These 10 Video SEO Tips Can Dramatically Impact Your Rankings

By on May 13, 2014
Video SEO Checklist

These 10 Video SEO Tips Can Dramatically Impact Your Rankings

Admittedly, I’ve not done the best job in the past of marketing my online videos to my core audience and when I took the time to learn more about how to optimize them, I discovered a simple (for the most part) actionable step by step plan for it. For the rest of 2014, I plan to optimize my videos using the following 10 Steps.

If you take this approach with every video you produce, you can and will start to see the power of optimized video in your daily rankings. This is something that I have taken very serious over the last couple of weeks. In fact, I have completely re-tooled my approach to my core offer as well as elevating my video game with content. Not only visual and audio quality – but how the content is set-up, optimized and in turn published.

Recently, Purna Virji from Search Engine Watch wrote a refreshing piece on the right way to think about SEO. In short, forget the silver bullets and focus on quality.

Extending this approach, let’s focus in on video SEO and talk about how you can truly make an impact on your ranking.

Video SEO ChecklistMany of the points outlined below have come from leaning more about the way online marketers have been working to connect the intersection of video marketing and SEO. What’s great is that there’s a very clear best-practices approach to easily understanding the road map for ideas that take a long-term, quality-driven approach to video SEO.

Lets talk thru this 10 point checklist as you plan or review your video SEO strategy.

Provide Value

There’s no point to being found if you don’t provide a great user experience (UX) when your audience arrives. The first few points on the video SEO checklist are about proving your worth to your viewers, not the search algorithms.

1. Use Video to Solve Problems & Provide New Information

This one seems a bit obvious, help others solve a problem or provide content that delivers on a promise. To get your videos to rank well for your search terms, you need to provide great content that actually solves problems or provides new information. Often times when I see others produce video, it seems as though they have completely forgotten this point. The good news is that great content usually isn’t difficult or expensive to produce it just needs to be better planned out.

This can be as simple as filming a white-boarding session or getting a subject matter expert to sit down for a short interview. Ask yourself: what problems or obstacles does my audience faces regularly? How can I show someone how to accomplish their goal faster/better/cheaper?

2. Make Videos Easy to Browse & Link to Individual Video Playback Pages

Here is a great tip also from Search Engine Watch. Set up or group together your video assets and create a user-friendly video resource center where your viewers can easily search your content. Theroetically this can be accomplished by taking the time to set up your Youtube channel that runs a playlist for the user. Or set up your video portal or gallery with categories and tags so it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for and navigate between videos seamlessly on your website. Depending on what your business objectives are this may make sense… however for most of us, optimizing your YouTube channel will work to begin with.

Avoid the endless stream of video players on a single page. If you’ve ever come across a wall of embedded YouTube videos on someone’s site, you’ll understand just how difficult it is to find what you want. Ideally, make sure you have a separate landing page for each video so search engines can find and index each video asset individually. You’ve invested in your video content, so don’t let a poor video experience take away from that.

Youtube video Annotations

3. Use Interactive Video Elements to Connect With Viewers

For every video someone watches, there is an opportunity to call that person to action or guide them to the next logical step. Interactive video elements like in-video links, quizzes, surveys, and forms enable you to intercept your viewers at key moments and drive action. Don’t forget about the easy to use YouTube Annotations tool format shown above.

For example, if you create a how-to video for your app, use in-video interactivity to link your viewer directly to the point in your app where they can accomplish what they just learned. I’m currently exploring this in video app… as a way to boost awareness.

Nail the Nuts & Bolts

The funny thing about best practices is that they tend to last a long time! Stick to the basics and embrace common sense when it comes to the technical side of video SEO.

4. Be Smart & Relevant About Metadata (a bit advanced – but doable)

, who wrote a piece in SEW moderated a video SEO webinar last month where Jennifer Lewis, the senior interactive marketing manager at SafeNet, talked about how she uses rich metadata and smart content organization to get the most from their video resource library. For SafeNet, video is a way to go after valuable long tail keywords that they would not otherwise be able to grab.

Also be sure to populate hidden tags in the HTML code of your video landing pages such as Leadpages, also specifically use Facebook’s OpenGraph tags,’s microdata tags, and even sometimes Twitter Card tags. Typically, newer WordPress SEO plugins can help you embed these tactics within the SEO Plug-ins dashboard.

