videoseoThe Internet is becoming more and more multimedia-based and the leader remains - as always -Google.

Not only because of YouTube Video SEO is becoming increasingly important, it is a fact that its potential is still underutilized, although with just a few tips, much can be achieved.

Video SEO still unutilized

One billion users per month, 72 hours of new video material per hour. YouTube shows us the enormous power of videos, as well as the fact that it is by now the second largest search engine on the web. And that’s the reason why video SEO isn’t only limited to the optimization in the Google SERPs, but relies on the optimization of the respective video platform. Not to mention that Google's YouTube closest competitor, Vimeo, has just 100 million viewers per month and therefore can hardly be compared with the impact made by the search giant.

The need for video SEO becomes clear when looking at the number of videos in the Google SERPs. Since 2007, Google offers a universal search integration that displays videos in addition to news and images. However, compared to images, Google News or Google Maps, videos are actually overrepresented in the SERPs.

Another reason for video SEO is the same that initially enlivened the Google Authorship. Through the display of images in the snippets (the preview of the page), videos get a higher attention than common search results. This also has an effect on click-through rates (CTR), as studies confirm the increased attention of video snippets. That the thumbnails of videos on Google are more than three times in size as for example the Authorship images have ever been, attracts more attention, too. In addition, the video thumbnails can be defined freely by now.

Nevertheless, in many places, video SEO is still underestimated and not practiced, since there is a lack of knowhow for such a new trend. There are already experts and agencies to take on the video optimization, but still far too little to master this SEO trend in 2014.

Video SEO is more than just SEO

Compared to the traditional SEO, video SEO follows partially its own rules, for the reason alone that Google and other search engines perceive video formats differently than text or can’t process them. User signals such as links are therefore all the more important for video SEO.

In addition, the focus for SEO experts is, next to the optimization of the title, metadata and tags. Creating a very good thumbnails and call-to-action implementation is also essential. It has to be considered that it isn’t just all about Google SERPs here, but the YouTube search engine as well. Hence, consider the following tips.

Basic video SEO tips at a glance:

  • Nothing works without good content: Here, video SEO follows the general SEO mantra - “content is king – which means, video as well has to provide relevant content and added value to be successful. The additional value can be defined in different ways, but must be given. Often the right combination of entertainment and information is what it takes to succeed, but the appropriate presentation is crucial, too. If possible, the sound and video quality should convince, as a video in full HD quality is actually mandatory today.
  • Use video markup and video sitemap: Videos can be difficult to index, which is a good reason for making use of a proper video markup, such as from the one offered by A video sitemap is useful as well, as it helps to markup rich snippet, which means showing search results with thumbnails. 
  • Optimize title and description: For video SEO, optimizing title and description is even more important than for the commonly known SEO. On one hand, Google has to be able to identify the topic clearly and, on the other hand, the title must be appealing and inspiring to the potential audience.
  • Use subtitles: Subtitles are a good but not easy way to satisfy both humans and search engines. In contrast to the video itself, the search engine can read subtitles, which means that it is possible to accommodate information that can affect the ranking positively. What it does not mean, however, is that you should indiscriminately subtitle the whole video. Only add subtitles where the user can gain an advantage of it.
  • Allow participation instead of excluding others: Ideally, a video should also be social media compliant. This means that viewers must have the opportunity not only to provide feedback on the video, but also to become active. The latter can be achieved by videos that invite people, for instance, to emulate or represent a competition. Sufficient contact options should be present in the video itself and in the description, as these user signals fuel video SEO.
  • Use many channels: It is not enough today to simply upload your video onto YouTube. Integrate the video into your website, ideally in a long, high quality, and descriptive article. Moreover, you should put some efforts into other channels as well during the seeding. Often campaigns need this little push to become a success.
  • Thumbnail optimization: A good preview image – a thumbnail - is one of the most important elements to increase the click-through rate for videos. Meanwhile, YouTube allows providing a corresponding thumbnail, which is a great opportunity you should appreciate, as an optimized thumbnail is necessary for proper video SEO. Also useful could be the video snippet generator of Sistrix. In some cases, it may take time until the markup is functioning correctly in Google. If in doubt, you can contact Google directly. I hope the tips are useful.

By Daniela La Marca