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Video SEO Best Practices: How to Rank Higher with Video

In terms of marketing, a well-designed video can have a positive ripple effect on your entire campaign that is far too powerful to ignore. Video is something that 75% of online users have interacted with over the past month, something that 90% of people say is incredibly helpful when making purchasing decisions AND that produces brand awareness, recall and more.

But a video cannot be created or released in a vacuum. If you want new viewers to find your video, you need to focus on SEO the same as you would on that blog post or whitepaper you just published. In terms of video SEO practices, if you really want to rank higher with your video there are a few key things to keep in mind.

Video SEO Checklist

Make your video content discoverable

What’s in a Name?

If you really want to rank higher in terms of SEO with that great new video you’ve just shot, you need to start by giving it a compelling title. Your goal is to both be descriptive (so that people know what they’re about to watch) and to be enticing. If someone is on the fence about watching your video, a title that poses a question is a great way to motivate them to click “Play.”

Regardless of what your title happens to be, make sure that you’re including a relevant keyword. This is one of the many ways that video SEO is actually very similar to general SEO practices for content like blog posts. Think about the keywords that you’re targeting and make sure at least one of them is included in your title (in the most natural way possible) for the best results.

Don’t Forget About Your Video Description

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re including an informative, SEO-rich and short text description to accompany your video. Don’t give away the entire video, or people won’t have a reason to watch. Instead, possibly formulate your description with questions that the video itself will answer.

Again, this serves a dual purpose. Not only will it help your video rank higher (especially if your description includes one or more relevant keywords or phrases), but it’ll also be another opportunity to motivate people to get down off the fence and watch your video in the first place.

The Power of a Good Thumbnail

They say that you can only make one first impression, so you’d better make it a good one. For many, the first impression they have of your video won’t even be with the title – it’ll be with the thumbnail. Choose a single, powerful, compelling image from your video that is both representative of what someone is about to watch and that motivates someone to keep going.

Always ask yourself the following question – “if I didn’t know anything about this video, would this thumbnail make me want to watch?” If the answer is “no,” keep trying until you find one that is an overwhelming “yes.”

Your Video’s Transcript

Video transcripts serve a couple of important purposes, all at the same time. For starters, there will be certain people who want to enjoy the information contained in your video but who can’t actually watch or listen to it – a transcript helps you get clicks from these people, too.

But more importantly, transcripts allow search engines like Google to index the associated video – something they wouldn’t be able to do on your own. A video by itself only has a title and a description. The actual meat of the video isn’t something that Google can properly analyze and index (yet). For now, a video transcript serves that function and it is a mission critical part of your overall SEO strategy for that reason.

Your Video Sitemap

If there is a reoccurring theme in all of this, it’s that if you want to rank higher with your video you need to make it as easy as possible for Google to find and crawl your content. A video sitemap, which is an XML document that describes your video, is another one of the many ways you’ll do that.

A video sitemap is something that you submit to Google that lets it understand your content WITHOUT having to wait for it to automatically crawl your page. Think of it like a “Fast Pass” that you get to skip lines for rides at Disney World. Everyone is getting on the ride – you’re just getting on faster. As an added bonus, a video sitemap lets you leverage advanced functionality like country restrictions, platform restrictions, expiration dates and more.

Make Your Video Shareable

Finally, one of the best ways to rank higher with video is to make sure your content isn’t just easy to share, but that people actually want to in the first place. Upload your video to a neutral and popular platform like YouTube for easy access. If you’re including a link on your website, make sure the “social” buttons for networks like Facebook and Twitter are always included.

Don’t make a video that is too long – try to keep it to under ten minutes or less – to not only increase overall views but to also increase the chances that someone will share it. In terms of best SEO practices for video, “highly shareable” should always be a top priority because the more likes and retweets your video gets, the higher it is likely to rank.

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