Video SEO in 4 Simple Steps

by John-Henry Scherck November 10th, 2011 

video

Video is my favorite content to work with.

When it comes to SEO, videos can garner serious links and greatly improve time on site metrics and overall user engagement. People love being entertained, so naturally a good piece of video content spreads like wild fire.

If you are lucky enough to work with a site that has a video production budget you can take some very easy steps to get your videos populating in the search engines to get even more visitors to your site and drive conversions.

1. Don't Use YouTube Embeds to Display Videos on Your Pages

YouTube is great, its comment section is the pinnacle of public discourse and those hilarious videos of cats doing funny things get me through my day. However, if you want your videos to show up in the SERPs, avoid using YouTube embeds at all costs. It makes sense that Big G is going to favor an extremely respected site that is hosting an original video rather than feature the same video embedded on another site in the search results. The same goes for Vimeo and DailyMotion, those sites are all extremely powerful and the search engines are going to favor where the video is posted originally, not where it is embedded.

There are a ton of video player options out there – I am a HUGE fan of JW Player, it utilizes HTML5 and I have gotten great results with it. I prefer having my videos in .mp4 format, but .flv .mpg .avi all work just fine.

2. Use a Thumbnail Image for Your Video

The thumbnail image you select for your video is going to be clickable video link that shows up in the SERPs, so it's important to get a great image for your video.

I am a fan of images that picture the keyword (when possible) to demonstrate added relevancy to search engine users. If you read my last post about making your site stand out in the SERPs, you know that the the results page is often times where you make your first impression on a potential visitor – there is no better first impression than a relevant looking video.

  • "Selecting an intriguing thumbnail will help to increase click-through to your video" — Alex Harvey

3. Utilize Keywords in the alt= Tag of the Thumbnail

Google can't really process and understand actual video information (yet), so it goes off the little tidbits of info that it can scrape together to make an educated guess.

It is imperative for video SEO that you use an alt= tag in the thumbnail image that is keyword rich.

This serves as a HUGE clue for search engine bots and will help your video populate in the search engines for the particular keyword you are targeting.

4. Submit a Video Sitemap

Google actually allows you to submit a video sitemap directly into Webmaster tools. They look similar to an XML sitemap and they are relatively easy to put together. This is where you can give Google tons of info about your videos including, the title, description, thumbnail url and playpage url. If you haven't submitted one of these for a video heavy site you are working on, you are seriously missing out.
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These 4 steps take barely any time to implement and should have your videos populating in the search results quickly. If you haven't started doing video SEO already, what are you waiting for? And…Action!

More on video on your website:

John-Henry Scherck

John-Henry Scherck is an Organic Web Strategist with Digital Third Coast Internet Marketing, Inc. Located in Chicago, IL. John-Henry is passionate about off-site SEO and content marketing. When he isn't thinking about new ways to get links, John-Henry spends his free time cooking, running, hanging with his two awesome cats and toasting with Malört.

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One Response to “Video SEO in 4 Simple Steps”

  1. John A White says:

    wow that is a good article on videos, i never thought about the embedding issue. My marketing funnel provides its own video player so i might look into that instead of using YouTube. Thanks for the tips John :)