If you’re sick and tired of keeping up with search engine optimization trends, you’re not alone. SEO evolves all the time. Let’s be honest: It’s exhausting. Google is the main player in the search engine game, and it’s constantly changing its algorithms. The good news is that Google and other search engines continue to reward awesome content. Google has been updating its algorithms to ensure that it turns up the best answers to queries. For Google, “high-quality” means original content like research, reports, and thoughtful analysis. The days of keyword stuffing and link schemes are over. Such “Black hat” SEO tactics, which are aggressive techniques that focus on gaming search engine algorithms to get to the top, are being discouraged by search engines. As Google continues to evolve, it’s become more apparent that video plays a crucial role in SEO. Why? Because people love to watch and share it. It’s that simple.
Perfecting a video takes a great deal of time, it’s downright wasteful not to optimize it and make sure that the right audience can find it. When you make video content search engine-friendly you can reduce bounce rates and increase your ranking for your chosen keywords. This will help you continue to draw in qualified visitors based on search results.
Why Video is Important for SEO
Search engines reward websites with relevant content that readers like. Take video, for example. On YouTube alone, viewers watch more than 6 billion hours of video each month. People love to watch and share video content, which means having a few awesome videos on your site can increase shares. Say you have an explainer video that really helps customers understand a key element about your industry. They’re probably going to share it and maybe even return to it more than once. Video has other benefits for SEO as well.
The Impact of Dwell Time
User behavior also impacts search engine rankings. This includes bounce rates, which refer to the number of visitors that leave after only accessing one page, and dwell time, which demonstrates the time spent on the page. Bounce rates and low dwell time can negatively impact your ranking because they indicate to the search engine that your site didn’t offer adequate information to help with the specific search query. However, high-quality and relevant video can increase time spent on the page, and encourage visitors to dive deeper into your site’s content. People love video because its an engaging and effective means of learning or discovering new information.
Social Media Impact
Social platforms have also become entwined in the SEO equation. Studies have demonstrated that companies with active social media accounts get a boost on search engine results pages. SearchMetrics found that a greater number of social signals, such as likes, shares, tweets, and plus ones correlated with a higher placement in search results. Here’s where video comes in: Video content tends to outperform other types of posts on social media. A study from SimplyMeasured found that videos are shared 12 times more frequently than link and text posts combined. Video increases engagement on social media, which can increase search engine rankings in the long run.
How to Optimize Videos for SEO
In the past, SEO gurus often dismissed video because search engines can’t crawl it. That’s still true for the most part, although you can make it easier for search engines to determine what the content of your video is. Here are a few ways to optimize your videos for search engines:
Use Keywords Wherever You Can
Use keywords in page titles and meta-descriptions on the page where the video is embedded so that search engines know what your videos are about, even if they can’t crawl the video content itself. On top of that, you can encode the videos themselves with keywords and metatags to support SEO, according to Vidyard. If you can, include a text-based transcript of your video to give search engines an even more thorough idea of what the content is focused on. Providing a transcript also gives visitors an alternative way to engage with the content, which can provide a more valuable experience for them overall.
Host Videos on a Video Marketing Platform
Create unique optimized landing pages for each of your videos and host them on a video marketing platform like Vidyard, Wistia, Brightcove, or Vzaar. Using a designated platform gives you a greater ability to gather metrics and see how the video is performing. Youtube provides some insight, but a video marketing platform helps you determine who exactly is watching videos and for how long.
YouTube and other platforms are great for giving your video visibility, but they won’t necessarily give your own domain the same SEO boost. On the other hand, if you embed a YouTube video on your own page and limit what can be seen on public channels, you can control video traffic to your own domain. The only downside is that you can lose out on traffic coming in from YouTube, which can give you more visibility. You may want to try a two-pronged approach, hosting videos on a dedicated platform and uploading them to YouTube.
Create a Video Sitemap
Search engines get smarter all the time, but they’re still not perfect. Sometimes they have a hard time finding site content. XML sitemaps make it easier for search engines to crawl pages. Submitting a video sitemap to Google helps to ensure that the search engine has indexed all of your videos to your domain and not YouTube or another platform. It’s another step that helps viewers find the right videos. Create a sitemap that includes a unique title, description, link to the landing page for each video, the thumbnail URL, and the raw video file location.
Get Rich Snippets
Schema markup is code you can include in your website that will provide additional information to Internet browsers. As Kissmetrics puts it, Schema tells search engines not only what the data says, but how to interpret it. When you Google a local music venue and it displays the dates of upcoming shows in the results page, that business used Schema markup to create a rich snippet. A rich snippet will show a small preview of the content. According to an infographic from BlueGlass shared by Moz, companies that use rich snippets experience a 20 to 30 percent rise in click-thru rates and a higher dwell rate, both elements that lead to a higher ranking over time. Get started by visiting Schema.org or going to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, which walks you through the process of creating the markup.
Optimizing videos for SEO makes a significant impact on search engine rankings. If you’ve already done some video marketing, there’s no reason not to take the extra step to make sure search engines can easily index and rank your video pages. Video is a fantastic tool for SEO optimization, but even this tool needs to be optimized. You’ve put a lot of time, energy, and resources into creating an awesome explainer video. It’s important to optimize your investment and make sure prospects can find the video you worked so hard to create, and find your company in the process.
To sum up:
- Use keywords in titles, meta descriptions and transcripts
- Host videos on a video marketing platform so some of the traffic stays in your domain
- Create a video sitemap so search engines can crawl your videos more easily
- Add rich snippets with Schema markup
You’re sitting on an SEO goldmine, and if you’re not optimizing your videos, you could be losing out on serious traffic. Make these changes to take full advantage of the awesome videos you spent so much time making.