SEO 101: Video Optimization

Video optimizationUnless you have been living under a bridge the past couple of years, you know that online video has become hot, hot, hot! Promoting your site, blog or product with online video is free, it’s mobile and social, so getting your vid to the most eyeballs should be easy, right?

Well, not really. YouTube is the biggest of the video sites and the average video posted there only gets about 100 views per year, so it’s not as easy as it looks. There is a bit of optimization that can help you on your way.

  • Use rich meta data – Video optimization, like web page optimization, is still driven by this. As with your content-rich web pages, make sure your title and meta description are keyword rich and helpful to the visitors (and spiders).
  • Build a unique page – Create a content-rich page just for the video you are promoting. Along with appropriate meta data, include some descriptive text and keyword rich links to help get you crawled by the crawler based search engines.
  • Share – The easier the video is to share, the better. For instance, YouTube’s strength is that it is a sharing site. Only a part of the video traffic comes from search itself, so be sure to build in a sharing strategy for your video.
  • Optimize for Related Videos – People watch a ton of these in YouTube and the higher your view volume, the more likely your video will show up above the fold (bottom of the screen). Study the top videos and see what they are doing that you might be able to use to your advantage.
  • Embed your video – To keep some traffic going after the initial rush of viewers, embed your video in a widget that you can not only show on your page, but share with others to post on their own sites.
  • Push out updates – This one’s pretty much a no-brainer. Be sure you push out your updates in a video RSS feed.
  • Make it viral – Quirky, offbeat, unusual and unique videos tend to have the most success lighting a fire under themselves.
  • Export videos as SWF – Please, no Active X controls. For higher quality and mobile, try .mov.
  • Build a Google video sitemap – You want to be sure Google finds your videos, so this definitely can’t hurt.
  • Be constant – Use the same title and description on all of the video sites that you post your video to like YouTube, MetaCafe, etc.
  • Customize your thumbnail – YouTube gives you a selection of three images from your video to use as your thumbnail. These are pulled from the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 marks in time in your video, so try to work it so that a scene in your video shows up in one of those points that would be appropriate for the thumbnail. Consider having your URL or telephone number show up at one of those points.
  • Localize – Having a video in your local listings can improve your traffic.
  • Submit to Blinkx – This will get you into sites like Ask and MSN, too.
  • Be descriptive – Be sure the actual name of the file and URL are clear and descriptive (, not
  • Use – Use this site to upload your video to several video sites at once. Your video could actually show up several times for a single search. See my previous post Importance of Diversity in S E O for an example. also includes YouTube stats for you and your competition.
  • Take the hint – YouTube tells you popular related phrases in the search drop down as you type. In a way, they are doing your keyword research for you. Pay attention!
  • URL first – Include your full URL as the lead to your description for your video in YouTube. This puts your link at the beginning where it will show best. You can even include tracking code if you like.
  • Don’t over tag – Tags are great, but don’t over do it. These can be just as spammy as circa 1998 keyword meta tags. Be concise and true to the content.
  • Call to action – Include one in your video with your URL. Watermarking is a good way to do this.
  • Press video – Include a video in your PRWeb press release. Yes, this will cost you money, but it is money well spent if you have something good to share with the world. If you don’t have something good to share, why are you bothering to submit a press release in the first place?
  • Respond – Look for a video that is popular and related to yours. Letter a title and description identically and submit a video response.

Naturally, all of the tips in the world won’t guarantee success. There are a lot of factors involved with making a video popular, including the video itself, but hopefully these suggestions will give you a starting point for your video optimization campaigns.