In the search engine results page (SERP), video results are 41% more likely to be clicked than the text search snippets. While ranking third party hosted video on their own platforms (i.e. ranking YouTube videos on YouTube) is incredibly important, the focus of this post is ranking well in Google Search, Video Search, and Image Search.
When trying to get your video to rank in Google Search, it’s preferable to host videos on your domain so that you’re not competing with your video on your YouTube channel. However, self-hosting is complex. Hosting a video on YouTube creates a convenient way to host videos, while minimizing bandwidth and allowing you to reach audiences on a platform that’s a powerful and popular search engine.
Brian Dean’s “Video Keyword” Method
Brian Dean outlined a way of finding keywords that “trigger” videos in Google Search. The method is simple: when choosing a keyword to optimize your video around, do a quick search and see if at least one video is returned for that query.
While ranking in Google Video Search or even mobile Google Image Search is great, having a video returned in regular search opens that content to a far larger audience.
Title and Description
Use appropriate keyword placement and descriptive copy to create a title and description for your video. This title can be used for structured data as well as YouTube. However, you may consider modifying the description for YouTube to match best practices on that platform. Guidelines for YouTube title and descriptions will be discussed in part two of the Video SEO Series.
Video Structured Meta Data for SEO
One important part of optimizing your embedded, on-page video content is video schema.
While Google can crawl the video and get a vague understanding of the what the content is about, this capability is still quite limited and imperfect. VideoObject JSON markup allows you to provide a variety of information to search engines about your video content.
Examples of both required and suggested properties are:
- Video URL
- Length of Video
This VIdeoObject schema may make it more likely for Google to return your video in mobile Image Search results with a badge on the thumbnail indicating that it’s a video. For an in depth look at possible properties, check out the schema.org page.
Video Sitemaps in a Post-Schema World
There is an SEO camp claiming that the implementation of VideoObject markup suggests video XML sitemaps are no longer necessary. However, creating and submitting a video XML sitemap certainly does not hurt your video SEO. In fact, the Search Console Help Center recommends submitting a video sitemap AND implementing VideoObject markup. Video sitemaps allow GoogleBot and other search engine crawlers to better discover and understand your videos. Google will also crawl and read a Media RSS feed as an alternative to a video XML sitemap.
Video transcription does require additional time and effort; however, it can be extremely valuable for SEO. As mentioned, Google’s capabilities to crawl and extract video content are limited. Providing a video transcript allows Google to fully understand what’s being spoken about in the video.
In addition, the presence of the transcript on the page provides more opportunities for keywords and supporting keyword placement.
A video transcript is also integral for accessibility as the content can then be read by the user or read aloud by a screen reader.
For excellent examples of video transcription, check out any of the Moz Whiteboard Friday videos and scroll down to see the transcripts!
Thumbnail Optimized for Click-Through
If you do not provide a thumbnail for the video, Google will generate its own. Do not miss an opportunity to create a thumbnail optimized for click-through-rate.
Make sure to use a high resolution image that teases the content of the video. Preferred video thumbnail file formats are .jpg, .png, and .gif. Text overlay can help a thumbnail stand out and increase click through.
Create share links for your videos so that your content can easily and quickly be shared across social platforms for potentially improved social signals. You can even include an embed code so others can embed your video on their site. Explore this Hubspot guide on how to make and insert social sharing links.
Don’t forget about the page itself when you are optimizing your video! According to Google, their spiders crawl the text on the page where the video is embed. The page should follow SEO best practices for crawlability and indexability. In addition, ensure there is quality content that is relevant to the video embed on the page.
Optimizing your embedded videos for Google Search is incredibly important and involves a number of SEO best practices that should be incorporated into your process. In Part 2, we will look into how to optimize your video content for YouTube’s internal algorithm. If you need assistance with on-page video SEO or YouTube SEO, contact Anvil today!