12 Video SEO Tips: How to Optimize Video for Search

March 30, 2023

The video marketing landscape quickly evolved from the latest trend to a primary channel by which millions of businesses attract and win new customers.

If numbers are any indication of where people’s attention has shifted to, YouTube users watch over 1 billion hours daily. 

If you aren’t utilizing every resource available to maximize your content’s discoverability and results, your prospective customers will go to a different company.

Video SEO is one of several key strategies for lasting results, especially because building a strong audience leads to greater customer loyalty. 

Here are the top video SEO tips to build a raving viewership of buyers. 

1) How long should a video be for SEO?

There is no definitive answer on how long a video should be for SEO. It depends on multiple factors, including the topic, the audience, and the platform. 

According to Statista, the ideal length for YouTube videos is between one and five minutes—indicated by the majority of top results after a search on the platform.

TikTok thrives on much shorter content. TikTok accounts with the most views had videos that varied in duration between 32- and 42-seconds on average.

Keeping most videos under two minutes is an optimal length for engagement and retention.

Users prefer different durations depending on the channel, so it’s important to align content with the audience’s unique expectations.

2) What is a high audience retention video?

Videos with high audience retention rates have increased visibility on platforms. Audience retention rates are the percentage of the video your audience actually watches. For example, if your content is two minutes long and viewers watch for 30 seconds, the retention rate is 25 percent.

The retention rate reported by most channels on YouTube is between 20 and 40 percent. When viewers watch through to the end, completing the video sends signals to YouTube that your content is valuable and gives you a boost in search results. 

Compare retention rates of existing content to inform strategy for future videos. Higher rates indicate opportunities for longer videos. Keep in mind, the retention rate isn’t the only signal used for identifying quality. Other signals come from subscriber growth, comments, shares, and likes.

3) What are the benefits of video keyword research?

Video keyword research involves finding the phrases and terms people are using to search for videos. Knowing the queries people are using helps you optimize your content for YouTube and Google searches, attract more views, and increase engagement. Without keyword research, we’re simply guessing what people want to watch or buy. 

Discovering popular topics and ideas for new content based on what people are actually searching for is one of the main benefits of keyword research. It allows us to match content to searcher intent, and provide relevant and helpful information that answers their questions directly.

Focus on keywords with high search volumes and low competition to improve ranking in search results. Leverage trending phrases and terms to capture attention and increase engagement.

There are a variety of ways to approach keyword research for video SEO, including:

  • Using tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and KeywordTool.io to generate keyword suggestions based on YouTube data.
  • Competitor analysis of their top videos to see which keywords they use in their titles, descriptions, and tags.
  • Referring to YouTube autocomplete for common and long-tail keywords based on your search string.

While adding keywords and including them in your titles and descriptions can help videos rank, it’s also essential to say keywords out loud. Platforms like TikTok pay extra attention to the words spoken in the video to better understand the nature of the content.

4) What is a good title for a video?

You’ve edited your video, finished the thumbnail, decided on a publication date, and now it’s time to write a title. What do you include to ensure optimal results? 

Similar to SEO for website content, place your primary keyword as early as possible in the title. This helps video search algorithms and users determine your content’s relevance to specific queries. 

Be mindful to stay well under the YouTube title character limits. Even though we have 100 usable characters, most devices display up to 60-70 characters.

Remember to avoid clickbait. Proper titles are honest and not misleading. The last thing we want is to frustrate a viewer or leave them feeling like they were rickrolled.

Besides using industry-related jargon or the language your audience relates to, leverage the power of emotive words. Examples of words that are difficult to overlook include appalling, epic, justice, terror, betrayed, and adored.

5) What are the best practices for video thumbnails?

Video thumbnails are small images that preview the content of the video. They help you attract more clicks and views by creating interest among potential viewers. Here are some best practices for improving your thumbnails:

  • Optimal size: Start by using the right thumbnail size for each video platform. The ideal YouTube thumbnail size is 1280px by 720px and the ideal size on TikTok is 144px by 144px. 
  • Clickthrough-boosting colors: The colors red and yellow are proven to increase clickthrough rate regardless of what your video is about.
  • A human face: Whenever possible, include an image of someone’s face in your thumbnails. The human face consistently outperforms most other images in marketing materials, as it builds trust faster. 
  • Add title text: Help viewers understand the exact purpose of the video by incorporating short and relevant title text into the thumbnail. Use text sparingly to avoid a cluttered look or making words too small to read.
  • Use an action scene: Highlight a snapshot that shows action, emotion, or drama. Avoid generic, boring, or repetitive imagery. 

6) How often should you post videos?

