Video has become a major part of our online lives, from watching music videos to past sporting events – nearly every topic imaginable can be watched!
Now, video is becoming an ever increasing must have for any website and can be used as a SEO strategy. Simply uploading a video to YouTube and crossing your fingers for it to rank well in Google is a familiar story and unfortunately won’t work (unless you are targeting an ultra long tail key phrase).
Below I have created a 3 step approach to video SEO and the things you must be doing.
1. Creating the video:
Once the video has been created there are several things you need to do before it can go online.
1.1: Video filename
Firstly, you need to make sure you save the file with a friendly filename. Let’s say we have created a video about ‘video SEO’, an appropriate filename for this would be video-seo.wmv
1.2: Define the video
Next, you can give your video further details. Simple, right click on the video file and select properties, once the window has appeared click on details:
Now you have this panel open, you fill out the following fields:
There are many other fields to fill out but I would say the above is the minimum. These work on a similar level to META tags – you define a file with relevant information.
Now you have all of the above defined, I would advise that you try and reduce the file size of the video for uploading and buffering reasons. Remember speed matters from a search and usability point-of-view.
2. Launching the video:
Now your video file is ready to upload, there are a few things you need to do before releasing it to the world:
2.1: Channel URL
When setting up your channel, you may have the option to choose the URL name. This can be a great way to include keywords our brand name for reputation management purposes.
Like link building, having links coming from relevant or themed pages is imperative for any good SEO campaign. My advice with any channel you setup would be to include as much relevant content as possible which looks natural and user focused.
Because you have defined elements within the video (see point 1) it’s massively important that this data matches, or is related, to the content surrounding the video.
Take a look at the Top Gear YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/TopGear). This is a great example of a well constructed channel with relevant information, branding, and crucially, great keyword placement.
2.3: Video information
Adding a video header, description, category and keywords to support the channel topic and initial information which was added to the video is vital. Check out this Bob Dylan video, click here.
Notice the header – this includes the artist’s name and song title
Now check out these details, the description could be a little longer but perfectly describes the video.
3. Promoting the video:
If you decide to include the video on your website, generate a transcript! This could lead to a great page of content which will help with your SEO efforts.
3.2: Video sitemap
If you do decide to include the video on your website, create a video sitemap. Here is a great guide written by Google on how these work and how to construct a video sitemap, click here.
If you’re using a video hosting platform like YouTube, don’t forget to add your videos to your Google Places listing. This can be another great way to distribute your video content to potential customers.
3.4: Share your videos
I’ve no doubt that you will have a Twitter or Facebook account – share your videos on these platforms – this can be a great way to get information in front of customers and link to your channel.
Also, use conventional link building techniques and link to your channel and videos, this can help the same way as link building to a normal web page does.
3.5: Video RDFa
If you are embedding a YouTube video on to your website, adopt RDFa. RDFa is rich snippet data which a lot of search engines are starting to display within results
RDFa is quite an advanced SEO technique but can add that little extra spice to a video – here is a great guide I would highly recommend you read about video RDFA, click here.
Things to consider:
Self hosting vs. external hosting
With videos, you have two main options – you can either host the video on your server or host it externally using a video uploading service like YouTube. Personally I would use the external hosting option. With this you will get a smart video player and they are easy to embed onto a website. The only downside would be potential adverts at the end of the video to other related topics and channels. Saying that, there are video sites that have paid options which will remove any ads within the video.
There are many video hosting services, here are my top recommendations and services to use:
So to summarise, using video for SEO purposes is a great strategy, but like most SEO tasks requires time, effort and a little patience. Don’t forget to bookmark my blog for more SEO tips and free SEO help.
About the author: Dave Cain is an SEO with 10 years digital marketing experience. He can be followed on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ or you can subscribe to his RSS feed.