Video SEO Series: On-Page SEO Basics & Your Video Keyword Strategy

February 28, 2013 BY SHANNON K. MURPHY
Updated: March 30, 2021

Example of On-Page Video SEO
TV producers know that to engage an audience they need a great story or useful information. Web video is no different. The fight for SEO dominance is being won through Google’s concept of unique value, but video SEO is even more important as Google sends appropriate web video content straight to the top of the heap. With video reaching 56 percent of consumer web traffic in 2012, it would seem the old marketing adage “content is king” is now: “video content is king.” After all, video gives a vibrant medium in which to convey our thoughts. Ideas spread quickly through video. How many video creators cross their fingers and hope to go “viral”? Whether your goal is to get more readers, inquiries or sales, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can leverage your videos to get more traffic to your site. In the following blog we’ll discuss beginner SEO concepts and how to utilize these for videos on your site.

As you may already know, SEO hinges on Google’s ability to find out what each webpage is about. Search engines are “indexing” or finding and filing content constantly. Think of Google as the librarian for the world’s online content. With SEO and video SEO, you want to be spotlighted as a useful resource; getting on the librarian’s “recommended reading and watching list,” if you will. Same is true for YouTube, the second largest search engine.

Optimized text is vital for video SEO. After all, search engines do not have “eyes” to watch a video. Search bots “crawl” your site, reading the text and code of your pages for indicators of what each is about. This way, Google and other search engines can return the most relevant information to search queries. Now that the top spaces typically default to video you must have each video page aligned with a keyword strategy to tell Google exactly what your video is about.

Video Keyword Strategy Tip

We don’t have time or space to dive fully into all of the methods and tools for keyword selection, but consider the following. When embracing a competitive strategy, it pays to be as specific as possible. Video content is 50x more likely to be placed in Google’s blended results. Yet, the competition for a keyword phrase like “video SEO” stands to be much higher than the more refined, “managing a video SEO strategy.” By tagging your content with longtail keywords your video is more likely to be seen by Google as amazingly unique!

HTML Elements that Should Be Optimized for Video SEO

Each video should be housed on a separate web page and the HTML elements below should be optimized for each page. Also, they should be consistent with the title, description, and keywords listed in the video sitemap.

Page Title: Accurately describes what a page is about. All page titles within the site should be unique and relate to the video on the page.

Meta Tag/Page Description: Pulled into search results as a snippet of preview for your page. Write this for humans. Searchers skim this section to make sure the page matches their query.

URL Structure: Use descriptive keywords related to your video. For example, instead of use

H1 & H2 Tags: Headings are often bolded and stand out from the rest of article text. H1 and H2 tags tell Google that the contained words are important. Make sure your tags relate to the video on that page.

Alt Text: Used to describe images, like a video thumb. This is where the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness, for inaccurately described images) of Google Image Search lies.

Add a Video Transcript and Captions

Adding a video transcript and/or captions is one of the most important things you can do to drive video SEO. There are different strategies for adding a transcript and captions depending on whether you have short-form or long-form content and whether your goal is to maximize viewership or monetization. Sometimes it is best to place a transcript directly on the page; sometimes the transcript should be placed in noscript tags; other times it’s optimal to place a transcript on a separate page or pages with pagination. Uploading captions to YouTube should also be considered in the context of your SEO objectives. We’ll delve deeper into this topic as we continue our video SEO blog series.

Video SEO Example: Web Video Landing Page & On-page SEO

Try searching for “captioning Penn State” under the video search tab of Google. 3Play Media’s case study about Penn State captioning ranks first. Note that the video is housed on a separate page where the above elements are aligned with a keyword strategy. Look at the keyword congruency on our page:

Page Title: “Video Captioning for Accessibility – The Penn State Solution”

Page Url:

H1 & H2 Tags: Video Captioning for Accessibility – The Penn State Solution

On page keyword density: “captioning” and “Penn State” appear multiple times.

Transcript: A keyword-rich transcript (paginated and optimized) exposes all the spoken content to search engines.

Video Sitemap: The above elements are consistent with the keywords used in our video sitemap.

3play media logo in blue

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