What is Video SEO and why should you be interested?

The effectiveness of video as a selling tool has been well documented in recent years. A recent survey1 showed that over half of online marketeers report video content as returning one of their best ROI’s. What is less understood is the role that videos can play in getting your business up the search engine rankings – Video SEO.

Whilst most companies settle for one or two ‘showpiece’ videos what they often don’t appreciate is that with a broader appreciation of what makes good online video they can quickly and relatively cheaply get some powerful SEO benefits.

The key to this is blended Search Engine Results Pages<sup>2</sup> (SERPs) and the fact that Google loves videos.

Blended SERPs

Blended SERPs are becoming a standard on major search engines which means that videos, images, news stories, maps and so forth are displayed along with standard URLs in search list results3.

Google recognises that video is one of the best ways of communicating with people to express opinions, ideas and information. When the content of a video is relevant with the search keywords, Google will display a thumbnail of your video in the results page to show viewers they will find a video to watch on that page.

According to an AimClear report from 2012, if you were able to get your video onto the first page of Google it will get 41% more clicks than any other text website listing4.

Video SEO is a hot topic at the moment because it is appears to be relatively easy to get a video to compete in the search engine listings when compared to the usual test-listing SEO approach.

Most businesses simply aren’t aware of the potential and so there is little competition.

How can you make search engines aware of your self-hosted videos?

The search engines need to know your video exists and what it is about. They can’t see inside the video to do this so you have to help them.

Search engines rely on indexing content, so you have to make them aware by providing all the details of what the video is about using video rich snippets: video title, description, duration, thumbnail and video url.

This enables people searching in Google to see a thumbnail of your video, a brief description and its duration. As an aside, from a conversion point of view, pictures with faces do well – the thumbnail is small enough so help it stand out.

A video displayed by Google in a search list is coming from a specific video index that contains all the Internet videos Google is aware of.

So, you must create a video sitemap and submit it to all the search engines you care about (in the UK Google should suffice for most). A video sitemap can be technically challenging as seen on this Google Video but a quick search in your favorite browser will give you a list of softwares which are the job for you – not for free though!

This index will include all the videos from as well as the videos hosted on your site. If you tell the search engines they will know.

Youtube versus own hosting and Video SEO

Youtube is the second most popular search engine in the world after Google. Many people tend to think that because is owned by Google, pages with videos embedded from are more likely to appear first on Google SERPs.

There is no proof so far that the Google algorithms are promoting ahead of other hosts, such as Dailymotion, Vimeo, Wistia or any other or any other hosting company. It would most likely be a serious breach of international competition laws anyway.

Youtube requires a lot more detailed information to know what a video is about in order to get it into the right search result lists:

  • Metadata – video title, description and tags
  • Number of comments and shares.
  • Date added (new videos will rank highly).
  • View count (and channel view count, number of subscribers and playlist adds).
  • Incoming links (exposure on other sites, other embeds, RSS links).

Most of these information comes from the viewers response which you don’t have any control of. But you can still optimize your video and make sure your video is going to reach your niche audience by:

  • Inserting relevant keywords in the title, description and tags
  • Use the YouTube keyword tool to find the specific keywords associated with your niche audience
  • Insert captions on top of your video to be sure Youtube will understand correctly its content
  • Add a transcription in the description
  • Create specific content for with call to action to your site.
  • Create a teaser hosted on Youtube leading to a main video on your site.
  • Put link inside the video (watch our article “how to put…”)

Remember that people don’t go to YouTube to find or buy products or services. They are searching in to entertain themselves or to find a specific educative/informative video.

To conclude, both self-hosted videos and videos need video SEO work to be done to boost website traffic.

Stay tuned: in our next article we will go deeper into the techniques to use as part of a video SEO strategy. In the meantime, if you need any help or advice, call us on 08456 34 34 89 or contact us using this form.

(1) ‘Over half of marketing professionals worldwide call out video as the type of content with the best ROI’. E-marketer 2013

(2) Blended Search: ‘Search engines have historically indexed Web pages based upon text content. Now search engines are displaying other types of content integrated (blended) automatically onto the search results page […] A blended search gives you results that the engine thinks would be useful to you, by including results from their search verticals, specialized engines that search only one type of content, like images, videos, news, local results, or blog posts.’ from http://www.dummies.com

(3) According to Nate Elliott from Forrester Research: ‘Blended search’, the practice in which search engines display videos, images, news stories, maps, and other types of results alongside their standard search results, has become increasingly common on major search engines. And optimizing video content to take advantage of blended search is by far the easiest way to get a first-page organic ranking on Google.’

(4) ‘Posts with videos included will attract almost 3 times more ILDs than a plain text post’. The Moz blog (http://moz.com/blog/what-makes-a-link-worthy-post-part-1)

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