Video SEO: What Is It & Why Is It Important In 2017?

By: Cathal May 19, 2017 4 mins read

Former front-end dev, now trying his hand at drawing and taking pictures.

Anyone who keeps up with digital marketing trends will know that video marketing is here to stay. According to some of the most recent studies into online consumer behavior, for example, 84% of consumers have claimed that watching an online product or service video has positively influenced their decision to make a purchase. This just shows how powerful a tool video can be when trying to generate conversions on your website.

And yet, while plenty has been written on both the benefits of online video and on the essentials of video production, fewer people are aware of the importance of video SEO. What exactly is video SEO, you’re probably asking? Video SEO involves optimizing your video so that it reaches as many people as possible, whether you’re using YouTube, Facebook or any other video platform. Just like traditional SEO, understanding the essential principles of video SEO is important to maximize your video’s exposure and your long-term return on investment (ROI).

In this week’s blog post, we’re going to explore some of the key concepts behind video SEO and offer our time-tested tips for optimizing your video. Take a look.

Why is Video Optimisation Important?

Much like traditional SEO – which is a set of practices aimed at boosting and retaining a website’s search engine rankings – video SEO is designed to improve a video’s exposure once it goes online.

Consider the following scenario. You’ve just finished production on your brand-new promo video. You’ve mulled over the script; hired the professional production company; signed off on the final edit. With the video now completed – and what must seem like the most complicated part of the process out of the way – you’re ready to launch it on YouTube, share it on social media, and embed it up on your homepage. You launch the video – but despite all the effort, time and money that went into it – it only gets a percentage of the hits you’d hoped for.

How can you help avoid this scenario in the future? Video SEO should be one of the main tools in your arsenal.

What Steps Can I Take to Optimise My Video?

  • Keywords

Before you start writing text to accompany your video, we would recommend doing detailed, extensive keyword research with your target audience in mind. First, determine your target audience for the video. Once you’ve come up with a broad demographic, use a keyword research tool – such as Google Keyword Planner – to research which keywords people are using every month to search for services or products in your industry.

A great first step to take here is to find a website offering a similar service or product to yours, enter it into the ‘Search by URL’ section of the Keyword Planner, and it will provide you with a number of suggested keywords. You can also generate a list based on the kind of keywords you assume your target audience will be using. Once you’ve got this basic list compiled, then enter these keywords into the Keyword Planner and look at the estimated hits each keyword gets every month. From there, you can choose the most popular keywords and focus on these in your content.

  • Effective Titles

When creating a title for your video, there are other factors to consider than properly explaining the content. This is important, but you should also consider any keywords or keyword phrases that you can include to reach your target audience. By including relevant keywords in your video title, you will improve its chances of appearing in organic Google rankings and in Youtube searches. Try to have your keyword at the start of the title to make it most effective.

  • Effective Descriptions

When it comes video streaming sites like YouTube – and search engines like Google – it’s important to remember that the bots these sites rely on cannot actually watch the videos themselves. They rely on the description included with your video to determine the content of your video. Additionally, your description section will have an impact on whether or not a potential viewer chooses to watch your video – and whether or not they can find your video in the first place, via relevant keywords.


With this in mind, it’s important to take time considering the kind of description you write. Include relevant keyword and keyword phrases in your description, as well as clearly explaining the core content of the video. While in most digital marketing scenarios, shorter text content is usually the best approach, video descriptions might actually be the exception. Don’t be afraid to write a few hundred words – giving a full and detailed description of your video – and to use a variety of keywords. However, we would recommend having a brief summary sentence at the start of the text, so potential viewers can scan this quickly before clicking if they so choose.

  • Tags

Tags allow potential viewers to find your video, based on their interests. Spend some time thinking about what your target audience might search for (the initial research you do into keywords for your title and description will be instructive here) and then add them to the relevant section of your video.

  • Consider Creating Closed Captions

Most video streaming services – such as YouTube – will have an option to include closed captions to your video. These are either auto-generated (which is often quite inaccurate) or are generated based on transcripts you provide yourself. We would recommend generating captions based on your own transcripts and including these with the video, as these will add value to your video, and also allow people who have hearing difficulties or those who prefer to watch videos in mute to view your video.

  • End with an Additional CTA

It’s important to try and keep your viewer’s attention once your video is completed. One great way to do this is to provide links back to your website, your social media pages or more of your videos once the video stops playing. Up to this year, YouTube annotations (which were the small text boxes you would see at the end of videos) were a common format for this kind of CTA. More recently, however, YouTube has discontinued the use of annotations and is encouraging people to use End Screens. With End Screens, you can up to four elements to help promote your website, brand, service, or YouTube channels. Find out more about YouTube End Screens here:

  • Effective Promotion

With all your keyword-rich content in place, it’s now time to come up with a plan to promote it. Although your main goal might be to have a video on your website’s homepage, you should always try to maximize exposure by adopting a multi-channel approach. Post it across your company’s various social media platforms, using sponsored posts to try and reach as wide an audience as possible. Share it on your website’s blog and on any other relevant forums or blogs you can think of.

  • Sitemaps

Video sitemaps help Google and other search engines know what kind of video content exists on your website. This will improve your video’s visibility on Google’s Video Search results and help potential viewers find your video via organic searches.

So there you have it. By adopting and employing these core principles of video optimization, you can help increase engagement with your video and better reach your target audience. So what are you waiting for? Get filming!

Interested in creating a video for your company, website or online business?

At Big Dog, we have our very own in-house video production team. To find out more – and to see some samples of our recent work – head over to: