Video SEO Guide: SEO Best Practices
Video is becoming a major part of online content. Video content can certainly help to increase the depth and variety of your center of content. The search engines love additional depth and variety so video content helps your site and blog to rank higher.
Video content is valuable because it typically creates more engagement and interest for your website than traditional articles—it’s often easier to understand and can be more enjoyable. Many people prefer video content and it gives you more opportunity to be creative and unique with the material you choose to show.
If you do the work to create and publish video content then it only makes sense to optimize this content for search.
Fortunately, video SEO doesn’t have to be a difficult new task. You’ll find that it isn’t too different from the optimizing you were doing with your content and your website in the past. Once you understand the basics the benefits are more than worth it.
Top Ways to Improve Your Video SEO
Your first step in a video strategy is of course creating the video. After you have your video ready to go, you have to decide if you’re going to host that video on YouTube or at some other location designed for hosting video content.
Many people host their videos on YouTube because it’s easy, free, the second largest search engine, and you can post your YouTube hosted videos on your website. In short, it’s easier to post a video on YouTube.
However, I also want to note that there are some good reasons why companies prefer to host a video on their own hosting environment and then control exactly how they are displayed and what is displayed. You lose some of this control hosting on YouTube.
OK, you have a video and it is hosted in an place of your choosing. What SEO can be performed to increase its exposure?
Use keywords in all the places you can use them. This is an excellent place to start when it comes to optimization. Just as with a traditional piece of content, you want to be able to tell the search engines what your content is about, and keywords are a huge part of that. You want to make sure your keywords are natural, but it doesn’t hurt to make it a point to include keywords in your title, description, and tags (discussed below).
Of course, part of using keywords for optimization is doing a little bit of keyword research. Certain keywords lend themselves to ranking well on Google, such as the example “cute cats.” Google knows that when people type this into the search field that they want to see videos as opposed to an article about why cats are cute. When I did a search using this phrase at the time of writing this blog post the top three search results were YouTube videos, then another video from Animal Planet and then a website (www.cutecatvideos.net). Google knows that people favor video content when searching using this term.
When you are choosing a keyword that you think might work well do a quick check to see if Google is putting video results for that keyword on the first page. If so, then you’ve picked a good one.
If there are no videos then you have a chance to be the 1st one and this may also be good.
Have An Engaging Title
Of course part of optimizing your video for search is having a title that will really stand out, but what many people forget is that your title should also include your keyword to cater to the search engines. The way in which you word your title will also affect your SEO. For example, if you’re trying to rank for the phrase “Woodstock Vermont Real Estate,” you would want your title to say something like “Woodstock Vermont Real Estate – 10 Cool Facts” and not “10 Cool Facts – Woodstock Vermont Real Estate.” The beginning is always the best place for a keyword, and it has to appear natural.
Create a Thorough Description (including the length)
It’s important to remember that the search engines cannot actually watch your video, so the content you have on the page is a major factor in how they determine the contents of your video. Your description is the spot where you can add the most text, so you need to make it count. This is where you should be utilizing your keywords—this will help you rank for those keywords as well as long-tail keywords.
Some companies include a transcript of the video. Making the transcript available and making people aware that the transcript is available in the description of the video can be an excellent way to include relevant, keyword-rich content that will help both your viewers and your optimization efforts. A transcript may be particularly valuable if you are discussing a confusing or involved topic. People typically want to be able to refer back to different sections of the video, and a transcript gives them another way to do that.
To include the length of the video gives people a “heads up” so they can determine if it is short or long and if long then they know how much time they will need to set aside to view it.
When it comes to video, tags actually do matter. You want to use important keyword phrases as the keywords are another way to let the search engines know how your video should be categorized. Think about what your target audience might search for and then use those terms as additional tags for your video.
A Video Sitemap
Creating a sitemap is the easiest way to let the search engines know you have a video on your website; thus helping them index that video. As noted the preferred option is to control your content so to host your video and display them the way you want to is important. Once placed on your website do a complete job and create a video sitemap for the videos you have displayed on your website and/or blog.
View this video from Google to learn how to create a video sitemap and more about why it matters.
By the way, this is a video I watched on YouTube, I then downloaded it and then uploaded it to my account at Wistia. I therefore have more control of this video.
Note that Google recommends a video sitemap so it is wise to create one and make it accessible to the search engines.
Finally, schema.org is also a great way to ensure you have an optimized video. This HTML markup offers additional information to the search engines (particularly describing your video), and it will not affect any video sitemaps that you’re already using. Schema is just data about your video specifically designed for the search engines.
Google, Yahoo and Bing all recommend using rich text snippets using the format at Schema.org so SEO wisdom suggests that this is a good idea.
A Few Extra SEO Video Tips
Other factors to help spread the word include link building and social sharing. It works like a domino affect in the same way that is does for your traditional content. If your video becomes popular you can gain natural in-coming links and your video will also be embedded and you will enjoy more organic SEO position.
Last of all you can to help make sure your video stands out from the rest by including comments and custom thumbnail images.