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Video SEO: Jump to the Top of Google Results!

Updated on November 5, 2012

Video search results & video SEO make it possible to rank high in Google.

Have you noticed the changes in the Google search results pages lately? The days of the standard text-only links on the results page for many search queries are over, and a new blended results page is in its place. Of course, the Google blended results page still serves up the plain text links that we have become so accustomed to, but it also includes links and thumbnails to videos and images; as well as local map results.

In essence, by ranking well for video, images, or local search, website owners have new ways to climb the ranks within Google results.

This article focuses on the implications of video search and how to apply video SEO techniques in order to get a boost in Google's new blended results page:

  1. How video thumbnails in blended search results impact search user behavior
  2. How the use of video and video SEO can boost rank in Google
  3. Video SEO techniques

Example showing video search results in a blended Google SERP:

An example showing video results and video thumbnails in positions 2 and 3 on a Google SERPs for "how to make pizza dough."
An example showing video results and video thumbnails in positions 2 and 3 on a Google SERPs for "how to make pizza dough." | Source

Eye-tracking studies reveal the impact of video search in blended results


Text-only Google SERPs: search user behavior

Search Result Position
% of Clicks
% of Time Spent
(mouse behavior)
(eye-tracking behavior)
Table 1: Data from 2006 eye-tracking analysis for 397 queries conducted at Cornell University.

1. How video thumbnails in blended search results impact search user behavior

Take a look at the Google results above for the search query "how to make pizza dough." Which result were you drawn to the most?

In this pizza dough example, video results appear in positions two and three. Since video thumbnails are now appearing in search results for many types of queries, website owners are beginning to retool their SEO strategy to include video SEO.

There have been several interesting research studies conducted to measure the impact that video results have on an internet searcher's behavior. In the past, eye tracking and clicking behavior studies for traditional text-only results pages have shown that position 1 is better than position 2, which is better than position 3 (see table 1). But do these behaviors remain the same when video thumbnails are present in search results?

Luckily, eye tracking studies have also been conducted for blended SERPs (search engine results pages), as well. The eye tracking studies form heat maps, showing "hot zones" where the participants' eyes gaze most frequently.

SEOmoz conducted such a study, Eye-Tracking Google SERPs, in which particpants viewed five different types of search pages for various queries having to do with pizza. Their query, "how to make pizza" produced results similar to the ones pictured above with video thumbnails in positions two and three.

Interestingly, the resultant heat map revealed that the first video thumbnail was viewed with the most frequency, even at the expense of the traditional text-only result in position number one!

Other eye-tracking studies have shown similar results even if the video results begin in postion three or four. Keep in mind, however, the conducted research is for eye-tracking, not clicking behavior. But it stands to reason that more clicking will occur where the eyes are looking.

In fact, Jeremy Scott claims in the article, A Video SEO Study, that videos in blended search results have a 41% higher click through rate than plain text results.

It also stands to reason that if video thumbnails are taking traffic that positions one and two would normally get, then adding video and applying video SEO techniques may be beneficial to gain rank and traffic.


2. How video & video SEO can boost search rank

Let's face it, there is a lot of competition to get in the top position of any Google SERP, making SEO critical for any type of website. But video is actually easier to rank well than a non-multimedia rich website.

There are several reasons why it is easier to get first page rank with video:

>> There is a lot less competition with videos than there is for websites.

When it comes to getting first page rank with Google, you have much better odds of doing so with video. In Nate Elliot's article about using Video SEO to get first page ranking on Google, he explains:

On the keywords for which Google offers video results, we found an average of 16,000 videos vying to appear on results pages ... [and] by comparison, there were an average of 4.7 million text pages competing for a place on results pages.

>> Google value sites with engaging content.

Bruce Clay, President of the SEO company, Bruce Clay, Inc. states,

The biggest element of video... is that it's high-engagment. And as an engagement element, that's ... something that Google's going to look for both within the Google search results page and on the web pages that it's indexing.

[Source: Video has Changed The Search Results Forever: Bruce Clay ©2008-2011 Online Video Guide]

>> Since using video SEO is newer, many existing videos are not well-optimized, making it easier for well-optimized videos to rank well.

A video optimized for search stands a good chance of getting first page ranking on a blended search results page.

Video keywords should be informational.

Videos for informational keywords like "how to make pizza" often appear in blended search results.
Videos for informational keywords like "how to make pizza" often appear in blended search results. | Source

3. Video SEO techniques

Since search engines cannot read or hear the content of a video, understanding video SEO is critical for getting to the top of Google results. But if search engines cannot understand a video's content, how then do you optimize a video?

Video SEO means including keywords in a video's:

  • File name
  • Title
  • Caption
  • Available descriptions and tags

Video keywords should be:

  • Informational (how-to, learn, what is, etc.)
  • Not transactional (buy, cheap, free, etc.)

Video SEO also means:

  • Including video on a content-relevant page (to give the search engine clues to the content of the video)
  • Making sure the content-relevant page itself is optimized for search engines

Number of views also affects video search rank:

  • YouTube: consider hosting a video on YouTube and then embedding it into your site
  • HubPages: allows you to write a lot of relevant, keyword-rich content to support video (note: uploading videos directly to HubPages is coming in a couple months, but video can be added via the video capsule now.)

