Nowadays video counts for an impressive amount of content. Making this content available to search engines is therefore a crucial aspect in SEO, so that they can be correctly indexed and bring some more traffic to your website. If SEO often focuses on text content, there’s plenty of things which can be done to improve your video content and gain a good amount of organic traffic.
According to a study recently released by Nielsen, time spent online by users watching videos increased 45%. Also overall number of streams and streams by users increased significantly on month-to-month and year-to-year basis. If videos are considered this important by users, SEO on-site video optimization becomes a necessity, not just a secondary task to a more traditional search engine optimization.
First things first: file types currently crawled by Google
Google can crawl the following video file types: mpg, .mpeg, .mp4, .m4v, .mov, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .ra, .ram, .rm, .flv, .swf, so long as the files are accessible via HTTP. Metafiles requiring a download of the source via streaming protocols are not supported. Just make sure you’re video is available in one of the mentioned formats and you should be fine.
What to optimize videos for?
Videos can searched through Google Video, Youtube or generic Social Media platform.
However the same optimization focus might easily be applied to all of these sources, considering that Google alone and Youtube make up for a 90% of all video search queries. A slightly different approach might be considered if we want the video to spread virally through social networks, hence some strategic planning ahead of the launch and strict
As for generic pages, the video URL must comply with the most typical URL optimization tips: avoid too many nested folders, keep your video file name clear and with relevant keywords separated by an hyphen.
Content surrounding the embedded video is considered relevant as well, so make sure you add some relevant text description to your video in the same frame or page area. It must be something related to the video, able also to spark some interest on the users and make sure your keywords are always present.
Always keep your keyword list at hand, you’ll have to make sure that the video file name contains at least some of the keywords you want to be ranked for.
Create a video sitemap
If your website features a significant amount of embedded videos, you’d better get a video sitemap. A video sitemap would definitely help Google when going through your website trying to index and categorize your content, making sure no video gets lost or not indexed.
How to manually create a video sitemap
- Create a text file and save it with an .xml extension.
- Write the following lines at the beginning of the file:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
- Write the following to the bottom of the file:
- Create an entry for each URL. The <loc> tag is required; the others are optional.
<url> <loc>http://www.yoururl.com/</loc> <lastmod>2011-01-01</lastmod> <changefreq>monthly</changefreq> <priority>0.8</priority> </url>
- Upload your Sitemap to your site. The file should be located at www.yoururl.com/sitemap.xml
Google’s webmaster central states, “Video content includes web pages which embed video, URLs to players for video, or the URLs of raw video content hosted on your site. If Google cannot discover video content at the URLs you provide, those records will be ignored by Googlebot.” As such, each video URL entry in the sitemap must contain:
- Video Title
- Short Description
- Play page URL
- Thumbnail URL
- Raw video file location and/or the player URL (SWF)
Further information on the topic available here.