I wrote a blog on SEO for video content early last year but it was focused mostly around video transcripts and the need to have as many words on the page as are relevant to the video, to help search engines better understand what your video is about. At present, search engines can’t read video files but I really wonder how long it will be before they can – they can now read PDF’s much better than they used to.

Now that Google owns YouTube, the world’s most popular video website, they have been integrating video content and images into their search results in the form of universal search. Universal search often takes the position 4 or 5 search result on Page 1 of Google’s search results, which is the holy grail for search engine optimisation (SEO) specialists. Universal search returns results for video and image content that matches the users search query.

Embedding your YouTube video creates inbound links to your video content that helps to improve your video SEO

Try to encourage websites to embed your video content into their websites as it helps your video's SEO

So, what do you need to do to help your video content, uploaded to YouTube and embedded into your website, rank better in search engine results? Here are 5 easy to follow steps to improve your video’s SEO:

  1. Your video title and description needs to be carefully crafted to include important keywords that users might be using to search for this type of information/ content
  2. For search engines to find your video amongst the billions of others posted every year, you need to apply tags to your video – at least 5-7. Try to keep to a central theme and not make your keywords too distant from each other. Choose 1 theme you want to rank for and focus your tags, and video title around it
  3. Share your video content as far and wide as you possibly can. The popularity of your video, the number of views it has, the number of likes, the number of shares and embeds, is particularly important. There are 60 hours of video content uploaded to YouTube every minute, your video needs to cut through all this clutter. The number of views and likes and ratings your video has had in the past 24-48 hours, before a search is entered into a search engine, is very important to how well your video will rank in search results
  4. If you have a network of websites where you can syndicate your video content, do it. The more embeds (people who post your video into the code of their website) and inbound links your video has (links from external websites that point back to your video on YouTube), are important factors to your video’s search engine optimisation
  5. Once you’ve shared your video with all of your friends via social media, encourage them to rate and comment on your video. Video content is no different to written content, most online viewers simply read the information or listen or watch the video, but they don’t rate it using the star ratings and they very rarely leave a comment. This might not always be obvious because there might be 20 comments on a video, but if its been viewed 100,000 times, that’s not very many in the grand scheme of things. If I can encourage you to do one thing when you like a piece of online content that you’ve read, watched or listened to – comment on it, Like it, Rate it. It will reward the author of that content with higher search engine results.

So there you have it. 5 easy to follow video SEO tips. They are simple to understand, but getting your views, inbound links and comments up is a difficult task. You’ll find that there will be a spike in volume when you first start promoting it to your network of friends and colleagues but after the initial supportive viewings, its much harder to cast the net wider past your inner circle. But keep at it, start commenting on other people’s videos and blogs and news articles and when its relevant (only when its relevant or you’ll be penalised), point them back to your video and hopefully like-minded users will visit your video and comment on it as well.

SEO, like in life, rewards those who participate, are proactive and engaging. Make sure you are all of the above.