How do you use video SEO…VSEO? First, you need to keep up on the mysterious and ever-changing algorithms of YouTube and Google. And it is ever changing. Here are some tips I’ve collected on VSEO for video marketing with organic search.

What’s most important for page ranking

  1. Reactions. Are your videos getting comments, likes and shares, along with subscriptions to your YouTube channel? Most important is gaining subscriptions. Second most important are likes. How do you boost these numbers? You need to ask for it from your viewers. In YouTube, you can add annotations on top of your video. Use annotations for a call to action, such as asking people to subscribe to your YouTube channel.
  2. Number of views. This is obvious. But YouTube (to a much lesser degree) is also looking at whether people watch your video to the very end…a measure of whether the video is informative and interesting. Use YouTube Analytics to see if people are dropping off early when they watch. YouTube and Google are measuring quality, not just quantity.
  3. Relevance of your title and keywords.

So, how do you write your title, description and tags for maximum VSEO?

Your video title is very important. This is not the place to be short, clever or obscure. Make it descriptive and a bit long. Aim to get your key words into the start of the title.

Fill out the space YouTube gives you to add a description of your video. Insert your keyword and key phrase within the first 25 characters. Include key phrases in a natural way, about three or four times, in the body of the text. You can add links to your website and other videos. Aim for at least 250 words.

Tags are not super important for search, but YouTube uses them to place you in a category – that’s how the group of videos on related topics show up in the right column. Be descriptive with tags. Use phrases, not single words. (The idea of “keywords” should be replaced by “key phrases” because when people search on Google they type out phrases, not single words.) You can look up current topics and trends to use in tags, but YouTube will know if your tags are not relevant to your video. Be accurate.

Four more tips for VSEO

Encourage engagement: Aim to always reply to comments so you build community. Ask questions to further the conversation. Engagement is key to your online marketing.

Thumbnails of your video: YouTube will randomly pick one, but I bet you can find a more interesting shot. They allow you to make your own choice.

Upload new videos regularly to your YouTube channel. Google notices when you add fresh content and this improves your ranking. The more videos you make, the more likely you’ll get seen. But make sure your videos are top quality and valuable to viewers. Remember that YouTube knows if your videos are worth watching. They judge whether your videos get likes, shares, channel subscriptions, and if people watch to the end.

Notice the CC closed captioning button on your YouTube video? YouTube transcribes your online video, and searches that text to see if your video is truly relevant to your title and other text, and then adjusts your ranking. So again, be accurate.

And remember, all this takes patience. When you use SEO, it takes time before you see page ranking improve. But keep plugging away at using video for online marketing and you’ll see results.

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Mary is a freelance video producer in Seattle. She creates videos for you that help your business or nonprofit grow. Visit her LinkedIn page, and see her videos on Vimeo. You can reach her at