SEO Video Marketing: The Most Eye-Opening Guide


Many digital marketing experts predicted that 2020 was going to be the “year of video.” Well, the results are in and it’s been confirmed: video is a booming type of content with over 85% of all internet users in the U.S. alone indulging in it.

Not only is it popular among all demographics, but video is also the most engaging type of content and is expected to drive 82% of the global internet traffic by 2022.

It’s easy to understand, then, why 87% of marketers now use video as a marketing tool, and why you’re considering jumping onboard for the same reasons.

Not to mention, building a YouTube channel is a superb way to generate passive income.

But when it comes to video, the methods you use to drive traffic to it will differ slightly from the ones you use when writing an article.

What Is SEO Video Marketing and Why Is It Important?

Before going any deeper, we need to define the term “SEO video marketing.” Fortunately, it’s fairly simple.

SEO—which stands for “search engine optimization”—refers to the practice of optimizing a piece of content (such as a webpage or blog post) in order to drive more traffic to it.

The way you optimize a piece of content is by editing it to meet the standards of an algorithm—such as the Google search algorithm—so that it gets indexed and ranks well for a certain topic or keyword.

The same applies to videos.

If you’re hosting your video content on a platform like YouTube (which is also a search engine), you’ll need to optimize it before publication so it meets the standards of the algorithm. When you do, your video will receive more traffic for the topic it covers than if you hadn’t.

You can also get your videos to rank on the first page of the Google SERPs (search engine results page), or under Google’s “videos” tab.

For example, when you search for the keyword phrase “torrent sites,” you’ll see both articles and videos posted on YouTube.

search results

Whereas if you click on the “videos” tab, you’ll only see videos and no articles. These are the video-only results for the keyword “how to save money,” for example:

google search results

Getting your video ranked under the “videos” tab on Google is much easier than having it appear under the “all” results.

However, there are multiple strategies for producing a video that performs successfully in the Google SERPs and on YouTube, and we’re dividing deep into them today.

How to Do SEO Video Marketing: 5 Steps to Success

You know the “what” and the “why,” so now it’s time to learn the “how.”

Just like other types of digital marketing, SEO video marketing is learned by studying a certain algorithm and adopting best practices so your video performs well.

Regardless of whether your video is self-hosted or published on a platform like YouTube, there are multiple steps you can take to ensure it’s discoverable to your target audience.

Let’s take a look at them right now.

1. Include a Transcript with Your Video

If you’ve ever watched videos on social media, you likely noticed that many include captions that allow you to read what’s being said.

While this might seem minor, including a transcript in your video is a must for anyone wanting to succeed at SEO video marketing.

The submitted transcript is what produces video captions. On YouTube, you have the option of turning captions on and off, but you can also choose “auto generate” captions.

If someone wants to use captions but the video doesn’t include a transcript, they’d have to use “auto generated” ones, which is essentially when YouTube tries to guess what the video is saying (and often fails miserably).

But using a video transcript has more purpose than simply providing your viewers with the ability to see accurate captions.

First, it allows you to reach a wider audience. People who can’t hear or are hard on hearing aren’t able to enjoy videos without captions, so inserting a transcript lets them watch yours with ease.

Plus, many people browse social media when standing in line, in a waiting room, and while performing other mundane tasks. Therefore, they aren’t able to turn up their volume to hear your video. Captions, however, still lets them enjoy it.

Second, a video transcript makes it easier for search bots to scrape your video. In order for your video to be indexed and ranked, it must be scraped. This is how the algorithm determines what your video is about and which search queries it should rank for. Video transcripts have an impact on rankings that’s larger than you might expect.

Finally, keep in mind that the longer your video is, the more it will need a transcript.

2. Incorporate an Engaging Thumbnail

The thumbnail is one of the most important parts of optimizing your video. No matter how well your video ranked, if it doesn’t look enticing, not many people will want to click it.

A video’s “thumbnail” is the image you see when an image appears as a search result. For example, when you search for “what is email marketing” on YouTube, these videos appear:

youtube search results

The images to the left of each result that also display the video length are thumbnails.

Although it’s easy to get caught up in the research and keyword targeting aspects of video SEO, quality thumbnails (and quality in general) should never be forsaken—and for good reason.

Wistia found that videos with customized human thumbnails receive a play rate 30% higher than those without.

The thumbnail essentially gives viewers a sneak peek of your video, and it will either turn them away or entice them. By researching what viewers like in thumbnails, crafting yours will become easier and more effective.

Based on the Wistia study, for example, we learn that viewers are more enticed by thumbnails that contain a person in it.

3. Target High Volume, Low Competition Keywords

Before filming a video—which can be quite time consuming—you need to make sure that people will actually watch it. If not, then the time (and money) you spent to produce it becomes almost useless.

