Maximize Local Video SEO with these 6 Quick Tips

There are lots of strategies on general search engine optimization but very rarely does local video SEO get brought up. It is a very underutilized strategy.

Many businesses are utilizing video in digital marketing but rarely combine those efforts with local SEO. This is a missed opportunity when you consider that videos rank very well and 46% of all searches on Google are local.

Video results are 50x more likely to be organically ranked in Google than text-based results.

Video has an 11,000:1 probability of making it to the 1st page of Google. Text-based results have a 500,000:1 probability of making it to the 1st page.


1 – High-quality video

Before optimizing your video for local search engines, you need to make sure the content is compelling. If your video doesn’t provide a solution, benefit, or clear value to the end-user, it’ll never have as big of an impact.

2 – Fundamental video SEO

For a video to rank in your local market, it needs to have good fundamental SEO. That means it needs to be discoverable by Google and follow their best practices.

The lightning talk below from Google does a great job covering these basics.

One thing that is not mentioned in the video above is the “geotag” for YouTube videos. You can do this by including a location while uploading videos to YouTube. This is primarily meant for users looking for videos by specific locations, it’ll help solidify your video content for your target area.

3 – Maximize the description

YouTube videos allow A LOT of content for the description. Make the most of this valuable area by including helpful copy and cross-promoting relevant content.

YouTube description tips for SEO

  • Provide a clear 1-2 introductory sentence that includes your main keywords and the benefits for the visitor
  • Add a timeline overview where the viewer can find specific content within the video (more on this below)
  • Link to relevant content on your website, like blog posts and resources
  • Link to your other relevant videos on YouTube
  • Add hashtags for your key categories and topics
  • Add an accurate script that includes subtitles and captions

Optimizing YouTube timestamp links for SEO

Why are these timestamp links so important for SEO? Google can index these chapters directly and show them in the search results. This can increase your CTR (click-through rate), get wider impressions in search, and increase your overall traffic.

How YouTube timestamp links can show directly in Google's search results
How YouTube timestamp links can show directly in Google’s search results

Here is an example of an excellent YouTube video description with optimized timestamp links. This is from one of Google’s own videos so it’s a pretty darn good example to emulate.

Example of a great YouTube video description
Great YouTube descriptions work like a blog post table of contents to help navigation

How to add timestamp video chapter on YouTube

To add the timestamp links, also known as chapter markers, you simply type out the time in the correct format (requirements below). The most important part is the chapter title after the timestamp.

Add a concise title after each timestamp and include your main keywords where applicable. This can be a great opportunity to emphasize local keywords and geotags.

Requirements video chapters

  • The first timestap must start at 00:00
  • Videos chapters must have at least 3 timestamp in ascending order 
  • Every video chapter needs to be at least 10 seconds in length

YouTube video chapters can also be added automatically. This feature is built into YouTube. It can come in handy if you want to perform this action in bulk for a lot of videos.

YouTube tutorial on timestamp links

4 – Embed the video on your website

Embedding a video into your pages and posts won’t directly increase your ranking for that content on Google. However, time on page is a strong indicator of good content in Google’s eyes. Engaging and intriguing videos can increase that metric by a lot and in turn, help you get better rankings.

Even if you put your videos on YouTube, it is still a great idea to embed those videos on your website. Add your videos to relevant content that can help expand on the topics and ideas.

It is much easier for Google to understand the video when it has extra context. This makes blog posts a great companion for YouTube videos.

Quick Tip: Reach out to customers that leave a review on your Google My Business page and ask if they’d be willing to do a video testimonial. This extra social proof can help your SEO efforts and increase conversions.

Quick Tip: If you are using geo landing pages to target specific cities, strongly consider adding a custom video to each of those pages. This is a great way to increase engagement and potentially rankings.

Even better is if you can add schema markup to your embedded videos. This information helps Google and other search engines clearly find the following info for a video:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Thumbnail
  • Publisher Name
  • Publisher Logo
  • Upload Date

YouTube automatically adds this info to videos uploaded on their platform. However, you still want to make sure schema is added to the embedded version on your website. Matt Cutts from Google explains a bit more on this topic in the quick video below.

