Got video #SEO? 4 easy optimization tips

SEO for video - don't let your small business video content be the needle in the haystack. Video is one of the most powerful ways to engage your audience online, whether you’re running a huge multi-national corporation or a small business employing just a few staff. In fact, more small businesses than ever are choosing to include videos on their websites as they realise that video is becoming an integral part of online marketing.

Of course, another big part of marketing a business online is SEO. Most small business owners realise the benefits of SEO these days and the good news is that video and SEO go hand-in-hand.

The thing is, like any other form of content (text, images, etc.), video has to be optimised in order to bring SEO benefits – and a lot of small business owners tend to neglect this optimisation.

So, with the aim of getting your online videos to rank better for your keywords this year, here are four essential (and easy!) tips for optimising your video content:

1. Include written content

When video content is placed on a website, all too often it is placed on a page that doesn’t have much written text. Of course, video is much more engaging than text, so for the majority of your site’s visitors this shouldn’t be much of a problem.

However, the problem with neglecting text on your video content pages is that search engines are unable to read the content of that video – and therefore they are unable to determine the topic of your page and unable to rank it accordingly.

What’s the solution? All you need to do to solve this problem is to place at least some relevant written text on the page that also has your video embedded on it. One of the easiest ways to do this is to offer a video transcription (a written version of the dialogue spoken in the video), either verbatim or paraphrased. (Heather Lloyd-Martin discusses this very solution in her SEO Copywriting post, “When video content means bad news for your site”).

Incorporating written content will not only allow Google and other search engines to determine the nature of your page, but it will also allow visitors to choose whether they want to watch the video or read the transcription/text.

2. Don’t neglect basic SEO

Just because your content is in a video format doesn’t mean that the basic SEO rules should be neglected. Unfortunately, this is something that occurs quite frequently. If you’re neglecting basic SEO, chances are that your video content isn’t going to get seen by as many people as you might wish.

What’s the solution? Make sure that you optimise title tags, headings, URL’s and written content even on pages with video embeds. You still need to do your keyword research!

3. Submit a video sitemap

Google (and other search engines) aren’t going to know that you’ve embedded an engaging, informative video on your site unless you specifically tell them, and neither are potential visitors. By neglecting to submit a video sitemap to the search engines, there is no way they can “see” your video content and therefore, they can’t let potential visitors know that you have video content on your site either.

What’s the solution? Simple: submit a video sitemap to Google and other search engines. Doing this is free and will tell Google that you have video on your site and what it’s about. It’ll also bring the possibility of a video thumbnail showing up in the SERP’s for your chosen keywords. Although this doesn’t directly affect rankings, it can hugely affect click through rates which can bring more visitors to your website.

Here’s Google’s guide to creating a video sitemap.

4. Provide a video embed code

If you’ve gone to the effort of creating an exceptional video then it’s likely that people are going to want to share it on the web. People may want to embed the video on their own website and share it with their audience, which is great! The problem is that if you don’t control how they do this, it is likely that you won’t get the credit for the video or any SEO benefits (which is not good considering how long it took you to create the video).

What’s the solution? As we all know, inbound links are a huge part of SEO and by providing an embed code on your video content page, you can allow people to embed the video on their own website and to give you credit in the form of a nice, juicy link.

How do you do this? Well, you provide an embed code that can be copied and pasted to allow visitors to embed the video on their own site. In the embed code, include a link back to your site/content so that when they embed the video, credit is automatically given to you in the form of a link. The great thing about this is that you can make it easy for your video to be shared, get links, and control the anchor text. It’s a win-win solution!

It’s a wrap!

With video being one of the most popular types of online content, you’ve already made the extremely wise decision to integrate video into your online marketing strategy…so make sure Google knows just how great your content is!

Following these four simple optimisation tips should help improve your site or blog’s rankings, as well as expose your video to a wider audience.

About the Author ~ Josh Hardwick is the Managing Director of the UK-based video production company, ShortyMedia, specialising in web, viral, and corporate video production. He is also an online marketing enthusiast and has a significant amount of experience in SEO. Joshua (as ShortyMedia) can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

photo thanks to Naughty Architect (James Lumb)

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