5-Step Guide for Creating & Optimizing Video Content that Ranks on Google: Part 2


Part 2: Optimizing YouTube Videos

Yesterday we posted Part 1 of this guide, which discussed:

Today we cover Part 2of the 5-Step Guide For Creating & Optimizing Video Content that Ranks on Google, in which we continue with:

While Part One of the guide deals primarily with marketing video content creation ideas and recording your video content, Part Two covers how to upload and optimize your videos on YouTube so that they rank as high as possible on search engines.

Step 3: VSEO: SEO for Videos

Google normally "scans" the text of a page to figure out what a piece of content is about. But Googlebots can’t actually watch videos to determine their subject matter, so VSEO relies heavily on what Google can recognize: your video titles and descriptions.optimizing-video-content

Your VSEO work starts after you upload your video. Search-optimize your YouTube videos through the:

  1. Title - Conduct some keyword research and find the keywords you want to associate with your video, using your top keywords in the title.

Continuing with the winter scarves example, I might have a title along the lines of “How to Wear a Winter Scarf: 4 Stylish Scarf Tying Techniques,” which has two long-tail keywords: “how to wear a winter scarf” and “scarf tying techniques,” which I got when I popped “winter scarf” into my keyword discovery tool. Remember, long-tail is just as valuable for VSEO as regular SEO.

  1. Description - For the description, it’s smart to include a link at the beginning and end of your description, giving viewers multiple chances to get to your site. Create a paragraph description with your top SEO keyword discreetly imbedded. Throw a call to action in there as well.

  1. Tags – In the tags section, put in your keywords and variants. To tag phrases with more than one word, enclose the keywords in quotes, such as: scarf, scarves, “winter scarf,” “cozy winter scarves”

  1. Location Tagging – Once your video is uploaded, tag your business’s location. This allows your video to be uploaded to Google Maps and Google Places, letting you be included in those search results as well.

  1. Captions and Subtitles – Uploading closed captions and subtitles is another handy way to add crawlable SEO text to your videos.

  1. Thumbnail – Make sure the thumbnail you choose for your video is interesting and stands out.

  1. YouTube Profile – Don’t forget to focus some of your SEO energy towards your YouTube profile. Include your URL in the profile as well as “follow” links for your blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. in the “About Me” section.

Step 4: VSEO On Your Site

Once you have your video up on YouTube, you’ll probably want to have it embedded on different pages of your website too.

Don’t forget tosubmit a sitemap. Submitting a video sitemap is another important way of letting Google know about your video content and getting it indexed correctly. Build a sitemap for each video and submit it to Google; it boosts your ranking and tells search engines the content of the video, where the video is on your site, and its original spot on YouTube.

You can easily submit a video sitemap through Google Webmaster Tools.

Also make sure to have a robots.txt file that includes your XML and video sitemaps. The robots.txt file tells search engines what to index and verifies to Google that the locations you’ve submitted do in fact exist.

Step 5: Getting Your Video Noticed

  • Sharing and Liking: Start off by promoting your video the way you would any other web content—share your video on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
  • Video Reply: Try submitting your video as a “video reply” to other related videos, which brings traffic and further establishes to YouTube the subject of your video.
  • Link to Your Video: Your site will have your video embedded or will be linking to it on YouTube, but you’ll need outside links to your video as well. Use the link building techniques you’d use with regular web content. One technique is to see who is linking to the top videos in your category and then reach out to those sites asking if they’d be interested in linking to your video.
  • Blog About Your Video: One easy way to get a link to your newly established YouTube video is to write a blog post centered around the topic of your video, and then link to your video in the post. Also consider writing something you could submit as a guest post—as long as you are writing some quality content, there are plenty of venues that would welcome a post with a video.
  • Advertise Your Video: If your video is compelling, spend some money on YouTube video advertising to drive even more visitors to your video.

Looking to learn more about SEO? Get back to the basics with our Google SEO Guide Book.

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Jan 14, 2012

Thanks Megan. Hadn't thought about submitting a site map..And for #5 as everyone is always looking to create more ways of getting their video noticed..

Jan 21, 2012

Excellent article!  I think I'd done most of the items, but definately picked up some new tips.  Thank You!

Jan 26, 2012

A very interesting read.I am a soon to be graduate student myself and am starting my graduation assignment soon. I was going to do my research on VSEO, but I found out that there was more known on the subject already then I expected. My question then is:Would it be usefull to conduct a in-depth research into this field, or is everything widely known about VSEO already.Any other tips are of course welcome!

Megan Marrs
Apr 24, 2012

I'd say go for it! Video marketing is still a very new field and I'm sure there are a lot of great tests and expirements you could run that haven't been done yet.

Feb 06, 2012

This is by far the most comprehensive and straight-forward tutorial on how to make videos work for your site that I have come across.Great job and thanks for finally making it clear to me how to make use of this great free resource!

Derek Jansen
Feb 14, 2012

Great Job Megan. We've been playing around with ranking Youtube vids in organic results for a while and whilst we've enjoyed good success, its been quite a "hit & miss" affair. Its good to see a more "definitive" guide/post on the topic.

Megan Marrs
Apr 24, 2012

Thanks Jogo and Derek, glad you like it!

Project Assistant
Feb 29, 2012

Hi Megan,Great post, I'm having a hard time optimizing video content on our YouTube account I've search for some tips and I came across your post and I've learned what I've been missing. Thanks for the info. I'll tell my collegues about this. 

May 21, 2014

Hi: I plan on retiring from government and starting a 5 minute daily green screen news feed on crime and criminal justice research and issues and placing them on YouTube. I have been hosting radio and television shows on crime and justice issues for 20 years.I have companies who seem willing to sponsor shows which means that I read copy or insert ads. There is also the possibility of foundation sponsorship.I've read the rules which seem to imply that as long as I do not compete with YouTube ads I can insert ads of my own in videos but how could I possibly know if/when I'm competing with YouTube ads?Is there a layperson's guide to placing ads within videos on YouTube? The guidance on the site seems quite confusing.After reading the instructions on the site and talking to others, this is what I understand:I cannot use video from a sponsor or foundation.I use a photograph.I can comment on how I feel about the sponsor's product or service and offer their website address.If it's a nonprofit organization or foundation, I can comment on their funding and what they do and offer their website address.The YouTube instruction is fairly vague. If there is a blanket prohibition from advertising within the video, I wish the site would say that clearly.My plans for retirement was to offer something unique and not currently on YouTube but it won't generate enough revenue from conventional YouTube ads to cover the cost.Many thanks, Len

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