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Top 10 Video SEO Best Practices (self hosted)

Video SEOVideo 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 πŸ™‚

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

About Mark Dulisse

Software Developer, Blogger, SEO Consultant, Internet Marketer

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  1. sc online marketing

    Awesome stuff again Mark. I didn’t know about the video sitemap. I will have to give that some more attention. Thanks again for the great tips.

  2. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for sharing this. When I want to get my videos indexed by Google, I usually create two files – one for YouTube and one for my site. In video which is on YouTube, I usually put a link back to my video landing page, it helps me to get it indexed very fast. Furthermore, it is important to use keywords in the video itself, as search engines become more and more knowledgeable about videos.

    Kind regards,

  3. Buy Here Pay Here

    I just started a new site, and this information is very helpful. I was thinking of adding video, so this will help. Thanks

  4. I really need to add video to my site. These are some great tips. Thanks

  5. Cool post Mark.

    Some great info here. Kepe it up dude πŸ™‚

  6. I didn’t know about the video sitemaps either. This is a great article for anyone that is trying to do any kind of video marketing.

    I learned a couple of things that I didn’t know and I thought I was really up on SEO.

    Thanks Mark,

    Ernie Hodge

  7. Artisteer Template

    Video is something that is on forefront, and I appreciate you sharing. Obviously your video seo plugin looks like a great tool, and I am assuming it is constantly updated to keep up with the changes as well.

    I am wondering however, what is the best video player to use?

    • @ Artisteer

      Yes, my premium wp plugin GVS is constantly updated. Regarding the best player, I use a few of them on my sites:

      Flash Video Player wp plugin, is free, and works great for your blog. I use it a lot.
      Viddymatic is a premium wp plugin. I often use this inside my membership sites and blog, particularly if I want a large popup video.
      Easy Video Player, premium – I will use EVP when I want to make snazzy presentations, particularly a salespage.

  8. Hi Mark,

    There are some great tips. When I do videos I only really use Youtube then embed that code onto my site, so I suppose if something happens to Youtube then all my videos will be affected.

    As for the google video sitemap, will need to investigate that further.



  9. Good Stuff Mark, I’ve put quite a few of these techniques into practice already, but I picked up some good ideas from your post to help round out my SEO strategy.

  10. Hey Mark, I really appreciate your style and your perspective. Kind of like Ernie above, I’ve been digging pretty deeply into SEO, but my first introduction to video SEO was through you. Definitely an area not being talked about, which also means an area of “hidden” opportunity!

    I have enjoyed your SEnuke training, and look forward to picking up your SEO training the next time it comes around, though I may have to jump in and get your Google Video Sitemap sooner, as I am in the process of developing multiple video-intensive WordPress sites.

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

  11. earn money quickly

    I never knew you could make a video sitemap. That is great. I do everything else that you mentioned just not the video sitemap.


  12. Easy Video Player

    Another awesome post from you Mark.

    Just wondering if you have videos in a membership site that only members can view is there a way to get them picked up via Google?

    Also presumably your XML Video Sitemap is the solution for Joomla sites. Is it easy to configure? It is I think going to be my next online purchase.

    • @ Justin

      The videos will NOT get picked up in a protected membership area, but must be a public access site only.

      Yes, XML Video Sitemap is the solution for Joomla users. It is very easy to configure, and comes with a installation video. Takes about 5 minutes to install. Just a database setup really.

  13. Everyone loves to click on the “play” button. Videos are powerful content because they’re so engaging. People click on them! And what’s more, they can make for good link bait and get visitors more engaged with your online marketing.

  14. Mark I’m still trying to get a player that is compatible with your site map generator that can track video plays in analytics. Any suggestions?

  15. This is great information, a nice checklist too. Thanks, Mark, for always providing value.

  16. Thanks for the info – never realized I could create a video or image sitemap. Now I have both and I just submitted them to Google. I will check in a few and see if my videos are getting ranked. Great tip that I will pass along to my customers.


  17. hubzer Hubze dude

    Great stuff,i just said i feel like a blog in the new video world.

  18. Jacksonville Roofing

    I think even though you might get all the practises right, you don’t know whether google will list videos in your search SERPS. Sometimes they list, and sometimes they don’t. They don’t have a fixed guideline.

