Boost Your Visibility with Video SEO

Author: Torrey Tayenaka
8 minutes of reading
9. 5. 2024
Table of contents

Video is a fast-growing format for both consumers and marketers. In just a few minutes – or even a few seconds – you can condense a complex topic into an engaging, informational format that gets audiences watching, commenting, and sharing.

But with everyone using video marketing, how can you stand out? That’s exactly where video SEO comes into play.

What Is Video SEO?

Video SEO is the process of optimizing your video content to help it rank when people search for related topics. Like regular SEO, video SEO has the goal of getting your video out in front of a wider audience and attracting views from users.

Unlike images, which are indexed and ranked on their own, search engines like Google view videos as a media component that’s part of a whole page. When it’s indexes, the page that has the video is categorized as a video page, which enables it to rank for video-specific searches and a universal search.

Here’s an example for “how to groom a dog” using Google video search:

Video SEO - how to groom a dog

And the same search term with universal results:

Videos snippet in Google

Video SEO Steps

Video SEO has numerous techniques and best practices, but there are three basic steps:

Step 1: Make Sure Videos Are Indexed

Search engines can’t discover a video that’s embedded on your website and understand what information it covers. You have to add this information to make your video indexable, such as supporting metadata that search engine bots can crawl.

Make sure you include:

  • The title of the video
  • The description of the video
  • The length of the video
  • The location of the video file
  • A thumbnail image
  • The upload date

This information can be provided using a video XML sitemap that’s external to the page and includes information on all your embedded videos. You can then submit this to search engines using Google Search Console.

Another option is to include a sitemap link in your robots.txt file or use a schema markup that includes the metadata on the video in microdata or in the body of the HTML.

Once you complete this step, check if your videos are indexed by inputting the URL of the page into the search box under If your page and video snippet appear, it means that Google has successfully crawled and indexed it.

If it doesn’t, you can use a tool like the Google Rich Results Test to see why your video may not be included in the search results. This tool provides detailed information – including any missing metadata – that may prevent Google from indexing the video.  

Step 2: Improve the Ranking

Now that you have your video indexed, the real work begins. You have to put in continuous effort to improve its ranking, just like any other content, and get it from a wider audience. here are some elements to optimize:

Video Title

If your video gets more clicked, its ranking will improve for related search terms. One of the most important parts of video SEO is optimizing your title to improve clicks.

Rely on split testing to see which titles perform better. Otherwise, you can compare the click rates of different videos that are similar in topic or style and see if a particular title is performing better, but this method is not as objective in its approach.

Video Thumbnail

The thumbnail image on your video also plays a crucial role in whether a user clicks on your video. Thumbnail images appear alongside the video title and description, catching the user’s eye as they scroll through the search results page.

Here’s an example of a thumbnail that captures the essence of the video topic and entices users to want to know more:

YouTube video thumbnail

You can use the same methods to test your thumbnail as the title. Try out different thumbnails and measure your results with split testing.

Here are some best practices for eye-catching thumbnails:

  • Keep each thumbnail unique: Thumbnails are an important promotional aspect of your video. Instead of choosing an automatically generated thumbnail pulled from the video, create one that summarizes the content and gives users a reason to click.
  • Use sharp contrast and colors: Thumbnails are small. Make sure you have bright colors and clear contrast that stands out among the rest of the search results.
  • Show your face: If your video is a lecture, product video, interview, or anything else that will involve a person talking to the camera, make sure to include that image in your thumbnail. The face should have a welcoming expression.
  • Consider text overlay: In the example above, the text overlay helps users understand what they can expect to see in the video and the before and after for that project. Consider adding text overlay with high contrast to offer more information.

Video Description

Your video description is similar to the meta description and provides context for search results that can lead users to click. This is an opportunity for you to optimize your video further with relevant tags or hashtags that can help your video climb the rankings.

