8 Expert Tips to Optimize Your Video for SEO in 2019

Video has countless benefits to your ROI. From helping explain how a product works to providing the final information that can close a sale, video is one of the most effective mediums for communicating your brand’s messaging. But it also has an incredible indirect benefit to your bottom line: boosting your search engine optimization (SEO).

Effective SEO is crucial in getting your brand in front of new eyes. Appearing on that first search engine results page can get you tons of new website traffic and increase your overall website performance. But did you know video can actually help get you there?

We asked eight SEO experts to weigh in.

How does video affect SEO?
What would be your number one tip for using video to optimize SEO?

Incorporating video in your website content can have indirect benefits on organic performance. Videos that are placed within the content of a web page could increase visitor engagement. When visitors dwell on a website instead of bouncing back to search results, that’s a sign to search engines that your content satisfied their query, and you’re more likely to rank well.

Brands can also rank on page one of Google in the video carousel. Identify queries that yield video results and compete for those terms with your video content. Most of the video carousel results appear to be sourced from YouTube, so make sure to host your video content there.

Although the video carousel mostly replaced video thumbnails, some SERPs still do show thumbnails. In the event that your page ranks organically and is accompanied by a video thumbnail, it could increase click-through rate, which will help you maximize the number of visits you get out of your rankings.


Kameron Jenkins
SEO Wordsmith at Moz

Video SEO isn’t just about optimizing the SEO results for your videos themselves. Many people think video SEO is about getting a high ranking on YouTube search or the Google search “Videos” tab. It’s more about how you use video to improve the SEO of your main website pages.

Having strong videos on key pages can dramatically increase time on page, which can improve your domain authority with Google. If people land on your site and stay for five minutes (because they watch some great videos,) that can help with your ranking.

Also, videos can be a great source of raw content for ranking on keyword searches. Always transcribe your audio into text and add that information to the metadata of your page. This way your content will still be indexable by Google, giving you a better chance at ranking for keywords.


Tyler Lessard
VP of Marketing at Vidyard

From a content perspective, I’d say one of the best ways to get SEO value out of video is to focus your efforts on addressing your customer’s pain points.

Consumers use search to find answers. While they might indulge in watching your brand’s fun viral spot or emotionally resonant story they discover while Google-sleuthing, eventually they’ll return to seek help with their intended task. If your videos are focused on satisfying those moments of intent, it will certainly give your business an organic SEO boost.


Jodi Harris
Dir. of Editorial Content & Curation at Content Marketing Institute

Video’s impact on search can be seen from a few angles:

  1. Videos add to user engagement, which is going to continue growing as a signal with Rankbrain.
  2. Videos that are syndicated to platforms like YouTube provide an additional channel to gain traffic from.
  3. Videos that convey trust can positively impact conversion rates.

As it pertains to SEO, here are a couple of video tips that can help boost your site rankings.

1. Use a video sitemap; Google seems to prefer videos slightly over non-video content, so when you use a video embedded in a new page, you have a faster rate of getting that page indexed (which is especially important if you’re working at scale.)

2. Video can be seen as the beginning content type; Consider how many different places you can syndicate the video. Of course it can live on YouTube and link back to your specific blog post with that same video embedded, but the transcription of the video is valuable text content, splices of the video may make for shareable Facebook and Instagram video snippets, still images from the video might make sense to share out additionally on Twitter, and the audio could be reused on a Soundcloud podcast.


Joe Sinkwitz
Co-Founder & CEO at Intellifluence

I’ve worked with clients who had videos on every page of their site, including ecommerce pages. These pages often offer products that are difficult to visualize without video. In these cases, videos help not only show potential consumers how to use the products, but ultimately help turn them from visitors to customers.

Offering a transcript of your video content also enables them to be indexed by search engines, which could lead to more site traffic.

Keep videos short, show off your products well, and include transcriptions so more of your site content is indexed by the search engines.


Bill Slawski
Director of SEO Research at Go Fish Digital

How video affects SEO really depends on your goals when using video in your marketing campaign and which video platform you use. Of course, Google owns YouTube, so that’s the best SEO option by far.

However, YouTube has great limits when it comes to linking to your website for conversion. It’s best to use video in an omni-channel marketing approach with re-syndication across multiple platforms. You can host your video on YouTube for the foundational SEO best practices, but link and highlight the embedded video on your own website. This increases click-through and conversions.

As for my number one tip for using video to optimize SEO? Well, start with a goal. Sure, your competitor may be optimizing through video, but you need to have clear goals in your video’s messaging, while being able to clearly identify success rates through key performance indicators (KPIs) and return on investment (ROI).


Shannon K. Steffen
CEO & Digital Marketing Strategist at Human SEO

The number one reason for using video on your site to improve SEO is to increase the amount of time users stay on your site. Time on site is a primary factor used by Google to determine whether or not to rank your website versus another website for the same keyword.

The more engaging your content (and video can be incredibly engaging,) the longer a user will likely stay on your site and the higher you can rank on Google.


Kris Jones
Founder & CEO at LSEO.com

A common issue we see with SEO is this checklist mentality to ranking. We must have a blog. We must have social media. We must have video. Video can be an important contributor to your overall SEO and digital marketing strategy, but it’s important to be crystal clear on how video is going to help you achieve your marketing and SEO goals.

With that caveat out the way, there are a few ways in which video can contribute to your SEO strategy.

  1. Exposure – Awareness is a key marketing goal. Getting in front of the right people at the right time is powerful. And the right place is often a search engine. Sometimes standard articles are the best way to illustrate an answer. Sometimes it’s video. We can also often rank video more easily in Google search results where there aren’t any video answers. And of course, our video can rank on our own site and on third-party platforms like YouTube (which is also a search engine and where we also want to rank highly). So, video gives us a way to get in front of people on search engines.
  2. Engagement & Conversion – Video can help us engage our audience. This can help us convert more customers to sales. This is not technically SEO, but SEO is not our goal – conversions are our goal. So, if we’re looking at the end goal and how video helps convert users from search engines, then getting that initial exposure and moving that user closer to a conversion is super important.
  3. Authority – Building authority helps us drive more traffic to our site. And videos can be a useful tool for link building. If we have the best answer to a question, then earning links and generating links via outreach is typically far easier. So video can help by providing a linkable asset to help us raise the authority of our site with relevant links.

My number one video SEO tip relates to ranking videos directly on YouTube. Start your search for targeted keywords there. Pay particular attention to the search suggestions. Then, review the videos that are returned. Think you can do better? Then you have an opportunity to create a killer video. Just optimize the video’s title, description, and tags around your chosen keyword and you can start to earn more video exposure.


Marcus Miller
SEO Consultant at Bowler Hat

Learn more about how video can help your SEO ranking here!