When it comes to online video marketing, we often assume that the only hope of getting a substantial quantity of views is through some form of viral marketing, which don’t get me wrong is a brilliant tactic of gaining traffic to your video but with Google shifting further towards universal search results, optimising your video for search is something that certainly shouldn’t be underestimated or ignored, so how can you optimise your videos to perform better in search? Here are my top ten tips for optimising your videos for higher search rankings.
It’s generally accepted amongst SEO’s that title tag keyword relevancy and positioning is one of the biggest on site search ranking factors that we can influence. On almost all video hosting sites including Youtube, the title tag follows the format of ‘Youtube – ‘video name’. As you can see in the example above, the song name is followed by ‘(New Rap Music / Hip Hop)’, improving the chances of this particular video being found for such terms, which a quick keyword tool checks will reveal are incredibly popular search terms.
One of the best ways to get Google to index a new webpage on your site is to building internal links from your popular pages to this new page. Youtube is no different and luckily for you, you’re able to easily add links from these popular pages using video responses (most of time anyway). Obviously these need to be from relevant pages but they will not only build internal links to your videos, they’re also likely to send traffic from people browsing for related videos.
One brilliantly successful trick to supercharge your video’s traffic is to put it in a playlist with several other highly popular related videos. Playlists tend to appear very high up on the Youtube search results page, which helps your video receive a high proportion of Youtube search traffic. The benefits don’t end there though, when you group a collection of songs together in a playlist it is possible that your video will be automatically linked to as a ‘related playlist result’ in the sidebar along other videos within that playlist, which means more internal link juice and more chance of someone clicking through to your video, nice.
There have been many rumors in the past about Google only considering videos for universal search results that have a certain threshold of ratings, personally I don’t think there is a set threshold on ratings as I have seen many videos indexed in universal results with a very low number of ratings, I imagine ratings are used relatively to find the most popular videos for a certain search term and those with the highest number of ratings will score the universal search results for that term. To encourage viewers to rate your video I would recommend adding annotations (an editing feature on Youtube) towards the end of the video reminding them to rate your video.
In the same way that comments on a blog post help to reinforce keywords and improve long tail traffic by having additional content, video comments on Youtube will also help to add crawlable content to your video page, but it will also improve the quantity of internal links pointing to your video as a link to your video will appear on the commenter’s profile page.
Although it’s unlikely to have much of an effect on your ranking within the Youtube search results or in Google Universal Search, it still helps standard (non-universal) Youtube results to rank better in Google’s Index.
I have heard rumors that posting your content in 4:3 resolution will increase the likelihood of it being indexed in universal search results as that is roughly the size of the thumbnails, however I would argue against this based on the number of widescreen videos that now appear in universal search results and the fact that the majority of people prefer to view videos in widescreen resolution, so it would be in Googles best interest to deliver what it is that it’s users prefer.
Youtube shows 27 characters in the video description before it’s truncated with ‘…’. It’s recommended to include a clickable link to your website within this limit to help refer traffic from your video to your site.
Despite Youtube’s dominance in the video hosting website market, I would strongly recommend hosting your video on multiple video hosts (with slightly varied titles) to increase the ability of your video being found from search engines. You can use a time saving service like Tubemogul to distribute your video to multiple video hosts in one upload.
I’m unsure as to what extent tags will impact your rankings for the tagged terms on Youtube but I imagine they will have a positive impact providing that they’re relevant and not used in excess.
Photo credit: Damon Duncan