5 SEO Tips for Videos: How Google Ranks Them & How to Optimize
By Nate Dame
Videos are becoming increasingly important for B2B marketing. Companies with dedicated video marketing strategies generate more leads, earn more revenue, and enjoy better brand awareness than those engaging in all other forms of marketing.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are great places to get eyes on your video content, but prospects aren’t necessarily in work- or buy-mode as they scroll through these platforms.
We do know, however, that 90% of B2B decision-makers use search to research business decisions. To reap the benefits of video marketing, your videos must be optimized for search. By following a few best practices for video SEO, you’ll enjoy more visible video search results and drive more organic traffic—and qualified leads—to your video content.
How Does Google Rank Videos?
In its general search and video search functions, Google ranks videos using the same ranking factors as written content—content quality, number of backlinks, and RankBrain are the most important signals. When hosting videos on your site, the tasks for optimizing video content are similar to those for written content and images.
Similar, but not identical. Here are five steps you should take to improve your search rankings so your videos stand out in search results:
1. Transcribe Your Video Content
Providing both a video and transcription on a single page offers dual benefits: it caters to different reader preferences, and it makes video content more likely to appear in general Google searches.
Video transcriptions can be optimized for search in the same way as any other text-based site content. While this may seem to break duplicate content rules, transcriptions actually provide a good user experience by catering to different learning styles. While some visitors may prefer videos, others may prefer reading. In fact, 85% of business executives prefer reading over watching videos when making business decisions.
When transcribing video content, there are two approaches you can take:
- Provide a full, word-for-word transcription as Moz does for their Whiteboard Friday videos.
- Provide text highlights like Content Marketing Institute does for their This Old Marketing podcast.
Full transcripts provide more engagement SEO opportunities, while highlights are good for long videos and can encourage more views by teasing readers with compelling content that’s discussed in more detail in the video. Ultimately, use the approach your audience prefers: you can poll them to find out, or do some A/B testing to see which approach drives the kind of engagement you’re looking for.
2. Optimize Video File Metadata
Just like general search results, titles and descriptions display in video searches. While Google will find something to display if this data isn’t provided, you’ll drive more views and rank higher in results if this metadata is optimized.
Video titles and descriptions should:
- Be compelling to encourage click-throughs.
- Be relevant and applicable to the content.
- Include keywords that match user intent.
- Feature titles that are 55 characters or less.
- Use meta descriptions that are 155 characters or less.
Additionally, Google displays a thumbnail for video results. Thumbnails are to videos as images are to Go to the full article.