Want to use video marketing to improve your search engine presence? Let’s talk. If you’re reading this, chances are you already have a strong SEO strategy, backed by comprehensive buyer person profiles, solid keyword research, and a solid content strategy. Perhaps you already have a video marketing strategy. And now you want to learn how to use all this hard work to take Video SEO (VSEO) to the next level.
Use the recommendations in this blog and you’ll be well on your way to improving your search ranking with videos.
Why You Should Care About Video SEO in video marketing
First, it’s important to explain why you should root your video marketing strategy in SEO best practices.
“If you record it, they will come” could easily replace an old saying that we all know. It’s no secret how widespread video has become, but its resources are far from over the top. Video marketing will continue to grow as companies continue to record ROI, especially in the B2B space where there are still many people who are slowly adapting.
Now, think about video marketing and SEO the same way you think about written content and SEO: they’re two sides of the same coin. Just like you are optimizing blogs for search, you should optimize your video for search in a similar way. If you neglect VSEO, your videos will be watched less and your ROI will suffer.
Take video SEO to the next level (with real world examples)
Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best techniques for building a solid video SEO strategy.
1. Before recording a video, define a search target that you are targeting and use these terms in your video.
As if you were writing a blog, you should create videos with the interests of your audience in mind. Some SEO experts prefer to plan their content around keywords, but I think it’s best to strategize around your keyword-related search objective. It sounds similar because it is, but focusing on your search intent provides you with a higher perspective when planning.
It boils down to how you approach content cure: are you creating content that responds to the needs of your audience?
This does not mean that keywords should not be taken into account. It’s still important to have targeted keywords and track their rankings, but first, you need to understand the intent of your search queries to determine which keywords are relevant to your use. When you are about to, do keyword research to identify related search terms and use those terms in your video.
Based on this information, you decide to create an instructional video on how to make ice cream at home using your product using related search terms throughout the video.
Useful for takeout: establish the intentions of your video. Based on that intention, choose one core keyword, a few long-tail keywords, and a few semantic (synonymous) keywords. Add them naturally in your video transcript (don’t forget the title and meta description which we’ll cover next).
2. Choose a star thumbnail, title and description for your videos.
How many books and films did you miss because the cover didn’t capture you? Your video is no exception. The “book cover” of any movie has three main elements that appear in search results: title, description, and thumbnail.
Spend extra time thinking about each element by putting yourself in the shoes of your audience. What do they care about? What prompts them to act?
Google and other search engines use search results interactions and page engagement as an indicator of content value: Are people clicking your link? Do they stay on your site or do they leave immediately? How long do they stay on your site?
As a side note, you probably already have your title before optimizing your video for click-through rate (CTR), but that doesn’t mean you can’t optimize it. Take a look at your existing videos – which is better from a CTR perspective? Why? Create a hypothesis, test it, and implement it accordingly.
Practical take-away: Spend a few extra minutes creating a video title, meta description, and thumbnail that captures both the key points of your video and your audience’s attention.
3. Create a video sitemap for your site.
Just like a regular sitemap or blog sitemap, your videos should be in their own sitemap. This allows search engines like Google to quickly index and index all video content stored on your site. Sitemaps also help search engines better understand the context of your website, post, or – in this case – video, using metadata.
There are two ways to create a video sitemap: manually or with a sitemap generator (or a video sitemap plugin if you are using WordPress). Both options are a bit of a pain, but it’s quite a rinse-and-repeat exercise once you’ve mastered it. If you’re new to using sitemaps, or if you’re having trouble creating one manually, I suggest using a sitemap generator.
This isn’t the easiest recommendation in this post, but it’s worth it if you’re serious about your SEO strategy.
4. Add video transcripts on your pages.
Earlier, I mentioned that the search engines are sophisticated enough to process and understand the dialogues in the video. With that in mind, it is still best practice to create and place a video transcript on the actual page where your video is hosted. This leaves no room for error when search engines crawl your video.
