Neil Patel

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Your Guide to Mastering Video SEO

text reading "your guide to mastering video SEO" on orange background

Videos are a fantastic way to promote your business. They’re engaging, evoke emotions in customers, and are brilliant for generating conversions.

However, videos have another benefit you might not be aware of—SEO.

Get your video SEO right, and you’re well on the way to building links and social shares that can give you a boost in the search engine rankings.

Let’s look at why video SEO is so important and how to develop an SEO video strategy that drives results for your business.

Key Takeaways

  • More and more people are using search engines and social media search to find videos.
  • Keyword research, transcripts, descriptions, and thumbnails are important for video SEO, though video SEO keyword research is different than traditional blogs/pages.
  • Google’s Search Generative Experience may affect how videos are shown in the search engine results.
  • Choosing the right video hosting platform like your website, YouTube, or Vimeo, depends on your goals, budget, and customization needs.
  • Different video types like landing page, product, and explainer videos serve different conversion purposes, so be sure to keep this in mind.
  • Structured data can help you get video rich snippets, which are a potential big boost to traffic.
  • To measure video SEO success, monitor metrics like rankings, CTR, conversions, engagement, and backlinks.

What Is Video Marketing in SEO and Why Is it Important?

Video SEO (VSEO) is all about getting your videos seen by more people through search engines, as well as across social media.

Over the years, search engines have realized that people want to see video content, so have made videos more accessible. Not only is there a “video” tab in Google, but videos are visible on the first page of Google, too.

Google search result for the keyword "video SEO" 

Google is also starting to roll out its AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE) in the US. SGE will display relevant video results right at the top of the search results – prime real estate for your brand.

Example of how videos could look in Google’s SGE

Optimizing your videos for SEO can also make it easier for people to find your content on social media.

For example, YouTube SEO is extremely important. Jane Javor, SEO Manager at NP Digital, says this about the platform: “YouTube is the second-largest search engine and should not be ignored—there are over 2.7 billion active users on YouTube, and publishing optimized videos can get your brand in front of potential customers.”

Results for "video SEO" on YouTube 

While YouTube is popular for searchers, people also use social media platforms as search engines. According to Adobe, 41 percent of Americans use TikTok as a search engine, with this figure jumping to 64 percent of Gen Z’ers.

Results for “video SEO” on TikTok 

What does this mean?

By implementing a video strategy into your marketing plans, you can increase the odds of customers seeing your business online, wherever they are.

Avoiding the Common Video SEO Trap and Defining Your Goals

Although producing a video might seem like a “nice” idea, it’s important to remember that it must complement your overall SEO strategy and generate a return on investment (ROI).

It’s essential to have a goal for your video before you start creating it. For example, do you want to raise brand awareness, generate backlinks, or increase conversions?

This will help you develop your video SEO strategy to get the right results.

Best Practices for Video SEO

Many brands are incorporating video content into their online marketing strategies. However, video SEO isn’t just about adding keywords to a video, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best.

It’s important to consider SEO at every part of the process, from storyboarding to publishing.

We’ve answered the question “what is video SEO?” but what next? Here are some of my video marketing SEO tips to help your videos stand out.

Build Links and Generate Social Shares

A well-thought-out video that resonates with the needs of your target audience can generate a substantial amount of links for your website.

The problem is that there’s so much video content that unless you create an exceptional video and have a solid video SEO strategy, its success will be limited. To get the success you’re looking for, you need to think about who you want to share the video with and who you want to link to it.

Your video has to offer something to the viewer, enough to get them to share it with their friends or link to it from their website. It needs to make them laugh, educate, amaze, or shock them.

Take, for example, Whiteboard Friday, a weekly SEO series by MOZ, showcasing short educational videos by expert SEO specialists. This video about Google Analytics was released in mid-January 2024 and just under a month later, has already generated 185 backlinks from 45 referring domains.

