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3 Tips for Optimizing Video SEO

Videos are an often overlooked yet extremely powerful method of driving traffic to your site. Regardless of whether they’ve been uploaded directly to a blog, or sites like Vimeo or YouTube, videos can rank high in search engine results. These results are 40-50 times easier to get than conventional text placement, giving you a way to leapfrog over more popular sites with higher ranked text results.
While Video SEO isn’t a sure-fire marketing tactic, there is something to be said about a properly classified and well-categorized video. Search engines use a slightly different set of algorithms to rank videos than regular text pages. Relevancy and audience engagement both play huge roles, as do more than a dozen other metrics.
Here are three tips for handling SEO for your videos to make sure they receive high rankings in search engines and help drive traffic to your site.
1. Upload Your Videos to YouTube
As of today, the number two search engine worldwide behind Google is none other than (drumroll, please) YouTube. Yes. You read that right. YouTube. The site gets an average of one billion searches per day.
Uploading your content to YouTube will guarantee that your video will be indexed in Google’s search engine. What it will not guarantee is that you’ll get a first-page result.
The other thing to consider is that anyone who clicks on a YouTube result will be taken to YouTube itself. This may be fine if your goal is about branding, but if you wish to drive traffic to your own site, be sure to include a link in the description and/or mention it in the video itself.
2. Optimize the Title and Description of Your Video
When ranking videos, Google heavily considers the relevance of your descriptions and video titles. In this instance, you need to start thinking like your customers. For example, if you sell running shoes, don’t use the keyphrase “athletic footwear.” Include keywords and phrases that your target market would realistically use to find your products. Even if you think the keywords are wrong, you have to optimize for the phrase they’re most likely going to use.
Try to limit your keyphrases to one or two at the most. Remember, you don’t have an unlimited amount of characters to optimize the title of your video.
3. Tag it!
Tags are extremely important when it comes to your video being found on video hosting pages such as YouTube and Vimeo. Tags allow you to directly connect your video to key words that are not featured in the title or the description. When users type keywords related to your tags, your video will appear in their search results.
Knowing this, it might be tempting to add a mountain of tags to your video, even if they have nothing to do with the video itself. The more tags, the better. Right?
Wrong. There’s a lot more to rankings than just tags and views. If people find your video through an unrelated tag and watch it, they’re going to be unhappy. They may watch only a small portion of your video and leave, or they will give you a thumbs down. Both of these actions will lower your rankings.
You can use YouTube’s search suggest feature to get ideas about what to use as tags. If possible, try to stay away from stop words, such as a, the, and, or. If a word does not impact the meaning of a tag, omit it. Each video is given a finite amount of tag space, and there is no penalty for using it all up, so use as many (effective) tags as you wish.
When all is said and done, Google cannot read Flash very well, nor can it actually “see” the content inside the video itself. Making sure that you utilize the video metadata and place the video on host sites such as YouTube or Vimeo will be your best bets for getting indexed and found on search engines.
No doubt Google’s indexing algorithms for video will become a little more complicated over time, but for now you’ll be able to take advantage of these tips to get a leg up on the competition as far as getting ranked for your online videos.

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