Those familiar with SEO will understand that it is the process of optimising a website to be found more easily by search engines such as Google and Bing. However, applying SEO best practice to video is difficult for a number reasons, the main one definitely being the lack of textual content not only in the video itself (obviously) but also around the video.
Why is this even a factor? Well, search engine spiders can’t ‘read’ video content so they have to be able to ‘read’ the text surrounding the video in order to understand the context of the web page it sits on and to be able to appropriately rank that content when a user searches for it using a relevant keyword. All too often, the only ‘signals’ that a search engine has about a piece of video content is the file name (this is debateable as a ranking factor), the title and the description – this goes for videos that are hosted on a web site or off it on a portal such as YouTube or Vimeo. With video content now as mainstay in Google’s Blended Search results, failure to optimise those assets mean that you’ll miss out on a potential place in the rankings and lose the ability to attract traffic or promote your products or services.
Luckily, there are some tried and tested methods that you can implement to help optimise your videos for a decent ranking place but please bear in mind the golden rule of content – whatever type it may be – Be Good! All of the Video SEO in the world will not help if the video itself if it is poorly produced or too long or boring or any number of other factors that will stop a viewer keep watching or even pressing the play button in the first place.
Assuming that your video is well produced, informative, short and snappy and will appeal to those who come across it, let’s look at just some of the ways you can make it as search friendly as possible.
Give your video a keyword rich but not keyword stuffed, compelling, stand out title. The title probably one of the biggest factors in optimisation for two reasons: it gives the search engine a clue about the subject of the video and it is also a golden opportunity to entice a viewer to click play. A good click through rate is definitely a ranking factor on YouTube (and for YouTube embedded videos on other sites) so bear this in mind.
If your video is hosted on your own site, create a unique URL for it and build the rest of the page out with high quality content relating to the video. Add social sharing buttons to the page, link to it from other parts of the site and encourage inbound links from other Domains. Create a Video site map.
If your video is hosted on YouTube, use the description and tag features as much as possible. Encourage and respond to comments, allow others to share your video and embed it on their own site if they want to. Engagement is a huge, huge ranking factor on YouTube, the second largest search engine in the world.
If you used a script for your video, turn that into a closed caption file (for YouTube and some Online Video Platforms). Google LOVES closed captions (http://www.reelseo.com/youtube-closed-captions-seo/) as they can read them as text so it gives a lot of information about the content and is such an easy win that everyone should be doing it. While you’re at it, add some annotations too!
Video SEO, just like every day SEO, can really push your video content out to a wider audience and, if it is good enough, great optimisation has the potential to drive huge amounts of traffic to your site or wherever the video is hosted (and if it is hosted elsewhere, there is no reason that you shouldn’t embed it on your own site as well).
Carla is delivering a training course at the upcoming BrightonSEO conference being held in April 11th more details at brightonseo.com/video-seo-training