Why Your Video Needs More Words: A Case for SEO

Back in July, we did a post about social media marketing tips. One of those tips was about search engine optimization (SEO). Essentially, when doing a general search, people tend to look at descriptions more than they look at titles or URLs, making the work that goes into building that text one of the most important parts of a page, which is where SEO comes in. However, the discussion on SEO specifically for video is a new one happening around conference room tables. While using it gives you the opportunity to tap into a visibility that your competitors may not yet have, many people overlook it.

At the most basic level, SEO helps identify the search terms that your audience is using. You can then incorporate those words into the text and description of your page. Easy enough.

Yet, when uploading a video, many people may leave the description blank, forgetting that the actions and words spoken within the video are not translated into written terms for search.

Take YouTube, for example. You have the options of entering a title, description, tags and/or category along with your video.

While a title is pretty necessary, some people leave the description and tags blank or extremely vague. Doing so may be the difference between five views and 500 views. How will anyone find your video if there are no search terms associated with it?

These two videos, both on Gabby Douglas’ performance in the women’s gymnastics all-around competition at the 2012 Olympics, were uploaded on the exact same day by two different news outlets. One has over 1.1 million views, while the other has just over 130,000. The major difference is in their use of descriptions and tags. (Note: the names of the news outlets have been removed from the photos.)

You’ll notice that the video with more views has a longer description and uses a good number of tags, while the one with fewer views has a vague, one-sentence description and uses a small number of unclear tags. This is just one of the many examples of how SEO benefits video. There are many videos with quality content that aren’t being viewed, simply because they lack proper descriptions.

The moral of the story is this: when deciding on a video as part of your digital strategy, do not limit yourself to uploading it, crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. A smart approach to SEO is one of the ways to ensure that it rises to the top of the vast sea of videos on the internet and is found by your target audience.


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