Videos have grown to be the favored type of content by most marketers and business owners, as they can be tweaked to reliably engage audiences across all demographics and niches.
The thing is that as the video offering online keeps getting bigger and more varied, your need to differentiate and stand out also grows in kind.
Yes, being creative and having a competitive marketing strategy can make a world of difference. But even when you have a clear goal and a flawless execution in terms of creating your video content, optimization does most of the heavy lifting in terms of serving that content to your audience.
So, in this piece, we’ll go over some crucial SEO areas that can boost your videos’ visibility and have them rank better in SERPs.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
Engage your Audience Quickly
While not very “SEO” sounding, the first tip is to create videos that hook your viewers from the get-go, as most people will choose to watch or skip your content based on just a few seconds of content.
The better your video’s beginning is, the more people will stay and watch. The more views, the higher SERPs algorithms will position it. It’s that simple.
Make sure the first 5 to 10 seconds of your video make an impression. Establish what the video is about and what’s in it for your audience right away!
Be succinct and summarize the most important points or topics of your video quickly. This is known as hooking your audience. Audience hooks have been used in TV, film, and advertising for decades for a good reason: they can make or break a good piece of content.
Your hook should be short, enticing, and get things moving fast. But how do I accomplish that? You may ask. Here are three ways to quickly engage and hook your audience:
● Share something new (a product or solution) or the latest news about yourself or your company relevant to your audience.
● Make clear what’s different between your video and other videos on the same topic. ● Share tips or solutions to a specific customer problem or issue your community is facing.
Other ways to create hooks for your videos include variations of how-to lists, using power words, and asking your audience questions right at the opening of your piece. But keep it simple. Try one of the three hook types on the list first, and then test your videos to see which type has more traction with your specific audience.
Use Intriguing-Yet-Honest Titles and Descriptions
Spending time crafting an appropriate headline and description for your videos will help you rank higher and get found more easily.
Your headline informs your viewer what your content is about and should be intriguing and enticing enough to make the viewer click on your video. Your description should add a brief explanation to help convince the viewer to watch the video or prompt them to take action after watching (usually both).
Writing intriguing headlines and descriptions take a bit of work, but it’s doable even with little experience. Here are some general tips you can implement right away to get you started:
● Use power words like amazing, awesome, and secret.
● Use numbers and modifiers like how-to, best, ultimate guide, top 10, and 10 ways. ● Keep your keywords close to the start of the title.
● Use separators such as “|”,”-“, and ”!”
● Include your main keyword on your title.
● Use a title checker tool.
● Include other keywords in your description.
● When writing your description, tell people what to expect and write conversationally.
Think about how your customer’s pain points and goals and your keyword research work together to form your title and description. This type of thinking will inform your writing and help you create intriguing titles and descriptions that include your keywords and any customer insights you may have.
Creating Thumbnails That Get Clicks
Thumbnails play a significant role in your audience’s video selection process. Whether viewers choose to click or pass on your video often has most to do with your thumbnail.
A video thumbnail works the same way as a book cover or a website’s home page. It should be a high-quality picture (high-res), and it should be relevant to the topic at hand, presenting it in a way that gets people’s attention and invites them to click to find out more.
Popular thumbnails include icons, cartoons, and expressive images of people. Human faces and pictures of people seem to have an advantage when it comes to CTR and conversions, and believe me, using the right thumbnail image can strongly impact conversion rates and views.
Last but not least, accessibility and adaptability are also important points to keep in mind when working on optimized thumbnails. Always check how your images look across devices and make sure your thumbnails look professional on every video platform, regardless of screen size.
The Power of Subtitles
Over the past few years, research has shown that the vast majority of people play videos on Facebook and similar social media platforms without sound as a way to introduce the content to scrolling users. Subtitles, then, can be the difference between your audience getting your message or missing it entirely during mute plays.
Moreover, subtitles make it easier for search engines to crawl through the video’s metadata.
This means search engines can read the subtitles and figure out what your video is about. As a result, the search engine bots get better at accurately ranking your content for relevant queries, which also feeds into your content’s potential exposure and reach.
Some platforms like YouTube include automatic subtitles, but when we are talking optimization, creators often craft the subtitles themselves or use specialized software. No matter your choice of tool or platform, including subtitles in your videos is always a good choice.
Customize Landings to Synergize with Your Videos
When you self-host your videos and take care of on-page SEO, your content performs better, and your reach improves. Taking care of on-page SEO helps search engine bots quickly crawl through your video page and understand your content based on your SEO settings.
This way, you make your page relevant to users and search engines according to the type of content you create.
This is the case when you host your videos on your website. But what happens when you upload your videos to sites such as YouTube? More often than not, sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, and others offer Analytics and SEO tools that help users optimize their videos.
These sites keep developing their analytics, reporting methods, and SEO tools to make it easier to optimize your content and improve your videos’ performance. In the meanwhile, here are a few key tips you should follow when tackling video SEO.
● Having clear goals regarding your long-term objectives (traffic versus brand awareness, for example)
● Taking care of on-page SEO and video SEO as discussed in this guide
● Choosing the right platform to host your videos.
Find a Hosting Service that Fits Your Strategy
The topic of hosting can fill an entire article in itself, but the long and short of it is this: If your goal is to increase traffic, conversion, and leads, you probably should choose to self-host your videos. If your goal is to increase brand awareness and reach, then a platform like YouTube and Vimeo are often a better fit. Here’s why:
When your goal is to increase traffic and generate leads for your sales team, then a self-hosting platform with extended SEO capabilities will provide more control and opportunities to tailor and optimize elements surrounding your videos. WordPress and Yoast are both good alternatives.
Wistia also favors SEO metadata to increase your chances of being indexed by search engines. In this case, you’re in charge of the SEO process, and you can tweak settings as much as you may need.
On the other hand, if you are leaning towards brand awareness and recognition, a platform such as YouTube or Vimeo is your best choice. Not only because of their reach and extender user base but also because of their solid performance and platform analytics focused on making your videos more popular.
All things being equal, a video’s hosting platform can produce radically different results depending on your strategy’s goals. Consider your choices and go for something that aligns with those goals.
Setting up Video Rich Snippets
A video-rich snippet is a small piece or brief section of a video that showcases what your content is about. During the past few years, Google’s SERP has shown an increase in the use of rich snippets. These snippets help you differentiate and stand out from the rest of the results on the SERP.
Rich snippets deliver the title, video duration, a brief description, and a thumbnail and help you differentiate your content from the rest of the results. They also help search engine bots to communicate with websites and pages and provide structured data that bots can understand and easily crawl. Rich snippets are eye-catching and easy to see on the SERPs, and they help improve your CTR as well.
To use Google’s rich snippets, it’s best if you self-host your content. You also have to create the required schema.org code and use Google Search Console to submit an XML map. It seems quite a bit of work, but it’s well worth the effort.
Pro tip: If you want your video snippet to stand out, then make sure your thumbnail, description, and titles work together to portray what your video is about.
Even though video SEO seems less technical than straight-up on-page SEO, both strategies share many similarities, such as keyword research, optimized titles and descriptions, and the platform you use to reach your audience.
So, the tips and ideas we’ve presented today include a mix of on-page SEO, writing tips, and platform setup choices in an effort to provide you with the tools for a well-rounded, easy-to-implement strategy.
In the end, having clear goals and a thorough knowledge of optimization will give your overall strategy a much better chance of success. Hopefully, what you’ve learned today will help you optimize and improve your videos’ performance. Put these tips to good use, and you won’t be disappointed!