What Is Video SEO & How Does It Impact Your Ranking?

Video Search Engine Optimization or vSEO has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past few years. Today, if the content isn’t optimised, it just isn’t ranked and monetized—no matter how much time and money you invest in it, or how good it is. This is even more true with video content.

VSEO is the practice of optimising video content so that it is more likely to be indexed and rank well in search engine page results (or SERPS) for relevant keyword queries. YouTube’s algorithms have evolved dramatically. To tap into good rankings with the platform, it’s recommended that you vSEO your content so it aligns with user SERPs.

How Does vSEO Impact Ranking? 

Google uses video thumbnails with their search results. According to BrightEdge, around 26% of all search results users are more likely to click a video in SERPs. So, the presence of a well-placed thumbnail and descriptive snippets can bring a bigger SEO boost and get higher Click Through Rates (CTRs) than any other type of Google-featured snippet. (Some believe that Google also prioritises search results with a video thumbnail over those without.) 

As a rich content source, videos have a host of metrics that Google takes into consideration when determining a rank. When using vSEO, you generally get better ad revenue, CTR, and are more likely to get more backlinks, too. 

Bottom line: Google’s algorithms actively prioritise websites that feature video content, and knowing a few good best practices can help you enhance your vSEO.

How Do I Build Stronger vSEO?

With all the online video content out there today, the chances of success are going to be diminished if you can’t immediately grab attention with an amazing, vSEO-ed video. 

Getting your video ranked in universal search results has become more complicated. To reach your goals, you’ll also need a strong vSEO marketing strategy. Understanding vSEO and using the following strategies can help strengthen your video ranking and land a coveted rich snippet.

1. Build Links and Generate Social Shares

People are rather particular about what kind of content they share online and are less likely to share links to content that’s outdated or low quality. 

A great example of successfully creating quality video content to generate backlinks and grow conversions is the YouTube GoPro case study. The video includes several customer comments, some insight into the product’s latest features, and personalised and engaging user-generated content. The video does an amazing job of exciting users about the new GoPro and showcases its game-changing tech in a fast-paced collection of shots. 

Although the primary goal of this video was to increase GoPro brand recognition—brand recognition and link development are closely intertwined. A positive side effect for quality video like this is an uptick in social shares. 

Another example of video marketing, link building, and generating social media shares can be found in a recent Kayak video marketing. The video takes a humorous approach in introducing viewers to Kayak’s travel-focused search features. The video captures why trips are harder to plan, and explains how you can search for flights, rentals, and everything related to tourism all in one place. Keeping the video nonchalant gets the point across and generates a lot of links and shares (1 in 4 adults reported seeing the video).

 2. Increase vSEO Conversions

Video SEO’s primary responsibility should be to help make online sales and boost income growth. Attracting more visits to a website is key—but ensuring that those visits are then converted into sales is an equally important part of the process.

Almost any website can benefit from what vSEO content provides. A good way to increase conversations through vSEO is to optimise your video content, add videos to your website landing page, and also include videos on your main pillar pages.

  • Integrate vSEO on Your Web Pages: You just have a few seconds to make an impression with your site visitors. During that time, you need to not only grab their attention, but also ensure you’re showing them who you are, what you do, and why they should purchase your products or services.

    One of the most popular vSEO methods to boost conversion rates is for online shop owners to prominently feature product videos. According to invideo.io, 52% of buyers agree that seeing product videos inspires greater confidence and motivation to make a purchase.
  • Optimise your content with vSEO-rich snippets in mind: If you’ve been paying attention to Google’s search results lately, you’ve probably seen a noticeable rise in the usage of vSEO-rich snippets. Instead of the standard Google-featured snippets—the hard-to-miss module of content directly answering your search question—vSEO-rich snippets also include a video thumbnail.

3. Consider Using a Video Hosting Platform

There are several video hosting platforms out there for you to explore. YouTube and Vimeo are two of the most well-known and can be good options if your primary goal is building brand recognition. 

But, if your goal is to drive traffic to your website these platforms do have some drawbacks. For example, after your video is indexed, the majority of traffic goes to the hosting platform instead of going to your website. This might cause your site visitors to become lost in a sea of competing for traffic. 

There are other hosting platforms that offer stronger functionality if you’re looking to increase on-site traffic and drive leads toward conversion. With Wistia, your video content will automatically be SEO indexed and updated through a JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data process or JSON-LD. This process helps to annotate and organise data using Schema.org vocabulary.

Wistia’s SEO utilises only client-based JavaScript to build distinct, search-optimised pages for each individual video, while still operating with only a basic embed code. All your videos are indexed and get good Google search results, too, without any customised development work.

The primary benefit of JSON-LD compared to competitors is that metadata can be implemented independently wherever it is needed, rather than being directly embedded into the HTML code. 

