Video SEO: 8 Tips To Rank First On Google

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Why do you need Video SEO?

Video is one of the most effective channels for marketing your business to your target audience.

In fact, research shows that video will make up 80% of all consumer internet traffic in 2020. 

If video isn’t part of your marketing strategy, you should add it now. 

The next question is – how can you devise a successful video SEO strategy? In other words how can you get more video views from Google? 

In this article, we will discuss video SEO. We will see the steps you can take to increase your video rankings on Google. 

Let’s get started!

What is Video SEO?

Video SEO is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic your videos get from organic search engine results. 

Here is a breakdown of this definition: 

Quality of traffic: What is the quality of traffic that your video attracts? Is Google sending the right visitors to your video?

For example, is Google telling searchers that your video is about Apple computers when your video is about growing an apple (the fruit).

It’s better to have 10,000 visitors that will find your video valuable than 1 million visitors that will bounce a few seconds into the video. The more quality your traffic, the higher your conversion rate. 

Quantity of traffic: The point of video SEO is to increase the number of views you get from search engines. When SEO is done right, you will see a significant increase in traffic.

The key is to make sure that the right people are clicking through from search engine result pages. 

Organic results: On the SERPs, there are both organic and ad results. Organic traffic is traffic that you do not pay for. 

send video in outlook

How to increase your video rankings on Google

Here are the steps you will take to increase the ranking of your videos on Google search:

1. Choose the right hosting platform for your videos

Before you start optimizing your videos for Google, you need to choose the right platform to host the videos. 

What are the reasons you want the video to rank on Google? Your reasons will determine the kind of host you will use. There are two main factors that will determine the best hosting platform for your videos. They include: 

  • Reason 1: Is your goal to increase brand awareness and position yourself as an authority in your field?
  • Reason 2: Do you want to drive more traffic to your website or generate new leads for your business?

If your main goal is to increase brand awareness or position yourself as an authority, the best hosting platform for your videos will be YouTube and Vimeo.

While videos hosted on these platforms can be indexed by Google, the traffic will go directly to the platform. 

If on the other hand, you want to drive traffic directly to your website, you can use a hosting platform like Hippo Video. Platforms like this will allow you to publish videos directly on your website.

So when they rank on Google, the traffic will be directed to your website. 

Did you there is a difference between Video Hosting and Video Marketing? Learn more here.

2. Look for video topics with high traffic potential

To increase the chances of your videos ranking on Google, you need to look for topics with high traffic potential. 

When you are looking for topics to create videos for, these are two factors you should put into consideration:

  • Are people searching for that topic on Google? If you are creating videos on topics that nobody is searching for, you won’t get any traffic. Even if the video ranks on Google, it will still be a waste of time and effort. 
  • Is there ‘video intent’? When people search for that topic online, will they prefer to watch a video on the topic or read a blog post?

You can easily use a keyword research tool to find topics with high traffic potential. With keyword research tools, you can see how many organic queries that a particular keyword is getting. 

After you have found a keyword with high traffic potential, the next step is to research whether there is ‘video intent’ for that keyword. 

To do this, search for the keyword on Google. 

If you can see videos ranking on Google for the keyword, it means that searchers are watching videos related to that keyword in search results.

You will increase your chances of ranking when the keyword has a high video intent. 

3. Include a video transcript

Video transcription is the process of translating your video’s audio into text. The easiest way to add a transcript to your video is by using speech recognition software. You can also work with a human transcriptionist. 

Tip: If you are using speech recognition software, make sure you edit the text later to ensure it matches the audio in your video. The software might misinterpret some words in the video. It’s also best practice to time code the transcript. 

How does a transcript boost video SEO?

Search engines cannot crawl videos to find out what it is about. Including a transcript helps search engines understand the content of the video. Adding a transcript increases the chances of Google indexing and ranking your videos. 

Transcripts inside your videos also improves the user experience. To even take it further, you can transcribe your videos into several languages. This will ensure that most of your viewers can watch your videos even when you are not speaking in their language. 

