By Andy Woodruff
There are companies who still employ one or two videos as ‘showpieces’ and what they don’t understand is that popular online video types that make for good online video and higher viewership can actually grant them some huge SEO benefits, quick and cheap.
The key to this lies in blended Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and the fact that the most popular search engine, Google, loves videos.
All big search engines are now standardising the use of blended SERPs, meaning that news stories, videos, maps, images, etc. are all displayed in the search list results along with the standard URLs.
Video’s power of communication to express ideas, opinions and information is well recognised by Google. This is why when the content of any video is relevant with the searched terms, Google displays a thumbnail of that video on the results page so that the viewers can find a video to watch on that page.
By getting your video on the very first page of search results on Google, you will have 41% more clicks compared to a text listing of any website; says AimClear (http://www.aimclearblog.com/ ) in a report last year.
This is one of the main reasons why Video SEO is such a hot topic these days. It seems to be relatively easy to use a video to compete for the search engine listings than using the usual text-listing SEO approach.
Not all businesses are aware of this fact and that means less competition!
Self-hosted videos – Make search engines aware of it
You need to let the search engines know about your videos and what they are about; and since a search engine can’t look inside your video, you’ll need to help it.
Search engines work by indexing content. You should let them know about the content of your video and related information by using video rich snippets like – it’s title, duration, thumbnail, description and video url.
It will allow people searching through Google to see a thumbnail of the video, read it’s description and know it’s duration. As a side tip, you should know that thumbnail pictures with faces lead to better conversion as they stand out.
Your video that Google displays, comes from it’s specific video index which contains all videos on the internet that are known to Google.
Thus, you should create your own video sitemap and submit it to every search engine that you think is important (in UK Google is the most important). Creating a video sitemap can be a little technically challenging, but there are software available on the internet which will do the job for you, but of course not for free!
The video site map will act as an index which will point to the location of all videos from as well as those hosted on your site. By doing this, you can make sure that all videos are properly brought to the attention of search engines.
Video SEO: YouTube Vs Own Hosting
After Google, YouTube is the second most popular search engine. Even though people think that pages that have videos embedded from YouTube have a better chance of appearing first on Gooogle SERPs, there is no actual proof to it. Also, if Google was to be partial towards YouTube, it would be a breach of international competition laws.
However, YouTube asks you for a lot of detailed information about your video to understand what it is about, and this makes the search engine’s job much easier in turn.
1. Metadata – Video title, tags and description.
2. Number of comments and shares.
3. Date added (new videos will rank higher).
4. View count (and channel view count, number of subscribers and playlist embeds).
5. Incoming links (exposure on other sites, other embeds, RSS links).
You can see that most of the information comes from viewers, which you can’t regulate. Still, you can optimise your video to ensure that it reaches your target audience. You can do this by:
1. Using relevant keywords in the title, description and tags.
2. Using the YouTube ‘keyword tool’ to find the specific keywords associated with your niche audience.
3. Inserting captions on top of your videos to be sure YouTube will understand its content correctly.
4. Adding a transcription in the description.
5. Creating specific content for a call to action to your site.
6. Creating a teaser that is hosted on YouTube leading to the main video on your site.
7. Putting links inside the video.
8. Remembering that people don’t go to YouTube to find or buy products or services. They search it to mainly entertain themselves or to find a specific educative or informative video.
To be honest, both self-hosted and YouTube hosted videos need optimisation before they can start attracting traffic to your website.
About the author
Andy Woodruff is managing director at Webvideos limited.