Updated: Jun 17
When inbound marketing was brand new, marketers had a revelation that it’s not enough to publish a lot of content – it had to be valuable and optimized to boost its visibility on search engine results pages.
In the past, the content was typically written, such as blogs and articles. Now, content takes a wide variety of forms, including video. A comprehensive content strategy includes not only the tried-and-true blogs and ebooks but other types of media like videos and podcasts.
And video has never been more popular than now. With platforms like TikTok and the old favorite YouTube, marketers are realizing the power of video to engage customers and fuel business results.
Of course, using more video also means optimizing it for search.
What Is Video SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a method of boosting the quality and quantity of traffic to a website by optimizing pages for search engine results. Rankings are determined by numerous factors, including the quality of the links, content length, and target keywords.
Video SEO uses this same concept, but it’s applied to video content. With video, the ranking factors can include quality, page load speed, and more. Though this is different than written content, video SEO has the same purpose – increasing the visibility of videos.
There is one unique aspect of video SEO, however. Search engine bots crawl websites and index the pages by interpreting the text, so how does this apply to video?
Boosting Video SEO with Words
As expected, the search engine bot can’t watch or scan videos the way it can with blogs or ebooks, which has an impact on your SEO.
The best way to combat this is by including written words, such as transcripts and captions.
Transcription is the process of converting spoken content in video files into written content. When you do this, search engines can interpret the text and understand how to index the video.
Transcripts can be used on-page or inserted into metadata to give the search engine context.
They also improve searchability, showcase keywords, and inspire derivative content.
Similar to transcripts, captions provide written words that search engine bots can scan for context. This is done through closed captioning, which takes audio transcripts and synchronizes small bits of text to match the audio.
Captions may be in the form of a text file that the video references as it plays, which search engines can read. They also improve the user experience and ensure that your videos are accessible to all. Another benefit is that people can watch videos in sensitive environments, such as work breaks, waiting areas, and more.
Optimizing the Page
Optimizing the video isn’t enough to get a high ranking for a competitive topic or industry. The page must be optimized for SEO for search engine bots to crawl it in the first place. If your page isn’t optimized, the search engine may never get to it to even see your video.
Consider if the video is relevant to the page it’s being embedded on. Does it relate to the video or is it generic? If the page is generic and the video is just put there, it’s not likely to get a high ranking.
Along with this, make sure the video is the sole focus of the page. If it’s hidden among other content or located below the fold, forcing users to scroll to find it, you’re going to get lower plays and play rates. People don’t want to hunt for the information they need, and the search engine bots aren’t going to go out of their way to find the video.
While it can be difficult to get a high ranking organically, the combination of a high-quality video and an optimized page can do wonders for boosting your ranking.
Developing an SEO Workflow
Whether video SEO or conventional SEO, achieving a coveted ranking requires a lot of tasks and various departments. Often, the process will include the content writing or creation team, the editing team, the graphic design team, the IT team, and the SEO management, team.
With so many people involved, the video SEO process can be prone to errors and delays. An SEO workflow ensures that the whole team is on the same page for the best possible results. When designed and implemented properly, an SEO workflow can simplify the complex task of video SEO.
What is an SEO Workflow?
An SEO workflow is a set of activities that are done consistently to complete tasks related to SEO. The workflow is more about completing tasks than reaching goals – the overarching goal of the workflow is to finish the project.
Think of an SEO workflow as a to-do list that identifies the tasks that need to be done, who they’re assigned to, the timeline, and the progress. Having this workflow helps you monitor progress, prioritize tasks, and avoid errors and confusion.
It also improves the communication between departments. Since many SEO teams include multiple departments, sometimes in different time zones, an SEO workflow can keep everything on track seamlessly.
Online searches happen all the time, so SEO needs to be on your to-do list constantly. Having an efficient and effective B2B SEO workflow ensures that you’re always ready to go.
Phases of an SEO Workflow
Video SEO strategy may focus more on production, while SEO workflows revolve around it.
As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to understand your target audience. You need to know who they are, but also, you need to know what they’re looking for. You’re identifying the demand for your brand and content.
Search engine rankings are about more than keywords – whether written or video. User experience and engagement matter, so take the time to define your audience and understand their intent and how it affects their experience.
Competitor analysis is important for developing your own strategy. Consider your competitor and what they do well, what you can learn from them, and where you can gain a competitive edge. Analyze their video content and see how it ranks on search engine results pages, so you can figure out how to improve your own content.
If you want to be searchable, you need to optimize your content. As mentioned, videos can be more challenging because there’s no text to scan. You need to maximize the use of transcripts, captions, URL structure, and user experience.
Like conventional SEO strategy, video SEO requires analytics to understand how the video is performing and how you can improve your content. Use software to analyze user engagement and measure impact against previous campaigns.
How to Create an Effective Video and SEO Workflow
Structure Your Workflow
Creating a structure for your workflow ensures that everyone involved in the project realizes the tasks, their purpose, and what they’re responsible for. When the structure is clearly defined, it’s easier to identify inefficiencies or skills gaps. In addition, a fully-realized workflow shows each team member how they factor into the overall goal of the organization.
List Deliverables for Each Team
SEO may involve teams in various departments, including teams in different countries and time zones. A workflow outline shows them who is responsible for what and what tasks are involved, so they know who is completing tasks related to theirs.
An outline also ensures that the team can communicate feedback through the proper channels, reducing the risk of errors and confusion. From a management perspective, everything is clear and can be monitored and tracked to keep the project moving forward.
Check Skills and Responsibilities
Ideally, your teams will be matched to tasks based on their skills and experience. For example, content creators should create content while IT works on the technical aspects of the video and the web pages. Even if your team members have a well-rounded skill set, it’s best to have everyone stay in their own lane to reduce the risk of errors or delays at critical stages of the project.
You should also consider the timeline and the team members’ other responsibilities. Time off, other tasks or projects, and last-minute changes can impact one or multiple team members’ ability to complete tasks, which can derail the whole project. While unexpected and uncontrollable factors will pop up, so the more you can plan ahead, the better off you’ll be.
SEO Is Part of Your Strategy, But Not the Only One
SEO is highly beneficial and effective, but it’s not reliable. Google is always updating its algorithms, and a video keeps evolving, so what works today may not be effective tomorrow. Relying only on SEO to rank your videos isn’t a safe strategy to guarantee the attention you want.
Along with your video SEO strategy and workflow, consider investing in paid video advertising. You can use SEO for organic traffic but paid advertising will give your video more clicks and views. You have numerous options for where to promote your videos as well, including Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, reaching a wide and diverse audience.
Jason started freelancing in SEO back in college, sold his first agency, and now is the founder of Zupo, which is an Orange County-based SEO consulting agency helping construct powerful long-term SEO strategies for our clients. Jason also enjoys multiple cups of tea a day, hiding away on weekends, catching up on reading, and rewatching The Simpsons for the 20th time.