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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.

YouTube is the second most popular website in the United States and the world, according to Alexa.com. (Google.com is the No. 1 site.) Because of its massive traffic numbers, some SEO experts recommend posting video to YouTube and also embedding it on your own website or blog.

If you post a video to YouTube, you should also post it on its own page on your website, according to Luke Marchie, founder of Franklin Digital, an SEO and website development firm. You should then add a link to your page with the video in the description on its YouTube page (or other video sharing site). This can help drive viewers from YouTube to your website, "where they'll be much closer to your conversion points," Marchie says.

Video hosted on YouTube has a much larger potential audience, which in turn can translate into more views, says Anthony De Guzman, SEO manager at advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. A large number of views is often a positive indicator of the video quality, and that can help increase its position on search engine results pages, according to De Guzman.

YouTube's domain authority, a search engine ranking factor, is very high and is no doubt "stronger than your own site's authority," which can help your video's profile in Google search results, says Stephen Galgocy, senior SEO Strategist at Sparkroom, a company that provides technology and services to higher-education marketers.

5. Know exactly what you want your video to achieve

You should set realistic expectations for what YouTube can do and can't do. "Even though your video will get more views on YouTube," Galgocy says, "it might not drive conversions as well as a video on your website."

That's why it's important to have clear goals for your video, according to Blake Davis, founder of Long Drive Agency, a digital marketing firm. "If the most important metric is views, then YouTube is a great place for that," he says. However, if your goal is to encourage a conversion event — a sign-up, subscription or a share — consider services such as Wistia, a freemium video hosting platform that also offers marketing tools and video analytics.

6. Post 'teasers' on other sites, save full video for yours 

You may also want to upload the full-length video to your own website and post "teaser" videos on YouTube and other social sites. "Create short promotional videos to your videos that end with an invitation to watch the full video on your website," says Babin. "Then upload your teaser videos to sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and others, and make sure the description of these videos include a link to your website's main video page."

 

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