Optimizing for Search

A guide to maximizing SEO results

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the emerging art and science of ensuring your web pages rank highly in a web-based search. Think about it: to find just about anything, you go to Google and type in a few logical words. Companies and organizations who have optimized their web site content (or video) for search appear on the first page of search results—usually the only page that gets scanned by the searcher. It is therefore worth taking the time to make your web pages and video content search friendly so that people can find and share your content. And, the more people share and link to your content, the better your search results will be.


Google and YouTube are by far the largest search engines so optimizing your website and video-related content for them is paramount. This guide will help you with SEO basics for any web page plus SEO for videos. There are two sections:


The basics—SEO fundamentals for any web page and video

Advanced—additional ways to improve your page and video ranking

The basics—SEO fundamentals for any web page and video

  1. Make a list of the keywords that a potential visitor might use on Google or YouTube to search a topic related to your product, service, or area of focus.For instance, potential customers might search “corporate videos,” “marketing videos,” or “documentary-style videos” when looking for a partner to help them produce a video. The goal is to find keywords that a potential customer/supporter might use to find you in search but that are usable within the actual content on your site—i.e. the words have to make sense within the context of your website or video post, not just be optimized for search.keywords list

  2. Look for low competition, high global monthly searches. Also, YouTube offers a free Youtube Keyword suggestion tool that makes it easy to find relevant keywords for your content.

    google analytics
    Use Google Analytics to see what keywords people are currently using to get to your website vs. what keywords you’d like people to be using to land on your site.


  3. Leverage your best keywords within the following areas of your website and video post:
    URL Structure: The urls you use for key web pages on your site (home, about us, etc). Also, ensure that key pages have only one url associated with them. More than one url will confuse search engines. If you have more than one url for a page, make one url the main url and redirect any others to it.
    Meta Tags: Meta tags are key components of your web page that are picked up by search engines more readily than other site content
    Titles: titles are the actual page names that appear in the tabs at the very top of the web page just under the url. Leverage at least one keyword within each page title.
    Indexable Content

    • H1 tags: H1 tags are the actual titles/headers on your webpage. Use your strongest keyword(s) within header language to attract search engines.
    • Introductory copy: Many sites make the mistake of eliminating content to create ultra clean, visual web pages. The downside of this approach is that it eliminates yet another way search engines find you. By including 1-2 sentences of search-friendly introductory copy you can not only orient your website visitors but you can also further improve your page rank.
    • Video titles: Include strong keywords in your video title and include the word “video” in the title as well.
    • Video descriptions: Include a short blurb on your web page about your video (and YouTube will provide you a description entry area when posting). Include your strongest keyword(s).
    • Video tags: Use as many relevant keywords as possible when creating tags for your video in YouTube. This will help your search results within YouTube and across the web.
  4. Make it easy for people to share your documentaryLeverage all sharing tools offered on YouTube/other video sites and add share buttons if posting on your own website or landing page to make it easier for people to share your video. If you’ve built a landing page, allow people to also share the page or link to it. The more people that share your video or link to it/the page on which it is hosted, the better your page rank will be in search results.

Advanced—additional ways to improve your page and video ranking

  1. Create a landing page for each video you produce.Landing pages are a great way to focus attention on your video or specific, highly searchable subject matter and increase page ranking for the video/your organization as a whole with SEO. Search engines like new, relevant content so, by creating a landing page for each video you produce, you can increase your overall page rank. Once people come to your landing page, you can link them over to your home page or other key pages about you. Landing pages also allow you to present your video on a clean page that includes a specific call to action (vs on a home page where it might sit next to competing content/calls to action).Follow all the SEO basics above when structuring the page (url, meta tags, etc). Have some fun with the content that surrounds the video—what issue does the video cover? Why did you make the video? Was there anything interesting about the making of the video? Lastly, make sure you include all sharing tools for viewers and encourage them to share and link to the page in addition to any other calls to action (donate, sign a petition,etc).
  2. Evolve your keywords by tracking and analyzing through Google Analytics.Make sure the keywords you’re using are working in driving more traffic; update them as necessary. Learn more.
  3. Link like crazy—and get others to link to you.
    • Make sure that at the top of your landing page you have related searches (ideally on the top of the page) that allow the user to go to related pages like your home page, about us page, partner pages (navigational breadcrumbs are also important in linking to related pages). Utilize your blog to generate links to new pages, like a new video landing page.
    • Encourage partners to link to your landing page (and other web pages); actively seek other organizations in your area of expertise and ask them to swap links.
    • Competitions and prize draws, which are likely to be widely shared, are effective link building tactics. By announcing a contest with a few hundred dollar prize, you can easily get hundreds or even thousands of links to your landing page. Think video making, writing, photo or other contests, asking users to submit content that relates to your subject somehow—hopefully content you can use!
    • Consider creating a badge or button for your community members to place on their owns sites to show allegiance (and at the same time, link back to you).
    • Reach out to reporters / bloggers who cover the topic explored in your micro-documentary to share your video and landing page. Make sure that you’re pitching a compelling story in their area of interest around your video and not just asking them to post the video to their blog without any context around its significance. Offer an exec for an interview on the topic to sweeten the deal.

See more tips from SEO Book.



Step 1: Post it Right

Step 2: Show it off

Step 3: Advertise & Publicize

Optimize for search (SEO)

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