I have been asked twice in under a week how videos can be used to improve a website’s SEO (search engine optimisation), so thought I'd write a blog article.
This article is a little bit technical, but this is unavoidable, so if you need any advice or help then please contact us.
Search engines are not currently viewing the video’s actual content, no doubt this will change in the future, but for now search engines will not watch a video. So this poses the question of how videos can be used to improve a website’s rankings in search engine...
This is easy, it’s how we package the video, and how we let search engines know it’s there. This is done by using rich snippets which are tags that help webmasters markup their web pages so that major search engines can recognise them. As an added bonus search engines may also provide enhanced listings in their results which displays the video thumbnail. Although only really useful to ‘techies’, further information can be found on http://schema.org/VideoObject.
Once your web pages are using rich snippets, and have videos embedded, you’ll need to let search engines know they are there; this can be done using an XML video sitemap which can be produced, validated, and then submitted to the main search engines. Further reading can be found here: http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1/.
For SEO purposes we would suggest hosting your videos on your website not on YouTube, for example. This will ensure that the content is attributed to your website. We would also suggest using an HTML5 video player (http://www.w3schools.com/html/html5_video.asp) for compatibility, and if your video player doesn’t have social media sharing features, these should be added manually to the containing webpage. These ensure that if the video is popular, it can be distributed efficiently and maybe even become viral.
Now that smart phones and tablets are so common, videos are becoming even more poplar, as use develops and technologies evolve they will increasingly become an integral part of a website’s content and search engine optimisation strategy. As this happens search engines will start to analyse and catalogue videos in different ways, one day watching and rating the video itself just like they currently do with textual content. Until then it is up to webmasters and SEO experts to let search engines know what is there and how it should be used.