Video might be the missing piece of your SEO efforts

VID-E-O: The missing piece to your search efforts

By Colter Hettich

March 4, 2024
5 ways to help your videos appear on Google Search Engine Results Pages

Video can play a starring role in your SEO strategy.

Did you know that nearly 20% of all searches on Google return a video in the results? Not only is that percentage trending higher, but videos routinely appear above the #2 ranking page.

Not quite convinced? Consider that videos appear as a “rich result,” which means the results include a non-textual element (in this case, a video thumbnail). Rich results get 41% more clicks than standard text results.

Below we outline several things you can start doing now to increase the odds of your video appearing on a search engine results page (SERP):

1. Use YouTube. Google and YouTube are both under the Alphabet family. Though Google, which is notoriously secretive about its algorithm, has officially denied giving preference to YouTube — an investigation by the Wall Street Journal found that actual search results overwhelmingly favored videos hosted on YouTube. We performed some quick tests and saw the same. It’s wise to trust what Google does, not what it says. Host your videos on YouTube whenever possible.

2. “Chapterize” your video. YouTube gives you the option to divide your video into chapters, which tells the bots exactly what’s happening in the video and when. Google will show those chapters on the SERP (Figure 1), and in some cases will actually link to those chapters (Figure 2).

Figure 1.

screenshot of google showing timestamped chapters within a youtube video

Figure 2.

Screenshot of google search result linking directly to a chapter within a YouTube video

3. Optimize video titles and descriptions. The title of your video is as important as the headline of an article. Study the titles of videos ranking for similar topics and emulate them.

4. Make your video accessible. Again, Google has officially (and bafflingly) denied penalizing content that is not ADA compliant — however their mantra is “helpful content and great experiences.” The key to making your video accessible, and therefore more appealing to Google, is simple: captions and transcripts. YouTube can use AI to automatically generate these, but research shows they are only 60-70% accurate. That means 1 in 3 words is incorrect. Take the time to upload proper and correct captions and transcripts.

5. Try taking an SEO-first approach to all content. While every video is not going to be a pure SEO play, it can pay to let an SEO strategy inform some of your videos. It’s no different than articles. In some cases, you can design a suite of content specifically with the goal of increasing organic traffic. In other cases, you may only want to optimize some content you’d created for a different specific purpose. Video is the same.

None of this sacrifices video quality.

It’s important to note that these recommendations follow content best practices. If you remove SEO from the picture entirely, you should still be proud to publish your videos. Google will continue to change — which means rankings and SERPs will continue to change — so it’s vital to not compromise the quality of your content for SEO performance.

Is your SEO strategy collecting dust? Looking to create your first SEO strategy?

Contact us! We’d love to discuss your existing efforts and your short- and long-term SEO goals. Please don’t hesitate to email us at or contact us here.

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