Optimising for online video

Written on 06 June, 2012 by Verity Meagher
Categories: Search Engine Optimisation | Tags: multimedia, social media, video, youtube

If you’re interested in revamping up your web presence, you can’t go past video content. Interactive, engaging and highly shareable, online video can also seriously boost your SEO. A recent Forrester study presents a compelling case for embracing video content, revealing that videos are 53 times more likely to help your website achieve a first page ranking than conventional SEO techniques. Committing to online video might be one thing, but optimising for SEO can bring its own set of challenges. These tips will help you get ahead:

Choose your host carefully

Think carefully about your goals before deciding on your host. If your aim is to maximise total views and derive value from the views themselves, it pays to pick a site such as YouTube, with high levels of built-in traffic. But if you’re focused on using video to attract new business or drive your site’s search referrals, you should host it yourself. Embedding video content streamed from a video service into a site page is generally the easiest way to do this.

A word to the wise

It’s important to be as descriptive as possible when it comes to picking a title and description for your video. Make sure your title accurately reflects the content and include your most important keywords. But remember that user-friendliness brings greater SEO benefit than cramming your descriptions with irrelevant keywords.

You should also keep in mind that by default some servers are set to use text/plain by default which will mean that the video file may not work/open correctly when downloaded. However, if you are creating a podcast or video feed you can include the appropriate “MIME type” (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) or “Content-Type”. Media type specification is also an important information source for search engines for the classification of data files on the web.

Sign up to a transcription service

Text transcripts are a powerful tool for increasing SEO value and making sure your content can be crawled by search engines as well as video sharing sites. You can either manually type up a transcript or upload it along with your video, or you could enlist the help of an automatic transcription service.

Create a video sitemap

If you choose to host video content on your site, it’s crucial to ensure that search engines can index the pages that feature videos as well as information relating to the videos themselves. A video sitemap is one way around this. The best video sitemaps include a video file, a thumbnail image, a description and a title – information that will help search engines identify your video an include it in relevant search results.

Short and sweet

Your video might be a piece of art, but chances are it won’t be engaging after ten minutes. Short, snappy videos are more likely to hold your audience captive and inspire viewers to upload to social networks and share with friends. If you’re struggling to cut down your video content, consider breaking it into shorter segments – this also helps you increase the volume of videos that you can optimise, which is great news for your search traffic.

Have a look at some of our Optimising for online video to see the above points being put in place.