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Resources 6 min read

The Complete Guide to Video SEO

Natalie Yelton photo

Written by Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 05 May 2021

The number of digital video viewers reached 239.4 million last year, which has steadily increased since 2018. Most of those views took place on Google, which includes popular video streaming site YouTube. 

As of June 2019, Google sites received over 126 million unique views, more than double the number of Facebook views in second place. 

4 blue columns showing video statistics in millions.

Source: Statista

With so many of us watching videos online, it makes sense that more and more companies create video content to engage, educate, and inform people of their products and services. Product, expander, and testimonial videos are becoming common on most company websites.

There’s one minor issue, though. How do you get your video seen by the people that matter - your target audience? 

The answer is video SEO.

In this article, the SEO experts at Galactic Fed depart our knowledge and expertise of all things video SEO. We define what video SEO is and walk you through our best practice tips for ensuring your video makes it in front of the eyes of new and repeat customers. If you are entirely new to SEO, it might be worth looking at our Essential Guide to SEO for beginners before diving into video SEO. Now, let’s get started! 

What is video SEO?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is about increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. To increase your ranking on a search engine, like Google, it’s essential to optimize all of the content on your site in a strategic way. 

It’s true that your website’s user experience and loading speed also play a part in where you rank on Google, particularly with Google’s Core Web Vitals Update coming into effect this month. Your goal should be to ensure all of the content on your site - images, text, and video - are easily understood, read, and indexed by Google, making it easier for people to find your website and increase traffic to your site organically. 

The Google bots can’t watch your videos, though, and that’s where video SEO comes into play. 

There are several ways to tell Google what your video is about. We’ve pulled together our top five best practice tips to guide you through ensuring all of your videos are primed for SEO, helping them reach and get viewed by as many people as possible:

Video SEO best practice tips 

Submit a video site map 

Help Google find video content within the pages of your website with a video sitemap.

It’s possible to create a single sitemap just for video, or you can embed a video sitemap within your existing sitemap, whichever works best for you. 

Check out Google’s detailed guidelines for creating your very first video sitemap, along with examples of video sitemaps to help get you started.

Develop structured data 

While structured data may sound a bit technical, but it’s not as advanced as it seems! It’s essentially a type of code, also referred to as schema markup, that makes it super easy for Google to crawl, organize, and display your website’s content, including videos. 

Structured data tells search engines what your content means. Without schema markup, search engines can only tell what your content says, and they have to work that much harder to determine why it’s there. This is why it’s essential to include structured data for your site’s videos, as Google bots can’t watch them.

Include critical information about videos on your website like a description, the duration, a thumbnail, and more. 

Include a can’t-help-but-click, quality thumbnail 

Videos with weak thumbnails won’t get as many clicks as those with engaging, high-quality ones. So include high-quality thumbnails for each of your videos at URLs that are accessible by search engines.

If a thumbnail isn’t accessible, Google your webpage may not appear in featured videos. Check that any thumbnail URL isn’t blocked with robots.txt, which can prevent Google from accessing it.

Here is a handful of further tips to follow when creating a thumbnail for your videos that boosts SEO:

  • Customize it: don’t use a still from your video.
  • Use descriptive text in your thumbnail: use an easy-to-read, large font with good color contrast.
  • Double-check the aspect ratio: make sure your thumbnail is in line with Google’s 16:9 format so it looks the best it can

Google video search results for bake a birthday cake.

Source: Google

Cater to topics with high traffic potential 

For your video to attract viewers from Google, it’s has to do two things:

  • Cover a topic people are searching for on Google, and 
  • Cover a topic that has “video intent.” 

Video intent (not to be confused with search intent) means that people searching would prefer to see a video about the topic rather than reading about it. 

Several keyword research tools are available online for free  (including Google’s own Search Console) that can help you find topics that people are searching for on search engines. Next, look for videos in the search results to identify “video intent.”

Boost your viewing numbers with optimized video  

Improving your video SEO doesn’t need to be complicated. By submitting a video sitemap and developing structured data, you can make it easy for Google to find, index, and rank your videos. 

Spend some time creating a custom, high-quality thumbnail to engage your audience and do a bit of research into topics relevant to your business that have video intent in order to reach more customers and drive traffic to your website organically. 

From getting video SEO just right to crafting the perfect Google Video Ad, Galactic Fed knows a thing or two when it comes to boosting video content. Got a burning video SEO question or want a helping hand to increase the viewer numbers of your videos? Contact us today; we’d love to assist!

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed