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Optimizing Videos for YouTube and Vimeo

Learn how to best optimize your videos on YouTube and Vimeo for better search rankings and increased views.

Ready to take your content marketing to the next level? Then video marketing is the answer. Best of all, videos are very search friendly if you optimize them the right way. In this post, we’re going to look at the ways you can optimize your videos on the top networks, YouTube and Vimeo, for increased search rankings and views.

Titles

The title is one of the primary elements of optimizing your video for search as it is equivalent to the SEO title for the video page on YouTube and Vimeo. Therefore, the standard rules apply. Keep it under 65 – 70 characters, include the main keywords you want it to rank for, and make it appealing for visitors to encourage more views. Think of your video title just like the headline for your blog posts – eye catchy and SEO friendly! Keyword stuffing is not advised.

If you are using videos as a way to boost your personal reputation or the reputation of your business, be sure to include

Descriptions

The description of your video is important for a couple of reasons. For starters, the first 160 characters count as the meta description for your video page on YouTube and Vimeo. While meta descriptions don’t necessarily help with rankings, they do come up in search results in both the major search engines and the networks’ own search results.

The descriptions also come up as a snippet when you share the video on Facebook and other social networks. This makes the description highly valuable for encouraging views.

facebook-status-update-youtube

As an added bonus, you can include links to your website in the video description. You just need to try to include your links earlier on in your description as most of the description gets cut off at a certain length on both YouTube and Vimeo, and visitors will need to click on the See More / Read More to see them if they are past that point.

Tags & Categories

While tags and category placement may not help as much for ranking your videos in the main search engines, they can help for ranking them on YouTube and Vimeo themselves. They may also link videos together on these video networks as related, which could help increase video views.

Transcription

Is it important to say your primary keywords, name, and business name in a video? It just might be. YouTube automatically transcribes your videos. This means they can make search results for videos more accurate by indexing the video content itself.

youtube-video-interactive-transcript

On a side note, if you’re curious about any verbal ticks you might have while speaking during a video (like using a lot of um’s), they will be more noticeable in the interactive transcript.

Thumbnails

Take advantage of the ability to choose a thumbnail for both YouTube and Vimeo videos. A good thumbnail could encourage a view the same way a bad one could discourage a view, especially when your video is jumbled in with others in search results.

Views

Videos with a lot of views tend to rank higher than others. Therefore, part of your optimization strategy should be focused on getting more views to your videos. Promote your videos just like you would your blog content. Share them on social networks, include a link to them in your email newsletter, create a blog post around them, or even create a page on your website devoted to all of your videos.

The more views you receive, the better your video will rank in search results within the video networks. As you receive more views, you will receive more shares, embeds, and links back to your video from other websites. Thus, the video’s ranking in main search engines will increase as well.

Embedding

If you want to increase your video views, allow your videos to be embedded. Better yet, add a Creative Commons license to them in the Advanced Settings on both YouTube and Vimeo. This will encourage more people to share them, and potential increase the links to them as well.

Pinterest

Take advantage of Pinterest for more than just image sharing. Pin your videos in order to increase traffic and views from Pinterest to your video content. As an added bonus, Pinterest will give you a link back to both the video and your YouTube / Vimeo channel.

video-pin-on-pinterest

Videos pinned from YouTube will automatically start playing when someone clicks on your pin. Videos from Vimeo will be pinned as the thumbnail image with the ability to click through to the video.

Analytics

Want to know what is working (or not) with your YouTube and Vimeo videos? Be sure to use the video insights to find out where your video has been linked or embedded, the keywords that drove traffic to your video, and much more.

Inexpensive Ways to Make Videos

Excited about the possibilities of creating videos, but not sure how to get started? Here are some quick ideas of ways to create video without having to spend a lot on professional recording hardware or software.

  • Host and record Google+ hangouts. Gain extra views by inviting industry experts for regular panel discussions to capitalize on searches for their names.
  • Record interviews on Skype.
  • Use Screenflow or Camtasia to record screencasts and tutorials.
  • Use VideoScribe to create animated videos.
  • Ask customers to make quick testimonials at your business, at conferences, or other places you interact with them.

What other ways do you optimize your YouTube or Vimeo videos for search engines and attracting views? Please share in the comments!