5 – Google My Business

GMB (Google My Business) is one of the best tools to utilize video for better local SEO. Consider adding videos here that highlight your company, feature local projects, and/or describe solutions you provide.

Quick Tip: The keywords used in a customer’s review on Google can help improve your local search engine optimization. While it is against Google’s policy to tell customers what to write, you can help guide them by asking them to talk about the products or services they purchase. Or ask them to talk about their project in regards to their experience.

This might be confusing when you log into your GMB dashboard since it only says “Photos.” Despite the menu label, you can add videos in this spot.

Where to add videos on a Google My Business page
This is where you can add videos to your Google My Business page

Just make sure your videos meet the following GMB requirements:

  • Duration: Up to 30 seconds long
  • File size: Up to 75 MB
  • Resolution: 720p or higher

6 – Local content

A lot of the videos we create as businesses touch on general industry topics but don’t tap into the local market. Whenever possible try to add a local bend to your video content.

YouTube will analyze the audio for relevant keywords and topics. It does this by using auto-generated captions.

For local video SEO, you want to include relevant keywords in your audio so they show up in your transcript
This is where you can view the transcript for a YouTube video

Including local resources, projects, testimonials, and more in your video will help promote the video in your area. For example, a contractor could feature local projects when creating a “how to install a door” video. Or a photographer could create a video on how to take photos with an iPhone at a local park.

Along the same lines, you should always include your business NAP (name, address, phone). This is typically included at the end of your video audio and/or at the end of the description field.

Quick Tip: The keywords used in a customer’s review on Google can help improve your local search engine optimization. While it is against Google’s policy to tell customers what to write, you can help guide them by asking them to talk about the products or services they purchase. Or ask them to talk about their project in regards to their experience.

WordPress video SEO solutions

We specialize in WordPress design and development so I always like to include solutions specific to the platform. Here are my favorite plugins for video SEO:

  • Yoast Video: We love the Yoast SEO plugin and their video extension adds support specifically for video content. It is the comprehensive plugin available for video SEO marketing efforts on WordPress. It helps improves the video watching experience for visitors, adds schema markup, and creates a video XML sitemap.
  • Schema Pro: A great tool for WordPress developers or assemblers that want to add video schema. I find this plugin the most useful when you’re utilizing WordPress custom post types specifically featuring video.
  • Ultimate Add-ons: If you use Beaver Builder or Elementor, then this plugin is perfect for you. It has a module specific to video that adds schema markup and optimizes the video loading for a faster experience.

Local video SEO questions

How long is the description box for YouTube videos?

YouTube allows up to 5,000 characters in the description field. Screen shot of YouTube description field

Can YouTube videos be optimized for Local SEO?

Yes. The most important parts are to include location and geo-tag keywords in your audio and description.

Why is video so effective for local search engine marketing?

Most small businesses are just learning how to utilize video marketing so there is not as much competition with video content.

Which platform is best for video SEO?

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world behind Google so it makes it the clear choice. However, there is nothing wrong with utilizing Vimeo or your own website hosting. Just be sure to include proper schema markup so Google knows to index the content as video.

Should I add schema markup to YouTube videos that I embed on a website?

Yes. Even though YouTube automatically adds schema to their videos, you’ll be responsible for including it on embedded YouTube videos on your website. Matt Cutts from Google confirmed as much.

Does embedding YouTube videos help SEO?

Embedding engaging, highly relevant videos to your pages can help with search engine optimization by increasing engagement and improving the user experience. Adding embedded YouTube videos just for the sake of boosting search engine reach will fall short if they don’t improve the user experience.

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Tyler Golberg

Tyler Golberg

I love writing about web design that inspires, figuring out Google's black box, and speaking to lively audiences. In my spare time, I enjoy reading Game of Thrones (waiting on Winds of Winter) and touring the lakes on my paddleboard.

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