In this article, we’ll answer the question, “how does video help SEO?”
We’ll also explain how you would do SEO for a video to improve both the search engine visibility on Google and a video hosting platform like YouTube.
As you’ll discover below, the impact videos have on search engine optimization can be tremendous.
And if you apply the right video SEO strategy for your content, you can maximize the rankings and traffic for your website and increase brand exposure with your target audience.
How Does Video Help SEO?
Video helps SEO by increasing the time users spend on your page, generating more links to your content, and improving visibility in organic search results. A video is helpful for both on-page and off-page SEO strategies.
Increases Time On Page
A Wistia case study revealed: “People spent on average 2.6x more time on pages with video than without.”
Looking at the numbers, Wistia concluded:
- The average time spent on pages with video is 7 minutes and 21 seconds.
- The average time spent on pages without video is 2 minutes and 48 seconds.
Generates More Links
In this article from Moz about what makes a link worthy post, Casey Henry reported: “[Having] a video compared to just text will almost triple the average number of linking domains.”
As you can see video helps SEO by making your web pages more appealing for other websites to link to your content.
Improves Search Engine Visibility
According to Searchmetrics, 62% of Google universal searches include video. And with Cisco forecasting that video will comprise about 84% of total IP traffic by 2022, this means video content is likely to dominate the SERPs even more in the future.
Making video part of your SEO strategy can help improve search engine visibility for your website as a whole. See this related guide with a list of free video promotion sites you can use to upload your videos for search engine optimization.
How Would You Do SEO for a Video?
Optimize the Video Title for SEO
Just like a blog post, video titles need to be optimized for SEO to help them rank in the search engines and on a hosting platform like YouTube.
Make sure to put your main target keyword in the video title, preferably at the start of this field. Also, add in some secondary keywords without repeating too many of the same words to optimize the video title further.
Just make sure the video title still reads naturally while being optimized to help for SEO.
(Note: Before we get into the rest of the tips, I want you to know that there’s also a complete guide on setting up the perfect video SEO strategy here. Check it out after you’re done reading this post.)
Optimize the Video Description for SEO
Similar to the video title, the video description needs to be optimized for SEO.
Make sure to include your main keyword in the first sentence of the description as well as 1-2 times in the middle and a final instance at the end of the text.
Your secondary keywords can be scattered throughout the video description in a natural way to optimize it further for SEO.
Put Keywords In The Video Tags
If the video hosting platform you’re using allows video tags, then be sure to put your target keywords in the tags as well.
Insert the keywords as exact match phrases and maximize the character count for this field by adding related phrases and terms so you can get the full SEO benefit.
Add a Video Transcript
Video transcripts act as page copy for search engine crawlers. And the more indexable text you can add to your videos online, the more it can help your video content rank for more search queries.
So upload a video transcript with your video on the hosting platform. You can also use the auto-generated video transcripts on a site like YouTube and then go in to edit this text to make sure your target keywords are being included.
Make an Engaging Video Thumbnail
Although the video thumbnail doesn’t have much direct SEO value, other than using your main keyword in the thumbnail filename, it is what the searcher will see when your video is indexed in the search engines.
Therefore, video thumbnails play a major role in which videos people click on in the SERPs.
To help your videos get higher click-through rates, you can use these tips:
- Use a simple design.
- Make sure it’s relevant to what you’re trying to rank for.
- Use big and bold text with your main keyword.
- Include a person’s face when you can.
Get Videos On Google with Schema Markup
According to Google’s advanced SEO guide for videos, “Based on how you mark up your content, your videos may also be eligible for the following video enhancements:”
- Live badge
- Key moments
- Home activities
- Video host carousels
To get featured in these spots in the search engine, you’ll need to add schema markup (or structured data) for your videos and validate your code using the Rich Results Test. All of this information can be found in the advanced guide for videos linked above.
Embed the Video On a Web Page
As mentioned in my other article on video SEO optimization, embedding your videos on a web page will help SEO and search engine visibility.
And according to Google’s best practices for video, it states: “Make sure that each video is available on a public web page where users can watch the video.”
It also says: “To give your videos maximum exposure, create a dedicated page for each video, where the video is the most prominent subject on the page.”
So there you have it from Google itself. Always embed your videos on a dedicated web page to help your videos for search engine optimization.
Optimize the Web Page for SEO
Another top tip for helping videos for SEO is to optimize the dedicated web page the video is placed on for your target keywords.
You shouldn’t just rely on optimizing your video’s attributes to increase exposure and rankings in the SERPs.
It’s extremely important that the page itself is also optimized for SEO, otherwise, the search engines may not crawl the page or index it properly in the search results.
Do YouTube Videos Help with SEO?
YouTube videos can help with SEO by increasing exposure for your content in the SERPs. A well-ranked video on YouTube can also rank high in Google’s search engine to increase your brand visibility.
Additionally, you can add links in your YouTube descriptions back to your website. These links can increase improve your overall backlink profile to improve the trust and authority for your site.
It’s also not uncommon for you to have both a web page that ranks high on Google for a target keyword as well as a video. In fact, a good SEO strategy is to repurpose your top-ranking web pages into YouTube videos for the sole purpose of getting those videos to rank in the search engine alongside your written content.
Doing that will help you improve your video SEO by capturing more than one location on the front page of the SERPs.
Also, YouTube dominates Google video results, according to Moz. It reports: “In a study of 2.1M searches and 766K videos, YouTube accounted for 94% of all video carousel results on page one of Google, leaving little room for competition.”
The report goes on to say:
“For now, from a marketing perspective, we’re left with little choice but to cover our bases and take the advantage YouTube seems to offer. There’s no reason we should expect YouTube’s numbers to decrease, and every reason to expect YouTube’s dominance to grow, at least without a paradigm-shifting disruption to the industry.”
Video Helping SEO Summary
I hope you enjoyed this guide on answering the question about how does video help SEO.
As you discovered, video can improve several important metrics for search engine optimization and your user’s experience: time on page, number of backlinks, and increased visibility in organic search results.
You also learned several tips on how would you do SEO for a video to help it rank better in the search engines and on a video hosting platform like YouTube.
By adding video to your overall SEO strategy, you can typically see a performance gain across both of those digital marketing channels.