In the past video has presented an interesting challenge for SEOs as it’s widely accepted that Google cannot see or understand this content. However, the popularity of video with consumers, and the correlation with an increased conversion rate, indicates that it should not be omitted from a strong marketing campaign. Luckily, there are several ways you can optimize your video content for search, combining the appeal of video with the power of SEO to drive a high volume of targeted traffic to your site.
SEO Tips for Video Optimization
- Place keywords in video title, description, tags and filename
- Include a keyword-optimized transcript of video
- Optimize URLs ‚Äì include one video per URL and when possible store in a video subfolder
- Create inbound links with video in the anchor text
- Create a video site map
- Properly canonicalize all versions of video
- Share your videos via YouTube
When uploading your video make sure to include one or two targeted keywords in your video title and description. Most of the time this on-page content is written in HTML and is crawlable by Google; and in the case of YouTube, is actually used to populate the page’s Meta data (on YouTube the video’s title becomes the Page Title, the video description becomes the Page Description and the video tags are the Page Keywords).
This also means that many times the video’s title and description are displayed in the SERPs, and strategically placing keywords throughout both can influence CTRs to your video pages.
While Google is becoming better at identifying objects and text within an image, for now Google is not able to understand or index content contained within a video. This means Google is not able to see any of the content within your video unless it is also placed within an HTML transcript on the page.
Since the Panda update, Google has been cracking down on pages with thin content. If your page has no additional content outside of your video that is visible to Google you are putting your site at risk for a penalty. Avoid other Google complications by ensuring the transcript you display on your page closely matches with the content in your video. If not Google may assume you’re trying to manipulate the search engines and devalue your site.
If you have multiple videos on your site make sure to put each video on a separate URL, this way each video can correctly target it’s relevant keywords. Categorize similar videos to keep content organized. When possible, clean up each video’s URL. The URL “example.com/video/how-to-train your-dog” is much more pleasing to both the search engines, and users who (will see the URL in the SERPs) than the URL “example.com?=howtotrainyourdog&?v=vHEg78-Z9xQ”.
Housing your videos in a subfolder marked videos, or including the word video in the URL helps both the user and Google identify the content as video and find all other videos on site.
Sometimes you can never be too obvious! Targeting a link building campaign around the word video serves as another great indicator to the search engines that the content on your site is in video format. Americans are consuming online video at an ever-increasing rate. According to a June study by Nielsen, Americans consume an average of four hours and 20 minutes of online video each month; this is up almost 36% from the previous quarter, Q4 2010. Making this content highly visible in the search engines will help attract consumers who would rather be presented with information in video form.
In some cases, incorporating the word video into your keyword set can help you identify long-tail keywords based upon the harder to rank for head terms. Test variations of the word video with some of your head terms and see if you can identify “untapped” keyword combinations, which have a lower difficulty score but still have a decent search volume.
Help Google index your video content by creating a video sitemap for your site. The compatible file types include .mpg, .mpeg, .mp4, .mov, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .ra, .ram, .rm, .flv, and you can include up to 50,000 URLs in one sitemap. The file must be no more than 10MB uncompressed and you can submit your sitemap through Google Webmaster Tools, or through your Robots.txt file.
For some sites it makes sense to offer the same video in several formats and sizes, each housed on a different URL. Some file types and player sizes load and perform better in different browsers and it can be beneficial for users to have options.
While this approach can be great for the users, Google will view each version of the original URL as duplicate content. If using this method on your site make sure to correctly implement the canonical tag on each URL to indicate to Google that it is not duplicate content, but a different version of an existing page and also to select a preferred URL to display in the SERPs and to apply linking metrics to.
Last year comScore released a study which showed YouTube surpassing Yahoo in the total volume of search queries performed on each site, making YouTube the second largest search engine behind Google. Other studies also show YouTube search queries accounting for nearly 28 percent of all searches on Google sites. In short, users are out there looking for your videos and there’s a good chance they’re using YouTube to find it.
Taking content off your site may seem to go against the SEO principles of link building but actually promoting content via YouTube utilizes an SEO method known as building backlinks to backlinks, popularized by Jim Boykin. Placing your videos in an embeddable format on YouTube makes it easy for users to find and even easier for them to share on their own sites. Each time your video is embedded on a site it will include a link back to your YouTube channel, which in turn allows for one followed link back to your site. Increasing the page authority of your YouTube video will pass some of the inbound link metrics through to your site, and carry with it the weight of the strong domain authority and social cues associated with YouTube.
Even though the description area on a YouTube page doesn’t allow for Followed links it’s also a good idea to place a link to the corresponding video page on your site with the description Original content posted here:’ as this will help direct users (and Google according to some speculation) to your site with the understanding that your site produced and published the original content.
There is also a quick process document for optimizing video for the video search engines.
5 Benefits of Creating Videos For Your Small Business
- Helps capture additional real estate on the first page of Google
- The video creates an interactive experience with your potential customers
- It adds additional value by adding a transcript of the video
- It can help brand your small business as a leader in the field
- Creates an interaction point that has one of the highest “sharing” features on social media websites
Possible Factors Used to Rank Videos In The Search Results
- PageRank based upon links pointing to the video or the page that it is hosted upon.
- A title associated with the video
- A title for a program associated with the video
- The size of the video
- Number of Tweets
- The date that the video was aired
- The category associated with the video
- A snippet
- Broadcast source associated with a video
- Broadcast time period data associated with a video
- Related links
- Number of likes
- Program guide information
- Key terms and words from audio in a video
- Closed captioning text
- Number of Facebook Shares
- Key terms or words associated with the video
- Key terms or words associated with a matching or similar image previously stored in a database
- Third-party ratings data associated with the video
- Third-party audience viewing data for a particular video
- User data associated with a video
- Textual data associated with the video
- A name associated with a video
- A name associated with a content provider
- Number of times the video has been broadcast
- Number of content providers that broadcast a particular video in a defined time period
- Particular time period a video article has been broadcast
- Number of times other users have selected a particular video article in response to different queries
- Number of times other users have selected a particular video article in response to the same query
- Clickthrough data associated with a video
- Queries associated with a video
- Nielsen ratings data
- Thumbs up viewer data
- Thumbs down viewer data
- Replay viewer data
- Fast forward viewer data
- Review viewer data
- Speech-to-text conversion of dialogue associated with the video article
- Text associated with articles referencing the video
- Text associated with other videos referencing the video
- Text associated with documents referencing the video
- Length of the video article
- Quality of the video article
- Sound quality
- User location
- Selection of the video article by previous users
- Whether the video article is available for playback