In a recent Lightning Talks video, Google shared five SEO video marketing best-practices.
And yes, it’s important to optimize your videos for search engines just like you would optimize written content.
But there’s a different way to handle SEO when it comes to videos. Thankfully, Google is here to shed some light on the subject.
I’ll cover Google’s most recent SEO video marketing advice in this article.
1. Make Your Video Public for SEO Purposes
The first point is to make sure the video is associated with a URL and that it’s publicly available on the web.
That’s easy to do with YouTube. Just keep in mind that YouTube lets you mark videos as private or hidden.
If, for whatever reason, you decide to hide your video, then don’t expect it to rank well in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Along these lines, the video should be plainly visible on the page to anyone with a modern-day browser. If your site requires visitors to jump through hoops (like downloading a video player) just to watch your production, the video won’t get a good rank.
2. Use Structured Data to Indicate What Your Video is About
Another SEO video marketing best-practice: use structured data.
If you’re unfamiliar with structured data, it’s markup that you include on your website to give search engines a little more info about what’s going on.
You could, for example, use structured data to tell Google about the name of your business, its location, and your office hours.
But you can also use the VideoObject markup to tell Google all about your video.
In fact, that markup can give search engines a whole lot of info about the video content, such as:
- The director
- The actors
- The music author
- The bitrate
- The content size
- The encoding format
- The production company
- The upload date
And much more.
Put as much info as you can about your video into structured data. That will help it rank for different search terms.
3. Use High-Quality Thumbnails (Your SEO Video Marketing Secret Weapon)
This one took me by surprise.
For each video URL that Google can access, make sure you provide a high-quality thumbnail.
In other words, don’t punt and throw up a thumbnail that you quickly slapped together in Microsoft Paint.
Also, make sure that your thumbnail is accessible. Sometimes, the thumbnail URL can get blocked by robots.txt. When that happens, Google can’t even find the thumbnail and the video probably won’t rank very well.
4. Submit a Video Sitemap to Indicate What Videos on Your Site Are About
Did you know that there’s such a thing as a video sitemap?
Yes. Yes, there is.
A video sitemap, according to Google, is a sitemap with additional details about videos hosted on your pages.
It’s a great way to give Googlebot more info about the video content you host on your site. Google says it can uncover details about your video with a sitemap that it might not discover via other crawling mechanisms.
Keep in mind: you can embed a separate sitemap solely for video or you can embed a video sitemap within an existing sitemap.
The choice is yours.
5. Make Your Video Files Accessible
It’s not good enough just to make sure that the page hosting your video file is accessible to search engines. The video file itself needs to be accessible as well.
Why? So that your production is eligible for rich search results such as key moments and video previews.
With video previews, Google will clip a few seconds from your video and use it as a preview. That little preview might be enough to whet the appetites of folks in your target market and give them an incentive to visit your website where they can watch the whole video.
Wrapping It Up
There you go: five SEO video marketing best-practices according to Google itself.
Now it’s time to identify which one of these pieces of advice you need to convert into an action item first.
Then, get busy optimizing your videos.