In order to ensure your video content is properly positioned for success and taking advantage of the opportunity to drive traffic, engagement and become an authoritative source of thought leadership for the topics your content covers, we’ve assembled the following step-by-step guide on how to optimize videos for SEO. This article will cover the importance of video transcripts, options to host your videos, choosing thumbnail images, choosing a single location for your video and following general SEO best practices as they relate to videos.
- This is one of the more impactful best practices you can implement to boost SEO performance for your video content, both for the improved user experience of being able to follow along with captions when you don’t want to disturb others and because it generates crawlable text that will allow you to rank for the topics you’re discussing.
Hosting Your Videos
- The key to choosing the right space to host your videos is to have a clear objective for what you want your video content to provide for you.
- If your main goal is to generate brand awareness then Youtube may be where you want to host your videos, though you should be aware that the downsides to that approach include that the bulk of the traffic your video generates will be on that platform and the possibility that users get distracted by other related videos (or, as all of us are guilty of doing at some point, wasting time on completely unrelated videos instead) and yours fails to make its desired impact.
- Alternatively you could host your videos on your own site; though more technically challenging you will get the full benefits of traffic from users interested in the topic, as well as keeping them within your site environment.
Choosing Thumbnail Images
- Video thumbnails are important in that they’re the first image users will see when they find your video, so you should think of them as an opportunity to boost CTR, similar to a great meta description.
- You’ll want to ensure you’re choosing a thumbnail image that is engaging and relevant to the topic you’re covering.
- Images with humans engaging in the activity related to the video content tend to perform better in CTR than text title cards or unrelated imagery; depending on the resources you have available to devote to this you may want to shoot photos for use as the thumbnail image rather than just using a screengrab.
Keep Your Videos In a Single Location
- Once you’ve done all this work to create awesome video content you may feel tempted to post it in more than one place; it’s possible that the video has relevancy on multiple pages, and you may feel like you want to give it as many chances to rank as you can
- However, this is not recommended; the best practice is to ensure your video is only on the page it is optimized for so that you avoid competing with yourself and failing to rank for any of the pages it’s posted to. It’s better to focus on a single page and ensure that the content that surrounds it is relevant to the video and will support it getting ranked in search.
SEO Best Practices
- Even if you’ve followed every other best practice described in this article, if the page you’ve posted your video on is not optimized for search then your video will fail to garner the views and rank it deserves.
- Doing keyword research when determining what the title and description of your video will be is an important step you should not overlook, as you’ll want to ensure that your video will rank for the terms people are searching for at high volumes.
- Make sure the page has high quality content that is relevant to the video, high quality metadata, has good page speed, works well across mobile and desktop environments and follows every other SEO best practice you would ensure is present on any other page.