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by Tara West on 28th April 2011
Video content has the ability to convey so much more than standard written content. It can demonstrate a point in much less time, the audio which accompanies it can have a dramatic impact on how it is interpreted, and the ability to show things in motion can make explaining or demonstrating things much clearer.
With the internet increasingly becoming saturated with video content, it is important to optimise your video if you would like to get it indexed and ranking.
Video content websites such as YouTube can be a great way of uploading video if you would like to keep things simple, otherwise you can have it embedded within your website page. If you are using a video content website, such as YouTube, you should also embed the video within your own website or blog, on its own page if possible.
Here are some tips on optimising video content:
As with all SEO, think about the keyword you are going to target with the video content. You might want to do some keyword research, and think about what people might type into a search engine if they were looking for a video on that subject. A good tip is to include the word ‘video’, as often when people are searching for video content they will do this.
As with standard SEO, links to your video are important to help it rank; however make sure these are links to the video URL on your own site (not to the video content site such as YouTube). Again, following normal optimisation protocol, consider your anchor text and all the usual linking considerations.
Title, Description and Tags
Make sure the title of your video is descriptive and includes the targeted keyword. Make this sound like something people would search for. As previously discussed, include the word ‘video’ on the end of your title.
Fill in any additional information you can, such as tags and keywords, all with a consideration to the keyword you are targeting.
The video description should be, well, as descriptive as possible and include the keyword you are targeting.
The length of the video may have some bearing on whether search engines choose to rank it. If it is too long and would take a long time for a user to stream this could be detrimental, but equally having a very short video might suggest to the search engines that there is not much information being communicated.
Comments, Ratings, Reviews and Views
Social elements appear to have a big influence on helping a video become ranked. This means it is important to get as many comments, reviews and ratings on your video as possible; both on your own site and on any video content platforms it is hosted on. This is an indication that the video is of interest to others to the search engines.
Don’t panic though; it is not necessarily about what the reviews or comments say but how many of them there are. Search engines appear to be more concerned with the volume of this kind of information rather than the view point behind it. Continuing along the route of volume being important; the number of views a video has had also seems to have an impact on helping it rank. So promoting it, bookmarking it, tweeting about it and linking to it in all the usual ways will help you rank as well as delivering new visitors.
Video Site Maps
You should create and submit a video sitemap for your video to tell the search engines it is there. This gives you the opportunity to include a video thumbnail and other information such as the URL where it is embedded, which all helps tell the search engines more about it.
Media RSS Feeds (MRSS)
Creating a Media RSS feed, which can include all media elements of your site, such as images, audio and video, will also allow people and search engines to keep up to date with changes on your site.
Mark your content to indicate what kind of content it is, in this case video. This can be done using Rich Snippets (LINK TO http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=99170) and will let you give search engines a thumbnail, the embedded URL and other information. This information may then also appear alongside your Meta description in the SERPs.
Including a transcript below the video content which includes everything within the video, as it is said word by word, may sound like hard work to create, but it is easy content really, as you are literally copying what the video says. This then provides textual content on the page which can be optimised in all the usual ways.
Avoid Flash when creating videos, as search engines can’t read this.
Don’t Forget Everything Else!
Remember all the usual optimisation tips and tricks that you would use for other content and apply these too, for example your Meta and URL structure.