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Video SEO: The Ultimate Guide to Optimising Video for Search

  • What is video SEO?
  • How has video SEO changed?
  • Important video SEO goals every marketer should consider
  • How to optimise video content to improve indexability and rankings


So, you’ve got your website search engine optimisation (SEO) down to a science but found that your video SEO is struggling to perform. Even though you’ve invested time and money strategising, producing and editing video content, it’s still not ranking?

Many SEO professionals have realised that since the Google Penguin and Panda updates, website performance is not just related to link building but also about creating valuable content that naturally attracts high-quality links.

The same can be said about video SEO, which is often underutilised.

Video SEO

Thousands of brands are incorporating video content into their overall marketing strategy, following the rise in preference for video over other mediums. But too many marketing professionals prioritise creating various types of content instead of SEO.

While producing video content might seem like an effective marketing idea, especially with regards to user experience (UX), if it doesn’t compliment your overarching SEO strategy you’ll struggle to generate a return on investment (ROI).

However, video SEO (VSEO) is not the same as standard SEO. In fact, VSEO has changed dramatically amid the massive shift in consumer behaviour online, partly triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, when used correctly, video is a powerful form of marketing that could make a significant difference to your SEO strategy, driving more traffic to your website and increasing conversions.

What is Video SEO?

Video SEO is a branch of SEO that refers to the process of optimising video content to help improve its indexability and performance in search engine result pages (SERPs) for relevant user queries.

You could implement several techniques to optimise your video content and increase SERPs visibility, which we will outline in this article.

How has video SEO changed?

According to recent research, video content is 50x more likely to gain organic ranking than plain text results, and as a result, all marketers should leverage video to increase sales.

But video SEO has changed amid advances in technology and platforms such as YouTube, which has made it easier for people to produce and publish video content without any academic qualifications in videography.

It’s almost impossible to browse the internet without coming across a video, and with our smartphones in our pockets, it’s become easy to shoot a decent-quality video anywhere. So, with the shift in video dominance generating pace, how do you get your content to rank in universal search results?

Unsurprisingly, your website’s authority strongly influences video rankings, including how video-focused the text on the web page is and how well it ranks for video-related queries.

Many marketing professionals make the mistake of commissioning expensive, creative videos without considering the overall goal. What is the purpose of that video? For example, is it to increase conversions, generate high-quality traffic or create off-page SEO benefits?

Marketers that fail to define their goals often fail to generate results. Without knowing what you want to get out of your video content, it will be challenging to successfully capture the intended audience and meet your business objectives.

Important Video SEO Goals Every Marketer Should Consider

While you might have several goals for your video SEO, the two most important that should be considered are:

Let’s start by exploring, link building and generating social media shares.

  1. Using Video to Link Build and Generate Social Media Shares

Social media shares are a valuable currency for today’s brands. More often than not, a lack of shares indicates a lacklustre content strategy.

Youtube SEO

Video content is also the most-shared and successful visual content on social media – proof that bite-sized video content is the future of marketing is evident from the growing popularity of Instagram and TikTok.

Videos can generate a massive amount of inbound links, often from reputable domains. The term “viral video” was coined precisely because the medium is so share-worthy, with some videos generating thousands of views and high-quality links.

However, the issue stems from how much video content is available online, meaning that SEO professionals need to produce something exceptional and have a great outreach strategy to be successful.

Your videos need to offer something new to the viewer, whether to humour, educate, amaze or shock them. So it’s important to understand the purpose of your video, know who you want to share it with and evoke a strong enough reaction that the viewer will want to share it.

  1. Increase Video Conversion Rates

SEO isn’t always used to increase rankings but to boost your business or a client’s online sales and revenue. 

Video SEO content is a great way to attract more customers to your website and drive conversions higher, hence the growing popularity of video content on homepages and landing pages.

Recent data shows that:

  • Featuring a video on a landing page can boost a website’s conversion rate by up to 80%
  • More customers are finding products via video ads
  • 66% of people like to watch bite-sized video content to learn about a product or service, compared to 18% of those who prefer to read written content
  • More than a 1/3 of all online activity is spent watching video content
  • A Cisco whitepaper predicts that 82% of all IP traffic will be video by 2022

If your goal is to use video SEO to increase conversions, the two primary ways you achieve this is by embedding video content on a landing page and using rich snippets.