    • @ Jacksonville Roofing

      Actually, if my video was not indexed with ranking on this blog of mine, I would be very very surprised. The last video I did and posted on this site was indexed and in Google SERP’s in less that 3 minutes.

  19. Mark,

    Awesome Information! (Like Always)
    Thanks Buddy!

    Keep Up The Great Work!

  20. HI Mark

    Very nice post. I was also not aware of video sitemaps – bookmarked this post to read through again and optimize my video pages.

    Loved the comment about uploading videos as well as youtube(ing) them to get indexed faster.

  21. Mark,You Send us some great stuff, I could build me a library on all the Quality info you provide keep it coming.

  22. Jacksonville Roofing

    @mark: I think you misunderstood me. The 10 practices you mentioned will definitely get your video indexed by Google. What I am referring is that, when people type in their keyword in the search engines, video listings might not show up. πŸ™‚

  23. Mark
    excellent free stuff again, I am looking to master stuff with videos as I want to move into the offline market, be good if you could show us an example of one of your sites in action.
    Also what type of sites would you have video on ? is it worth while having these on sites that promote Amazon products for instance ?.
    Best Mike

  24. Video Conversion Formula Bonus

    Video sitemaps are just crushing it at the moment. Especially in local search, the public aren’t expecting a video for their local accountant to pop up in the search results. When it does, wow…click

  25. Hi Mark

    Really good post, we all need to make the best use of Video and this post explains the SEO side of things really well and in a step by step way, thanks for sharing it with us Tony

  26. Dr. Michael Quadlander


    I like your 10th step about encouraging sharing to social sites.

    I use the Digg Digg WP plugin to allow easy sharing of my individual posts and pages… I use 5 icon buttons… You use 2 on your post.

    I also use the Add-To-Any Wp plugin as well just like you do, same size icon.

    I got a good laugh at your Sharing Encouragement at the end of your post above…

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

    I have been using the same thing for some time now, almost the exact same wording… πŸ™‚ Small world sometimes…

    I always enjoy reading your stellar content.

    Your Friend in Texas…
    Dr. Michael Quadlander

  27. Online Video Marketing

    Thanks for this great article Mark. While I have a lot of experience with video, there is always more to learn. Keep the goods coming man πŸ™‚


  28. Dr. Michael Quadlander

    Just a follow-up to my recent previous post…

    I also use a Facebook Comments WP plugin on some of my sites.

    You know, like the big name Gurus have all recently used on their Launch Pages, below their Free-Line Videos…

    However, the Digg Digg plugin is INCOMPATIBLE with this plugin, at this time…

    You must use one or the other, can’t use both.

    Digg Digg has multiple Social icon buttons per post… I use 5 of them, as my previous comment says, including 2 separate Facebook icons, Share and Like…

    (Note: SEPARATE is one of the top 10 mis-spelled words in the English language. I always use it on persons applying for a job with my companies, to test their English language mastery. The common mis-spelling is sepErate. Desperate is correct. Separate is correct. I’m sure a bunch of you are saying… What an A-hole… But I teach what I know… end of stream-of-consciousness Note…)

    But the Facebook Comments plugin is indeed powerful, all on its own.

    Anybody else have some stats/testing results with these 2 good plugins?

    I would use both together if they were compatible, but alas, the ‘Net Gods have forbidden this evil combo at this time…

    Dr. Q

  29. Hey There Mark
    I love it when I hear about a new post on this site and by the look of things so does everybody else. lol

    You have some gems at times but this is a real nugget. Love the idea of the site map generator and worth it for anyone with enough video footage on their site Looking forward to your next post.

  30. Internet Website Marketing Tips

    Hi Mark,

    That is awesome tips, but in my opinion, it’s still difficult to compete with videos on Big Players such as Youtube, Dailymotion, etc for authority and domain ages.

    Any thought about this how to beat those with self hosted video on website without authority?

  31. I pleased with your article. Videos are always interesting, because it provided a visual explanation. Although sometimes I feel bored watching the video because of frequent stops to wait for the next show. But the explanation in the video easy to understand, especially the explanation about something have to be practiced. So I still want to someday make myself videos. Thank you for your article very inspiring.

  32. Great article. Very nice summary indeed. For you guys who do not yet have MarkΒ΄s videositemap plugin…get it. Great results..

