- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On October 3, 2012
If you type any search term into Google, many results, particularly high-ranking results, will feature a video thumbnail next to the link. Google began focusing more on videos rather than simple text content a couple of years ago and continues to feature sites with video higher than others in their search results.
This can be disappointing if your site got bumped from the top Google results by a video page but it is also a great opportunity to jump up the rankings by simply adding video content to your site. Of course, if you want to rank higher in Google you will need to optimize your video with keywords which can be a bit more complex than basic content SEO.
To YouTube or Not to YouTube?
If your goal is to improve your business branding or get a lot of views, YouTube is the way to go.
But if your goal is to optimize your business site for a higher Google ranking, YouTube won’t help you because videos hosted on their site come up only as YouTube links, not links to your site (even if the video is embedded on your page). While YouTube is good for some business marketing, it has not proven to be good at driving traffic to other sites.
You will need to host the video with your own web host or use a paid service like Wistia or Vimeo Pro in order to use your video for SEO purposes.
Creating Your Video
Google doesn’t care what is in your video but users do. Videos shouldn’t seem like ads because they are on your site which means the viewer has already expressed interest in your business. Now, he wants to know more about your product or service. Videos that work best include how-tos, tutorials, demonstrations, and more in-depth explanations about the features or benefits of your business.
It does not have to be a live action video. PowerPoint presentations and screencasts can work just as well and are easier to make if you don’t have good video equipment.
Submitting Your Video to Google
Google scans regular pages and ranks them based on SEO value. Unfortunately, Google has not mastered video content yet so you will have to manually submit your video page. You will need to embed the video as an HTML 5 or Flash video, not as an iframe because Google won’t know what to do with it.
Once you have embedded your video on your site, you will need to create an XML Sitemap. This is fairly simple and includes a title, description, URLs, your video thumbnail URL, and the file location. For a more in-depth explanation of Sitemaps, just check out the Google FAQ. The site map is where you will insert all of the SEO keywords that you are targeting with your site. Make sure that you only have one video per page as more will confuse the Google bot.
A good way to add some extra SEO juice is to create a transcript and post it below your video. This will help Google analyze the content better and give you a better chance at ranking higher in search results. The longer the search terms, the more likely your page will rank higher in its niche. For example, “tile and floor showroom” is a much better term than “tiles”. Although the transcript helps, the core of your video SEO strategy will be to include these search terms in the video title and tags.
Not sure if the end result is worth the effort? According to Forrester Research, videos are 53 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google’s search results.