Take Note Team
If you’re posting content online, it goes without saying that you want it to be consumed by as many people as possible! And that means ensuring they can find your content organically through search engines like Google.
With Google’s hard-to-pin-down search engine algorithm, understanding the SEO (search engine optimisation) that needs to go into your media creation and posting can be hard. But we have you covered!
In this article, we break down 6 video SEO tips that will help improve your ranking in Google. Let’s jump into it.
Think about the title, description and tags of your video
When you upload any content to the internet (be it video or long-form content like blog posts) search engines will categorise it not only in terms of the data it contains but the metadata within it too. The metadata is what helps the crawlers to understand what the content is about to ensure that those searching for the data within are directed to it by the metadata.
YouTube’s search function operates in much the same way, which is why it’s so important to think hard about the title, description and any tags you use to categorise your video and make it easier to find.
In order to maximise a crawler’s chance of finding your content, however, you’ll need to make sure that it’s optimised to appeal to Youtube or search engine crawlers:
This should be 100 characters or less and will be truncated at 66 characters so it's important to ensure that descriptive and/or persuasive information is frontloaded.
This can be 5,000 characters or less and will be truncated at 166 characters. If your video is intended to promote or raise awareness of a product, your meta-description should include a link to your product page. Be sure to include the http:// (or hopefully, https://) prefix, or the link won’t be clickable on YouTube.
These should be around 120 characters. Use double quotes (“) to surround phrases to make sure your video is a match for hyper-relevant long-tail keyword phrases. Think in terms of what your users are most likely to search for and add your tags in order of importance.
All of this metadata of your video will contribute to the SEO and ranking of your video, which is why it’s so important to keyword-optimise it all. If you’re posting the video directly onto your website (rather than via YouTube), you’ll also want to consider the SEO of the other text on the page in terms of how it will affect your page’s overall ranking.
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Embed YouTube videos on your website and blog
As much as you might want to keep all of your content under one proverbial roof, uploading video content directly to your website may actually be an impediment to ranking highly in Google. After all, video files are large and this may have implications for your page load speeds. And a page load time of just 7 seconds can send your bounce rates soaring by over 30%. And Google will notice.
Embedding YouTube videos allows them to load much faster, thereby saving your bounce rates and allowing for a more seamless user experience, especially on mobile devices. It also allows you to mitigate any server bandwidth or data allocation issues which could result in bottlenecking of performance which can only be fixed by increased web hosting costs.
What’s more, YouTube makes it quick and easy to make a thumbnail from any frame within your video. This allows you to choose an image that compels users to click on the video. Which brings us to...
Pick the right thumbnail
You’re likely used to wording and writing compelling CTAs to encourage users to click on a link, join your email list, buy a product or carry out some other action that will benefit both them and your enterprise.
The right thumbnail is just that: a call to action. It encourages the user to watch the video just as a book’s cover compels browsing shoppers or library-goers to read. As such, your thumbnail should serve as a visual encapsulation of your target keyword.
Here are some quick tips for choosing the right thumbnail:
- Make sure it’s in the right aspect ratio (16:9)
- Make sure it’s an image that’s easy to recognise on all kinds of screens (facial closeups work best).
- Choose an image that gets the user’s attention and provokes their curiosity (while still remaining congruent with target keywords).
- Make sure that there’s nothing Google image recognition software will filter out (e.g. the YouTube logo).
- Make sure there’s no salient information in the bottom right hand corner (this is where YouTube will overlay the video duration).
If you can’t find a frame that ticks all of the above boxes, don’t despair. You can create your own thumbnail using whatever imaging software you see fit or manipulate a frame from your video to add more compelling information.
Add closed captions
It may be tempting to use YouTube’s own ASR (Automated Speech Recognition) captions. After all, it will save yourself the time and effort of adding your own closed captions for users who are hard of hearing or who are viewing your video through a mobile device with the sound turned off.
ASR and accuracy
The trouble is that ASR has accuracy issues at the best of times. The best ASR software struggles to achieve over 85% accuracy and YouTube’s is only around 70% accurate. This could be embarrassing for your brand and undermine the professionalism and quality of your video content overall.
Google penalises spam… and inaccurate ASR could be misconstrued as spam!
Not only is adding your own closed captions a much better look for your brand, it also ensures that your video will look more favourable to Google’s search crawlers. Text that is generated through automation, on the other hand, risks falling afoul of Google’s stringent ‘anti-spam’ policy which will penalise any metadata which looks like random words jumbled together.
Better for Google, better for viewers
Not only will your own closed captions give your videos a rankings boost with Google, they’ll be easier to use by those who, for whatever reason, need a little help following the flow of the narrative. This means better engagement and more views… both hallmarks of a ‘quality’ video in the eyes of Google’s crawlers.
How can transcription services help?
All of that said, creating your own closed caption subtitles can be a painstaking and time-consuming process. One of the useful things about outsourcing them to transcription services is that they can help you get good quality and accurate closed captions for your videos that have accuracy and video SEO woven into their very fabric. Many transcription services can even tailor your closed captions so they fit your exact needs.
Create and implement subtitles in different languages
If you think that your videos will be watched exclusively in English speaking territories, think again. By ensuring that your video has subtitles in numerous different languages, you can make sure that your brand resonates more strongly with overseas viewers.
However, automated translations don’t always make for a seamless viewing experience, which is why you should use dedicated translation and transcription services. Not only will using accurate translation services benefit overseas viewers, but it could also bring massive video SEO benefits.
When you translate your video into another language, Google will index your translated caption files. This means that your video will be included in search results in those languages. This can positively impact international SEO and help you gain a leading edge in overseas SERPs with less competition for keywords.
Add a transcript
Finally, having a full transcript of the audio in your video description can make a surprisingly huge difference to your video’s SEO. Like the audio in your video files, your transcript will be chock full of short and long-tail keywords which Google will find invaluable when it comes to indexing your content. It’s basically an all-you-can-eat buffet for Google’s search crawlers.
YouTube has a generous description allocation (4,850 characters including spaces) which is, in most cases, ample space to include a transcription for a wordy video of up to approximately 10 minutes long.
Yet, once again, compiling your own transcripts can be a painstaking and time-consuming process. Many businesses, quite understandably, have better things to do with their time, which is why outsourcing these transcripts to transcription services will benefit you greatly. They can create high-quality accurate transcripts within a timeframe to suit your needs and budget. This will save you from wasting unnecessary time and resources, so you can instead focus on ensuring your video SEO is up to scratch.