How To Optimize Video For SEO: 5 Best Practices

Content | SEO

Video marketing has blown up over the past few years and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. If you haven’t started using video in your content strategy then you’re falling behind. But why is video so important now? Well, according to HubSpot Research, 54% of consumers want to see videos from brands, more than any other content, and 90% of customers say video helps in their buying decisions. Video has proven to be more useful than just for entertainment, it has revolutionized how brands and businesses connect with their customers.

So how do we best optimize our video content for Google SERPS? Google shared its 5 video SEO best practices recently on its Search Central youtube channel.


Signals Google Looks For

Video affects the most important ranking factor in SEO: content. Video is evidence of quality content and it sends signals to Google that your site contains rich media relevant to search queries. 

When Google crawls a page and finds that it contains a video, it will then look for signals to understand what the video is about. These signals are what allow the video to show in for relevant search results. The signals Google will look for are:

  • On-page text: page titles, captions, and headings near the video
  • Referral links: signals sent from other sites linking to the video
  • Structured data: markup that communicates video metadata
  • Video files: Google can understand visual and audio content 


Google’s Video SEO Best Practices

Google recommends following these 5 best practices for getting your video content found by its crawlers.


1. Publicly accessible video

Google’s first recommendation is to have the video publicly accessible on the web, meaning there should be a URL to a web page that Google can access. The video should also be easily visible on the page not require any further action from the user.


2. Structured data

Using structured data also allows your video to be found and lets Google understand the content of your video. Use VideoObject markup to provide structured data. The markup can include title, description, duration, thumbnail, and more. Additional markup could also be used to enable the LIVE video badge and key video moments.


3. High-quality thumbnails

Make sure to provide high-quality thumbnails for each video with URLs that Google can access. If the thumbnail URL isn’t accessible to Google then the video may not show for video features. With that said, sure that robots.txt isn’t blocking Google from crawling the URLs.


4. Video sitemap

Having a video sitemap can help Google find your videos associated with pages on your site. The sitemap also includes metadata tags that help Google understand what your video is about.


5. Accessible video files

The last way to optimize video for SEO is making sure your video files are accessible to Google to use for video previews and key moments. Google chooses a few seconds from your video to use as a preview instead of a static thumbnail. The length of the previews can be controlled using the max video preview robots metatag. Google can also identify and segment key moments in your video for users to navigate to.


Looking for direction to improve your video rankings? Let’s get in touch and talk about how we can optimize your video and web content for Google.