  33. Mark. I didn’t know about the video sitemap. With you tube being the second biggest search engine its vital!

  34. Orlando CPA Firms

    Love the info on the video sitemaps. I viewed the interview with Matt Cutts about the importance of video sitemaps and I’m excited to have your plugins. I will be using them on all my sites!

  35. Dude this was exactly what I was looking for…thank you, I’m off to optimize my video’s!

  36. Mark ~ I have your Google Video Sitemap plugin and use it for my local business clients with success! With the right SEO strategies these videos out rank the most competitive youtube videos all day long. Thanks for all you do!

  37. Hey Mark,

    Great post. I do have a question however… You say to only have one video per unique url when it comes to ranking in terms of a landing page. What do you do if you are doing a launch and you have a page that will have a series of three free videos featured for people that will have relevant but sequential info in each video over a period of a week lets say. How do you handle that in terms of getting ranked highly if you are only supposed to have one video per unique url??


    Tom Waldon

  38. I had never given much thought to getting videos on my site ranked.
    Thanks Mark

  39. Mark!
    Wow as usual top quality info! As a video Marketer myself this stuff is gold! Thanks a ton for all the info! And keep it coming!!


  40. Mark
    Thanks for this great article, is this a must buy plugin you have here ? I am just starting a career in the offline world and promoting via video is not only a must for my own site to get noticed but for potential customers. My budget is tight at the moment. So can I promote my own site with simply uploading videos to say animotto, and then purchasing your video sitemap pluigin for my new clients once I have some revenue coming in ?

  41. @mark
    my approach is to get my site a first page ranking by submitting a lot of video to you tube linking back to my sites pages.

    And then I am thinking of buying your plugin google video sitemap once I have some revenue coming in from my offline clients. And in turn to promote their websites using your plugin. Make sense ?

  42. Video is essential if you do it and distribute it the right way. It makes a lot of sense if you also promote it by exposing it might as well put it there your links. Although, there are instances wherein a web owner overused it that makes it irritating so make sure to just limit the usage and only create ones which are substantial.

  43. Hi Mark,
    This is a great post about video seo. So far I have not found material that is as clear as this post. I have one question though. Do these recommendation also apply to hosting a video on youtube, and then embedding it on a page on your own site.


    • Some of the principals apply “Title Tag, etc,” but not the video sitemap, etc., which is essential if you want Google to find your video and not only index it, but give it great ranking…when the other tactics are in place too.

  44. Hi Mark,

    Awesome post as always. I’ve bookmarked your wordpress video sitemap plugin, will certainly have to grab that one!

    I’ve already achieved some great video results thanks largely to your information, and this post is only going to help boost those results.

    Thanks again & all the best.

  45. online seo services

    I was really finding some suggestions for video SEO on the web and just found yours. I have thoroughly read it and hugely upbeat as i am shortly going to work on the topic for my client’s site. I have bookmarked your blog on my browser for timely re-look, when i am going through a video SEO project. Every point for indexing video content you depicted here is important and already worked a lot on video XML sitemap preparation.

  46. Thanks for the great info! One point that jumped out was to only place one video per page. Currently, I have a testimonial page on my site ( where all the videos live. I have about 5 video players on the same page. Are you saying it would be beneficial to create a separate page for each video testimonial? For example, one page for Becky’s Story, another for Mark’s Story, etc. This makes total sense, but I’d love to hear your comments.


  47. Hey Mark, thanks for posting this, great information and it is very true. Videos are one of my favorite ways of getting relatively quick free traffic. Thanks again

  48. Video Site map is Next Generation Site map. Each focus for indexing movie content you portrayed here is vital and even now worked a lot on film XML site map preparation. A debt of gratitude is in order regarding presenting this, stupendous info and it is quite certain.
    Thanks Mark.

  49. I am a big video content person on my web site. Your information has opened my eyes to video SEO. Thank you very much.

  50. Great post! Video SEO is definitely going to be big in the future, great for getting traffic relatively quick and easy although the first step is actually generating decent video content!

  51. 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 πŸ™‚

  52. Web Designer Georgia

    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!

  53. Hey Mark

    I love the cow !!

  54. Mens Hawaiian Shirts

    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.

  55. 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 ?


  56. nice stuff about video sitemap. But will the free google video sitemap do the job?

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