Top Tips for Video SEO’ by Greg Jarboe

It’s esti­mat­ed that more than 100 hours of footage is uploaded to YouTube every minute! So how do you make your own con­tent stand out when you have mil­lions of videos to con­tend with? How do you get peo­ple to view YOUR video?

Matt Humphreys By Matt Humphreys from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

It’s esti­mat­ed that more than 100 hours of footage is uploaded to YouTube every minute! So how do you make your own con­tent stand out when you have mil­lions of videos to con­tend with? How do you get peo­ple to view YOUR video?

This arti­cle marks the start of a series of posts which cov­er the sub­ject of Video SEO. Here you will find great insights from some the worlds best speak­ers, authors and prac­ti­tion­ers in online video.

They will share their advice, tips and tricks into how to uti­lize video in the best ways, whether it be host­ed on your own domain or video giant YouTube.

Our first expert does­n’t need an intro­duc­tion at all. Greg Jar­boe, from SEO-PR, shares with us his ‘Top 10 Tips for Video SEO’. I’ve had the priv­i­lege to view Greg give a pre­sen­ta­tion at SES Lon­don in the past on the sub­ject of ‘B2B Video Mar­ket­ing’. I learnt a tremen­dous amount from that pre­sen­ta­tion and have con­tin­ued to learn more from his top tips below. Greg has also writ­ten a pop­u­lar book on using video for dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing called YouTube and Video Mar­ket­ing: An Hour a Day.

Top 10 Tips for Video SEO’ by Greg Jarboe

I’ve been asked to share my top 10 tips for video SEO, but they come with an advi­so­ry: best if used before the next algo­rithm update. For exam­ple, YouTube offi­cial­ly replaced “view count” with “watch time” as a rank­ing fac­tor in Octo­ber 2012. On the oth­er hand, “rel­e­vance” has remained a rank­ing fac­tor since the ear­ly days: i.e. before Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 bil­lion in Octo­ber 2006. So, rec­og­niz­ing that some things will change, while oth­ers will remain the same, here are my top 10 tips for video SEO (fresh­ness date: June 25, 2014):

