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Video SEO: Maximising Visibility on YouTube and Search Engines

March 12, 2024


min read


Website Desgin


Videos are a potent marketing tool for many businesses. Here’s how to optimise your long and short-form videos for maximum visibility on YouTube and other search engines.

Videos are a great form of “snackable” content that successfully improves the online visibility of many businesses. Not only can you leverage the YouTube algorithm, but you can also get more views on your videos from search engines like Google. For instance, Google displays videos directly in search results:

Here’s your guide on how to leverage video as part of your content and SEO strategy. We cover:

  • What is video SEO?
  • How to rank videos on YouTube
  • How to rank videos on Google
  • Essential video optimisation tips

Let’s dig in! Or... Don't feel like reading? No problemo, contact the EngineRoom SEO team.

What is video SEO?

Video SEO involves optimising your videos to improve their visibility through search engines. It’s a holistic process that looks at how to get views from search engines like Google or Bing and platforms like YouTube. 

While YouTube is a search engine in one sense, it’s also a social network and optimising distribution on YouTube is not identical to optimising videos for impressions on Google.

How to rank videos on YouTube

YouTube SEO optimises your videos, playlists, and channels to rank high on YouTube’s organic search results and video discovery features. Your videos can get featured in many places on YouTube:

  • YouTube search
  • Suggested videos
  • Browse Features
  • Plus more

While YouTube is the second most popular search engine, after Google, people don’t just “search” to find videos. This is why you must also optimise your videos to appear in non-search video discovery features within the platform. There are two parts to this equation. You need to include keywords in your video’s title, description, and body content to rank in YouTube searches. However, the most essential aspect of effective YouTube SEO is high engagement. YouTube wants to keep viewers on its platform as much as possible. The more engaging your videos are, the more you help achieve this goal, and therefore, the more YouTube will promote your content in return.

To measure engagement, check out your video metrics like:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Click-through rate
  • Audience retention
  • Average watch time
  • Screen and card clicks
  • And so on

All of these will be visible in your YouTube Analytics dashboard. But remember, your YouTube videos can also show up elsewhere online. Here’s how to ensure your videos can also show up in Google results simultaneously.

How to rank videos on Google 

Your videos can be displayed on Google’s search results in a few different ways.

  1. Featured video

Featured videos take up a lot of real estate at the top of a search result. These videos are the ones Google determines are the most likely to provide the exact information a searcher is looking for. To show up here, your video needs to be the best at answering a particular query and be very well-optimised for the keyword searched. The content should also be clearly structured so Google can quickly jump to the point in the video that directly answers the user’s query. For example, in this featured video, Google has indicated which part of the video the viewer might be most interested in and takes them directly to that section starting at 2:41.

  1. Video carousel

For some topics, instead of choosing one featured video to place front and centre, Google will show multiple videos in a carousel.

Searchers can also skip to specific “moments’ they are interested in. You can make it easier for Google to display such moments for your video content by adding “chapters” or timestamps to each video you upload on YouTube. 

The better you structure your content on YouTube, the easier it is for other platforms to display it more engagingly.

  1. Video snippet from a webpage

Another common way videos appear in search is as a small snippet next to an organic listing. You’ll see a small thumbnail of the video with a short description next to it like so:

As with the carousel layout, searchers can also check out the critical moments of videos that show up in such snippets:

Essential video optimisation tips

To show up in any of these features across YouTube or Google, check out the tips below.

1. Find video topics with search potential

Only some videos have the potential to attract views on YouTube and Google. Not to mention, some videos may get views on YouTube and social media but won’t show up on Google at all. For most businesses, the ideal sweet spot is to find topics with video intent that also get searches on Google. The reason is twofold:

  1. Buying intent: More people are likely to buy your product or service from a Google search than a YouTube search.
  2. Outsmart your competitors: Video visibility is a great way to snap more traffic from Google and is often a weak spot among competitors.

You can use tools like Ahrefs to find such topics. My favourite trick is to search for, check out all keywords ranked on Google, and then filter for your products or services. Then check out the ones that get traffic:

For instance, in the above screenshot, we can identify potential video opportunities for a tree removal business to create content for seniors or for tree removal with a crane. 

2. Create an unbeatable video asset

Once you know what keyword opportunities you can target, it’s time to make your video. There’s a place for short-form video and another for long-form video. In general, it’s best to see what kind of videos are getting the most views through Google and the most engagement on YouTube and make a video of similar length. Also, make sure you add something different. For most business owners, your expertise is often different enough to help your content skyrocket to the top because very few business owners make expert content in their industries. Of course, you can find other angles that will make your content more interesting to the target audience.

3. Optimise your video and add keywords in hotspots

Next, it’s about optimising your video for YouTube and Google search. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Rename your video file and include your target keyword as the name before uploading it to YouTube
  • Add the main keyword to the video title and description text
  • Include at least three key moment headings with timestamps in your video description
  • Add an eye-catching video thumbnail
  • Add relevant tags and categories to your video 
  • Upload your video transcript and correct caption errors
  • Add cards and custom end screens to increase your channel’s viewership
  • Create playlists grouping similar videos in your channel together 

Final Thoughts: Video SEO is a powerful untapped opportunity

There’s a lot that goes into video SEO, but it is such a powerful yet untapped content opportunity for so many businesses. It can also extend your SEO efforts to other platforms and attract more clicks and conversions to your main product or service.

Learn more about EngineRoom's video SEO services.

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