Does video improve SEO? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes, but only if you’re clued up on video SEO best practices.
Video is important because it demonstrates to Google that you can produce quality content using a mix of media throughout your site. It’s also simply a great way to:
- Enhance engagement
- Provide a better experience for your site visitors
- Compel your target audience to use your business
However, to maximise the SEO benefits of video and ensure the time and money spent on video production doesn’t go to waste, you need to understand some basic concepts of SEO video marketing. Here are 10 essential tips for making the most of video SEO in 2017.
1. You need quality video content
The better quality a video is, the more people are going to watch it, engage with it and share it. The more engagement a video gets, the more likely Google is to deliver it in relevant search results, because engagement is proof that it is valuable, quality content.
To really make the most of SEO video marketing, you need to create videos which will genuinely interest your audience. Try to solve problems or provide new, unique information or insights. You can also experiment with different types of video content to communicate your message in the most compelling way.
2. Don’t shy away from YouTube
General best practice for SEO video marketing is to host videos on your own site so that you can get maximum SEO benefits, but there is still a case for using YouTube. If you embed YouTube videos instead, you lower the risk of slower page load times, something which makes your site less appealing to Google and real people alike. Plus, using YouTube opens your video up to:
- A wider audience
- More views
- New viewers who might click links in your channel or video descriptions and check out your website.
It’s also important to note that YouTube is owned by Google. There’s evidence to suggest that Google is, therefore, favouring YouTube when it comes to delivering video snippets in the search results. If your video content is on YouTube, you may have better luck reaching the top positions than if it were hosted on your own site. Sure, viewers will go to YouTube instead of directly to your site, but they’ll still be exposed to your content and brand.
If you still don’t feel happy about handing over all potential SEO benefits to YouTube when creating video, you could compromise by uploading short video previews on YouTube, and hosting longer videos on your own site. You can then drive traffic back to your site by including your URL in your video description.
3. Create a video sitemap if you host on your own site
Video sitemaps are important for video SEO if you plan on hosting on your own site. When you create a video sitemap, try to include as much metadata as possible – the more you include, the more likely a video is to rank high in the SERPs.
Google has some helpful information on video sitemaps which includes all the required, recommended and optional metadata tags that they use.
4. Maximise backlinks from YouTube and Vimeo
By including your website’s URL in a video description and in your channel information, you can get a little SEO boost in the form of backlinks from reputable video hosting sites. Plus, you’ll probably get some extra traffic from these links.
5. Follow the SEO rules for written content in video descriptions
Whenever you upload a new video, be sure to use relevant keywords and synonyms in the title and description in much the same way you would if you were optimising written content. Choose one or two main keywords as well as relevant synonyms to nail Google’s semantic search demands. You can also make use of tags when using platforms like YouTube or Vimeo.
6. Try keep to one video per page
A good rule of thumb for each page on your site, is to have one or two primary keywords and just one video which is most relevant to those keywords. Try to also naturally include these keywords in the title and description. This will further reinforce the relevancy of your page and video to the search bots.
7. Add a video transcript for audio
One of the most crucial video SEO best practices is to add audio transcripts to your videos. This text will support the video’s relevance to search terms. Plus, it makes it more accessible to your audience which will help you get those all-important views.
8. Share, share, share
When a video is shared and engaged with on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, it’s a sign to Google that your content is good quality. Although it isn’t clear exactly how much impact social signals like this have on SEO, we know it influences ranking indirectly at least a little. Plus, social sharing will help your video be seen by more people and will likely help drive more traffic to your site.
9. Make your videos easy to share and embed
If your videos are easy to embed, you can increase the likelihood of other relevant organisations and websites putting them on their own site, which means more views for you – great for your SEO video marketing campaign – and more exposure for your brand and business in general. This is another reason why the likes of YouTube are great, because they make embedding and sharing so easy. However, if you do opt for hosting your own videos, be sure to have an embed code and share buttons available.
10. Crosslink your videos
By linking to other relevant videos in your library, you can further demonstrate to Google the relevancy of the video in question. Not only that, but by offering extra resources to your viewers, you can help to increase views on other relevant videos.