How to Use Video in Your SEO Strategy

SEO experts and marketers always talk about writing blogs or using relevant keywords, but what about SEO for another medium? More specifically, what about video SEO? For all the discussion on finding the best image or writing the best copy, videos are often considered an afterthought.

But the importance of video SEO can’t be overstated. In case you have any doubts, here are a few facts for online videos:

Outline your goals and content

Before you spend your precious time, effort, and money on making videos, first ask yourself what you hope to accomplish. Do you want to bring more traffic to your website? Do you want to raise brand awareness? Or maybe you care more about conversions? You don’t have to stick to just one, in fact creating videos have a number of benefits to your website, but it’s better than just doing all of them.


Next, you want to outline the content you’re going to deliver. Are you providing tutorial videos like Newegg? Or maybe you’re doing product reviews like IGN. As we’ve said before, providing valuable content is the best way to attract viewers.

Regardless of your objective, it’s important to always keep it in mind. How you create and market videos can change drastically depending on what your goal is. And if you don’t have one, you could end up wasting money and time on videos that don’t give you the return you want.

Create the video

Once you have an idea of what you hope to get out of it, you can actually start developing your videos. If you have the budget, you should hire a professional production company. This may seem obvious, but Comscore found that professionally produced videos have a higher advertising effectiveness than non-professionally produced videos. The same can be said of user generated content.

But not everybody has the budget to hire a production team. If you’re more patient, there are some cost effective alternatives to video production. If your videos involve screen recording, check out ScreenCast-O-Matic. If you want to use 3D models and animation in your videos, Blender is a popular choice among many. In terms of actual editing, the default programs, Windows Movie Maker and Apple iMovie, are enough to get the job done. Finally, check out FIDEO, a service that creates professional videos on a budget.

The Most Important Video SEO Metrics

These are the metrics that Youtube uses to judge the quality of your video. Make sure to tailor your videos for best practices.

Video Retention


We’re constantly surrounded content and information, especially videos. People want the best content, and because of that, we have very limited attention spans for things that don’t interest us. Make sure your video is engaging from the first few minutes- get straight to the point and don’t waste time explaining the video.  And make sure your audio is working from the start.


Comments are an indication of engagement, of connecting with the video, whether positive or negative. Make sure you leave some call to action to comment on the video (whether on your video or in the description is up to you). Ask an interesting question, ask for feedback, or ask for suggestions for your next video. Encouraging comments are a great way to connect with your audience.

Subscribers after view

If a viewer subscribes to your channel after seeing your video, this is a signal to Youtube that your content is so good that people want more from you. Make sure to remind viewers in your video or description to subscribe to you.

Social Shares

This metric is pretty straightforward- it refers to the number of times the video was linked on specific social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Reddit and more. Social networks expose the video to much more potential viewers, so make sure to remind your audience to spread the word if they enjoyed your video.


Whenever someone watches your video and adds it to their favorites playlist or “Watch Later” playlist, the perceived quality of the video rises. This measurement is one of the deepest indicators of strong value for viewers.

Thumbs up and Thumbs down

This is pretty clear- this metric determines, on a surface level, whether someone liked your video or disliked it.



This may not be obvious, but how you title your video file also makes a difference in how it’s found. If your video is titled “How to Use Photoshop”, title it something along the lines of “how_to_use_photoshop.avi”. Remember to use underscores between keywords.

Video title

The title, along with the description, is arguably the most important factor of video SEO. This isn’t just for Youtube, but for your viewers as well. You need to make sure that it 1) accurately describes your video, 2) uses relevant keywords, and 3) sounds engaging enough for viewers to naturally want to click on.

Many video SEO specialists believe that placing your keywords closer to the beginning of the title gives your video a higher rank. So for example if you’re trying to rank for the keywords “Content Marketing,” so instead of writing “5 Tips for Content Marketing,” try writing out “5 Content Marketing Tips.” This might just give your video the extra juice you’re looking for.

Video description

Without your description, Youtube and Google won’t know what your video is about. That doesn’t mean you have a license to just stuff the description with keywords, rather, make it as descriptive as you can in as few words as possible. That’s because even though you have a 5000 character limit, Google will only show 100-150 characters.

After writing a couple of short sentences describing the video, make sure you include your business’s NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number), and links to your website and other social media channels.


Tags are additional keywords that describe your video. For YouTube, videos have a 500 character limit on tags. You have to use specific and relevant tags at the start, and use as many tags as you can before you hit the limit.

One trick worth trying out is looking up your competitors and right-clicking to “View Source” and copying the tags that most accurately apply to your video.

Share your video

You’ve planned and shot your video. You’ve optimized it according to YouTube’s best practices. Now it’s time to share it! How do you actually get your video seen?

Social Media

The first and obvious route is social media. As long as you have some viewers/ followers/ friends, post your video onto multiple social media accounts with a brief description. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are the best places to start, mostly because of how often video content is posted and viewed on those channels.

Blog Posts

Next, if your website happens to keep a blog, you can always embed YouTube videos in your post. Creating linkages between your Youtube video page and your website has several benefits. First, linking the two generates a valuable backlink to your website. Second, your blog posts receives added value through the repeated keywords, and how long your users stay on your site.

Paid Advertising

YouTube has its own paid advertising program, similar to Google AdWords. Sponsored videos show up before other videos in search results and recommended videos (beside a video you’re watching). If you decide to use the ad program, you can set a daily budget, and you only have to pay when someone clicks on an ad. In addition, you can analyze the audience that view your videos, and target specific demographics to get higher views. Companies like ZAGG have seen a 75% rise in conversions after using targeted videos.

Analyze your videos

On the topic of analytics, the one step everyone forgets about: evaluating the success of your videos. Did it generate traffic to your website? Did it increase conversions? Maybe it lead to a better understanding with your brand. Whether or not you achieved your goal, you have to measure your outcome.

This is where the comments section can be important. If you ask for feedback in your videos and get the right viewership, you’ll see at least a couple comments. Engage with your audience. Find out what they enjoyed about your video, and how you can deliver an even better one next time. Maybe you could ask for what product or service to review next. Or maybe you could ask your viewers for their own experiences using a certain service. Re-tune your campaign to adapt to your actual audience.

Video campaigns, when done correctly, can be an important tool in your arsenal. They can convey certain messages in a way that normal text posts can’t, like tone of voice, or certain brand graphics. At the same time, you can’t just slap a video together with some iPhone footage and Photoshop art. Videos also work like sales reps- each message, intended or unintended, will lead to someone’s opinion of your brand. Do you think they’re more likely to trust a source with high quality footage, and professional brand imagery, or a video put together in a couple minutes?
For more news, tips, tricks, and guides for the search marketing world, be sure to check out Arcalea’s blog.