For example, a script tag may be used to implement JSON-LD in accordance with the following schema: 

<script type=”application/ld+json”>





Rich snippets are made possible by schema markup and frequently have greater click-through rates than standard search results, which increases website traffic. Its main purpose is to make your content more accessible to search engines. By using Schema.org vocabulary your content becomes more search engine-friendly and discoverable. 

It’s important to analyse your alternatives and hosting solution options. Some solutions require you to build a video sitemap (not an easy task to tackle) and others will need to employ a Schema markup (which isn’t as effective as JSON-LD).

4. Insert a Video Transcript

You’ve no doubt watched social media videos with subtitles running and the sound muted. The option is incredibly helpful when watching content in public places. And that video transcript accompanying your video can be an important vSEO,  too.

Video transcripts not only make your videos more accessible to a wider audience, but they also make the content easier for search engine robots to crawl. These transcripts are indexable and can help your video content rank higher in search. With longer videos, pay close attention to your transcripts as there will be even more content opportunities to optimise and influence your ranking.  

5. Make Your Thumbnail Image Engaging

Video thumbnail pictures are undoubtedly the most significant marketing tool your video content can use. Although most video hosting services let you select from auto-generated thumbnails pulled from your video, it’s instead a good idea to select and create your own image.

Controlling what image you want to be the face of your content can help you align your video with what your users are looking for. When your video is indexed, the searcher will see the video thumbnail, which has a big impact on whether or not they click. 

Video thumbnail pictures are much like book covers—you want them to catch potential readers’ attention and entice them to click and see more. Your video image needs to be interesting, timely, and highly clickable. The use of powerful thumbnail pictures may be even more important than the title, and can significantly influence click-through rates and other vSEO metrics.  

6. Don’t Forget Your Video’s Meta Title and Meta Description

The meta title and meta description tied to your video are big parts of how search engines review and rank your content. Take your time and research keywords to help make your title and description accurately describe your content–and simultaneously include words users will be looking for.

Aim for and use terms that people are looking for. Research your competitors and look closely at how they’re approaching the same problems for inspiration. Using this info can help in optimising your content and increasing its exposure. You can look for white space and areas in which you can aim to fill—and own. 

Consider the following tips to help you craft and optimise your meta title and meta description:

  • Write engaging titles and include appropriate keywords.
  • Keep title language brief and direct, with the most important details up front (60 characters is a good target). 
  • Save the branding and episode numbers for the very end of your title or description.
  • Verify that your titles are not truncated in mobile search results, suggested videos, or other content.

7. Make Sure Your Video’s Webpage Is Relevant to the Video and Optimised for SEO

For your video to appear high on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), you shouldn’t rely exclusively on vSEO. The page itself must also be optimised for SEO; otherwise, search engines won’t even bother to crawl it. 

If your video isn’t ranking well, your web page may be the problem. While organically ranking your website is difficult, consistently producing high-quality content and optimising right can help ensure that your pages will rank well in time. 

But, if your video isn’t relevant to the page, the likelihood of both your video and page content ranking high is twice as low. 

8. Embed the Video You Want to be Ranked First on the Page

An important fact to know: Only one video per page is generally indexed by Google. Make sure that you’re featuring your best video option high on the page.

After that initial video placement, search engine crawlers often stop looking for additional video content. 

Another tip: It’s not a good idea to have multiple videos on a page that you’re attempting to optimise for a single video.

9. Make the Focus of the Page the Video

As mentioned above, video placement is important. To help your visitors find your video content, and not scroll too much, a best practice is to put your video above the fold (or within the space of the very top of the browser window, before you need to scroll down). The chances of your video ranking well are reduced the further down the page your video is placed. It’s best to make your video the main attraction on the website to improve its crawlability.

10. Don’t Embed the Same Video in Multiple Places

Don’t duplicate video content on your website. If you do, you’re only competing with yourself to rank both content and videos in search.

Instead, put your time and effort into creating specific, original, and pertinent original content to spread across all of your website pages. 

Final Thoughts: Don’t Rely Solely on SEO to Promote Your Video

SEO is always an essential part of optimising both your video and written website content. But, it isn’t the only focus. Video content, SEO techniques and best practices, and Google algorithms are always evolving. Because of this instability, investing in paid video advertising can be a smart move. Putting dollars behind your content can help you obtain more hits and additional eyes on your video content.

A good and affordable paid video option to explore is through Facebook Ads. (The platform allows you to pay to advertise your video in many other areas, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.) Another option to consider is experimenting with unpaid techniques, such as having third-parties advertise your videos.

By creating engaging and informative video content, and leveraging vSEO best practices, your website will be on track to finding success and building a strong following.