Google has, for years, made no secret of its enthusiasm for blended search results, and for video in particular. But its repeated message is that organisations must focus first and foremost on audience.
The name of the game in video marketing best practices should be delivering first-rate video experiences to real people, rather than focusing on quick tricks to boost discoverability.
Any publisher can enrich its website with the addition of video content. But even with high-quality video assets, success is far from automatic.
When it comes to video, simply integrating it into website content mix isn’t enough to help boost a website’s search rankings. Given that 76% of marketers identify video as the tactic closest to their hearts, though, organisations must ensure their content is reaching the right people and directly influencing the bottom line.
Not only must video be entertaining and valuable to target audiences, but organisations can’t afford to fail when it comes to optimising video for search engines.
So, how can they accomplish SEO success? A combination of tactics can ensure video is optimised for search engine success:
Use schema mark-up
Defined by Google as the ‘recommended way to describe videos on the web’ and critical for video discoverability, schema is a shared mark-up vocabulary used by major search engines to gather structured data and additional insight into content for richer and more relevant search results.
Check out this Google blog post for more information on using schema mark-up for video.
Invest in a video site map
Attaching tags to your video only has a positive impact on SEO if you have a video site map exposing those tags to search engines. Creating one and submitting it to Google is well worth doing.
Using schema on the unique video page will give search engines the additional contextual data they need to process results and index efficiently.
It’s important to use a unique URL for each video and include schema code in the unique video player page for each video that’s specific to the video loaded in the player.
Include a text transcript
With accessibility and control of the user experience growing in importance for SEO, transcripts open up your content to more people, including both hearing-impaired viewers and the text-hungry.
But they also enable search engines to better understand the content. Not only can captions boost SEO by increasing keyword density, they also increase the completion rate of video from 40% to 80%.
Check out these handy posts on the topic from 3Play Media’s Shannon K. Murphy.
Don’t overdo keywords
With its emphasis on quality content over SEO cheat sheets, Google search can penalise sites that overload their video titles and descriptions with keywords.
They must be written in a way that’s engaging and relevant to the audience with accurate tags and a clear title that explains the subject of the content, and what a viewer can learn from watching.
Use ‘video’ in title and descriptions
While overloading video titles and descriptions with keywords should be avoided, incorporating major terms such as ‘video’ and ‘how to’ in a natural way will improve the likelihood of your content returning a video thumbnail result.
Search engine methodology is constantly changing. Google’s search algorithms alone change a massive 500-600 times in just one year, (albeit a lot of that change is fairly minor).
But as Google’s strategy for indexing video content matures over time, we’ll undoubtedly see more competition for video results.
Securing those results depends upon brands being able to provide high-quality, unique content that can be effectively indexed, discovered and shared.
Any video SEO strategy must start with, and build upon, a website SEO strategy, and HTML mark-up will only grow in relevance as search engines depend upon tags to boost the effectiveness and accuracy of search results.
But even more fundamental to success with video is the importance of creating content for people, rather than for search engine robots.
Video is a powerful, unmatched medium for storytelling and entertaining. Optimised for discovery and sharing, it’s an unparalleled channel for brands to share their messages and secure that all-important marketing ROI.