Optimizing video for search engines on the web follows the same premise as optimizing any other article or page, with some differences. Because the video itself is not textual content, how does the engine know what makes your video more relevant than the next? There are things you can do to help the engines "see" your video. Video SEO for YouTube is more targeted than for the internet in general, but best practices for both are listed below:
- Tags – Tagging content with appropriate keywords is the single best way to get your video, or the page where your video resides, noticed and viewed. Meta tags and keywords in the HTML that surround the video player is one of the most important options to consider when posting your video to YouTube or any other website
- Visibility - The more pages your video is accessible from means the more pages indexed by the search engines and the higher your ranking. YouTube and other video players enable you to create the code to embed or link your video in another webpage. Most blogging sites and social media forums like Facebook and Twitter allow you to embed video on their websites. By sharing the video in this way, you allow others to be able to share and embed the video, and the more people you can get to view and share your video translates into higher rankings by the search engines
- YouTube – YouTube is the second largest search engine, and the most popular one for videos and streaming content. Their servers are capable of, and are configured to handle the higher bandwidth and transmission rates that video content requires, so many people use YouTube as a hosting platform for their video links. In addition to the items listed above, YouTube has other specific criteria when ranking your video in its own internal search results. And because YouTube is owned by Google, having an engaging video on YouTube usually translates into a higher ranking in search engine results. Three things that YouTube considers when ranking your video are:
- Textual content: Titles, Descriptions and Tags
- The number of individual views
- Make sure your content is interesting enough to watch all the way through
- Distribute links to your video through your email or social media channel
- Encourage others to share your video
- Sharing Options:
- Make sure your video is public
- Encourage Video comments, responses and ratings(comment on and rank yourself)
- Keep embedding and syndication enabled for your video
- Trending; recent popularity
- Viewer Ratings.
Not to oversimplify the process or optimizing a video, there are many factors besides these including authority of your channel, social signals, and other engagement signals. YouTube's job as a video search engine is much like Google's job; to return the most relevant results.
In short the video content itself cannot boost your visibility or ranking by search engines such as Google and Yahoo, it is up to you to optimize that video for YouTube, Google, and craft content in the page around the video player which can be found and indexed by the search engine robots. The video title is the single most important piece of information you can supply, make sure it is descriptive and search friendly. Keep in mind how you would type words in a search box for Google and others when you make up your title and keywords. Having keywords and key phrases in your descriptions that emulate what a user would type in when looking for your video is key. Keep in mind users usually type in terms in question format, “how to…” or “where is…” are common examples.
Sharing your video across a broad range of channels, distributing links (back linking) and enabling syndication and embedding of the media is also very important. But as you might imagine the single most important aspect of getting your video ranked is the video content itself. An interesting video that is well made and has good quality will go a long way in getting others to view it. One trending term we have all heard is “going viral” which means a spike in popularity exceeding the publisher’s wildest expectations. If you follow all the suggestions above, you may not go viral, but you should certainly capture an audience on the web.