The rise in popularity of video websites like YouTube, Metacafe, and Vimeo has meant the importance of video content to improve a website’s SEO, has been increasing rapidly. The fact that Google owns YouTube plays a large role in that, as do the ability for mobile devices to capture high-quality video images and the desire of those online to watch videos of all types.
It needs pointing out that whilst making videos and posting them on your website and other sites can help your SEO efforts, there are also additional steps you can take to maximise their impact. Some relate to the creation of the video and its content, whilst others involve how it is posted, which includes SEO elements on the page. We’ll start with those factors which can be undertaken as part of the video content creation:
Video Length – Long videos can be extremely informative, but the concern with longer videos is being able to keep the viewer’s attention. If someone lands on the page and then quickly moves on as they don’t have the time to watch it, then this can damage rather than help with SEO.
Transcripts – There are several benefits that can be derived from providing a transcript to your videos, apart from the customer-friendly aspect of making them accessible for those who have hearing difficulties. Transcripts allow for keywords to be used throughout if they are used in a natural way and give additional search terms by which the video may found on search engines.
Closed Captions – Many people watch videos in situations where it is not possible nor appropriate for them to do so with the audio turned on. Adding closed captions will allow them to follow the video without sound, and in Google’s view, this adds to the user’s experience.
Load Time Optimisation – Nothing annoys visitors more than landing on a page with a video and then having to wait more than a couple of seconds for it to load. Google will penalise sites if their videos take too long to load, so anything, including plugins or software, to promote fast loading should be employed.
User Experience – This is a bit of catch-all which encompasses those tips we have mentioned above, plus any other steps which you can take to make the experience of those viewing your videos a good one. This is important as Google puts great emphasis on user experiences as part of their ranking algorithms.
Once a video has been created and posted, there are other factors both on and off the page that can be implemented to add more to its ability to help with SEO.
Video Sitemap – You should already have a sitemap for your website, and you can also add a sitemap which relates specifically to videos. This will include whether there are any age restrictions for watching, how many views it has had and the duration of the video.
Labeling Keywords – Apart from the keywords which you may have in any transcript, you can also use keywords for labels such as the video’s title, any descriptions of the video, its original file name, and other tags.
Social Media – We all know how big a part social media plays on everyone’s online activities, so it is little wonder that Google takes notice of it. Getting shares on social media will help boost the page ranking of any videos you have, which in turn helps push your website further. If it goes viral, then potentially you could be in for a flood of traffic.
Host On and Link from YouTube – With all the focus on Google, we must not overlook that the second largest search engine online is YouTube. Although not essential, it can be a very positive SEO move to host your videos on YouTube rather than your own website or servers. With a YouTube channel, you can also benefit by linking from it to your other web properties such as social media and your website.