Ever wanted to get MORE out of your video marketing strategy?
SEO video marketing is the answer. In other words, optimize your video to rank better in search results.
That includes Google, YouTube, Bing, and pretty much any search engine with its own algorithm and particularities.
I talked to a couple of eCommerce video SEO experts to go over everything you need to optimize to make the most out of each video you create.
Let’s start from the top of video marketing!
What is SEO video marketing?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It refers to the methods used to make a website rank higher in search engines like Google or Bing.
Specifically, SEO video marketing aims to provide more views, sales, and exposure for your business. Videos can be used to improve search engine rankings as well as search rankings within certain networks such as YouTube.
Why does video SEO matter?
90% of people make a purchasing decision based on a video they’ve seen.
Google displays video thumbnails in as many as 26% of search results.
The average engagement rate of long-form videos is around 17%
Not only does video SEO help you get your products in front of your target market, but it also ensures you’ll build a stronger relationship with your shoppers.
Certain types of videos, like customer reviews or product explainers, can convince people to make a purchase. Entertaining or instructional videos, on the other hand, are perfect for getting more people to engage with your clips and spread the word!
Simply put, if you're not ranking for your target keywords on your search engines of choice, you're missing out on potential customers and exposure to your target audience.
In fact, here are all the places where you can get your eCommerce brand through video SEO:
In Google’s Videos [even Images] search results
At the very top of Google search results or within posts ranking on the first page
In news articles or PR posts
And it’s not just Google. We’re talking about all search engines like Bing, Baidu, or Yahoo Search and all social media networks with their own algorithm for ranking video posts. That’s the whole Internet!
But is SEO video marketing going to work for your eCommerce business?
Is SEO video marketing right for you?
Start by thinking of your own goals.
If you simply want to showcase your products on your website better, embedding on-site shoppable videos will do the trick.
Note: Not all videos need to be optimized for ranking purposes. For instance, if you’re using them as part of your email marketing campaigns or gating them behind a form, optimizing them for ranking is of no use.
But let’s face it: Everyone could use a little bit of extra exposure.
So whether you want to boost your online presence, get more store visitors, sell more, and even get repeat purchases, you’ll need to consider an SEO video marketing strategy.
Next, I cover every detail you should consider for better search rankings.
14 ways to optimize video marketing for SEO
Below you’ll find all methods I use to optimize videos for ranking purposes.
Plus, I’ve talked to a couple of other SEO experts to get their best practices [and mistakes to avoid] when doing it at an eCommerce scale.
1. Picking the right format and topic for your video marketing campaign
For a closer look at the most efficient video formats that can generate more sales and engagement, please refer to our extensive list of video marketing examples. Each format should help you with a different goal.
How-to videos, for instance, help you reach a wider target audience and increase engagement. On the other hand, customer-generated clips can help you gain shoppers’ trust and sell more.
Next, you’ll want to focus on a topic. Often, a lot of it has to do with the keywords you choose and how relevant they are for your target market [see next SEO video marketing tip]. But if you don’t know where to start your keyword research, think of:
What people are talking about on social media
What your shoppers or customers generally ask you
What are viewers asking your competitors on their own video content
What do you want people to remember you for
2. Choosing the right keyword
Choosing the right keywords for your videos can help you reach the right target audience and increase your audience.
The goal is to find and use keywords that people use when searching for information about your topic or niche. You’ll want to target keywords with a different intent depending on the video type.
Example: When someone uses a search query like “purple leather shoes,” they most likely want to browse a website and make a purchase. If they’re searching for “how to paint shoes purple,” they’re not exactly interested in buying anything. Instead, you’ll want to provide a video tutorial for them. This, however, won’t help you sell shoes, but it’s definitely a good pick if you sell DIY materials like brushes or paint.
Cody Jensen, CEO & Founder at Searchbloom, says it’s critical to take into account both relevancy and search volume when selecting keywords:
"While search volume shows how frequently people are looking for that phrase, relevance verifies that the keyword is linked to your product or service. When choosing keywords to target with your video marketing, it's crucial to establish a balance between the two. You need to find a keyword that isn't too hard to rank for but that is also linked really well with your products and services.”
If you’re just getting started, I recommend building an extensive spreadsheet with all potential keywords you might want to rank for [both on YouTube and other search engines]. This way, you’ll have a keyword database to turn to when it’s time to pick a keyword.
To build your initial keywords list, you can:
Look at your competitors’ videos and see what keywords they’re targeting. A bonus tip: I recommend checking their blog posts for keywords and seeing if targeting the same keyword with video content on YouTube would be better.
