YouTube is an easy-to-use and free way to get your video content up and out there. Choosing YouTube (or a similar video serving platform) over the option of hosting videos on your domain is one of the very first decisions you have to make about your video strategy.
Hosting videos on your own domain is ideal for the most ranking power. This way, search traffic will be directed to your site, not YouTube. Read more about the pros and cons of YouTube and hosting on your domain to learn more.
Here's what else you need to know about using videos to benefit your SEO strategy.
Use Video to Provide Value to Your Audience
An essential element of on- and off-page search engine optimization is having great content that provides value. This principle extends into any videos you produce and post on your site. Google ranks content based on quality – an article, video, infographic or podcast.
Videos are a great way to answer the questions people are typing into search engines. Tutorials and explainer videos have never been more popular, probably partly because search queries beginning with "how to" and "why" continue to trend upwards in volume.
For example, Vox Explains is a regularly produced series in which Vox breaks down one topic per video. Each video is short, easy to digest and informative. Past topics include the Ebola outbreak and the Hong Kong protests.
When thinking about video content, it's essential to ask, "What will the viewer take away from this?"
Tip: Keep videos under five minutes. While the popularity of online video is at an all-time high, attention spans are at an all-time low.
Transcribe Your Videos
An easy way to get your video ranking higher in search results is to upload a transcript of the video's content. If YouTube is your platform of choice, you can do this in two ways. You can type text directly on YouTube by adding captions to Video Manager. You can also upload a plain text file of the transcript and the video.
Alternately, you can add the transcript directly into the HTML of the video's landing page on your site.
Transcripts provide many benefits. First, they're helpful for people who want to consume the content without watching the video. They can also be used as the foundation of a blog post or article to nest the video. Most importantly, transcripts provide the opportunity to use your target keywords.
Tip: When uploading transcripts to YouTube or entering them in HTML tags, don't deviate from what is said in the video and don't try to sneak keywords into the text if they're not in the video.
Create A User-Friendly Experience
If you plan on creating lots of videos or producing a series, make it easy for users to find videos and browse through your collection. Group videos together to create a searchable video resource center on your site. Organize videos using categories and tags to make them easy to find.
It's also a best practice for each video within your collection to have its unique landing page. This will make it easier for Google to index the content.
Tip: Video resources and landing pages should have your target keywords in titles and URLs. Also, try to fit keywords in file names too.