SEO isn’t just a big deal for blog posts. SEO is equally important for videos.

Here’s why: The world’s second largest search engine isn’t Bing or Yahoo, it is YouTube.

Being the world’s second largest search engine today, your audience is regularly searching for information on YouTube just like they would on Google. The question is: What are you doing to benefit from this change?

Here’s what you should know to optimize your videos for SEO:

1. Do Basic SEO Optimization

Use informative titles and descriptions

A good title is informative and short. Plus, only the first 60 characters of the title appear on YouTube. That’s the reason you need good keywords in the title and at the start itself. That makes for great SEO.

Next, optimize the video description. Do this by adding keywords to the video description followed by a link to your site. You can use up to 70 characters for the description.

Use the right tags

Tags are essentially keywords. And the more variations of these keywords you have, the easier it is going to be for people to be able to discover the video and watch it.

Use proper thumbnails

People have to find the thumbnail appealing before they ever start watching the video. For that to happen the thumbnails must be colorful, engaging, and of high-quality.

Consider adding a sitemap too. A video sitemap is another useful way to inform search engines about the videos.

2. Find Your Target Audience

With videos, you need to know which stage of the marketing funnel you should start by targeting. Start by finding out who the target audience is.

You should ideally start with the goals behind creating videos. Create videos for every stage of the marketing funnel.

  • Awareness: In the awareness stage, the members of your audience understand they have an issue. They are actively looking for more information around their problem. Videos at this stage should be directed at introducing viewers to the brand.
  • Consideration: In the consideration stage, they are now researching how they’re going to solve their problem. They’re looking for recommendations by watching product reviews and tutorials.
  • Decision: They have now arrived at the solution. At this stage, present your customer with proof of why your product aces competitor products.

3. Ensure people know what the video is about

If you want higher view counts for the videos, provide information to people that helps them decide if they want to watch the video or not. Simply put, make the decision easy for them.

People generally skim the titles first and then they decide whether to watch the video or not.

To make sure people know whether this video is for them or not, here’s what you can do:

a. Write down an informative description

Talk about the benefits people will get who watch the video. Talk about the features of your brand or service.

b. Transcribe the videos

Transcribing videos is becoming really popular. This gives viewers the content in text format that helps them skim through it and later watch the content if they so prefer.

Here’s an example from Rand Fishkin who has his video transcribed on his website.

4. Set up Goals for your Video Marketing

Marketing campaigns start with research. Start by understanding who you’re targeting. Find out the kind of content they’re most likely to find useful. 

Also, you can try either people at all levels of the marketing funnel or at particular stages of the funnel. Is your goal to drive awareness, get more traffic, and sales? To connect with the right audience, use the right tone in your videos.

5. Optimize video for conversions

Optimizing videos means you will be able to get more conversions with the same effort.

a. Have a clear call to action

The importance of a clear call to action cannot be understated. Prior, you need to figure whether you want to close leads or just start a conversation. Add a link to the video description to a landing page so that the visitor becomes a lead.

b. Define the best publishing time

You need to know publishing at what time will get you the highest possible views in the first 24 to 48 hours of the video going live. The period is crucial and makes or breaks the virality of the video.

c. Offer incentives

Next, you need to give people incentives to watch and engage with videos. You can give discounts to viewers, a whitepaper, and other giveaways.

d. Get creative with your content

Brainstorm and think of how you can make the video entertaining and creative. Successful video marketing campaigns all have one thing in common—they’re all entertaining. 

Here’s an example from Slack. It’s an entertaining video that breaks down core business concepts into something interesting.

The video explains Slack’s functionality and is also memorable while being engaging. As you can see, the video is great for both B2B and B2C

e. Create simple and short videos if necessary

Shorter videos routinely perform better than long-form videos. Although short videos are easily preferable that doesn’t mean you need to pigeonhole yourself into that line of thinking.

There’s a place for short videos and for more engaging long form content as well. Tutorial videos that run from 30 minutes to an hour or more are popular too. Explainer videos that explain the concept in a few seconds are popular as well. The thought that only short videos are popular doesn’t have to prevent you from making longer videos. Are there any long-form blog articles? Does no one read them?

f. Use social proof

Social proof helps you build trust between you and your viewers.

How? There are many ways but some of the most obvious ways are through video likes, comments, and total view count.

6. Maximize the reach and impact of your videos

Once your videos are ready, you must do everything you can to ensure that it goes places:

  • Engage with your viewers: Start with reader’s opinions and respond to comments that they are posting. If you are doing live videos, you get notifications as soon as someone leaves comments. You can share the video play time and have your viewers queue up in advance.
  • Comments: Make sure to honor the commitment your viewers are showing. By responding to them, you’re valuing these comments and are showing that their opinions matter. This will encourage more comments.
  • Pay to promote your video: Facebook and YouTube help you reach a broader audience. 
  • Make it an integral aspect of your overall marketing campaign: Think of video as a content marketing format to showcase information like blog posts, whitepapers, and more.

7. Analyze your video performance

No online marketing campaign can be successful without analytics. If you’re creating video campaigns, you can use Google analytics to understand the video performance, total views and their watch time. You can take your brand places with higher views, shares, and increased mentions.

a. Engagement rate

The engagement rate shows the amount of interaction with the video. What’s the time someone spent on the video? Did they watch it fully or abandon it midway? This should indicate the quality of the message you’re sending.

b. View counts

The total view count shows the number of times the video has been viewed. On Youtube, a video view is when someone watches the video for 30 seconds. On Facebook, it’s 3 seconds. You can use Facebook or Instagram analytic tools to measure view counts. How people interact with the video means understanding view count and understanding full levels of engagement to plan ahead.

c. Play rate

The play rate shows the number of visitors who clicked on the video to watch. This integrates data from other websites and social media shares.

d. Social sharing

The social sharing number shows the number of times the video was shared online. People don’t share content they don’t find any value in. By getting shares, your content is resonating with people.

e. Comments and feedback

It isn’t a grand metric but important to pay attention to. If viewers are leaving comments on social media, read and find out if the comments are positive or negative.

The Bottom Line

Creating high quality videos that deliver takes both effort and time. As highlighted in this post, with a little planning and some creativity, you can definitely create inspiring videos that propel people to watch the content and take the desired action.


George is a blogger and writer at where he shares cutting-edge marketing advice.