Looking to increase your organic traffic? Video SEO best practices that any publisher should know

Video has become the foundation for social media, but it’s presence and importance stretches far beyond social networks. Video helps bring people to publishers’ websites and can keep them coming back, which is crucial for keeping ad revenue flowing. To get the most from video outside of social, it needs to be central to your SEO efforts. If you think search engines are old hat in these hyper-social times, consider that in a single month Google gets over 100 billion searches. Video is the key to showing up in as many of those relevant searches as possible.

Every major search engine employs crawlers and algorithms that favor video content. This makes video an especially effective way for your content to be found in the wild and it and means that good video SEO can be extremely beneficial to your audience-building efforts.

Here are a few key concepts to keep in mind to get the most out of video SEO:

Video SEO isn’t so different from the SEO you’re used to

The elements that drive successful video SEO aren’t all that different than those that bring success in standard SEO. It’s about making quality content that will get linked to, and including clear descriptions and keywords so that search engines know who to point to your content.

Let’s look at how to apply these familiar concepts to your video content, as well as some video-specific considerations.

Striking titles go a long way

Bold, interest-piquing titles are necessary to draw viewers in through search. Those titles are also critical in informing search bots about your video. So they need to not only be intriguing but also informative. As with page, post, or article titles, video titles should be short but descriptive, with the most important keywords coming first or at least early.

Titles should never just be lists of keywords – search engines are smart enough to catch onto that. A good rule of thumb for video titles (or any titles) is to remember that if a potential viewer wouldn’t know what a video is about from its title, a search engine won’t either.

Also, be sure to avoid “stop words” – the most common words in a language. Most searches are conducted without stop words and many search engines even filter them out if they are used.

Concise descriptions, relevant keywords, and smart tags

Much like titles, a video’s description serves a dual purpose. Descriptions inform and even entice viewers, but they also work to inform search engine crawlers about your content. Those robots can’t watch your video to understand it (yet), so the information you provide alongside your video is what allows them to understand the content. It is from this information that so much of your SEO value is derived.

Descriptions give you more space than titles, allowing for greater context and even a transcript of your video. The more information you provide, the more search engines have to work with and the more precisely they can match your content to viewers who may be looking for it.

Keep that target audience in mind when crafting your descriptions. What phrases, terms, or keywords might your target viewers be searching for that could lead them to your video? What might they want to know or see that your video offers?

Thumbnails are still important

One place where video SEO differs is in weighing thumbnails. Video results have 41% higher click-through rates than plain-text results, so just having a visual on the search page gives you an advantage.

You may still be competing with other video results – and even if you don’t find that to be the case much yet, you will be in the future, as video content continues to expand all across the web. An intriguing, eye-catching thumbnail can help pull viewers to your clip over others. Your thumbnail is basically the first impression your content makes, so make it a good one.

Quality content should remain your focus

A video SEO strategy can be optimized all day long, but those efforts will be for naught without strong, high-quality content. Original, interesting videos will be linked to, shared, talked about, and engaged with. All that traffic and pointing back to your videos and site will do more for pushing your work up search results than anything else.

It’s not just true of video SEO efforts, but of any video-focused strategy: great content is the first step on the path to success.

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