Video SEO and video search results make it easier to get to the top of Google

Eye tracking studies reveal that a searcher may be more likely to notice a video search result over a higher-ranking plain text result. Additionally, since Google values engaging content and the odds of ranking higher with video are greater than plain text, the use of video and applying video SEO is more important than ever before.

Do you want to write about what you know or what interests you?

Join HubPages now. It's free, simple to use & you can publish within minutes.


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    • moizk profile image

      Moiz Khan 

      6 years ago from Pakistan

      Thank you for such an interesting article. I had fun reading it and learned way to much than I know. It also opens up many possibilities for me.

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Cloverleaf - Thank you so much. Video is a great way to improve search results, especially for hubs where video adds value (i.e. how to...). Thanks for the vote and for sharing.

    • Cloverleaf profile image


      7 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Ktrapp, you're an absolutely wealth of information and never fail to impress me! Improving my search results is very important to me, I will refer to your hub over and over again. Voting up and sharing!

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Donna - Thanks so much. Improving search results is definitely the goal of any online publisher, and it is nice when we have new and creative ways to try and achieve those goals - such as through the use of video.

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 

      7 years ago from USA

      Great article and tips about a new way to improve one's search results:)

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Eddy, Thrilled to know you found this video search information both interesting and useful. Thanks so much.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      So interesting as well as very useful.

      Up up and away here.

      Take care;


    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Steph. I look forward to seeing some of your videos. Are you part of the test group?

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Cool - thanks Kristin. That is very helpful. I need to experiment with the HubPages video feature. Your hub and last comment were great! Thanks again, Steph

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Steph - For the most part a lot of the video search results that appear are in fact on YouTube. But I don't believe that is because they are stand-alone videos, but rather YouTube just happens to be where the majority of videos are hosted. I believe something like 84% of video results are on YouTube.

      But that doesn't mean videos have to be on YouTube to appear in video results. In fact, if you look at the screenshot above for "how to make pizza dough" the first video result is on videojug which also allows for supporting articles (similar to HubPages).

      I cannot speak directly for the HubPages upcoming video feature, as I am not part of the testing group, but from what I can see from some of the beta video hubs it looks like they are handled differently than regular hubs. If you look at the URL for one of them you will seen "video" in place of "hub." All of the beta HubPages videos that I have seen in search results do have the video thumbnails. I think Google "reads" these types of hubs with automatically playing videos differently than hubs that include videos hosted elsewhere (i.e. YouTube).

      If you are not noticing any of the HubPage beta videos in search results I think it is more a matter of SEO and title choice, and not that they are hosted on HubPages instead of YouTube. I hope this answer makes sense :) I for one am anxiously awaiting the upcoming video feature.


    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      It sounds like stand-alone videos, like those on YouTube are what you are talking about in the search results. If we include relevant, key-word appropriate videos in our hubs - even those hubs using the upcoming video feature, they will not necessarily have the video link/thumbnail next to the search result, correct?

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      You're welcome randomcreative. I hope it is even more useful when HubPages rolls out their new video feature in a few months.

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great topic for a hub! Thanks for all of the useful information.

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      kl2000 - Since Google is in the business of "search" perhaps they purchased YouTube in the first place knowing that they would be incorporating media results into their search results. At the moment a large percentage of video search results are hosted by Google, but they do appear from other sites, as well, including some from HubPages beta test group. Although the HP videos I searched for were not ranking as well as they could. But, from my observation, that is most likely because they need a little video SEO. That's sort of what prompted me to write this hub.

    • kl2000 profile image


      7 years ago

      I agree with this post. Let's face it - Google shelled out around 1.5 billion for YouTube. Pretty big investment. Videos are very engaging and I'm sure they are sending plenty of signals out to Googlebot.

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      The Finance Hub - I am sure you can come up with a few creative finance videos to show up as a video search result. Videos certainly don't need to be on every hub or website. You could even consider doing a short interview maybe with someone who has gotten out of credit card debt (How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt), or some other applicable topic. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks TrahnTheMan. Nice to know this Video SEO was both informative and helpful to you.

    • TrahnTheMan profile image


      7 years ago from Asia, Oceania & between

      Informative and helpful--thanks. DO you have any suggestions to help with improving hubkarma?

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Go Writer - I am really anxious for the HubPages video feature to move out of beta testing and be available to the masses. I checked in with HP (in Jan. '12) and was told that it would be a couple more months. But I'm ready to go when they are and ready to apply these video SEO tips.

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      catalystnstars - That's funny. Let me know when you get a chance to read all the video SEO information if it was as helpful as you anticipated! Thanks for your comment.

    • ktrapp profile imageAUTHOR

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      RTalloni - You are very welcome. Glad to know you found it helpful.

    • profile image

      Go Writer 

      7 years ago

      Well written hub. Now, I'm looking forward to the Hubpages video feature coming up.

    • catalystsnstars profile image


      7 years ago from Land of Nod

      Right now, I find it funny that when I clicked on your link from the hubpages homepage, it said this hub had a score of 69. When it opened up, it was 70. And I haven't even read this hub but I know already it's going to be tremendously helpful. THANK YOU!!

    • RTalloni profile image


      7 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks much for posting this helpful info on using videos.


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