Ubersuggest backlink profile for a MOZ Whiteboard Friday 

Choosing the Right Video Hosting Platform

When you create a video, you’ll need to think about where to host it to get the best results. Two options are hosting it on your website, or a video hosting platform like YouTube or Vimeo.

Hosting a video on your website means you have complete control over how it looks, including the content that surrounds it. However, this can impact your page load speed, negatively affecting your website SEO.

With a platform like Vimeo or YouTube, you can take advantage of the platform’s search engine presence, which means your video is easier for customers to find. However, this means you get fewer customization options. For example, if you host a video on YouTube, there’s the risk that the platform might show an ad for a competitor before your video.

The ultimate solution will depend on your goals, the type of video you create, and your marketing budget.

Effective Video Keyword Research

Like the SEO research you’d do when writing a landing page or a blog post, it’s essential to carry out keyword research to optimize your videos. You can include these keywords in your video title, the transcript, and any additional content surrounding your video.

However, there are a few additional things to look out for when it comes to video marketing and SEO:

  • Video SEO: Focus on informational queries, e.g., “how to make an ice cream float”
  • Blog SEO: Can focus on informational, commercial, or transactional queries e.g., “best ice cream floats near me”
  • Video SEO: Focus on the visual or aural nature of the content e.g., “energetic K-pop music playlist”
  • Blog SEO: Focuses on the written content and what it offers e.g., “the history of K-pop music”
  • Video SEO: Keywords tend to be shorter e.g., “poaching an egg”
  • Blog SEO: Keywords tend to be more detailed e.g., “the health benefits of poaching eggs and how they can help if you’re on a diet”

Like traditional keyword research, it’s vital to focus on keywords that have a decent search volume and low competition. There are lots of fantastic keyword research tools available, including Ubersuggest.

Ubersuggest keyword ideas for seed keyword "how to make an ice cream float"

For example, “how to make an ice cream float” has a difficulty of 67. Using “how to make a Coke ice cream float” drops the difficulty to 4, meaning a better chance of ranking on Google or YouTube.

Eye-Catching Thumbnails

Your thumbnail is a small image displayed in the search results. To encourage prospective customers to stop scrolling and start clicking, it’s vital that your thumbnail stands out and explains what your video is all about.

Video thumbnails on the Neil Patel YouTube page 

Take the thumbnails on my YouTube page. Firstly, the thumbnails clearly describe what the video is all about. Secondly, they incorporate the Neil Patel branding. While my thumbnails are different in style and design, they all include the same colors and fonts.

This provides a strong first impression and builds brand recognition—when people see these thumbnails, they know they will find what they’re looking for.

Here are some of my top tips for thumbnails that help your SEO video marketing:

  • Keep it clear and concise. You only have a limited amount of space, so avoid clutter.
  • Make sure your thumbnail looks good on mobile. Avoid elements that are too small or low-resolution.
  • Add your primary keyword to your thumbnail. If this isn’t an option, add it to your description or tag.
  • Carry out A/B testing. This is a fantastic way to see which thumbnails lead to the most clicks and conversions.

Optimized Descriptions and Tags

A well-crafted video description and relevant tags can make your video easier to find. It can also increase the chances of people understanding what your video is about, meaning they’re more likely to view it to the end and see your final call to action.

Here’s an example of a description for one of my videos. I’ve used spaces to make the description easy to read and taken the opportunity to include “online marketing” as a keyword. There are also links to my social media profiles to encourage people to follow and like.

Description for Neil Patel video on YouTube

Upload A Transcript

Uploading a transcript alongside your video gives you more opportunities to use your keyword of choice, meaning improved SEO.

Transcript for Neil Patel video on YouTube 

Not only this, but it makes your video content accessible to more people, for example, those who are hard of hearing or watching videos with the sound down.

When creating transcripts, consider the following for effective VSEO:

  • If multiple speakers are in your video, indicate when a new speaker has started talking.
  • Include sound effects, for example, if someone laughs or claps.
  • While video platforms like YouTube automatically create captions, these are often inaccurate. It’s better to create and upload your own.

