Best SEO Practices for Your Video Content
Are you looking to make sure that your videos rank as well as possible? These top SEO practices will have you on your way.
#1 Keyword Strategy
When it comes to optimizing your video content for search engines, you have to keep in mind that search engines aren’t quite capable yet of “watching” your videos and truly understanding what they’re about. That’s why you have to give your video content context, and keywords will help you do that.
Optimize your content for keywords that you have (hopefully) identified before production and make sure they are in the title, tags, description, and any surrounding content that will accompany the video. Don’t stuff your keywords, just use them in a natural, human-readable sentence.
It may seem like a good idea, but you don’t want to host your videos directly on your website server. Uploading video content to trusted video channels is the way to go. Their servers and software systems are set up for video, and they are much better for SEO. In fact, YouTube is the second most popular search engine out there. Google also owns it …they like when you use YouTube to host your videos. So, host your video on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook or LinkedIn and embed the video on your site.
Keep in mind though that YouTube and other platforms are ultimately going to try and bring your viewers to their platform, even when watching something on your website. The controls can also get distracting and clash with the theme of your own website.
So, be sure to utilize the different options available when embedding a player. YouTube allows you to strip away almost all of a player’s functionality and get rid of those suggested videos by clicking a few checkboxes, and a simple cut and paste.
Hosting your own videos with a fast, media-optimized video service is ideal for optimizing your video content.
You probably already know about sitemaps if you have spent any time looking into SEO strategy, but do you have a video sitemap setup yet? This a sitemap devoted to your rich content that shows search engines where it’s located. When it comes to helping your video content rank, this is a big piece of the puzzle.
#4 Meta Tags
The more you can tell a search engine about your rich content, the better. Meta tags will control how your video displays inside of search results. A title, description, and tags are the most common forms of meta tags, but Google also supports many more for video content, including a name, description, thumbnail url, thumbnail image file, and upload date.
#5 Open Graph Tags
When it comes to posting a video on social networks, Open Graph tags (or “OG tags”) are similar to meta tags, and they play an essential role in helping networks gain an understanding of your video content. They help make sure the right title, tags, description, image, and video show up when your video gets shared.
Social sharing plays a prominent role in SEO, so you want to make sure these are set up correctly.
#6 Load Speed
Another reason why you should take advantage of an off-site, media-optimized dedicated host is that no one wants to be sitting around waiting for your website to load or for a video to buffer. Uploading directly to your website can quickly slow things down and even embedding from the wrong service can lead to the same effect.
Subtitles, or closed captions, play an essential role in making your content accessible to the masses, but they can also improve your SEO. Increasingly, accessibility is becoming a significant factor in search engine rankings. Even for those without accessibility issues, many people watch videos without sound, and captions aid in their understanding of your content.
#8 Pre-Play Image
Ever spent time considering which thumbnail was best for your video? You should. The right pre-play poster will positively impact how likely someone is to click on your video and view it. Although this does not have a direct impact on SEO, it will help drive the engagement for your videos.
#9 Limit Your Videos
Having more than one video on a single page can have a very negative impact on your SEO efforts for multiple reasons. Number one, it dilutes the page’s focus, leading to a broader (and less effective) keyword strategy. It also makes it harder for you to optimize your video SEO overall, plus it impacts how long your pages take to load.
Ideally, you should devote each page to a specific topic and put only one super-focused video on the page. This way, you can dial in your keyword strategy.
#10 Sharing Made Simple
What if someone wants to share your video after they have finished watching it? Ideally, your website’s design will encourage this by making sharing simple. These social signals will help drive further engagement in your videos and also tell search engines that people like your content.
#11 Share Online
There are bound to be online communities dedicated to topics similar to that of your video content. By sharing your video content in these online communities, you can help build your backlink strategy. Having backlinks from relevant and reputable sites linking to your video will help your SEO tremendously. LinkedIn, Facebook, and other online communities are an excellent place to start.
#12 Keep Up With The Changes
SEO is constantly changing as search engines update their algorithms and figure out what people care about. The rules are always in a state of adaption, and it’s vital that you are ready and willing to adapt to them as they shift over time. Your outbound links should remain valid, and you should also monitor your backlink profiles for issues that may evolve with time.
Spend some time each month reviewing the latest updates to SEO and speculations surrounding it to help keep your website on top.
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Neil K Carroll
Experienced creative professional with a love for breakfast sandwiches and a strong disdain for grinders.
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