Video Length

Short-form videos are extremely popular, but that doesn’t mean longer videos can’t perform well. Ultimately, your video length should match the breadth of the topic – short enough to hold interest but long enough to cover all the pertinent information.

For example, if you’re using a video for a product launch or teaser, keep it under a minute. If you have a Q&A session, product demo, or in-depth tutorial related to a common question, it can be several minutes long to cover all the necessary information. If your video will be much longer, consider breaking it up into a series.

If your video is too long, edit it or create chapters to make it browsable for users. Evaluate its performance after you adjust the length, then see how you can improve it further.

Upload Date

This won’t apply to evergreen videos, but upload date is an important consideration for topical videos. Users are more likely to choose the most recent information (if it applies to their query), such as educational content or new product information.

If your video is a little older but still relevant, consider updating it with small edits to clarify information, add new research insights, or remove outdated concepts, then re-upload it.


Captions for your video provide a lot of context for search engine crawlers. This is essentially your page copy that tells users and Google what the video covers and why it’s important. Make sure your captions are accurate and include relevant keywords to capture search terms.


Links are just as important with video SEO as regular SEO and boost the authority of the information you’re providing. Optimize your internal links to ensure that your content is referenced well, and link to external authoritative sources as needed to validate claims.

Step 3: Monitor Video Traffic

You should always measure the results of your video SEO efforts against your goals. Google Search Console offers a lot of tools to help you identify traffic sources and see what videos are performing well (and not so well). Each time you optimize, check the performance to see how your changes are influencing your video ranking.

Tips for Success with Video SEO

Video SEO isn’t a quick win, especially with competitive topics and keywords. Here are some tips to maximize your success:

Make Videos About Popular Search Topics

You could have the best video ever made, but if no one is searching for that information, you won’t get many views. It’s important to focus your video content on topics people are actively searching for, which you can find using tools like Marketing Miner.

To find keyword suggestions go to “Create Report”.

Video SEO - Marketing Miner reports

Then, click on “Suggest” and select “YouTube”.

YouTube keyword suggest

Type in your keywords, then run the report to get your results! You’ll have plenty of topics to choose from to create videos.

Suggested keyword for youtube videos

See the sample report: Marketing Miner Wizard

Try Marketing Miner for video SEO keyword research:

Make High-Quality Videos

While a certain level of lo-fi is preferred over polished productions, you still need to present high-quality videos to your audience to get them viewed and ranked. This not only refers to the quality of the video itself and its resolution, camera work, and lighting, but the way you present the content.

Your introduction needs to capture attention within the first few seconds. If you fail this part, your viewers are unlikely to stick around for the full video. The production quality standards need to be up to par as well, but you don’t need a professional videographer. You can create beautiful videos with simple apps and tools like a tripod.

Also, like any other content, your video needs to provide value to your audience. Focus on the questions your customers have, rather than selling your brand, and how you can help them.

Include a Call-to-Action Phrase

If your video includes a specific action that you want the viewer to take, such as making a purchase, buying products from affiliate links, or subscribing to your YouTube channel, it’s important to make that clear with a call-to-action (CTA) phrase at the end of the video.

While it may seem obvious to you, including a CTA tells your viewers exactly what you want them to do at the end of the video and eases decision fatigue. You can (and should) have verbal CTAs throughout your video, but make sure there’s a clear, direct CTA at the end.

YouTube makes this simple with end screens and cards that are interactive and encourage viewers to check out other links, playlists, videos, and more. You can add up to five, so use these to your advantage.

Promote Your Video

Video SEO is an organic effort, but you can attract the audience to your videos with strategic promotions. Make sure you promote your videos on all of your relevant platforms, including:

  • Blog posts with related topics
  • Product information pages on your website
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Social media pages
  • Online groups and forums

Get Started with Video SEO

If you’re leveraging video for your marketing strategy, it’s important to get the most out of it by ensuring that your videos are seen by the right audience. It takes some work, but video SEO helps you optimize your videos to boost visibility and ranking in the search engine results.

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