Online video is growing rapidly and search engines are trying to find ways to integrate it and other types of interactive media into users search results. Google has been making some big leaps in the way it displays online video content, often putting video results in the top 5 results, sometimes boosting simple user created videos past mega corporations and other large websites for big keywords. Bruce Clay, an long time expert in online marketing and search engine optimization, has been quoted saying: "Without video, your website will not rank..." Over the course of MediaCore's development we've kept a close eye on changes in the world of video SEO and by now we think we do it pretty well. Below are some of the techniques and tips we've used in MediaCore, that you can use as well.
First off, as far as competition goes, video SEO is a fairly even playing field. Whereas things like domain ranking and pageviews matter in traditional SEO content, search engines look at video simply for its content and integrity relative to the search term therefore, whether you're a giant blog posting a scoop on the latest Apple rumours or a small time hobbyist, everyone has an equal opportunity at the top spot. On top of this new found equality MediaCore makes ranking highly extremely simple, in fact, after we posted a popular short film on our demo site, we found it in the top ranking listed right next to the original! Keep in mind that MediaCore automatically optimizes all content passed through it using the techniques discussed below, that being said there are some basic things you can do to improve how your video ranks, no matter where it's located on the web.
At this point in time, search engines still can't look inside videos, so they have to rely on the things that surround them on the website. One of the primary ways to let Google know about the videos on your site is by using something called a Video Sitemap. Much like a traditional Sitemap, this XML file tells the search engine what it needs to know about the videos on your site, like the title, description and duration. Just like in their non-video equivalent most search engines focus on the title of the video and leave the things like keywords and description to be mostly ignored. Make sure your video has a title that makes sense within the context of the website. Search engines look at the information you've provided and compare it with the context of the page, for example, if things like the page title and the video title match up you will get a higher ranking then if they differ. Certain companies like Google are refining the way they utilize video sitemaps, by providing other fields aside from the standard title and description fields like the video's rating, view count,category, applicable tags and even its price. Most of these things are presumably a by-product of Google's own video site, Youtube and they currently don't hold very much value when ranking your video, but as online video continues to grow these attributes will gain a newfound importance and meaning in the emerging world of video SEO.
Though there are quite a few differences in the way video is ranked online, there are also a few similarities anyone familiar with "traditional" SEO should be familiar with. First and foremost, content is king, legitimate, quality video will always get you farther than any SEO optimization can. Secondly, you still need a robots.txt file on your website that tells search engines where to look and what to look for. In a world where every subject has its own discussion forum and Wikipedia article it's hard to get the top spot on those broad keywords. For example, your aptly named "car video" will have a hard time dominating the "car video" keyword and is probably destined for a life on the ninth page. However, a similar video with the title " My 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback" will live a long prosperous life as the top result for its keyword. The lesson being keep your titles and other descriptive information specific, you'll have a much higher chance of ranking highly with much more targeted traffic resulting in users spending more time on your site.
Of course, Google isn't the only major player taking an interest in videos, Facebook is also branching out in an effort to amalgamate more of the outside web into its social platform. You can help Facebook recognize your video by adding their Open Graph protocol meta-properties to your website. Confused? Don't worry it's not any different from"traditional" SEO techniques and it will certainly help your video play well with Facebook, letting users share it to all their friends simply and elegantly. Though this doesn't effect video SEO in a direct way, Facebook can generate massive amounts of interest in a short time period, especially with shared videos that are embedded directly into the users newsfeed, letting them check it out without ever leaving their newsfeed. This type of social sharing will boost your brand awareness and increase your traffic, and that's always good for your ranking.
In summary, the upcoming world of video SEO provides an interesting twist on "traditional" SEO techniques, letting websites of all sizes compete evenly for the top spot. Here are a few key things to remember when optimizing your videos for search engines.
- Get a Video Sitemap: There are several ways to go about obtaining one of these; If you're a MediaCore user you're in luck as MediaCore automatically generates one for you. Otherwise, you can read ReelSEO's wonderful post about creating your own video sitemap.
- Get Consistent: Make sure your meta-data is in order and the page matches up to the video and vice versa. It's especially important to make sure your videos and pages share the same titles.
- Get the Basics: Make sure you have the basic SEO principles in place on your website before worrying about optimizing videos. These include: Correct meta tags, clean permalinks, specific keywords, robots.txt, quality outgoing and incoming links and most of all, make sure you have great quality content that people want to read!
As it stands, this is a perfect time to get into the habit of optimizing all your media, especially video. As these different mediums are starting to get a foot hold in peoples search results, it provides the perfect opportunity to get your content out there on what was a previously impenetrable and highly competitive advertising avenue. Video SEO isn't very difficult to do and can provide great exposure for your website or brand. Get out there and give it a shot.