Six Steps to Improve Your Video SEO

I’m not a very emotional person, but heartwarming commercials and videos of puppies make me cry. It’s almost embarrassing how easily the Barne’s twins’ Guinness commercial got to me. Don’t even get me started on Puppy Who Can’t Roll Over. And I’m not alone. It’s amazing what a well-made video can move people to do – whether it’s purchase a product, attend an event, or bring them to tears.

But how do you get people to see the videos you make?

With more than a billion searches on YouTube each day, if you aren’t posting on this free platform you are missing out. It is the second most used search engine (only beaten out by the king: Google). YouTube videos that pop up in a Google search take up prime real estate. So I’ve got some tips for you today to help your videos stand out on both!

Six Steps to Improve Your Video’s Rank in a Search Query

Step 1: Find your keywords. Users search for their problems, not your solutions. The keywords you choose are important through this entire process. Do some research and decide which make the most sense for your video. If you get stuck, give WordTracker or Google Trends a try.

Step 2: Choose your video title. I love clever titles as much as the next person, but they actually can work against you. Think about those keywords in Step 1 – what are people ACTUALLY searching for? If you can tell users exactly what the video is about, use the keywords, and still be a little clever – more power to you! But don’t sacrifice your SEO for a good pun. Here’s my priority list when writing a title:

  1. Make it fully descriptive
  2. Write for benefit
  3. Write for action
  4. Write for humor

Step 3: Fill out the description. Keywords come into play again. (I told you they were important through the whole process!) Provide information to the viewer about the video in your keyword-rich description. Google, Bing and other search engines crawl this text to determine if it should appear in regular search results. Here is a simple format for your description:

  1. Use a key-word rich phrase or two to tell the story of your video
  2. Takeaways – What will I learn?
  3. Include a CTA to drive users to your website or to purchase your product (make sure to use http:// before the url)
  4. Keep in mind that only about 22 words will be visible before “See more.” You have up to 1000 characters, but keep it as short and concise as possible.

Step 4: Use tags. Keep those keywords in mind again! Use eight to ten relevant tags to describe your video’s topic.

Step 5: Transcribe the video. Search engines also crawl this copy to know what your video is about. YouTube generates automatic captions for your videos, but you need to edit them. YouTube isn’t perfect; and chances are, when you go through the captions, some of the sentences are gibberish.

Step 6: Edit your work. Don’t even think about keyword stuffing. I know, I know… I said that the keywords are important, but don’t abuse your friend. You won’t fool YouTube or Google and can be penalized heavily for it. Go through with your editing eye and make sure your content is helpful and contains only relevant information for the user.

Your story is important and it deserves to be seen. This is only the beginning to improving your video SEO! Stay tuned for more tips and tricks to get your videos seen in search engines.

Share your most important tips with us, or ask me a question in the comments below.

Anna Gonzalez, Outreach & New Media Manager




2 thoughts on “Six Steps to Improve Your Video SEO”

  • Great list of points. Very important! – I have also found that interlinking the YouTube videos does help. Totally white hat, and easy to do. Say you have 10 videos in your channel that is about the same topic as your New video. Og back to the old videos and add a link in the descrition to the New video. Just the ordinary link to play the video on YT. This helps make Google know what the New video is about.

    Adding some bookmarks at a few (not many) bookmarking sites, and also in Twitter does help!

    A little more sneeky is it then if you have 2 users in YouTube. Then you can also like and rate Your video from the other user. But it’s best if you have friends on YouTube and you start liking each others’ videos. 🙂

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