Video Optimization for Universal Search

Derek and I attended a SEMNE event last night where Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR spoke on Universal search and in particular video. He discussed not only YouTube but the increased frequency of YouTube and other videos showing up in Google search results. He also provided us with a statistic that really caught my attention:

In September, YouTube was the 3rd leading search engine with over 1 million searches (ComScore Data)

First of all, I had no idea that many people were searching in YouTube. Second, with 1 million searches on YouTube, 5 billion searches on Google, and the advent of universal search, I don’t think the question is ‘Should I use video?’ but instead ‘How do I use video?‘.

For the past couple of months we have been providing some of our clients with video optimization strategies. While each strategy has slightly varied depending on the nature of the business the basic themes have been the same. Titles, tags and descriptions.

Choose a title that is accurate yet can be found in search results.

I came across this video in the Howto & Style section of YouTube with the title “How to: Create a smoky eye“. (For you boys out there, we are talking about makeup) The title not only tells what the video is about, but also incorporates keywords people are searching for. Let’s take a look at keyword discovery has to say about ‘smoky eyes’:


I’d say that Ford Models did a good job of optimizing their title for search.

Choose the correct category and tags for your videos

Back to the smoky eye video. They chose ‘Howto & Style’ as a category and ‘models’, ‘makeup’, ‘cosmetics’, ‘eyes’, and ‘beauty’ for tags. The category fits the video just right. The tags they chose are ok but they could add a few more. What tags are similar videos using?

(see actual search result)


‘Smokey’, ‘smoky’, ‘tips’, ‘lessons’, ‘tutorials’ and ‘make-up’. A video about ‘smoky eyes’ may want to consider adding the tags ‘smokey’ and ‘smoky’. When tagging videos it is important to cover all the angles.

Include a short description that includes keywords, grabs the users attention and is not overtly commercial.

Creating a description can be tough. The user typically only sees the first few words so including a URL at the beginning of the description isn’t usually the best way to go. Back to our smoky eye video:

“M·A·C Pro makeup artist Chantel Miller shows how to create a smoky eye….ford models makeup MAC cosmetics beauty sexy eyes”

Now the description isn’t perfect (it simply lists keywords at the end) but the beginning of the description is succinct, accurate, includes keywords, and uses a big name to grab attention. It is written for both search engines and users.

What are the benefits of optimizing my video?

All right, we found this video and it has a good title, is properly tagged for the most part and has a good description. What are the benefits? Well lets take a look at Google search results:

(see actual search results)


It seems our smoky eye video is second in the search results. In between TWO OTHER VIDEOS! With videos in the 1,2 & 3 positions in the search results and approximately 6 billion people searching Google and YouTube a month…I’d say there is a pretty good benefit to optimizing your video.

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