By now you’ve probably heard of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which is the practice of creating and maintaining a website in a way that attracts customers to your business through search engines for “Free”. Recently the world has become demanding of websites to be entertaining and informational. This has driven the growth of mediums like video. So much so that according to Smart Insights people will watch 100 minutes of video online a day by 2021.

As marketers, this growth is important for us to capture. Since YouTube is the second largest search engine (and second most visited website) in the world it makes sense to start there. So, enter Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO).

The Fundamentals of VSEO

A well optimized video marketing campaign will have three key things in place:

  1. Technically sound video(s)
  2. Appropriate search terms
  3. Valuable content

Technically sound videos

Let’s start with the technical aspects of a video you want to optimize. First and foremost, you need to have a good quality video. Poor sound quality or grainy visuals isn’t going to cut it. But it doesn’t mean you have to go full tilt video production. Make it professional!

In addition, you need to ensure your video is accessible to everyone. This means making sure that you use high contrast colours where possible. It also means creating a closed caption file so that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can engage with your content. As a bonus to creating closed-captioning text, you can use the content as a transcript on your website for added SEO benefit.

Lastly, avoid copyright issues by licensing your own music. Be careful about songs in the background as they can sometimes get caught in your audio and that can cause your video to be blocked. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to use copyright material in your film. In that case, reach out to the copyright holder and work out a deal.

For more information on accessibility for video, these 8 tips from Sitepoint will be helpful.

Using appropriate search terms

Similarly to optimizing your website you want to develop content that is targeted to the way your customers search. For the most part, this is done by selecting keywords and topics that your customers put into search engines.

There are quite a few tools out there for you to do keyword research; however, one of my favourites for VSEO is AHrefs. The main benefit of this tool is that it has the ability for you to get YouTube data. This is key because as I already mentioned YouTube is a massive search engine in itself. Not pulling data that is specific to that website is like using Yahoo data to understand how people search on Google.

The main thing here is to find keywords that your audience will search for. It may be helpful to ask your customers what they are looking for when they are trying to find your product. You can also look at customer service data to see what questions people are asking. Finally, you can put your customer hat on and pretend to go shopping for your product.

Create valuable content

Ok! You now know how to develop technically sound videos, you’ve created a great list of keywords and now you’re going to make your videos. This is a critical moment for you. Content that is well thought out and well produced will have a higher chance of succeeding.

Part of the reason why it’s so important to create outstanding content is that YouTube uses engagement as a metric to determine which video to rank in what order. Videos that have more engagement are more likely to have a higher ranking (which should mean more $$$ for you).

Here are a few tips on how to make engaging video content:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Tell a story
  3. Use visuals and motion
  4. Keep the video short

Know your audience

48% of consumers want videos to reflect what they are interested in so it makes sense for us to know what our audience wants. Sometimes this isn’t easy but the best way to find out is to ask your customers about their needs. What questions do they have about your product? Do they hit roadblocks when using your business? How can you provide value to them?

Tell a story

Armed with knowledge about your customers its time to take that information and turn it into a story. Stories help keep people engaged and remember the content. There are 7 classic story plots that you can use. Pick one that makes the most sense to communicate your idea. For example, the rags to riches plot is useful in explaining case studies.

Use visuals and motion

This goes without saying but I’m going to say it anyway. Use visuals and motion to your advantage. It’s okay to have a talking-head video but add to it by using callouts, banners and other visuals to highlight key points.

Keep the video short

This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it’s one that should be closely followed. Your story will dictate how long your video should be, however, aim to keep things on the shorter side. To get a better idea of what a good length is you can use analytics from videos you’ve produced in the past. Take a look at where people are dropping off. If you notice a trend, this might be a good indication of how long your videos should be.

To wrap up, video SEO is a lot like website SEO. You need to do a few different technical tasks but your job is still to understand your customers and provide value. If you can do those last two things really well you’ll be on your way to great success.