5. Use Transcriptions for Indexing, Usability & Content (advanced users only and posted directly from SEW)

This advanced step assumes a few things. First, it assumes your hosting your own video, and more importantly assumes your hard coding HTML on corporate or commercially driven site with very specific landing page strategies in place. Most internet marketers are not going to use this best practice because its a highly technical approach to publishing video content. I wanted to include it as it is a best practice for video optimization.

Transcriptions can have a major impact on your search rankings. The goal was to see if a transcript could take a video that was not ranking and get it ranked. To unlock the content in your videos, add video transcriptions directly to the HTML of each of the pages where your videos are hosted. Transcriptions give your viewers the option to “read” a video if they can’t listen at the time, while providing the keyword richness a search engine needs. Transcriptions are also very useful in creating additional content from your videos. For example, you can use a transcript as the base for a blog post that links back to your video resource site.

This step is a bit more laborious if your cranking out a lot of content, however if you’re focused on a very specific campaign this approach may add additional video SEO firepower to your campaign. Here is a link on how to use YouTube’s Caption Creator to transcribe your video into a text format.

6. Host Your Videos on Your Own Domain (again, a bit advanced & not for everyone)

If there is one single thing you do to get more SEO value from your videos it’s to host them on your own domain. YouTube and Vimeo have their place (we’ll get to that below), but to get the absolute most out of your video, you must host your videos on your own site.

You want to use an online video platform that will build out a video sitemap on a subdomain on your own site. If you’re using YouTube or another video player to embed video on your site, you’re simply giving away all the credit for your content.

Drive video search to your own domain

7. Make Sure You Have a Video Sitemap

To really nail the nuts and bolts of video SEO, you need to have the basics covered with a properly configured video sitemap.

Every entry in your video sitemap must include a link to a landing page for a video, hence the value of the video resource site or video gallery.

Metadata is optional but recommended.

Look for an online video platform that automates the video sitemap for you so you don’t have to worry about it on an ongoing basis.

Be a Smart Social Butterfly

Like content, UX, and infrastructure, social has its place in video SEO. These last two points are about getting the most out of social, while creating many paths back to your own site.

8. Use YouTube to Preview High-Value Content, Drive Traffic Back to Your Own Site

YouTube is a great place to get your content discovered by new people. It’s an awareness channel that should be part of your marketing mix; however, depending on your specific objectives, you should approach YouTube like a mandatory layover. It’s a quick stop on the route to your final destination – your own video gallery hosted on your own domain.

A great way to leverage YouTube for all its awareness value, while contributing to your own video SEO, is to create shorter video previews for your content and use YouTube’s annotations to place in-video CTA that drive viewers back to your site’s own video resource library, hosted on your own domain. This takes a much broader thought out approach but can have a serious impact on driving conversions for your product, offer or services.

Consider your preview to be a different piece of content. Use a different title and summary and perhaps even swap out the thumbnail. From a viewer’s perspective, what do they need to see to be motivated to click through? This avoids the duplicate content problem, while creating a good user experience.

9. Allow Others to Embed Your Videos

As you create great videos, let others incorporate your content into their work. By making it easy for others to embed your videos on their site, you’re increasing the potential for more inbound links to your own website – clearly an SEO win.

10. Measure How Keywords Impact the Bottom Line

Last but not least, always start with the end in mind. As you plan out your video SEO strategy, don’t forget to implement a tracking system to capture the success of your new strategy.

Sometimes tracking is built into your video platform or analytics software, sometimes this is custom code that engineering or IT will build, but it should always report on the number of people that come through the top of the funnel through social or search, and track those contacts through your content strategy to closure.

That brings us to the end of my 10-point checklist for a real video SEO strategy. Would you add anything to list? What has worked for you in the past?


There are no secrets to succeeding with Online Marketing. You just need to set up the right kind of business structure, understand the formula and build out the process.

Check out my blog: Discovering the 7 Secrets to living the laptop lifestyle.

Troy Scott

Troy Scott

Founder at JV Marketing Group
I've created a 7-figure business from scratch and built marketing automation systems responsible for over $50m in sales. Today I coach other entrepreneurs on how to build proven online systems that grow their businesses faster and easier. Can I help you? Go Here ==>


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