Top 10 Video SEO Best Practices (self hosted)

by on October 17, 2010 · 66 comments

videoseo 150x150 Top 10 Video SEO Best Practices (self hosted)Video SEO is the talk and buzz at webmaster and marketing conferences worldwide lately. While video marketing certainly has become the mainstream for most salesletters today, there is little known about video seo.

I have been preaching for months now on the importance of video for organic traffic and for sales, and my voice is not alone.

Here are the 10 best practices to getting your videos indexed and ranked high in the search engines.

Preamble: Video seo is an extension of search engine optimization in general for your website. A lot of the same principles apply. In other words, you cannot expect to have your video on the top of Google’s first page without doing your seo work on your website.

Video SEO is not about magic and trying to trick the search engines. Rather, video seo is about helping the search engines find video content, and when your video is ranked high, it can send you massive traffic.

In this article we are discussing the topic of how to get ‘self hosted’ videos ranked high, not videos from 3rd party video sharing sites (ie. youtube).

Let’s get started with the top 10 video seo best practices….

1. Create interesting video content based on your targeted keyword/topic -

Just as great ‘textual’ content creates a large readership with many rss subscribers, the same is true for a great video. People will start linking to your video content (blogging, tweeting, digging, etc.), and this creates a buzz in the search engines.

This seems so obvious, but you’d be surprised with how many boring videos are online. I’ve made a few myself :).

2. Make a keyword rich video title and description tag -

The most important factor to on-page seo is the title tag. The same applies to your video title tag. If your keyword is “How To Get My Ex Back,” then make your video title as “How To Get My Ex Back.”

Keyword Video Title Tip – Put the term “video” at the beginning or end of your title. Over 38% of searchers are looking for videos, and they will type in, for example, the phrase, “How To Get My Ex Back Video.”

Do not keyword stuff the description tag. Make it relevant and descriptive of video content.

3. Make a unique video file that is keyword rich -

This one is easy. Instead of naming your video file with a non-keyword phrase, like, “10138video.mpg,” simply rename the video file and use your keyword(s), for example, “video-seo.mp4.”

4. Create a Video Sitemap -

Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer of Google Search team, says:

…We are starting to look at video sitemaps more and more and I think that if you have a video site and you haven’t made a video sitemap, I would definitely recommend it. …If you make video, if you are a site owner, or a publisher, please start exploring video sitemaps.1

I have created the perfect tools for creating video sitemaps with my Google Video Sitemap and XML-Video Sitemap Generator. The difference between the two are that the Google Video Sitemap is a wordpress plugin, whereas the XML-Video Sitemap Generator is a server based software application that can create video sitemaps on many different domains, including static sites.

The creation of a video sitemap is fairly complex, and Google is constantly doing updates. If you want all the information on it, simply visit here:

What a video sitemap will do is to send to Google all the information about your video (title, description, size, keywords, category, family friendly, thumbnail image, etc). When Google’s bot comes and crawls your website it will see the video and if your video sitemap meets all the requirements, it will index your video into Google video. Once your video is included in the Google video engine, it now becomes eligible to become ranked in the universal search engine.

Google Video Tip – the top Google Video rankings for a keyword typically get top universal search ranking.

It is up to Google to decide if the web user is searching for a video, and if Google feels that the user may be searching for a video, they will include your video if your video is in Google video top ranking.

5. Make a video thumbnail image and use a keyword rich file name for your image -

Google webmaster requires a thumbnail image. What is very cool is that you can specify what your thumbnail image will be in the search engines, as opposed to video sharing sites, that takes a snapshot clip from the middle (or beginning) of the video. With a video sitemap you have control with your thumbnail in the search engines.

Thumbnail Image Tip – make your thumbnail at least 160×120 pixels in .jpg, .png, or. gif formats, and make the image compelling and keyword relevant. For example, if your video is about “video seo” then make your image about video seo and eye catching. This will get you more clicks, and more clicks gives you more buzz.

