Blog YouTube SEO Secret

Published on March 8th, 2018 | by George McKechnie


How Video Can Be Your SEO Secret Weapon

The term video SEO gets tossed around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Simply put, it means getting your videos found by search engines like Google. The video is an awesome way for people to find you and learn about you in a more interesting way. But Google needs to be able to find your videos in the first place.

We’ve all seen those enticing video thumbnails show up in search results. They’re practically begging for you to click on them. The question is, how and why did those things show up and how can you take advantage of them to drive more traffic to your site? Using video can help you show up higher in search results because Google gives special treatment to videos and images.

If you search for “installing kitchen cabinets,” Google will show you three video results nestled into the standard page results. This is known as universal or blended results because Google indexes web pages, videos, images separately and then blends them together at the end. Because there are far fewer videos out there than web pages, it’s way easier to rank on the first page of results.

For the term “kitchen cabinets,” there are a ton of videos, 15 million to be exact. But that is still three times fewer than the number of web pages. But not every search term is going to yield video results. Showing up on the first page of Google results is great but it only really matters if people are clicking your link. That’s what brings us to the second great thing about the video from an SEO perspective. So in Google, the video shows up in the search results as rich snippets.

Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are basically the extras, like video thumbnails, images, or Yelp ratings that show up next to each of the search results. The fact is video results get clicked more often than regular text results, even when the regular results are higher, because those little thumbnails really draw the eye and subsequently, the mouse. Be sure to choose a great thumbnail for your video. Use one that matches your topic and looks friendly.


At Wistia, we’ve discovered that faces get higher click-through rates than almost anything else. Keep in mind that SEO is cyclical. There’s a virtuous cycle created when you make great content and get people to click on it.

If your page gets clicked a lot that validates to Google that your page is highly relevant to the search term, so Google offers up that search term again and again when people search for it. To show up in Google search results, you need to start by making your videos findable.

Google Bots

The Google bots, they can’t read video the same way they can image and texts. So you need to show them where your videos are and tell them what the videos are about. The best way to do this is by creating a video sitemap. Creating a video sitemap is pretty easy, though it varies a little bit depending on how you’re hosting your videos. If you’re using YouTube, your videos will automatically show up in Google search results but you won’t reap the same SEO benefits. That’s because the YouTube embeds will point traffic back to YouTube and not your website. Similarly, any inbound links or embedded versions of your video will benefit the YouTube domain and not your own.

Target Keywords

Target keywords are that are likely to yield video results. The search term “cabinets” doesn’t bring up any video results. But the term “how to build kitchen cabinets” brings up two. Now, this doesn’t mean you should mislabel what your video is about. Instead, make sure that you’re making great content that aligns with what your audience wants to learn. If you’re an email provider, that might be something like designing a great HTML template or if you’re selling accounting software, maybe building a great spreadsheet from scratch.

If you’re not sure which terms in your field are going to yield video results, you can do a little research. Think of words like “how to,” “creating,” “building,” “designing” words that describe a process and lend themselves well to video. There’s also some logistical stuff to take care of to make sure you’re fully optimized. Make sure you have the right metadata on your video sitemap. Things like title, description, and URLs for your video and thumbnail. Google likes to see metadata that’s well-aligned with the content on your site. So don’t put a video titled “Funny Cats” on your how-to page and expect to see good SEO outcomes.

Size and Location

Size and location make a huge difference. Don’t take a tiny video and put it at the bottom of your page because it’ll make it hard for people to watch.

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