Make a list of your ideal buyers’ needs, pains, and jobs to be done. Each of these can be turned into a video. For instance, if one of your target market’s core need is to texturize their hair, you’ll want to target a keyword like “how to texturize men's hair.”
Think about what people are searching for. You need to use the same terms they used. AnswerThePublic is a great free tool for this, but you can also check out phrases people use on social media or even through your help desk app.
3. Matching the searcher’s intent
When it comes to video SEO for eCommerce, matching the searcher's intent is key.
“You need to understand what your audience is searching for and create videos that provide valuable information and solutions. My suggestion? Go beyond the product pitch and focus on creating 'how-to' videos that demonstrate how your products can solve real-world problems. By being helpful, you'll attract more views, engagement, and sales." - Robert Wolski, Co-Founder at Halftone Digital
Marko Cvijic, SEO consultant and Marketing Director at NB SOFT, also says that:
“Incorporating videos that match searcher's intent to PDPs (product pages), or to magazine articles (support content) will encourage people to stay on those types of pages longer by watching the video, which will affect the dwell time positively. Research shows there’s a clear difference between the average time spent on a web page with videos and similar pages without videos. Hence, embedding videos that match the searcher's intent provides a page with a significant advantage compared to those without them.”
4. Creating an eye-catching thumbnail
Won’t lie about it: The fastest way to put these together is through Canva. Here are a couple of thumbnail templates to get an idea of what you can create in seconds:
With DIY, educational, or fun videos, what matters the most is having a compelling call-to-action or hook in your thumbnail alongside a “teaser” image of the final result or key video moment. Like so:
If you’re creating a thumbnail for a product launch or explainer video, you’ll want to ensure your product is at the forefront. Here are some examples:
5. Making use of videos transcripts + subtitles/captions
Two core points to cover here:
Transcriptions: Transcribing your video footage means taking your video's audio and turning it into written text [also known as video captions], which can then be translated into subtitles.
Subtitles: They’re typically used for foreign language videos, but they can also be useful for people with hearing impairments or those who just prefer reading to listening. They’re also a MUST for social video as many people tend to watch them in public or while the sound’s off on their phones.
Tip: Use closed captions instead of subtitles if you can. Closed captions are more accurate because they’re generated by software that examines all the audio and video content in the video file. They can also include information about music and other sounds in the video that you may not be able to hear on your computer speakers but will show up on TVs or mobile devices.
6. Optimizing the final file size + file name
No video should go live until you’ve reduced its size so that performance stays optimal without lowering the video’s quality.
When it comes to your own website, we generally recommend uploading videos no langer than 100 Mb in size. For best results? Think 10-15 Mb in size. You should always compress video files before adding them to your video players to significantly decrease loading time.
Bonus tip: Make sure the video file name includes a keyword you’re targeting when you embed videos on your own website. Google's documentation doesn't clearly mention if an image or video file name is a ranking factor, but I’m always recommending staying prepared for future algorithm updates.
7. Prepare your video for mobile optimization
People are 1.5 times more likely to watch videos daily on a mobile device.
So video optimization for mobile performance isn’t optional.
First, it all starts with ensuring you’ve got the right file size for the mobile version of your store. You’ll also want to ensure the products you show in the video will be easily visible once viewed from smaller screens. So if you’re showing off the details, zoom in!
Next, talk to your developer to ensure your website is fully optimized and responsive on all mobile devices. Including situations like when a person rotates their phone.
Don’t forget about the details of your video marketing efforts!
Make sure text and captions are readable, and buttons are easy to click.
8. Don’t forget about the video description
Video descriptions are an essential part of your YouTube SEO video marketing strategy. They can help increase the number of video views you get and make them more likely to appear in search results.
They can highlight the main points of your video, explain why it was created and its purpose, and add other useful information.
The description section can also be used to provide links to other videos, websites, or social media pages. This will help people who want more information find it easily by searching for keywords in your description or linking to specific pages on your site with additional information on the topic you’re discussing.
Tip for YouTube Shorts: Descriptions aren’t as easy to find with Shorts. So if you’ve got an important call-to-action, message, or link, add it in the comments as well. Like this pinned comment example:
9. Using calls-to-action
“Buy now,” “Take advantage of this special offer,” “Add to cart.”
“Join the crew,” “Get our latest updates,” and “Share the news with a friend.”
These are all examples of calls-to-action that should be a part of all your videos and can be placed at literally any point.
