How to Optimize Video for Google Search

Did you know that search engines have a hard time indexing video content? They aren’t transcribing the audio that might be in the video, so they rely on your description of the video to help identify it online.

These 7 tips from Optify provide great ideas for how to ensure your videos are visible by the search engines – check it out!

7 basic tips for optimizing your video for search:

    1. Host, or at least syndicate it on YouTube. Since YouTube is by far the top dog for video search and video watching, not having your video on YouTube is like trying to sell a bike but not list it on Craigslist; it’s free, everyone else uses it and it will get you buyers. If you prefer to host your own videos (e.g. for branding reasons), at least syndicate them on YouTube. Also, if your reason for not using YouTube is its uploading guidelines (up to 2GB up to 15 minutes length), your video is probably too long or to heavy anyway and you should consider editing it.
    2. Write a catchy, targeted title. I cannot stress enough how important a good title is, not just for SEO, but for everything else too. I assume you’re creating a video so people can share it and more people will watch it. If the title of the video is catchy, smart, enticing and uses high search-volume keywords, it’s more likely to be found and then shared online. Make sure the title aligns with what the video is about. Search engines, especially Google, are all about relevancy and if you are going to promise one thing with your title, you shouldn’t deliver something else.
    3. Use text and keywords everywhere. Until audio recognition is fully implemented into the search algorithms, the only way for the search bots to know what this video is about is by the text that surrounds and relates to it. When you think about the keywords you want to use, use the same keyword research methods you’ve used in any of your other SEO efforts. Here are the various places you should use text:
      • Title: Shouldn’t be too long and should include your main, target keyword
      • Description: Regardless of whether you’re hosting the video on YouTube or on your site, a meta description is essential for the bots and viewers to understand what this video is about.
      • Filename and URL: Use the title of the video in your URL and filename. If the video is hosted on YouTube but you embed it on your site, the URL of the page you embed the video on should have the video title. If the video is not the main focus of the page, you should apply normal SEO rules to the page.
      • Tags/Meta Keyword: Both on YouTube and on the hosting page on your website, include your target keywords in the meta keyword tag or on its YouTube equivalent. Tags are used for search on YouTube and Meta Keywords tags are used to inform the bots on what keywords are associated with the content on this page.
      • On-page text: Whether you describe the video content, provide a full transcript or just have text that’s related to the video, make sure you include your target keywords in that text and follow the basic rules of SEO. The more text you include that will help the bots to figure out what this video is about, the more likely it will will show up when people are looking for videos on the topic. Make sure you include the word “video.”
      • Anchor text: When you write about the video in other places on your site or on other websites, try to use the same target keyword as the anchor text that describes that video. This is the strongest indication you can give to the search engines that this keyword and this video are connected.
      • Annotation and in-video text: This might be a little far fetched, but if possible, when you use annotation or text in your video, include your target keywords. There is no evidence or indication that search engines can crawl that content, but I predict that some day there will be, so why not prepare now?
      • Comments: The ultimate User Generated Media that will help you rank higher on search engines.


  1. Make it easy to share. This is an essential step, as social media’s becoming more pronounced on the SERPs and we’re noticing that SERPs are becoming more social. There are also early indicators that social signals are being incorporated into Google and Bing’s ranking algorithm, so it’s crucial that you allow your videos to be shared if you want them to rank. Making video easy to share requires more than just including social sharing options, like Retweet and “Like” buttons (although, that’s a good start). It also requires enabling certain settings, like those on YouTube, such as allowing users to embed your video, making the URL public and allowing the syndication of your videos. Making the video short and hosting it on YouTube, as we already emphasized, will make it more accessible and easier to share as YouTube videos can be viewed directly on Twitter.
  2. Allow users to rate your videos. While sharing is being used as a social indicator on search engines for relevancy, rating and number of views are being used by YouTube to determine the rank of search results and recommendations. Allowing users to rate your videos will increase the likelihood of your videos showing up on YouTube search results and recommendations, and since YouTube is part of Google, also on Google. This is assuming your video is good and you’re getting a high overall rating.
  3. Say the keywords, don’t just write them. Even though the technology already exists, and Google has used their new Google Audio Indexing technology in their Google Labs, there is no indication that speech-to-text is being used in ranking algorithms on search engines. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s not actually being used or won’t be used in the future. Therefore, when you record your video be aware of the potential effect of the actual audio on how you’re going to be ranked and what keywords you’re going to be ranked for. Say the keywords that you want to rank for and say them several times. Treat the audio track as you would treat text on the page, and you might see your video rank better for these keywords.
  4. Host your video on YouTube, seriously. I hope that by now you’re convinced that if you want your video to rank for your target keywords, you should definitely host it on YouTube. YouTube will give you the reach, the exposure and the platform to make your video viral, highly sharable and rated–all the crucial elements for ranking on video search.




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