This article will review 5 basic steps that can be taken to improve both the use of video for SEO and the SEO of videos themselves. An important place to start is by dispelling the misconception that video SEO is much different than any other kind of SEO. SEO best practices remain similar regardless of the type of content, however a few extra steps can be taken to optimize videos and get the most from SEO campaigns.

Step 1: Export Video to a Google-Readable Format

Just like images, Google indexes only certain video file formats. Hubspot recommends MPG, MPEG, MPEG4, M4V, MOV, WMV, ASF, AVI, RA, RAM, RM, FLV, or SWF. The industry is moving towards M4V and MPEG4, but all of the other formats are acceptable.

Step 2: Leverage YouTube

There is debate within the video industry whether hosting videos on YouTube is the best choice for brands who wish to have complete control of their content. However, the fact remains that:

a) YouTube is a Youtube logo imagegreat place to start looking for videos online,

b) when videos appear in Google’s universal search results, 8 out of 10 of the videos that are displayed are hosted on YouTube, and

c) videos on YouTube can easily be shared to social networks and embedded into websites.

These three reasons make hosting videos on YouTube a logical choice for any brand. YouTube’s new channel and customization options also allow brands to maintain their brand identities while still making use of all the features that YouTube has to offer.

Step 3: Use Clear Titles, Tags, and Descriptions

Of all the steps listed here, this step is the most crucial. The title of the video should be clear and meaningful; a quick read of the title should tell the viewer exactly what the video is going to be about. The title should also contain two or three of the most critical keywords for the video so that search engine bots indexing the video can put the video into context with all the other millions of videos uploaded every minute to YouTube.

YouTube also encourages using tags (keywords) and a description to connect search terms to the video. This information is used to fully and thoroughly index the video in proper context. While it is easy to over-think the title, description, and tags, it is best to keep things simple and concise. A good approach is imagining what the descriptions would look like if they were emailed to a friend or a colleague. Doing so will result in understandable and rich copy that both Google and real people can connect with.

Step 4: Create a Transcript of the Video Dialog

A full transcription of the video can not only yield tremendous SEO results, but it can also add value to the viewers. Having a full account of the video gives viewers the complete story, even if they do not watch the video or they missed some of its key parts. There are services that create video transcriptions, but even a basic outline of what the video covers (including links to more resources) is a great start.

Step 5: Embed the Video on a Webpage of Its Own

Finally, once the video is posted on YouTube, write a blog post or create a page on your website for the video. Each video should have its own page that provides the same information that is shared on YouTube.

Adding a post/page to your website augments the SEO value of the contents posted on YouTube as it expands the video’s viewing audience and video-sharing opportunities. By putting a video on its own page, a more detailed description can be written which can link to other related content on the website. Ultimately, you can get the most SEO value from a video by adding it both to YouTube and a company website.

~The SoMedia Blog Team