Using Video on a Landing Pages to Boost Conversions

As a general rule of thumb, you have 15 seconds to impress a visitor that lands on your website and generate interest in your brand.


With so much content available on the internet, text content does not keep visitors engaged. Furthermore, the rise in smartphones has reduced the human attention span, with experts stating that information overload makes users get bored more quickly.

Video content offers marketers the opportunity to condense a lot of information into a few seconds, so it comes as no surprise that embedding SEO videos onto landing pages encourage users to stick around and, in turn, increase the number of conversions.

Using Rich Snippets to Boost Conversions

So, we’ve discussed how incorporating video content onto landing pages can convert prospects into customers. Still, you shouldn’t just focus on what you could show to visitors that land on your website. It’s also important to consider what you can offer users before they land on your site.

If you pay attention to search result pages, you would’ve noticed that there’s been a significant increase in the use of structured data, with rich snippets now more prominent than ever in SERPs.

One of the many rich snippets available to website owners is a video rich snippet, which provides Google with more specific data about your video content to be displayed to the user as valuable information in SERPs.

Using video rich snippets could help your website stand out from the competition, encouraging searchers to click through to your site, thus increasing website traffic and creating more opportunities for conversions.

Google displays video rich snippets as thumbnails, with information about the duration of the video, URL, title and description.

5 Methods on How to Optimise For Video Search

With video SEO constantly evolving, it’s important to stay on top of the best optimisation practices to support your marketing efforts.

Choose the Right Video Hosting Platform

While free video hosting platforms are available, these often have limitations or are populated by a sea of competing traffic, as can be seen on YouTube.

Businesses looking to leverage video as a lead generating tool should choose high-quality video hosting platforms such as Zendesk, which offers enhanced viewership, customisation and control over your videos.

Paid video hosting platforms also provide comprehensive data on individual viewership from a designated analytics dashboard, including stats on the number of times a user stopped a video and other features such as heatmaps.

Upload a Video Transcript

You’ve likely come across videos on social media with captions or transcriptions, which are needed for deaf and blind people. They are also used by people who may not want to watch the video without noise disturbance.

Video transcripts can improve your content creation and streamline your workflow by making video more accessible for a larger audience and easier to understand by search bots due to the additional text.

If the video is relatively long and the page’s main focus, this could also significantly influence indexing and improve rankings.

Include an Engaging Thumbnail Image

Even if your video content is impressive, without an engaging thumbnail, the chances of a large audience viewing it are slim.

The video thumbnail serves as the sneak peek of your work and therefore plays a significant role in whether people click. An appealing thumbnail will help increase traffic to your site and communicate what the video is about to your audience.

Research has also shown that videos with custom human thumbnails receive up to 30% higher engagement. Consider various nuances, and then upload your video and custom thumbnail to your target platform. 

Ensure Your Web Pages are Optimised for SEO

Don’t just rely on video SEO to receive a listing in SERPs. The web page itself must also be optimised, else crawl bots won’t bother crawling the page in the first place.

Wistia Video SEO Expert Phil Nottingham says: “If your video isn’t ranking, it could be because your page is awful.”

All marketers should endeavour to correctly optimise their web pages, which includes ensuring that the video embedded on that page is contextually relevant to improve your chances of ranking. 

If the web page and the video do not relate or are generic, the chances of your video ranking in SERPs are low.

Avoid Embedding the Same Video on Multiple Pages

Although embedding the same video on multiple pages isn’t inherently wrong, you’ll only be competing against yourself.

It would be best to make each of your web pages unique to increase your chances of having the page and video ranked as duplicate content can harm your SEO strategy.

Utilise Other Media Channels to Promote Your Video

It would be best if you didn’t rely on SEO alone. Why?

While SEO is a core aspect of any successful marketing strategy, SEO is constantly changing as search engines such as Google update their algorithms, so it’s not wise to solely rely on crawlers to rank your videos.

There are also traffic opportunities elsewhere, such as social media and paid advertising, which marketers should leverage to boost their overall marketing plan.

If you’re looking to generate clicks quickly, paid video ads are a strategic and rewarding route. Alternatively, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are great places to promote your video content. And if you gather them into a single channel, that’s an opportunity to create a powerful YouTube trailer.

Overall, the growing popularity of video content presents a massive opportunity for SEO professionals and business owners. While video production isn’t always cheap, it can generate significant ROI for your business or a client.

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