Improving user experience also boosts SEO. Google aims to offer searchers the best result. So when the dwell time on your video is high, it signifies to the algorithm that your video is valuable. Google will reward the video by increasing its ranking. 

Did you know making your video accessible will help draw in more audience?

Learn to make your videos accessible here.

4. Optimize the title and description of the video

Similar to regular blog posts, the title and description of your video play a role in helping it rank. Spend time crafting a title and description that is optimized for search. To increase the visibility of your video, ensure that you add your target keyword in the title and description of the video. 

Tip: Do not just stuff your title or description with keywords. Use keywords naturally in your sentences. In the video description, you can borrow LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords to increase your video visibility. 

(LSI keywords are search terms related to the main keyword you are targeting. They help search engines better understand what your content is about. For example, the LSI keywords for cars can be automobile, vehicle, engine, tire, etc.)

5. Embed the video you want to rank first on the page

If you are embedding multiple videos on a page, it’s best practice to add the video you want to rank first. Search engines usually stop crawling the page for videos after the first video. So if there is a specific video you want to rank, make it the first video the search engine will run into.  

Tip: Always embed the video you want to rank above the fold. You don’t want visitors to the page to have to scroll all the way down before they get to the video. Embedding your video above the fold ensures that search bots crawl the video. This will improve your chances of ranking. 

(Above the fold describes the upper half of a web page that is visible without scrolling down the page.)

6. Ensure that your video is relevant to the web page you embed it to

While you optimize your video for search, it’s also important that you optimize the page you will embed the video too. If the web page you embed the video to is not optimized for SEO, search engines won’t bother to crawl the page.

If the page doesn’t get crawled, your videos won’t be found by search engines. 

Your videos might not be ranking on Google because the web pages you embed them to aren’t getting crawled in the first place. 

It’s also important that you embed videos to relevant web pages. For example, do not embed a video on “how to program” to a web page that talks about “making pies”.

The video and the page are on two different topics. Your video should fit the keyword theme of the page. You will kill the chances of your video ranking by embedding it on irrelevant pages. 

7. Use an engaging thumbnail

Your video thumbnail and the title is the first thing the searcher will see when they come across your video in the SERPs. It’s best practice to use a thumbnail that will easily catch their attention. Your thumbnail should encourage them to click. 

Here are some simple steps you can take to help you create a fantastic thumbnail:

Always use a custom thumbnail: Most people make the mistake of using a still image from their video as their thumbnail. It’s best practice to create a custom thumbnail for the video.

Take some time to take an engaging picture that you will use as the thumbnail. The quality of the picture will also be higher than a still image cropped from the video.

Use the correct aspect ratio on your thumbnail: The recommended thumbnail aspect ratio from Google is 16:9. Any other aspect ratio and your video thumbnail might be cropped or look zoomed out. 

Your thumbnail should visually demonstrate what the video is about: For example, if your video is on “how to ride a bike”, then the thumbnail should show someone riding a bike. 

Video thumbnail for video seo

8. Add timestamps to your videos

When you search for a video on Google, you might see key moments under the video results. Something like this: 

Timestamp on videos for better video seo

These key moments are called timestamps. Timestamps help the search engine fully understand what your video is about.

Remember I said earlier that search bots cannot crawl the video. Adding timestamps will improve the way bots crawl your video. 

Here is a statement from Google:

“When you search for things like how-to videos that have multiple steps, or long videos like speeches or a documentary, Search will provide links to key moments within the video […] You’ll be able to easily scan to see whether a video has what you’re looking for, and find the relevant section of the content.”

Note: Key moment results are only available for YouTube videos. In a blog post, Google said that they would be adding this feature soon to any videos that have timestamps. 


The tips in this article will help increase your video ranking on Google. The key is to find topics with high traffic potential. By optimizing your title, description, and adding timestamps to your videos, you help search bots understand what your videos are about.

Do not forget to add an eye-catching thumbnail. An engaging thumbnail will urge searchers to click.