The ideal posting frequency depends on your goals, audience, content, and platform. While there’s no magic formula, there are some best practices to aim for.

Focus on consistency. Committing to one per week is an achievable benchmark that keeps you relevant for your audience. By the end of year one, you’ll have at least 52 videos advocating for your brand and products.

Aim for quality over quantity. Don’t post for the sake of posting or compromise quality to meet a quota. Ensure videos are relevant, well-produced, and add value for the viewers.

Use different posting schedules for each platform. Each channel has different algorithms with different rewards for post frequency. Experiment with what your audience engages with the most and adjust accordingly.

Take advantage of the opportunity to repurpose longer YouTube videos into shorter clips for other platforms. One movie can be cut into several clips for Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. 

7) How do I get more likes and comments?

Attracting more comments and likes is a front-end indicator that your content is meeting your audience’s needs.

Ask for feedback. You’ll see like and comment numbers increase simply by asking people to like, comment, and share your content. Interacting with your audience is one of the most overlooked ways to increase engagement. Reply to comments, thank them for their support, and join the discussion.

Remember to promote your content either by sharing them or embedding them elsewhere. Placing videos on as many relevant web pages as possible, such as a blog post covering a similar topic, generates a decent lift in likes and comments. 

8) Do video subtitles help?

Increasing your use of video subtitles can improve the reach and performance of your content. Captions improve accessibility and help people with special needs understand the content.

Search engine algorithms detect which videos have query-matching keywords from subtitles. Including them improves organic search performance. 

A visible transcript on the page helps SEO. Although, it’s okay for the transcript to be uploaded into the videos system and accessible from a dropdown or button.

9) Should I put tags on my YouTube video?

Tags are descriptive keywords you can add to your video to help viewers find the content.

Tags can be useful if the content of your video is commonly misspelled. Otherwise, tags play a minimal role in your video's discovery. It’s against Google’s policies on spam, deceptive practices, and scams to add excessive tags to descriptions. 

Outside of those use cases, tags are not important to YouTube video SEO. 

10) Does a call-to-action improve ranking in a video? 

Adding a call-to-action (CTA) to your video improves ranking by increasing the click-through rate, engagement rate, and conversion rate.

A CTA is a message that tells your viewers what you want them to do next, such as subscribing, liking, sharing, commenting, visiting your website, or buying your product. There are different types we can use, such as audible or spoken, text, image, and buttons.

You can also be strategic by spreading them out at different points in your video, such as the beginning, the middle, or the end.

However, placing a CTA at the start of your video may be more effective in some instances because viewers may not watch all the way through to the end.

11) Which channels should you optimize for?

It’s important to understand the advantages of each platform. 

When it comes to YouTube, advantages include viewer loyalty, it’s ideal for more technical subjects, and many viewers use it to inform their purchasing decisions. These facts make YouTube excellent for long-term audience development and revenue growth. 

TikTok video marketing advantages include reaching younger consumers, becoming successful with niche audiences, and sharing bite-sized insights. These points make TikTok ideal for driving rapid brand expansion or increasing brand awareness among specific audiences.

Both TikTok and YouTube are helpful for marketing. But it depends on who you’re trying to reach and when. If you want to see fast results, turn to TikTok. If you’re ready to grow your pool of buyers, invest more heavily in YouTube. 

12) Leverage the power of sentiment analysis for video SEO

Understanding the customer experience and sentiment is at the heart of successful video SEO. Vyrill's platform is an excellent solution for this purpose.

By analyzing the sentiments expressed in video content, the Vyrill platform provides valuable insights into how audiences are responding to a brand's message or product. 

Vyrill's in-video search technology helps brands understand their audience's needs and interests. By analyzing the keywords and phrases being spoken, brands can gain a deeper understanding of the pain points or preferences of their audience and adjust their marketing efforts accordingly.

Overall, incorporating Vyrill's platform into a Video SEO strategy helps you identify opportunities to improve products, adjust messaging, and learn what people think about your competitors.

Brands can ultimately use valuable insights about audience sentiment and key demographics to increase awareness, engagement, and sales.


By implementing these tips, you can increase your chances of videos ranking higher in search results, attracting more viewers, increasing engagement, and ultimately achieving your marketing goals.

Book a demo to learn how brands use sentiment analysis to drive their video SEO strategy.

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About the Author

Katy boasts two decades in B2B technology & services, spearheading growth and brand evolution. A former Adobe marketing maven for 9 years, she’s since built growth teams for 5 tech startups that have all been acquired. With a stellar record in operational excellence and creating demand, she excels at leading successful cross-functional initiatives that enable companies to scale up.

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