How to Optimize Video for SEO

Videos and video content pages can be optimized for search engine visibility so they appear in the search results for target keywords. Don’t assume that posting videos on YouTube will mean they will rank better because Google owns YouTube. Video SEO comes from taking the right steps to be indexed around the right keywords.

Video SEO Best Practices

If you want traffic to your videos from search results pages, follow these best practices.

  • Pick the right platform for your videos. While all video platforms support SEO, some are better for particular goals. If you care about traffic acquisition and leads, a specialized video host like Wistia can be a good choice. If you care more about building a social following, YouTube, which has it’s own powerful search, is likely the best option.
  • Know your keywords. Find out what people are talking about or asking. Answer questions with your content and make sure your videos fully satisfy those questions. When writing content for your video pages include the terminology viewers use.
  • Add captions and transcript for your video. A full transcript of the content on the page you want to rank instantly makes everything available to search engines. It also makes your content available for people who’d rather read what you have to say than watch a video.
  • Write great titles and descriptions. Make your titles and descriptions unique, keeping within the standard meta-title length of about 70 characters.

Make Sure Your Videos Are Crawlable

The pages that have video content must be reachable by search engines. The same goes for the videos themselves. If you host them on your site, don’t forget to make them available to the outside world. Be sure nothing prevents resources crawling in the robots.txt file.

Use Google Analytics to Fix Bad Website Pages and Links

Google Analytics can be used to find bad pages and links at your website. Here are the steps to get information about these issues so you can correct them and improve the user experience at your website.

Find Bad URLs and Broken Pages

Behavior > Site Content > Page Title dimension, filter for “Page Not Found”

If a visitor goes to a bad URL (a page that doesn’t exist) they arrive at the “404 Page Not Found” landing page. Visits to these bad URLs appear in the Site Content report as they all have different URLs. But they all have the same Page Title.

In Analytics, go to the Behavior > Site Content report. Switch to the Page Title dimension. Add the title of your 404 page into the filter box. You should now see a report with just one row: your page not found page.

Click on it to drill-down to see all the URLs that have resulted in a 404 error at your site. To fix the issues, redirect traffic from these pages to the most relevant page or create content using these URLs.

Next Find the Bad Links

Behavior > Site Content > Page Title dimension, filter for “Page Not Found” > Drill down > Navigation Summary, Previous Page Path

Using the 404 report, click on the “Navigation Summary” tab to see how people are getting to the bad page. The pages in the “Previous Page Path” list are pages with broken internal links. You’ll want to remove the link or update it to point to another page.

SEO Fundamentals to Follow

Have Great Content

Give your visitors high-quality content, a great user experience and a secure, technically sound website. That isn’t fast or easy, but it is the sure way to rank well and maintain your rankings. Search engines like fresh content, but they also like sites that earn clicks consistently.

Know your area of expertise and be generous in sharing insights. That markets your business to potential customers and helps search engines understand where your content fits with searcher interests.

Focus on original content over links to other experts in your area. While links to related sites are good for SEO, you need to generate a body of information that draws people to your website and your business.

Create the best quality content that you can, and consistently review and improve on it wherever possible. Demonstrate your expertise and stand out from the crowd.

Pay Attention to Speed

People don’t wait for sites to load. They move on. We all behave this way, yet we forget to check our own web presence for speed. Slow sites are not effective. Period.

Use Google’s free page speed analyzer often to make sure your site is fast to load.

There are several ways to speed up your website. Some may require more technical skill than you have, but it is worth the investment to bring someone on who can rev up your load time.

Images are one factor that you can control easily within your site admin area. Large, high definition images will take a long time to load. Always take the time to resize your images to the scale needed by your website.

Focus on Your Audience

You will only succeed online if you focus on what your audience wants and needs. Search engines aim to give users what they’re looking for. If your content doesn’t get clicked, you will never achieve good SEO.

Are you really offering searchers what they’re looking for when they type in their search? Are they looking for information or to take action? What do they need from you? Focus there.

Competition for attention is fierce. Users want to visit sites that solve their problem or provide the information or service they need. They don’t care about product-related jargon or why you want them to read your blog post. Always write for your audience.

Link Within Your Site

Link related content within your site. These are called internal links. These links make it easy for search engines to crawl your site to work out which articles are most important and to help your users find what they’re looking for.

Make sure that your most important articles also have the most internal links pointing to them. Use keywords in the link text to make the benefit of clicking the link clear.

Maintain Your Content

Keep your content fresh and relevant.

Do a site search for one of your most important keywords and see what comes up. Do articles overlap, and do you still need to keep everything? Delete or merge content as needed to ensure everything that is published is worthy of a click.

Avoid Getting Toppled by SEO Rule Changes

Focus on these SEO fundamentals and you will protect yourself from huge demotions as SEO algorithms change. All of these focus on providing great content that is meaningful to your audience. If you focus there, you can’t lose!