Your video content deserves the largest audience possible. Preferably an audience that visits your own website. To attract these viewers, it’s key that your video content can be found online. This blog provides you with a step-by-step guide and tips to improve your video SEO.

What is video SEO?

First thing’s first. The literal translation for video SEO is video search engine optimization. In other words: optimizing your videos so they get a high ranking in search results. These engines do not yet ‘understand’ moving images, which means search engines need your help with ranking results.

How does video SEO work?

Similar to ‘regular’ search engine optimization, keywords are important for video SEO. The better your keywords fit the content, the better your content gets ranked in terms of relevance. With video you can take it to the next level. You can use video metadata, a video sitemapclosed captionsdeeplinks and video snippets to clarify what your video is about. Follow these six steps to optimize your video for search.

Six easy steps to optimize you videos for search

1. Add video metadata

Metadata is information that describes aspects of your video. Literally speaking it’s ‘information about information’. One function of metadata is describing the content of the video. This textual description makes the video ‘readable’ for search engines. Metadata allows a search engine to index your video, which makes it easier for people to find it. There are two types of metadata:  ‘source metadata’ and ‘added metadata’.

Source metadata

This is the technical information about your video, such as file type, camera settings and time of recording. Your camera and editing software automatically adds this information to the video file.

Added metadata

This data you add to the video file yourself in your video content management system and is particularly important, as it contains the video subject. Search engines use metadata for extra keywords so carefully consider what keywords you use.


With Google Keyword Planner you can search for topics and check relevant search terms.

Make sure you add the following video metadata:

  • Search engines can have a hard time ‘reading’ a video file. Instead, they depend on the textual description that’s added. This description is not necessarily used to index your video, but it does show up in search results. Make it a catchy description that contains the most important keywords. It works best to place these keywords at the beginning of the description.
  • They may seem unimportant, but they do help search engines understand what your video is about. Use your most significant keywords as tags.
  • Put the essential keywords at the front of the title. For example: “Video SEO: tips and tricks” works better than  “Learn the best tips for video SEO”.
  • You have around 50-60 characters.
Video transcript
  • A transcript contains all audio from the video in text. In our platform, a transcript is automatically added when you add subtitles to your video or when you upload your video to YouTube.

The screenshot below shows video metadata. You can see both the source metadata, such as duration and author, and the added metadata, such as description and title.

Video SEO metadata

Technical fact

In technical terms the description is called a markup. Search engines have a different standard for markups. We offer a service that adds all metadata to your video, without you having to lift a finger. Are you using a different platform? Check the rich snippet testing tool to see whether your video can be read by search engines. Do you want more information on video metadata and the technical aspects? We’ve got you covered with a technical video SEO how-to.

Search results

Videos pop up in search results in the shape of rich snippets: a small thumbnail with a description of the video. Google creates this description, but you can lend a hand. Make sure that the thumbnail and description are an accurate representation of your content. Is the snippet not showing up? No worries, just give it some time.

Video rich snippet


Rich snippets show in the Google search results. Eye-tracking research shows that people pay more attention to visual search results, so make sure to use a thumbnail, as in the example above. And make your thumbnail a real eye-catcher.

2. Create a video sitemap

A sitemap gives search engines a clear overview of your website. Sitemaps consist of tags in which you describe your video. The difference with a regular sitemap is, that a video sitemap contains tags for the video metadata. It makes no difference for video SEO whether you create an entirely new sitemap or add tags to an existing sitemap.


Make sure your sitemap is as complete as possible. The more information, the better search engines index your video.

3. Add closed captions to your video

Closed captions are usually used as subtitles for the hearing impaired. Here, every audible sound is converted into text. Closed captions allow everyone to understand your video and on top of that: it helps your videos rank in search engines.

Closed captions are added as a text document. Google extracts keywords from these closed captions, which allows even more people to find your video.

Need more convincing? Closed captions are also very helpful for people that are in a situation where they can only watch your video on mute. Think of the train or even a waiting room.

4. Remember link building, deep links and social sharing

Another important issue is link building. These are links that point from an external website to yours. Does this link come from a well-known and relevant website? Then you struck gold.

Video link building is all about the deep link. A deep link is an underlying link that points to the platform where videos are hosted. When you embed a Vimeo video, your deeplink refers to Vimeo.

If it’s your goal to attract traffic to your own website, you don’t want them to go somewhere else. What helps is using your own online video platform. This allows you to add your own deep link and direct viewers to your own website.

Social sharing is when you share your video on social media. So make sure to add share buttons to your video. With or without a platform: it is very interesting for link building, as sharing means your video can be found in multiple places on the internet.

5. One video per page

The goal of SEO is to rank higher in search results, which means search engines have to be able to locate your content. Make it as easy as possible for crawlers to locate videos on your website by embedding one video per page. For example, by creating a separate landing page for that video. As Google puts it: “Google suggests using a standalone page for each video with a descriptive title or description unique to each individual video”.

The page and the video can support each other. The information on the page explains and amplifies the video content, while the video increases the time people spend on that page. The more time people spend on a page, the more a search engine considers it a relevant page that deserves a high ranking.

6. Optimize your video for mobile

Google has been testing with mobile first indexing for some time now and from September 2020 onwards it’s the new standard. This means Google first looks at the mobile version of a website to rank it, so it’s important that both your website and videos are optimized for mobile. Also, more and more people watch videos via their mobile devices and that number is only increasing.

The most optimal for mobile are responsive videos. These videos adapt to the size of the screen that the viewer is watching on. Another option is to create vertical or square videos, as you often see on social media.

For mobile videos you should put more emphasis on visual storytelling, as more and more viewers watch content without sound. On Facebook no less than 85% of viewers watch their video on mute, for example. If you do use text, make it easy to read on a smaller screen. Also, don’t forget to add subtitles or closed captions.

Optimize your content for Google and rank higher

Wish to improve your position in search results? We love to help. Use our player to showcase your relevant, educational or entertaining videos. Together we can generate more views, increase traffic and achieve a higher ranking in search results.