Another Thumbnail Tip – place all of your thumbnail images in the same folder on your server so that the search engines can easily find them. Call your folder ‘thumbs’ or whatever.

6. Place your video contextually on a webpage that has relevant text -

I get this question all the time. “Mark, my video is not on the ranked on first page, how come?” When I go to their site, they have only a video on a page, and no seo work done.

In other words, it will help your video ranking if you place your video on a webpage that has relevant text article.

Contextual Tip – use bold, italics, and proper H1, H2, and H3 tags throughout your article to highlight keywords.

7. Allow people to grab the embed code of your video so that they can place your video on their sites.

Many video players allow you the option to display the embed code. This will give you more backlinks to your video, and more backlinks means higher search engine ranking.

8. Internally link from other pages of your site to your video -

Just as you would normally do internal linking to strengthen your on-page seo of your pages, so you can strengthen your video seo by internally linking from your pages to your videos.

On-Page Video SEO Tip – use anchor text when doing your linking to your video with a keyword that you want your video to rank for. This will scream out to the search engines to get your video noticed for that keyword.

9. Create ONE unique URL landing page for each video -

Some times I get support questions as to why their videos are not being indexed, or not getting ranking. When I look at their website, they have 2-3 videos on one page. Not good! Only have one video per unique URL.

Unique URL Tip – Make your URL a permalink structure using your keyword that you want to rank for.

10. Enable interaction and sharing of your videos -

Let visitors be interactive and allow them to share your videos. You can do this by allowing Commenting on your blog. Enabling comments provides additional text to your website, which the search engines love. Additionally, when you let visitors share your video by adding social media sharing buttons, you increase the amount of inbound links and buzz to your video.

There are other factors, like webpage and video load time speed, but that’s all for today folks icon smile Top 10 Video SEO Best Practices (self hosted)

Please Tweet, Digg, Share, and make a comment and tell me your thoughts.

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Dylphe March 21, 2012 at 11:14 am

Awesome, I usually upload my video to Youtube as it is the second largest search engine in the world now. And yes, I will create a name that is SEO friendly so when people is searching for a KW, my video will match the KW and most likely shown on the first page. Then I build back links to to my video like social bookmarking. It’s a good way to rank Youtube video. I mean for me it will be much easier to leverage Youtube :)
Michael Dylphe recently posted…Window Tinting Laws – OthersMy Profile

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Web Designer Georgia April 1, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I upload my clients video to YouTube as they like to see it in the YouTube content. I personalty would like to server it on the clients web server what do you thing about doing both? Any penalization for duped “Video” content from Google? Good to here about the Video Site map. I will pass this page to our video dept very informative even for a non SEO person to understand, Thanks!

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wes April 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Hey Mark

I love the cow !!

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Mens Hawaiian Shirts October 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm

No doubt, Video Marketing can definitely brings good results, specially when you are in online marketing.
Thanks Mark, for sharing all these tips with us to keep our results up ! no matter its web search or Video search.

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mike October 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm

thanks for the video info mark spot on as usual, a question I have is about your plugin SEO POWER do you have a post anywhere on what its exactly supposed to do ?

mike recently posted…Mobile Marketing For Glasgow BusinessesMy Profile

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shaun May 31, 2013 at 9:52 am

nice stuff about video sitemap. But will the free google video sitemap do the job?
shaun recently posted…Google Image Search Just Got a Traffic Drop!My Profile

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Mark Dulisse May 31, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Nope, it doesn’t work like mine. It picks up on Youtube videos, which you don’t even need a sitemap for youtubes. So, it is a waste.
Mark Dulisse recently posted…Mobile SEO Tips and Google Mobile TrafficMy Profile

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Andy Kuiper July 2, 2014 at 5:04 pm

good video seo tips – thanks Mark :-)

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Allen July 22, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Hello Mark,
finally I find the effective and successful technique for a video to get on the top rankings of any search engine. The embed code also plays a very imperative role for a video to get viral to general public. Thanks for the efforts.

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