A couple of rules I’d recommend you stick to, though:
Use only one call-to-action per video to avoid confusing viewers
Feel free to repeat the same call-to-action in one video, but no more than 2-3 times
Prioritize the calls-to-action that matter the most for your business goals, but also keep the searcher’s intent in mind
Don’t sell when viewers expect something else
Use both verbal and visual cues
Diversify your calls to action, so you’re not always asking people to do the same thing
A/B test different prompts in similar video formats/topics
Make it extra easy for people to complete the action you want
Lastly: Don’t be afraid to be direct! Tell them that you only want to launch your giveaway once you get 100 more newsletter subscribers.
Here’s a call-to-action example of a great video teaser:
10. Does video length matter?
59.9% of consumers dislike videos that are too long.
And for certain networks, shorter videos tend to get more engagement. For instance, Instagram videos should ideally fall between 26-30 seconds.
In fact, the only video platform where long-form content is preferred is YouTube. Even there, some audiences are completely switching over to YouTube Shorts.
All this means: Short is the way to go!
11. Optional: Use schema markup
Video schema markup is not a ranking factor but indirectly affects video SEO.
On the benefits of using schema markup with your videos, Marko Cvijic notes that:
"Video schemas help Google better understand and identify content that meets searcher's intent. This increases the chances of that video content appearing as highly in Google search engine results."
To get started, use the documentation on schema.org. This is the official community that helps you properly markup your videos so you can tell search engines exactly what your video is about. Plus, you can add thumbnail info, video descriptions, and other details to help your video cover a larger place on a search engine results page.
Here’s an example of a video that got a Live badge by marking the video as a BroadcastEvent:
12. Optional: Break down your videos into chapters
Here’s what chapters look like on a YouTube video:
And here’s the same video in the search results:
That’s a strong search presence right there!
Add chapters or time stamps to your YouTube videos by following these simple steps:
1. Go to your video's edit page.
2. Click the "Chapters" tab.
3. Select "Create chapter" and type in the title of each video selection.
4. Choose the point in the video where you want it to begin (you can always move it later).
5. Repeat this process until all points are added as chapters (you can have up to 30).
6. When you're done, click "Save changes."
13. Decide if you want to keep your video on YouTube or host it elsewhere
You shouldn’t be afraid to use the video on your website. While YouTube is great for tutorials or other fun video content, adding video product presentations or even customer-generated content on multiple pages for your products is a must for increasing trust and conversions.
Opt for an embeddable video player that’s designed for eCommerce businesses. The Videowise player elevates your video marketing efforts by allowing you to engage audiences with shoppable videos and get real-time insights. Plus, it adapts to your store’s design and doesn’t slow down your website.
14. Bonus: Optimizing short-format videos
Shorts are great for store owners just starting with video content and need a quick and easy way to put their brand out there! That’s because you don’t need pre-built authority or a knowledge-sharing history on any video platform to go viral.
Naman Nepal, Founder at Cove Commerce, shares a few key things eCommerce companies can do to optimize shorts based on our internal research with 10,000 YouTube shorts with 50,000-60MM views:
Videos should be short (think under 15 seconds and no more than 30).
Always make sure to have the correct aspect ratio and clean/creative thumbnail without too much clutter.
Try to include at least one person [not stock footage] in the video and void multiple speakers.
End the video with a call to action or a cliffhanger. Get people to engage through questions, brain twisters, or simple tests that viewers want to share with friends.
Important reminder: To get your Shorts listed among the first in the search results, make sure you’re getting enough engagement and include relevant keywords in their title and description. Comments don’t directly influence rankings, but they can help YouTube tell what the video is about. I’ve personally noticed less popular videos being ranked higher because of what “keywords” people used in the comments.
What happens after you’ve published a video?
You shouldn’t stop as soon as the video’s out there. Here’s everything I recommend doing AFTER the video is live to help with video SEO efforts.
You need to keep engaging with your audience
There are three core steps to getting that much-needed initial engagement:
Add comments to your own video. If you have a YouTube channel, you can enable comments on all your videos by going to the settings tab of your channel and checking the box that says "Allow Comments." On top of this, you’ll also want to leave an initial comment yourself and feature it at the top of the comments stream. This can be a call-to-action or a link to a special offer.
Follow people who follow you. This is a bit more complicated to do but think of it this way: Whenever someone comments on your video or follows you on Instagram, follow them back. They've shown an interest in what you're doing — so why not show them some love? As a bonus, you might even get some extra subscribers or followers out of this.
Reply to people who post comments on your videos. This will help drive more engagement because users will see that their feedback is being listened to, increasing their trust in your brand.
You’ll have to keep an eye on the video’s performance
For social posts, you’ll want to keep an eye on:
How people are responding within the first few days
If interest in a video is fading after a couple of weeks or months, [In this case, it might be time to re-visit and update the video.]
