5 Simple and Effective Ways to Optimize Videos for SEO

Optimize videos for SEO to increase ranking

If you’re reading this post, you’re probably struggling to get your videos to rank better on search engine results pages (SERP).

I understand.

With so many people creating videos, outranking your competitors can be a tough task if you aren’t familiar with the effective ways to optimize videos for SEO.

Consider this: According to the latest Wyzowl survey, 91% of marketers use video as part of their marketing strategy in 2023:

Percentage of marketers using video as part of their marketing strategy 2023
Percentage of marketers using video as part of their marketing strategy 2023. Source: Video Marketing Statistics

The same survey also reveals that:

  • 91% of respondents have used video to increase traffic to their websites.
  • 90% of respondents have used video marketing to generate leads.
  • 87% of respondents have used video marketing to increase sales.

From the survey, it’s clear that a huge number of marketers are investing in video marketing optimization.

Videos are being extensively used in content marketing, influencer marketing, social media marketing, and even ambassador marketing.

But, it is important to effectively optimize your videos to outrank the competition and make your videos discoverable by your target viewers.

This is easier said than done.

Don’t fret—in this article, I’ve outlined 5 actionable tips to optimize videos for SEO.

Let’s get started.

1. Research Relevant Keywords

Keyword research is one of the best ways to optimize videos for SEO. It helps you uncover terms or phrases your viewers use to search for videos online.

Here are a few ways to find keywords to target with your videos:

Use YouTube’s auto-complete feature:

YouTube auto-complete feature
YouTube autocomplete feature.

Search for keywords on Semrush:

Semrush keyword research
Semrush keyword research. Image source: Semrush

You can also use Google Keyword Planner or your preferred keyword research tool if you’re not satisfied with Semrush’s keyword research tools.

2. Choose a Suitable Video Hosting Platform

When choosing video hosting platforms, determine why you want your videos to rank. 

Do you want to increase your website traffic, generate new leads, build thought leadership, create brand awareness, or something else?

If you want to rank your videos to drive website traffic, consider platforms that offer SEO optimization capabilities for video content. 

You can add the videos to your website and interlink the videos’ URLs to other resources on your website. An internal linking opportunities finder tool can help you know the spots for internal linking your videos on your website.

YouTube and Vimeo allow you to optimize your videos for SEO. However, they tend to keep viewers on the platform instead of directing them to your website.

For Vimeo, using video embedding can be a great idea.

That said, the two platforms would be a great option when you want to generate thought leadership and increase brand awareness.

To drive traffic to your website with video, consider using Facebook or Wistia.

This is because, with Facebook, you can post a snippet of your video on the platform and add your website link in the comment section that drives visitors to your site. With Wistia, you can easily embed the video on your website.

It’s also a great idea to upload videos to multiple platforms to increase discoverability and exposure.

3. Add Transcripts to Your Videos

You’ve probably watched videos with captions like this:

Video script
Video script – Source YouTube

The text that follows the words of the speaker in the video is the video transcript.

Video transcripts not only make your videos more accessible to a larger audience but are helpful in many ways including:

  • Enabling you to target specific keywords
  • Helping your audience better understand the content
  • Allowing search engines to understand what your video is all about, which improves the crawlability and indexability of your videos 
  • Making it easier for your audience to find your videos

In the case of product videos, you can use ghost buttons and CTAs to encourage people to make a purchase.

4. Create Catchy Video Thumbnails

Your audience has a variety of videos to choose from when they search for a particular topic. 

When given the option to choose between image and text they’ll most like be attracted to images first.

You need to ensure they are clicking on your videos—and this is why you need to create catchy thumbnails for your videos.

Using engaging and inviting video thumbnails can attract more people to click on them, which helps your video to rank better. Here are examples of catchy YouTube video thumbnails I picked from peopleHum, a robust performance management system for savvy HR professionals:

YouTube video thumbnails
YouTube video thumbnails. Image source YouTube

By default, most video hosting platforms suggest a thumbnail from your uploaded video.
However, you should create the thumbnail yourself.

Here are some useful tips to create an engaging thumbnail:

  • Use a striking, high-quality, and vibrant image to grab your audience’s attention.
  • Add title text to your thumbnails to make your videos easy to identify by your audience.
  • Use a consistent style throughout your videos.

5. Optimize the Video Metadata

One of the best ways to rank your videos on the first page of Google search results is to optimize the video metadata.

The video metadata is the textual description of what the video is all about, which includes the title, description, tags, creation date, author, and more.

All this information helps to improve video search, sorting, and discovery. It also makes your videos readable for search engines which helps to improve indexability.

Let’s take an in-depth look into the elements of video metadata that you can optimize to make SEO-friendly videos.

Video Titles

This is the name of the video that lets people and search engines understand what the video entails.

Ensure the video title is accurate and relevant to what your viewers want to watch. Conducting some keyword research could help you understand what titles attract more clicks to your videos.

Also, titles should optimize for SEO, and in this process, headline analyzer tools such as the Attrock headline analyzer tool can help you create more SEO-optimized headlines for your videos.

Here are handy ways to optimize the video title for SEO:

  • Add your primary keyword
  • Use attention-grabbing words and phrases
  • Keep it unique and relevant
  • Use a headline analyzer tool

Here are some great examples of video titles by HubSpot:

YouTube video titles
YouTube video titles. Image source: YouTube

Video Descriptions

This is the summary you include in your videos to tell search engines and your viewers what the video is about.

Even though search engines don’t use the video description to index videos, it’s the information they display in search results when users. 

Here are a few examples of video descriptions displayed on Google:

Video descriptions
Video descriptions. Image source: Google

That’s why you need to optimize your video descriptions with relevant keywords that people use to search for such videos.

For better results, front-load the description with your main keyword.

Video Tags

Video tags are descriptive terms or phrases you add to categorize your videos. They help viewers find your video content.

See examples of video tags below:

Video tags
Video tags. Image source Ahrefs

You can use various tags like “make money online”, “weight loss”, etc. for your Instagram or LinkedIn videos.

When people search using these tags, your videos will show up.

Here is how to optimize your video tags:

  • Don’t add too many tags. Use a minimum of 5-8 tags for one video.
  • Use trending tags that are relevant to your video content.
  • Use specific and broad tags.
  • Spy on your competitors’ videos to see which tags they are adding.

No doubt, videos can be powerful marketing and experience management tools because they leave a lasting impression on your customers and make your brand memorable.

However, without optimizing your videos for better SEO results, no one will find them on the internet.


Remember that a successful video marketing strategy is founded on high-quality content. 

Also, as you leverage these ways to optimize videos for SEO, you should always keep your target viewers in mind. Good luck!

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