Building Your Video Conversions

There are many types of videos to consider when working on your SEO video strategy. They all serve different purposes, so your video marketing SEO must be right.

Let’s look at these types of videos in more detail and how to ensure conversions.

Video SEO on a Landing Page

When someone visits your landing page, you only have seconds to impress them. A video is the perfect way to get their attention and tell them about your unique value proposition.

According to HubSpot, videos are the most likely element on a landing page to positively impact conversion rates.

bar chart of landing page elements that impact conversion rate

Product Videos for Video SEO

Product videos are the most common way that retailers increase the conversion rate of their websites using video SEO content. Thousands of retailers use product videos today, and it’s easy to see why.

According to Social Media Today, 93 percent of customers say videos are helpful when purchasing a product.

Here’s an example of Levi’s using video on the Amazon website. According to Kaspien, video marketing on Amazon accounts for 69 percent of all traffic, while Amazon landing pages with videos convert 800 percent better than those without.

Product video for Levi's jeans on the Amazon website 

Explainer/Introductory Videos

For service-oriented businesses, you can increase conversions with explainer/introductory videos. These videos clearly explain what your business or product does—think of them like an elevator pitch.

While this video is old, the results are still iconic. In 2007, Drew Houston from Dropbox created an explainer video to showcase what the tech company could do and to get funding. The video led to a 10 percent increase in signups and generated a staggering $48 million in funding!

How to Get Rich Snippets For Your Video SEO Strategy

Rich snippets (or featured snippets) are a type of Google Search result showing additional information about your page. In the case of a video, a thumbnail and even details about key moments in your video.

According to EngineScout, rich snippets get 35 percent of all clicks, meaning you’ll drive more organic traffic to your website if you can get one.

But how do you get a rich snippet? We spoke to Jane Javor, SEO Manager at NP Digital. “To increase the chances of achieving video-rich snippets in Google search, a video should be the main content of a webpage. Create a dedicated page for each video, embed the video towards the top of the page, and ensure any on-page content matches 1:1 with the video content.

“Then, add VideoObject structured data to help Google understand the video and rank it for relevant queries.”

Will the introduction of SGE affect how rich snippets work in the future? It’s hard to say at this stage. While the use of AI will mean Google uses different parameters to identify which videos to show to users, the relationship between structured data and SGE is not completely clear.

Needless to say, providing high-quality and well-structured content is always a good thing, for both people and search engines.


How can I measure the success of my video SEO strategy?

It’s important to measure your video search engine optimization efforts to ensure your performance is on track. You can do this by monitoring your:

  • Keyword performance in search engines and social media search.
  • Thumbnail click-through rate.
  • Conversion rates on your video.
  • Video engagement (likes, shares, and comments).
  • Backlink profile – which other websites are linking to or embedding your video.

Which video format is best for video marketing SEO?

I recommend MP4 (MPEG-4) as they are high-quality and have a small file size, ideal if you want to ensure your video loads quickly and looks good.

How can I use video SEO to make my videos stand out in search engines?

Here’s a summary of what you can do to enhance your video SEO:

  • Understand your goals before creating your video.
  • Create something that provides value to your target customer.
  • Choose the right video hosting platform for your needs.
  • Choose effective keywords and optimize your video for them.
  • Design a stand-out video thumbnail.
  • Provide a clear video description and transcript.
  • Include a solid call to action at the end.


In the past, you had to have a fancy video recorder and buy expensive editing software to create videos. Now, you can create professional videos on a budget by using your mobile phone!

If you want prospective customers to see your videos, video SEO is essential. The good news is that videos are here to stay online, with customers enjoying the digestible content they offer throughout 2024 and beyond.

My final tip when it comes to video content SEO? Remember that quality is still important. You wouldn’t rush a landing page or an article, so you shouldn’t rush a video.

Create something that looks amazing and provides value, putting you one step closer to ranking high in the SERPs!

How are you using video SEO to enhance your rankings in Google? Let me know in the comments.

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