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20 things you need to know about video SEO

James A. Martin | Nov. 4, 2016
For maximum video search engine optimization, it pays to know the key tenets of modern video SEO. Search pros and digital marketing experts share top tips to boost your video search efforts.

Video is now the most popular type of online content, according to a June 2016 HubSpot survey. HubSpot's report suggests global internet users consume video "thoroughly," instead of simply skimming it, as they often do with other forms of content. "If you want to make a big impact and keep people's attention," HubSpot said, video is the best form of online content to accomplish that goal.

Of course, if no one can find your video, it's not going to make a big impact or keep anyone's attention. And unlike text on web pages or in blog posts, Google's search engine bots can't "crawl," or index, video to determine its subject matter.

Consequently, search engine optimization (SEO) is particularly important for video. To find out how to maximize video visibility in search results, we queried search professionals and digital marketing experts for their best video SEO tips.

1. Quality content boosts video SEO

High-quality video has a better chance of ranking highly in Google search results, according to Toby Balsiger, CEO of website design and SEO consultant firm Website Tigers. "This means the video needs to be relevant to the keywords you're going after, as well as helpful to your audience," he says. "A crappy video will not rank in Google because it will have poor user signals, such as low time on site and high bounce rate."

2. Grab viewers as quickly as possible

Good video grabs viewers' attention within the first second or two, says Zohar Babin, vice president of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, an over-the-top (OTT) video platform as a service provider. If it doesn't, they're much more likely to leave. "If viewers are repeatedly leaving your video, the effort is wasted, as they're not seeing the content you've created for them," Babin says. "Even worse, search engines begin to rank content lower when they see that a substantial number of viewers are clicking through but quickly leaving. This will hurt your video's SEO."

3. Tutorials, how-tos and product reviews are good for video SEO

In SEO terms, "high-quality video" offers clear value to viewers, it fully engages them, and causes them to share the video on social media, according to Lara White, director of demand generation for enterprise data management provider BDNA. It's not necessarily about production value. 

"The content of the video is critical to ensuring you get traffic," White says. "Search engines want to rank high-quality videos that engage viewers. Product pitches don't do well. Tutorials, how-tos and reviews are a much better approach when it comes to videos." 

4. Post video on YouTube and your site for maximum SEO


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