8 Minute Read

#SEOTips: Optimizing Your Videos

The statistics to back up traffic driven by video posting is astounding. The usage stats alone are crazy with 92% of mobile users sharing video daily. Mobile video ads including social share buttons drive engagement by 36% and websites including video are 50 times more likely to appear on the first SERP (search engine results page) compared to sites with no videos to offer. I definitely can’t tell you how to make these videos, but if you have the talent on your team to do so, I suggest starting this practice and I’ll teach you about optimizing your videos! Let’s get started.

First comes first, the platform. 8 out of 10 videos in the top U.S. SERP are from YouTube. Uploading your videos to platforms like Vimeo, Shutterfly and Vidme are really showing struggle in obtaining high rankings compared to YouTube uploads. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google, so make them love you!

Just like any other social platform for your business, you have to set up your profile to match your brand. Brainstorm a theme for your YouTube page, create an environment that expresses your employer brand. My best piece of advice for YouTube business pages is setting your icon to your company logo and use the same banner image from your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages for your “channel art.” Right away, viewers to your YouTube page will be able to identify your brand and establish credibility in their minds that they’ve found the right page.

Now, optimizing the actual videos you’ll be uploading is similar to optimizing a blog page or web page, only the terms are slightly different.


Websites including video are 50 times more likely to appear on the first search engine results page. Click To Tweet



The video title can be considered synonymous to a headline. When you read a headline (or write one) you should be able to give a brief description of what the viewer is in for while luring them into clicking the play button. Suggested title lengths are roughly 70 characters. Titles that are too long will get cut off on Google and become pointless. Use your keywords toward the beginning of the title and be honest. If you create crazy titles that would drive click rates, but are not true to the content of the video, your users are likely to close out of the video before end time, you can lose credibility and Google won’t love you.



Thumbnails, or the still image you see before the video plays, can act as some sort of marketing banner. If you have a design team available to you, customize your thumbnail images to snag the opportunity to brand your video. If you don’t have this available to you, select an image that will creatively convey the message you prompted in your title. For example, if I’m uploading a video about employee benefits I would include a photo of a ping pong table or employees eating lunch together and smiling.

Additional thumbnail tips:

  • Use hi-resolution images (about 640×360 pixels)
  • Use the most colorful and attractive stills if you’re using clips from the actual video
  • Check your images on all devices (TVs, phones, tablets, monitors)
  • Use images that have good balance between the foreground and the background. If the two are competing, the image might be hard to look at and articulate.



If you have no time at all to worry about images, titles, tags or anything else, at least put some time and thought into your video description. This is just like writing a meta description on a blog. You want to be able to give viewers the most important and accurate information possible in this short description.

The first two sentences are vital, everything after that can be whatever you deem interesting. Include a link to your website! This will help drive traffic back to your site if viewers are watching the video through your YouTube channel. Add links to your social media profiles, include a transcript of the video and include your most relevant keywords.


If you do nothing else, be sure to put time into your video description. Learn more #SEOTips here: Click To Tweet



Call to Action. Use it. Be it. Learn it. Love it. CTAs are designed buttons linked to demo pages, your blog, an eBook, whatever it is you’re trying to promote that month. If you don’t include a CTA at the end of your video, YouTube allows you to insert one. Including a CTA will not only drive traffic to whatever it is you’re promoting through the button, but will help you track whether or not the video campaign is working. Remember everything I said about how to check your Google Analytics a few weeks ago? (Just checking.)



Last but not least, the tags you include are what will help drive traffic to your video. YouTube’s top ranked tags include “explainer videos”. Since most internet users are attempting the self-taught method these days, “explainer video” and “explainer videos” are likely to drive the most traffic to your video.

But! Do not use these tags if your video is not an explainer video. Google will know if you’re lying, and they will, again, not love you. A best practice for selecting tags is to think of what you would search if you wanted to find your video. A good, simple, freeeeee way to do this is to start typing keywords that relate to your video content in Google and use the top Google suggestions. Ubersuggest is another freeeee platform that will suggest related keywords for you to try. Avoid using single words as tags such as “marketing” or “HR.” You want to use longtail keywords. Just like anything else, use your most important keywords first, then descend from there.


Optimizing video, like most things SEO, has a simple solution. Think like the user…after all, aren’t we all users? Check back next week for more SEO Quick Tips!