Video SEO Best Practices

Video significantly boosts the SEO (search engine optimization) value of web pages.

Everyone knows Google is the dominant player in web search.  But how does Google rank search results?

Google says it places an emphasis on “content that engages, educates and incentivizes users to stay on a company’s website.”

Meaning: Engaging content boosts SEO; keyword-stuffing your web pages doesn’t work.  Websites that hold audience attention — websites that audiences find valuable — index better in Google search results.

What type of content is #1 for audience engagement?  Video!  Consider:

  • Video is over 50x more likely to get organic Google page one rank than text
  • 62% of Google Universal Search results contain video
  • Video search results are clicked 41% more than text search results

So what are some Video SEO best practices?  Here are a few that can help.



YouTube_logo_2013.svgOver 84% of all video results on Google search come from YouTube, the world’s top video site.

The #2 video site in Google search, Daily Motion, accounts for about 3% of Google search engine video results.

There’s a big difference, though, between just dumping videos on YouTube and actually crafting them to work well on the service.

The Pocket Guide to Social Video

It starts with your channel.  First you need to create a channel that’s interesting and compelling.  Pick a good name, one that helps describe what you do, and make sure and select the right category – and pick some descriptive tags to let YouTube know what’s in your channel.  You’ll also want to create a custom channel header so that your channel looks unique.  Don’t fret, there are some good tools online to help you, including, Canva and YouTube’s own help.

Then when you upload your video, repeat that process.  Pick a great headline that explains what your video does – in 60 characters or less.  At the very least also add in a 2 line description, but don’t stop there.  Put in more text below, including your site URL, a transcript of your video, and anything else that might help.  Design a catchy thumbnail that represents the best of your video – again, the design tools above can help – and don’t forget a representative sample of keywords too.

Wondering what keywords work?  Here’s a tip.  Go to the YouTube search bar and type in a word or two describing your video.   YouTube will attempt to auto-fill in the most likely matches, and the most popular phrases come first.  For example, let’s say your video is about angry cats doing dumb things.  Type in “angry cats” in the youtube search bar, and you’ll get a list of the most popular search terms on YouTube around “angry cats.”

One or more of these would make great tags, and there are great ideas for headlines and description content here as well.

There are other ways to find the right tags for your videos as well.  There are a variety of tools that can help, but our favorites are the Chrome plugin Vid.IQ vision that lets you see what tags other YouTube videos are using.  Find some successful videos in the space you are targeting and look at the tags, descriptions, titles and thumbnails used there.  Don’t just blindly copy, but those insights will help inform your strategy.


Make an effort to get your video to rank on the first page of search results on YouTube for the keywords and phrases for which you want to index. The tips above will help you find those keywords and phrases.

Experts believe that Google generally defers to YouTube search rankings in its own video search rankings.

Here’s an example.  Searching for “Katy Perry” on YouTube, her video for “Roar” comes up first.


Now search for “Katy Perry” on Google.  Guess which video comes up first?  “Roar.”


The point: Google largely defers to YouTube’s search rankings.  If your video is #1 for a keyword and phrase on YouTube, chances are good that your video will also be the first video that displays in Google search results, too. A win on YouTube helps you win on Google!

Another great tip to getting YouTube to highlight your video is to post an embed of the video on other sites.  Those “off site” views are highly valued by YouTube, and the more of those views your video gets, the higher you will rise in YouTube’s search algorithms.So try to push your YouTube video on other platforms, especially social media, to drive quality inbound links to it. Posting YouTube video links on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook, as well as on your own websites and blogs, are terrific ways to accomplish this goal.



Google search has a bias for informational keywords — not transactional keywords — in its search rankings.  Words that trigger a transaction or sale — like “free, 25% off, save on x, limited time, while supplies last, etc.” hurt you in Google search rankings for videos.  Instead, focus on informational words for title, tags, and video script (also recommended: add the script text to the video description).  Phrases like “how to, best practices, 5 tips to, 10 top ways to, etc.” are informational, not transactional — that’s the type of copy you want.



Submit your video to Google webmaster tools to get crawled faster:

Ask a question on Quora and answer it with a few sentences and a link to your video.  Quora questions index fast and very well on Google search; it’s an especially nifty trick for B-to-B, long tail content.

Post your video link to a relevant group on Reddit.

Share your video with influencers who drive the social conversation around the topic of the video.  For example, a video on NBA basketball might be interesting for sports bloggers, sports sites and such.  There are many great toold to quickly find influencers today including Traackr, HYPR, Twtrland and Hootsuite, among others.

And of course, share your video across your company’s or brand’s social media hubs.

There are literally hundreds of tips and techniques you can use to leverage videos for better SEO/organic search engine results. One great place to start: our favorite site ReelSEO.  Their Video SEO section should give you a host of ideas on how to get your video better indexed and more views.
But the tips and tricks above will help to get you started.

wochit is the top video creation platform for content creators — learn more about how wochit can help you take your video to the next level!


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