Videos and SEO
Videos can engage and retain users on your website, and they can make your messages more visible in Google Video search. At the same time, Google is increasingly showing videos in search results, especially if the videos are published on an external platform such as YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo. Videos appear either in a separate video box or as a more general search result:
So there are good reasons to include videos in your SEO efforts. However, in our experience, it rarely pays to produce videos if they only serve an SEO purpose. So the work is more about leveraging and optimising videos you've already produced. This could include product videos, webinar recordings and video tutorials.
Optimization of videos on your own website
If videos are an important part of your website, it may be beneficial to cough the videos yourself, i.e. have them on your own web server and show them via your own video player. This gives you more flexibility in how you can integrate the videos into your website and in what formats you can show the videos to your users.
However, in the vast majority of cases, it will be more appropriate to publish the videos on an external platform such as YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo and then embed them on your website. Google is more likely to show videos in search results if they're on an external platform, and videos don't take up your server resources and loadtime.
If you host the videos yourself and have a large number of videos on your website, you should create a video sitemap on the website (see page 30) and tag the videos with structured data. The latter also applies if you embed the videos on your website. This way, you give Google easy access to the videos and a few details about the videos.
In all cases, Google has difficulty decoding the video content itself. You can help Google by writing a text snippet or an actual transcript in conjunction with the video on your website. Surrounding text gives Google an indication of the content in the video and also increases the likelihood that the video page itself will gain visibility on Google.
If you embed videos from YouTube on your website, you should check the 'Enable extended privacy mode' box when you download the embed code. This will prevent YouTube from setting cookies on your website and collecting information about all your visitors. Only visitors who actually watch the video will then be tracked by YouTube.
Optimization of videos on external platforms
YouTube is the most widely used video platform and therefore the one on which this section is based. Many of the same recommendations apply to other platforms, and you can easily publish your videos on several platforms if it is important for you to be present on all of them. But you'll rarely get more visibility on Google by doing so.
YouTube, like Facebook, is free and provides access to a potentially large number of users. This is not the case with Vimeo, which allows you to create your own video universe - unlike YouTube and Facebook, where your competitors' related videos can be displayed on your video pages! So there are different advantages to the different platforms.
The following parameters are important for the visibility of your videos on YouTube:
- Title. Write an appealing video title (but avoid clickbait).
- Description. Write a unique video description of at least 100 words. The first 125 characters or so, including spaces, will appear in search results and are therefore particularly important.
- Tags. Add 3-5 relevant tags to the video.
- Add an appealing thumbnail image to the video.
In addition, the number of interactions (likes, comments and shares), the number of views, the play time of each play and the total number of followers also have an impact on the visibility of your videos. These are not parameters you can directly influence, but you can influence them by creating interesting and shareable video content that appeals to your audience.
It is important that the keywords a video is to be found on are included in the video title, tags and several times in the video description. This increases both the likelihood that the video will be found on YouTube and that it will appear in Google search results. You may already have an immediate sense of relevant keywords, but it's still a good idea to do a keyword analysis.
If you have already done a traditional keyword analysis (see the guide earlier in this chapter), you can use it, knowing that there are differences in search behaviour on Google and YouTube. It rarely pays to do a keyword analysis specifically for YouTube searches. If you do want to do a specific analysis, you can Ahrefs.com and the Analytics part of your YouTube Studio is used to map search behaviour on YouTube (the latter, however, only includes keywords you are already visible on).
It is also important that you encourage viewers to take a value-adding action in the video description or in the video itself. There is typically not much value in YouTube users watching your video - the value comes from the moment users click through to your website, sign up to a newsletter, make a purchase, review a product or similar.