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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.

7. Post some videos to your site, others to YouTube

Brandon Seymour, an SEO and digital marketing consultant, offers yet another option. "Using a combination of self-hosted videos that reside on your own domain and third-party platforms like YouTube is ideal," he says. "With YouTube, you get to piggyback off its gargantuan domain authority, which helps if you're targeting a highly competitive niche, like DIY auto repair videos."

However, posting video to your own site helps it gain backlinks and social shares, which can boost your overall authority and rankings, according to Seymour.

8. Post to your site first, YouTube later 

It's better to host video on your site first, using a service such as Wistia or Vimeo, and then add it to YouTube a few months later, to get extra visibility, says Britney Muller, SEO and content architect for Moz, which offers cloud-based search marketing tools and resources. "Essentially, you want your site to rank above a YouTube version initially, to get the visibility and domain or page authority."

9. Optimize video titles, descriptions and tags with keywords

When it comes to SEO, video needs a bit of extra effort. "With blog posts or website pages, all the content is visible to search engines, whereas with video, you have to leverage the headline and description," because Google's "crawlers" can't interpret and index the content of video, according to BDNA's White. For this reason, it's very important to optimize your video's title, description and metatags using relevant keywords, White says.

10. Video titles should be at least five words

The titles of your video should be a minimum of five words long, so you can include your important keywords without looking like you're "keyword stuffing," says Long Drive Agency's Davis.

It's also a good idea to include keywords in the video-file names, because they can help with optimization. For example, if you want to rank for the keyword phrase "Facebook Ad Tips," name your video file "Facebook_advertising_tips_video.mp4," Davis says.

11. Video descriptions should be at least 250 words 

The descriptions you use on YouTube and other video sharing sites should be at least 250 words and include your most important keyword three or four times, according to Davis. (Again, adding a keyword a few times to a longer description can diminish the appearance of keyword stuffing.) It's also wise to include your keyword within the first 25 words of the description, to give it more emphasis.

12. Check out similar video for ideas

You should take a close look at video that already ranks highly for your target keywords, according to Muller. "If you wanted to rank for 'healthy mac and cheese' on YouTube, you should first evaluate the top ranking videos on YouTube for that phrase," she says. "How long are the videos? What do their titles have in common? What do their descriptions look like?"


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