If you’re getting a lot of views but little engagement
Any other stats like demographic location, interests, and even traffic source to help you decide which networks you should focus on in the future
Luke Jordan, a YouTube consultant, also recommends you focus on retention metrics:
"There are a number of metrics that YouTube is looking at to determine what an 'enjoyable viewing experience' is, but the main one is retention. If people are watching your video for longer, it often means they're finding value in it.
Deliver value, cut anything that wastes time, don't ask for likes or comments or subscribes, and focus on giving people the most insightful, interesting, and engaging video on a topic to retain viewers for as long as possible.”
While you can use YouTube’s integrated Analytics feature to monitor engagement, their tool won’t tell you exactly how many sales you’ve made from a video.
That’s why it’s best to use a dedicated embeddable video player that can provide advanced insights. Videowise’s Video Analytics gives you detailed monetization reports so you’ll know exactly:
How many sales have you got both on-site and off-site
Which devices people used to make a purchase
What engagement looks like over time
What your audience looks like so you can get a clear picture of its segmentation
+ other insights like average video order value or watch time
You can and should always tweak the video to get more conversions
I’m a big believer in closely monitoring how a video performs and trying to optimize it to increase sales as much as possible.
There are probably hundreds of ways in which you can do this. I’ve selected my favorite options for making sure you’re getting more conversions above all else:
Turn your videos into shoppable ones. Shoppable videos let you create custom video marketing campaigns, upload or import your videos, and facilitate shopping right within a videoplayer or embedded social clip. Plus, you can customize the player's appearance to match your overall branding and include an "Add to Cart" call-to-action button at the end.
Revisit your old videos to make sure you’re properly highlighting your product and have appropriate calls to action. Focus on a single desired action to avoid confusing viewers. Add these at the end of the video with a tool like Videowise that allows shoppers to instantly checkout after watching a video.
Run A/B tests to see which video variants perform best. You should test different content formats, topics, as well as calls-to-action, or even video placement within a page. For instance, placing a video above the fold will get you as much as 56% higher play rates. With Advanced Shopify Video Analytics, you can perform A/B tests to make data-informed decisions for all videos you use on your Shopify store.
Turn your video into an ad. I’m not a big fan of ads, which can be costly. However, if you’ve got the budget and need to speed up revenue generation, they’re easy to set up since you already have the content. Just ensure you work with a professional agency or ads consultant to avoid targeting too broadly or spending too much per day.
Use videos as part of your other campaigns. Create a dedicated landing page for your special offers or incorporate videos on social, email, and other networks to promote the video. More on this in the next section.
You need to learn how to promote the video
Promoting your video is a must if you want to get your video content in front of more people.
Every store owner should strive for this, so I’m taking you through some of the most efficient techniques for making the most out of your promotional campaigns:
1. Share it on social but with a purpose. Simply sharing a link to your latest video on your social channels won’t do the trick. A mere share will likely get you little to no engagement. Instead, you want to pair your video with a giveaway campaign or special offer. Another option is to share these videos within your own Facebook community. Similarly, you can create Instagram Stories with previews for recent tutorials or other educational video content to get people to see your product in action.
2. Contact bloggers who write about similar topics and ask them to use or link to your video. Think of this as if you’re doing link-building. This mostly works with DIY or instructional videos that can add extra information and tips to existing articles.
3. Create a blog post about the topic covered in your video and include a link back to it in the text of the post so readers will know where they can view it if they choose to do so later on down the road (this strategy works especially well for longer videos).
4. Incorporate video into your partnerships. For instance, you can pair up with brands selling different products to a similar audience to yours. You can host live events and workshops together or take over their email list.
5. Add videos to your email campaigns. Promote your product launches by adding relevant product screenshots to an email and linking to the video.
Where to start with your video SEO strategy?
Ok, so this seems like a lot, and, to be frank, you have to consider each step above if you truly want the best-performing video marketing campaigns.
But take things one step at a time by sticking to the order outlined above. If something seems too complicated [like setting up the correct schema for your videos], leave it for later and ask an expert to help you.
Remember not to stop once the video is live. The magic for your strong SEO strategy happens after.
Think about the channels your target buyers spend most of their time on. Those are the ones you should prioritize when it comes to promoting and optimizing your videos.
A safe bet is to turn your product videos or customer-generated content into shoppable videos. These help your buyers see exactly which products appear in a video and instantly add them to their shopping cart. In fact, a video shopping functionality helps brands add more than 451 hours to their on-site time and achieve an 11.49% conversion rate.