Adding videos as content on your website is an excellent move that can help you attract and engage more visitors. However for your video to live up to its potential you need to appropriately optimize it so that people can find it more easily on search engines.
Search engines nowadays have started catering more and more towards video content, and Google not only displays it under their video search but also in the main search engine results. In short, there is more reason than ever before to make sure the video SEO for content on your website is up to date.
1. Add Keywords to Metadata
Just like standard SEO, the right place to start improving your video SEO is by making sure you’re targeting the right keywords – and adding them to your site’s metadata.
Typically every video should have a filename, title, description, and tags that are keyword-optimized. Try to make sure that you target long-tail and short-tail keywords that people are likely to search related to your video. So that they can quickly locate it.
Considering more and more people are using voice search nowadays, long-tail keywords that sound natural should definitely factor into the equation. Most people who use voice search are more likely to be specific and phrase their queries as questions.
While there are no formal restrictions on the number of keywords you can add, you should make sure they are placed naturally and don’t resemble keyword stuffing.
2. Publish a Transcript Alongside the Video
Search engine bots can’t ‘see’ your video (yet), which makes it difficult for them to identify it’s context. The metadata can help slightly, but to give them a helping hand you should also publish a transcript alongside it.
The best place to publish the transcript is directly below your video so that the search engine bots can establish its relevance. If adding a full transcript right there doesn’t fit in with your web design, you could place it in a collapsible element so that it is only visible when clicked.
Although it may seem as though it inflates the content, you should remember that some viewers may find it helpful to have a transcript as well. In short, you’ll not only be appealing to search engines, but also your target audience.
Overall the transcript will help search engines understand your video content better, and rank it higher. The transcript will undoubtedly also contain some of the keywords you want to associate with your video.
3. Add a Video Sitemap and Schema Markup to the Website
Both video sitemaps and Schema markup serve a similar purpose and provide search engines with valuable information about the video. Even though there is definitely an overlap between the two – you can’t go wrong adding both to cover all your bases.
Generally, your main priority should be the Schema markup as it will let you add tons of information using parameters for the name, description, thumbnail URL, duration, transcript, video file URL, and more.
The video sitemap is similar but works more as an extension of your standard XML sitemap, and you can publish it as part of it or separately depending on your preference.
Assuming you do add both a video sitemap and Schema markup, you should be careful that the information between both versions is consistent. The last thing that you want to do is accidentally supply search engines with conflicting information, and if you do, there’s no guarantee they’ll use the ‘right’ version.
4. Use a Relevant Thumbnail
One of the benefits of using video sitemaps or Schema markup is that you can let search engines know the URL of the thumbnail image that you want to use when your video is listed. It is important that you take advantage of that, and select a relevant thumbnail.
While the thumbnail itself won’t improve your video’s ranking on search engines, it will play a huge role in the number of clicks that it gets. Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone coming across your video’s listing for the very first time and ask yourself whether the thumbnail makes the video look like it would be worth watching.
5. Optimize the Video for Mobile
Optimizing videos for mobile devices is vital to your video SEO, as more than half of the videos watched online are by mobile users. Without mobile optimization, your videos won’t gain much traction from search engines at all, as they consider it a crucial ranking factor.
At the very least you should make sure that the video player and web design are responsive so that they scale based on the screen size of the user’s device. Additionally, it won’t hurt to create video content with smaller screen sizes in mind – and avoid using small elements or hardcoded subtitles that may be difficult to read.
6. Watch the Page Speed
Another factor that can affect your SERP rankings is the page speed. Unfortunately, videos can add to the time that it takes to load your webpage, making it slower – which search engines will not like.
As a rule, you should never set your videos to ‘autoplay’ as that will decrease the page speed further. Seeing as the majority of viewers dislike videos that autoplay in the first place – it is best to steer clear of using it.
Aside from that, if you find that videos are significantly slowing down your webpage, further optimization may be needed. In most cases, the problem may be with your web host and its available bandwidth, or it may be the type of player you’re using to stream the videos.
In short – you should watch the page speed, and if you notice that it is too slow, you will need to investigate it further.
7. Create Engaging Videos That Get Shared
Although there is much debate over whether or not search engines use signals from social media as part of their ranking algorithms – creating videos that are engaging and get shared is definitely good for video SEO.
On an elementary level, the more people share your video the more links you’ll build – which will help propel your video up the rankings. On top of that, engaging videos are more likely to attract comments and other reactions that could benefit them as well.
The quality of your video will play an important part, so be sure to edit it so that it looks impressive and professional. For example, you could use Movavi Video Editor, and could even create other types of engaging content by using it as a photo video maker.
Each of the steps described above should help you to significantly improve your video’s ability to rank on search engines. It should be noted that they cater more to videos that are published on websites than on other platforms (e.g. YouTube) – but there are definitely similarities that you can use.
Additionally, you should always remember that the ‘rules’ of SEO are subject to change as search engines continue to alter their algorithms. If possible, you should keep yourself informed of any new developments, so that you can make changes to your approach or prepare for them in advance and don’t end up being blindsided.