The Top Video SEO Practices Used by Marketers in 2013 [Report]

The Top Video SEO Practices Used by Marketers in 2013 [Report] 2013 video marketing report production content 320x234 Video SEO, is the pillar that ReelSEO was founded upon all those years ago. It's still as important today, as it was back when the site began. In fact, it seems that online video marketers agree according to our 2013 Online Video Marketing Survey and Business Video Trends Report, as seven out of ten of you say that you "have spent time or resources optimizing video content for SEO purposes." The real question is, what's wrong with those other three people, right?

Top 5 Video SEO Practices Used by the Video Marketing Majority

Out of the ten options in the "What practices have you used to optimized videos for SEO purpose," half of them have been used by half or more of the 435 respondents to the question. Here they are bottom to top.

#5) Posting Video Content to a Blog

Showing that company and brand blogs are still being used regularly, 51.3% of the respondents stated that this is one of the things they're doing to optimize their video content for SEO. Sharing it out to the blog not only gets it in front of the people who are already following your company or brand but it also puts another page in the search engine index with the video on it. That means more potential customers could stumble across it and pop on over to the site to see it.

#4) Allowing External Embeds

There's nothing better than having your customers do the work for you say 55.4% of online video marketers. This is easily done by allowing them to embed the video into other sites. The more pages with the video content on it, the more potential search engine results and the higher chance of yet more potential customers getting to it. Plus, it allows industry sites to share the content with their readers (like ReelSEO!) and for review sites to use it in their reviews of products and services. Friend and family recommendations always carry a bit more weight than those of a stranger so people embedding the video on their social network presences and personal sites could mean not only a bigger search engine footprint but also new customers based on those recommendations.

#3) Optimizing Video Filenames with Keywords?

Just over 64% of online video marketers are putting their targeted keywords right in the file name. Why? Because if the specific piece of media is named KEYWORD.mp4 then it's exactly what someone is looking for when they do a video search for KEYWORD, at least theoretically, right?

The truth is, this is one of the myths that we hear from time to time.  Optimizing the file-name of your video is good for archival purposes, but there really is no particular SEO benefit from doing so.  And despite what you may have read elsewhere, doing so for YouTube does absolutely nothing for YouTube SEO.  None-the-less, there's no harm in titling files in a way that describes the content, right?  - said our founder, Mark Robertson.

#2) Optimizing YouTube Videos

Almost three-quarters of online video marketers say that just uploading videos to YouTube is not enough, you also have to optimize those videos as well. Properly choosing categories, tags, title and description text is vital, after all, that's all the text that you get to associate with those videos. Or is it?

ALSO ►  Is 'Attention' the New Metric Video Advertisers Need to Pay Attention To?

Here at ReelSEO we have also talked about the value of subtitles, closed captions, and annotations from a video marketing standpoint when using YouTube. They're also text files, associated with your video content and if you're talking about your content in a video you are sure to be using keywords that people might search for in those videos, right? If not, fire your scriptwriter and hire me!

#1) Tagging Videos with Keywords

Top of the heap with 77.2% is this gem of a video SEO strategy. Don't believe me? Go search YouTube for "zamboni vfx Milwaukee." Granted, there probably is not a massive market for that specific video content, but I don't mention vfx of Milwaukee in anything... but the tags. The Top Video SEO Practices Used by Marketers in 2013 [Report] zomboni youtube

As an added bonus, it popped up my profile, even when I signed out and did the search. That gives me two top spots with one video search on the keywords I used as tags.

Five Other Video SEO Practices

The Top Video SEO Practices Used by Marketers in 2013 [Report] 2013 video report video seo 750x364

I'm not discounting the other five options that were offered in the survey, I just wanted to highlight the top five first. At 39.5% annotating videos with details about content, duration, etc is quite popular and many of us know exactly why, it makes for better, prettier search engine results, and can be easily done with the schema markup. Plus, Google recently said it's vitally important for video landing pages. Speaking of that, 30.8% of respondents are using a unique URL for website pages with video. Only 26.9% are offering transcripts of videos on their websites, 24.6% are using video content in press releases and finally, only 22.3% are creating video sitemaps for videos posted on their websites, tsk, tsk...


In a nutshell, video SEO is still high on the lists of activities for online video marketers which is great. I also like to think that many of them are doing things that we have been showing off here at ReelSEO for years and years. Then again, the really low number of marketers who are creating transcripts and video sitemaps worries me that perhaps we didn't get our point across on how valuable they can be. So here's a video from one of Google's product managers, about video sitemaps.

And, another:

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Thank You for your support and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

  • Josh Rimer

    Great article. I question how Mark knows though that keywords in the filename don't do anything. At one point it I had a word in a video file name that had nothing to do with the video, but I saw an ad related to that word when I reviewed it on YouTube. It's possible that it was a coincidence, but that's where I first got the idea that it made a difference.

    • Mark Robertson

      That's interesting Josh. Did you immediately change the title of your video when you uploaded it or did you allow YouTube to parse that as the title while it finished uploading?

      • Josh Rimer

        I did immediately change the title during the upload so the only other thing I can think of is that maybe I was looking at that product online previously and was simply being tracked with an ad... at the time though it definitely made me think it was reading the file and then I heard other marketers saying the same thing. Did someone at YouTube actually confirm that it's not in fact the case?

        • kmcgaffin

          I'm with Mark on keywords in the title not doing anything for SEO.

          However, Josh there is a possible explanation for the SEO boost you see.

          And that is down to linking.

          When you link to your video internally from your own site you'll probably use the name of the video as the linking text. And if you've used keywords in the name of your video, this gives a signal to the search engines: likewise, when people link to your video from external sites, they'll again be likely to use the name of the video as linking text - again giving you a search engine benefit.

          Josh, that might explain the effect you see.

        • Josh Rimer

          @kmcgaffin:disqus I think you misunderstood... the file name had nothing to do with the video and yet the ad was related to the file name. It wouldn't make sense to link to the video from my own site using the file name - I would have linked to the YouTube url using words that actually relate to what the video is about.

          Look, a whopping 64% of marketers believe this works and I believe it because I accidentally saw it happen myself before I even knew others were doing/suggesting it to. I want to know what proof Mark has to declare that what the rest of us are doing and suggesting isn't actually correct.

        • kmcgaffin

          That's speed reading for you - apologies Josh

  • Damien Casten

    Christophor and everyone at ReelSEO - you are the most valuable resource we've found in regards to continuing education. Advice for various aspects of your sit and feeds has opened a ton of doors to ideas and partners. Keep it up!