Some websites put the transcript in a collapsible module, while others turn the video into a text guide. Both options are fine, depending on the context and purpose of the movie.
Now, before you can watch the video at 0.25x speed and transcribe it yourself, most video recording platforms (such as Zoom and GoToWebinar) will automatically transcribe the video.
A brief example: If your video platform doesn’t auto-transcribe, you can take advantage of YouTube’s free captions feature by following these steps:
- Upload your video to YouTube.
- Open the YouTube video.
- Select “Open Transcription” in the ellipsis menu.
- Copy the transcript.
- Please check the transcript to be safe!
Now, armed with a full transcript, add a copy to the page where your video is located.
Useful to go: Generate a video transcript by using the native video platform or by taking advantage of YouTube’s free subtitles feature. Add a full transcript on the same page as your video using a collapsible text module or turning the transcript into a text guide.
5. Add content to the page outside of the video transcript.
You may have noticed the theme in this post: Video SEO is very similar to traditional SEO.
This means that Google & Co. is always looking for the highest quality content to display to its search engines. One of the best ways to improve quality is to improve the user experience with educational, informative, and unique content.
So be sure to add relevant content to your video page, which means going beyond the transcript (if you’re not going to change it as a guide on the page). Consider adding text that outlines what the user can expect from the video, key insights, and frequently asked questions.
Practical take-out: don’t just append a transcript. You should add more relevant, high-quality content to increase the chances of both your website and video ranking well.
6. Use schematic markers in all movies.
Schema markup (commonly referred to as structured data) is code that you add in the HTML of your pages to help search engines better understand your page and increase the chances of getting rich features in search engine result pages (SERPs).
Schematic markup comes in all shapes and sizes, but for the video, we’ll want to focus on… drum… video blueprint markup.
Google displays information about your videos directly on the results page, including title, thumbnail, length, video description, and publication date. These additional details make your result stand out more, thereby increasing the likelihood that searchers will click on it.
To use Google Extended Snippets, you need to embed the videos on your own site. This ties in with the video sitemap recommendation above. Some sites choose to host their videos directly to YouTube, which is fine; however, the tradeoff is fewer site visitors. Consider your video marketing goals to determine the right approach.
Side note: If your site is hosted on WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin has a workaround for YouTube-hosted videos, but it is still recommended to host the videos on your own website.
7. Add chapter to your video marketing as appropriate.
Some video hosting platforms allow you to add chapters or timestamps to your videos. They work the same way you create chapters in a book, article, or really any content for that matter. Adding chapters to videos not only helps from an SEO point of view (search engines can show the search engine the most relevant chapter), but it’s also a great way to improve the user experience.
How you add chapters will depend on where you store your videos. At SmartBug, we use a popular platform called Vidyard, although most major video hosting platforms have a split/timestamp feature available.
Useful to go: Break your video into chapters or timestamps using the video transcript outline as a guide. Do not make chapters too detailed or too high level; try to find the right mix that makes sense for your audience.
Keep an eye out for the VSEO award in video marketing
As mentioned above, it is very important to keep an eye on the reward: constantly ask yourself why you are implementing a video (SEO) strategy. By always keeping your North Star – your business goals in mind – you will ensure that your video efforts are rewarded in a measurable way that will bring you a measurable return on investment.
When you write a blog, do a webinar or launch a new product, do you create a website and then name it a day? I hope not. The same should apply to your video SEO efforts. In addition to the techniques described in this blog, be sure to include other media to promote your videos such as social networking, email, and sales.
Finally, don’t rest on your laurels. So your videos attract organic traffic, leads, and customers? Fantastic. Delve into the “why” and “how” and then use what you’ve learned to continuously optimize your existing movies and apply that knowledge to your future movies.
Are you ready to hyper-accelerate your video marketing strategy? From preparing your video strategy to the technical implementation of VSEO, we do it all. When you’re ready, let’s talk about your video strategy, goals, and how we can help you.