In order to know whether or not there’s an audience for your video’s topic, you need to do keyword research.

Keyword research is simply the process of finding out how much traffic a certain topic gets, if it converts well, and how hard it is to rank for it.

While you can use paid tools, there are also several high-quality free ones, like Google Trends and WordStream.

When doing keyword research, the goal is to find keywords that have high search volume and low competition. In other words, keywords that receive a lot of traffic but are relatively easy to rank for.

Using Google Trends, you can find out if a topic is relevant, popular, and has an audience. The graph tells you how much interest people have shown in the topic over time, and how much is shown now.

For example, we can see that the keyword “QR code generator” currently has an “interest” rating of 43, whereas the score was 100 in August 2020.

Google trends explorer

To find out the amount of traffic a keyword gets, plug it into a keyword tool like Ahrefs.

ahrefs stats

After searching for the keyword “personal injury lawyers,” Ahrefs shows us the most searched-for term related to the keyword and the level of competition.

For example, the keyword “personal injury lawyer” has a high search volume of 23,000 per month and a low competition score (40). This keyword, then, meets the goal of “high volume, low competition.”

4. Include the Keywords in the Video Script, Title, Description, and Tags

After you’ve found your target keywords, it’s time to film the video. But it’s not just enough to discuss the topic you’re targeting—you need to use the keywords strategically.

There are four primary locations the target keyword needs to be placed:

  • The video itself
  • Video title
  • Description
  • Tags

We already discussed how inserting a transcript helps your video not only receive more engagement, but also rank better. The reason for this is because it makes your video easier to scrape, so the search bot knows what the topic is.

However, if you don’t include the actual keywords in your video, the search bot might not understand what you’re trying to rank for. Thus, it’s vital to mention your keyword a few times.

Next, the keyword needs to go in the title and the description. Once again, this is to ensure you have a better shot at ranking for it.

Finally, use your target keyword in video tags. Google describes tags as “descriptive keywords you can add to your video to help viewers find your content.” Think of them like social media hashtags.

Google also states, however, that using an excessive amount of tags is against their policies and will hurt your video’s performance.

Avoiding an excessive amount of keyword mentions is something to make a best practice. Using the keyword too many times is known as “keyword stuffing,” and it hurts any piece of content—from a blog post to a YouTube video.

Instead, do your best to incorporate the keyword as naturally as possible rather than forcing it.

5. Place Videos in Your Landing Pages and Optimize for Rich Snippets

Perhaps you’re filming a video to include on a landing page, rather than trying to establish a presence on YouTube.

If that’s the case, then there are a few different SEO video marketing tactics to use to ensure you generate leads. Plus, using them can improve your conversions by more than 80%.

Videos are great additions to landing pages. Besides their aid in increasing conversions, they also make the page more engaging. For example, Sweeney Merrigan Law—a firm of personal injury lawyers—includes three videos on their “about us” page that readers can watch.

landing pages

When your landing page includes a video, you want a rich snippet to appear along with your page in the Google SERPs.

A “rich snippet” is when an image of the video is included along with the page’s title and meta description. It’s also where the featured image would usually go.

To have a rich snippet appear when your page ranks, there are a few tactics to use while crafting it:

  • Don’t include the same video twice on your page
  • The first video you include will be the one featured in the rich snippet (so make sure it’s the one you want)
  • Self-host the video

Unfortunately, you can’t just upload a video you posted onto YouTube in your landing page and then expect it to appear in the rich snippet—although the Yoast plugin does have a workaround for this.

Instead, you’ll need to self-host the video. This means instead of using a platform like YouTube, your website will need to be the video host.

After you’ve filmed the video, upload it to your website’s media library and then insert it where you want it placed. Then, let Google know about your video by adding the code from to your page and submitting an XML sitemap on Google Search Console.

If you do not want to add a big video to your landing page/ homepage or do not care too much about having a rich snippet, you could consider linking to it- this will also help your site load faster.

For example, the employee engagement service, Nectar does this on their homepage:


Once you click on their Watch 3min video anchor text, you will be greeted with a full page video that explains what their service can do for you:

video screenshot

This allows them to host the video on YouTube (and rank on YouTube) while also having it on their landing page without taking up much space.

SEO Video Marketing Is the Key to Succeeding with Videos

Whether you’re trying to spice up your landing page copy or build an audience on YouTube, SEO video marketing tactics are the key to getting you the traffic, visibility, and conversions you’re after.

Without them, your videos would be buried in the overwhelming amount of videos uploaded each day.

In 2021, marketers, bloggers, B2B businesses, and YouTubers alike have stepped up their video marketing game. But with these tips and a bit of consistency, you’ll be readily equipped to dominate the SERPs.