It is harder than ever to get a first page result on Google. Not only does Google continue to change how it searches and indexes, but now it is dedicating more and more of its first page to “blended” search results – displaying video, images, shopping results, etc. This can push traditional high-ranking web results down – and sometimes off – the first page.

Since you can’t beat Google, you need to join them and adapt. Although there is now more competition for fewer traditional search results, it has allowed sites with video assets to successfully achieve first-page rankings. In fact, Forrester Research found that videos were 53 times more likely than traditional web pages to receive an organic first-page ranking. So what do you need to do to your video to help your business get found through search? Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind that will optimize your video for SEO whether it is self hosted or you put it on YouTube (we recommend you do some combination of both):

1. Optimize the title / file name

When you choose a title for your video, don’t just leave it as a meaningless file name to anyone but yourself. You don’t want viewers to be turned off because the title is something like “YOUR_VIDEO_FINAL_REV6.mp4”. That’s just lazy. Don’t get too clever with the title or file name either though. It’s important to pick a keyword friendly title which could help your video SEO. Think like the viewer: “If I were looking for this video, what would I type in the search field?”

2. Optimize Your Video URLs

This is true of ANY page on your website, but you should always customize and optimize the URLs of pages on your site by including in them keywords and relevant descriptive terms about the page itself. To put it another way, is a much better URL than Obviously anything including “video” in the URL will tip off search engines that there is likely video on that page.

3. Description

The related text description around your video or in the meta description code can make or break whether someone will watch your video or whether they will even be able to find it in the first place. Your meta description should be around 160 characters but the text on your page can be far richer. Describe what the video is all about and include some relevant links, information or a call to action for the viewer. Make sure to keep it simple and to the point. It’s important to use “relevant” keywords but don’t stuff the page with irrelevant keywords. You could be penalized by Google just as easily as rewarded with high rankings for good content! Make sure to not keyword stuff!

4. Video Transcript / Captions

Including a transcript or captions with your video is critical to help the hearing impaired understand the content of your video, allow viewers without speakers to still under stand your video but the real benefit, is SEO. The entire transcript for your video is text and becomes a searchable and indexed document giving search engines detailed information on the topics, keywords and general subject matter of your video.

5. Create a video sitemap

A sitemap is a document that tells Google exactly what is on your website and exactly where it can be found. You can submit multiple sitemaps for your website, say one for your HTML pages and one specifically for video. Hence the video sitemap. If you have uploaded a video directly on your website and it isn’t hosted anywhere else, a video sitemap will include the video’s title and description, the URL of the page on your website where the video plays, the URL where the video thumbnail image is stored, and the URL where the raw video file is stored. If you can’t do it yourself, your webmaster should be able to take care of this for you. Sitemaps are a technical entity in and of themselves but if you want to learn more about video sitemaps you can using Google Webmaster Tools.
These 5 tips are the basic building blocks of getting your video found online. There’s probably a million more that could be included like distribution, social sharing, etc. but these are the basics to getting found by search engines. The whole idea is you want to make your video as easy as possible for the correct viewers searching for your content to find you.



Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts