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3 SEO Tips to Optimize Your Videos for Search Engines

Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin
President and CTO at OptinMonster

SEO works differently when it comes to videos. Learn how to improve your ranking.

You've spent countless hours and consumed countless cups of coffee trying to get your video content to rank high when people are looking for information through a search engine. You can't figure it out, but it seems like your videos never rank quite as well as you would like them to.


It turns out that SEO as it relates to website pages and SEO as it relates to videos are two completely different beasts. Sure, they have their similarities, but it's beneficial to your business if you understand why SEO works differently for videos and what you can do to improve your ranking on the big search engines.

We are going to look at a handful of SEO tips, as it pertains to video, designed to help you improve your ranking that turn into the content powerhouse you've been working toward.

1. Add a transcript.

Believe it or not, you can drastically improve the rank of your videos by adding a simple transcript of what is said in your content. There are two benefits to adding a text transcript alongside your video.

First, it gives viewers another way to watch. You don't want to end up in a position where someone wants to view your video but can't because their partner or housemates are sleeping nearby.

The second, and perhaps technically most important as it relates to actually ranking, is it helps the search bots organize your content and rank it higher where appropriate. The bot will analyze your transcript, look for common themes and phrases, then try to find a proper ranking spot for your video. The better your rank, the higher you appear in the results. It's that simple.

case study from SafeNet showed just how well transcripts can impact your video rank. The study followed two unranked websites for just 22 days. If found that by adding full transcripts to the videos, the sites went from no rank on the first day to No. 14 for their top keywords in 14 days. From there, they managed to increase to 11th on Yahoo and ninth place on Bing. The study concluded that this is due mostly to the addition of a transcript to each video.

2. Make your title stand out.

Think deeply about, and what we really mean is analyze, the main title of your video. Your title is one of the most important things you have to create when publishing a video.

Your title needs to speak to the audience. It needs to be both engaging and appealing to the new viewers. As it catches the attention of those browsing, they will click the link to watch your video. The end result is more traffic, which plays an important role in whether or not your content is worthy of ranking near the top of the list.

You can also use your title as a vessel for your important keywords. Make sure the keywords flow naturally and include the words you want to rank for at the start of the title.

For instance, instead of "What are the best East Coast exclusive restaurants? We find out," you're far more likely to rank for "East Coast restaurants" if your title reads "East Coast Restaurants: Top 10 Ranked."

3. Write a description.

One of the biggest mistakes new YouTubers make is not including a detailed description below the video. Many times creators will just say, "Follow me on X!" and advertise their social media platform. While there is nothing wrong with advertising your brand on other platforms, don't take this SEO goldmine for granted.

Basically, your description is viewed in conjunction with your content. Similar to how the transcript we mentioned earlier acts as a copy of the actual video, the description gives you a chance to flesh out what your content is about – and use keywords in the process.

Make a plan and get your targeted keywords in order. Once that is done, look for ways to inject the keywords into the content you create for the description. Again, it's important that the stronger keywords appear at the top of the copy.

Let's go back to the East Coast restaurants example. Instead of greeting your audience in the first couple sentences, try starting your copy out like this: "East Coast Dining: Which establishment is ranked the best restaurant, and why do people prefer each location? We are going to look at some East Coast exclusive diners and restaurants to find out."

In your first couple sentences, you've managed to use "East Coast dining," "best restaurant" and "East Coast exclusive diners" – all keywords that may or may not be popular – depending on your research! Rank the right keywords and, bam, you're on your way to ranking in the biggest search engine in the world.

Image Credit: Wright Studio/Shutterstock
Thomas Griffin
Thomas Griffin
business.com Member
I'm president and CTO of OptinMonster, a powerful lead generation tool that's installed in over 700,000 websites.