  1. Con­duct key­word research. Use Google Trends, which has added YouTube search data going back to 2008, to con­duct key­word research to find key­words that work in YouTube, the world’s sec­ond-largest search engine,as well as Google. For exam­ple, web search inter­est in “Chevy” and “Chevro­let” are the same this month. But, if you com­pare the YouTube search inter­est for these two terms, you’ll see that “Chevy” is almost twice as pop­u­lar as “Chevro­let.”
  2. Opti­mize your content’s meta­da­ta. YouTube uses meta­da­ta – your video’s title, descrip­tion, and tags – to index your video cor­rect­ly. To max­i­mize your pres­ence in search and sug­gest­ed videos, make sure your meta­da­ta is well-opti­mized. Your title can be up to 100 char­ac­ters long. Your descrip­tion can include up to 5,000 char­ac­ters. Your tags can be up to 120 char­ac­ters. Use every one of these lim­its for each of your videos. You canup­date the meta­da­ta on old­er videos if your title, tags or descrip­tions aren’t opti­mized. This can increase views even if the video’s been pub­lic for a long time.
  3. Cre­ate cus­tom thumb­nails for your videos. If your account is ver­i­fied and in good stand­ing, you may have the abil­i­ty to upload cus­tom thumb­nails for your video uploads. Your cus­tom thumb­nail image should be as large as pos­si­ble, since the image will also be used as the pre­view image in the embed­ded play­er. Cus­tom thumb­nails should:
  • Have a res­o­lu­tion of 1280x720 (with min­i­mum width of 640 pix­els).
  • Are uploaded in image for­mats such as .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG.
  • Remain under the 2MB lim­it.
  • Use a 16:9 aspect ratio since it’s the most used in YouTube play­ers and pre­views.
  1. Use anno­ta­tions on your videos.Anno­ta­tions are click­able over­lays that you can add to your YouTube videos. Anno­ta­tions are a great way to encour­age your view­ers to engage with your video and take mean­ing­ful actions as a result. The key is cre­at­ing an anno­ta­tions expe­ri­ence that is con­ver­sa­tion­al and inter­ac­tive.
  2. Use cap­tions on your videos. Pro­vid­ing cap­tions not only make your work acces­si­ble to a wider audi­ence, it also acts as addi­tion­al meta­da­ta which helps your video show up in more places on the site. If your video is cap­tioned for mul­ti­ple lan­guages, it will also be search­able in those lan­guages.
  3. Cre­ate and opti­mize playlists. Playlists allow you to col­lect, orga­nize and pub­lish mul­ti­ple videos togeth­er. They increase watch time and cre­ate anoth­er asset that will appear in search results and in Sug­gest­ed Videos. You can cre­ate playlists using your own videos, oth­er videos, or a com­bi­na­tion of both.
  4. Opti­mize your chan­nel name, icon and descrip­tion. Sev­er­al cus­tomiz­able chan­nel fea­tures help ensure that you’re mak­ing your brand more dis­cov­er­able across YouTube. Pick a short, mem­o­rable chan­nel name. This will appear wide­ly across YouTube, so make sure it’s the best rep­re­sen­ta­tion of your brand. Upload a square, high-res­o­lu­tion image to be your channel’s icon across YouTube. The image will appear along­side all your videos on the watch page. (In most cas­es, you can use your brand’s logo.) The first few words of your chan­nel descrip­tion appear most fre­quent­ly across the site, so high­light your most impor­tant brand­ing upfront.
  5. Use YouTube’s watch time opti­miza­tion tips. Cre­ate a com­pelling open­ing to your videos and then use pro­gram­ming, brand­ing, and pack­ag­ing tech­niques to main­tain and build inter­est through­out the video. Build your sub­scriber base: sub­scribers are your most loy­al fans and will be noti­fied of new videos and playlists to watch. Involve your audi­ence in your videos, encour­age com­ments, and inter­act with your view­ers. Build long watch-time ses­sions for your con­tent by orga­niz­ing and fea­tur­ing con­tent on your chan­nel. Cre­ate a reg­u­lar release sched­ule for your videos when upload­ing to encour­age view­ers to watch sets of videos over sin­gle videos.
  6. Use YouTube Ana­lyt­ics reg­u­lar­ly. The Traf­fic Sources Report shows you which search terms peo­ple are using to find your video. The Views Report iden­ti­fies which videos have the great­est view times and view-through rates. And the Audi­ence Reten­tion Report indi­cates which videos are suc­cess­ful at keep­ing view­ers watch­ing.
  7. Explore YouTube alter­na­tives. A year ago, I declared, “The Video SEO War is Over … and YouTube Won!” But that was back when Search­metrics was report­ing that about 8 out of 10 video inte­gra­tions in Google Uni­ver­sal Search in the U.S. were from YouTube. Today, the video SEO war has heat­ed up again. So, it’s worth explor­ing oth­er video sites like Vimeo. It’s worth look­ing at online video plat­forms such as Bright­cove. It’s worth check­ing out mobile video apps like Vine. And out­side of the U.S., it may even be nec­es­sary to inves­ti­gate China’s biggest video site, Youku Tudou.

These are my top 10 tips for video SEO … at this point in time. But I expect about 3 of these tips will be out-of-date a year from now. That would be con­sis­tent with the nor­mal rate of change for the YouTube and video envi­ron­ment. As Mark Twain once said, “If you don’t like the weath­er in New Eng­land now, just wait a few min­utes.”

Matt Humphreys

Written by Matt Humphreys

Senior Designer, Linkdex

Matt is the Senior Designer at Linkdex. He studied Animation Arts focusing his efforts on 2D Motion Graphic Design at the University for the Creative Arts in Maidstone, Kent. His passion for graphics and animation has lead to him experimenting with motion in iconography and web design.

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