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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.

Similarly, take a look at the video that ranks highly on for your keywords, or the video that ranks well for a particular Instagram hashtag, Muller says. Then ask yourself, "Are they using other relevant keyword hashtags that you could include in your video description? How much engagement do they have? Why do you think some have higher engagement than others?"

13. Consider the competition when you tag YouTube video

You might want to include the name of a competitor's YouTube channel in your tags for added visibility, says Sparkroom's Galgocy, because "that's how you get your video to appear [in a sidebar] while a competitor's video is playing."

14. Longer YouTube video is better for SEO 

Some SEO experts believe longer videos on YouTube can get higher search engine rankings, in the same way longer text content often ranks higher on Google than shorter pieces. "I consistently see longer videos outperforming shorter videos in YouTube and Google search," wrote Brian Dean, author of YouTube SEO: The Ultimate Guide, on the Backlinko blog. For example, the top organic search result on YouTube for the keyword "WordPress" is more than two hours long.

15. Add subtitles to social media video

Adding subtitles to video you post on Facebook and Instagram can also help video SEO, according to Davis. These videos auto-play without sound in people's feeds, and potential viewers may scroll past them if their interest isn't piqued. Subtitles can help pull viewers in and might cause them to watch when they wouldn't otherwise, when they're in public and don't have headphones, for example.

16. Create custom video thumbnails to attract viewers

After you upload video to YouTube or another site, you have a choice between the default thumbnail image or a custom thumbnail. Using your own thumbnail, along with a text overlay, can help attract viewers, according to White.

17. Transcribe your video's audio

Search engines can't crawl video, so you should create a transcript of your video's audio, which will likely be full of relevant keywords. 

YouTube has an auto-caption feature, but it's not exactly known for accuracy. You could download the automatic caption file from YouTube, manually clean up errors, and then upload the corrected file, according to Emily Griffin, a blogger for 3PlayMedia, a captioning service provider.

You could also use your transcript as the basis for a blog post or other content, to help develop a "coordinated and cohesive keyword strategy for SEO purposes," says Robert Weiss, president of digital marketing firm MultiVision Digital. If you go that route, make sure someone on camera says your most important keywords during the video, so those keywords are part of the video transcript, Kaltura's Babin says.


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