

Even if you’re making exceptional video content for your brand, you’re going to need SEO to support your efforts, so make sure you’re investing just as much time in making your videos visible as you are in making your videos.

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