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SEO for Videos

16:53 on Fri, 16 Apr 2010 | SEO | 0 Comments

Video is an excellent communication medium. With a rich audio/visual experience it’s no wonder the video world is so big.

For those that don’t know Youtube gets more search query requests than Yahoo. So effectively it’s the 2nd biggest search engine. However this has very recently been broken by the fact that Twitter search accounts for 19 billion searches.

The statistics from the article show.

• Google: 88 billion per month*

• Twitter: 19 billion per month

• Yahoo: 9.4 billion per month

• Bing: 4.1 billion per month

*Google on this list denotes all Google properties such as images, Youtube, etc

Chopping Onions Search Result
Google rich search result

Videos are appearing more and more in the search engines. Google’s universal search will has been known to display multiple blocks of video results for some terms. Can you afford to miss out of this growing channel of search potential? There are 2 options when using video promotion which invariably can be used individually or both at the same time.

 

On-site video hosting

Hosting your own video files is one of the avenues for video SEO. Although this can be bandwidth heavy it ultimately means you are in control of the content. Videos can be sorted into their own categorised sections and hosted on individual pages. Embedding a video per page means you can control the standard page construction for SEO. A well considered Title tag, video description, tags and sharing buttons. Other elements such UGC (user generated content) could also be incorporated to encourage comment and discussion.

 

What video formats can i use on my site?

Although there is wide range of video formats available to use, you should use a filetype which is recognised by the major search engines. Google support supports an excellent range of filetypes which include:

.mpg, .mpeg, .mp4, .mov, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .ra, .ram, .rm, .flv

However these filetypes must be accessible by HTTP. How will search engines find and index my videos? It can be difficult for search engines to find your video files and this is because of the coarse way in which video is embedded in your site. Thankfully clever search engines bods created some solutions for your videos to be indexed via a video sitemap.

 

What is a video sitemap?

An XML sitemap can also be used to inform the search engines of the pages of your website. A similar format can be used as a video sitemap to provide help provide rich listings for your videos. This can be referenced from a sitemap index file to let search engine’s like Google know where your sitemap files are.

Here’s an example of a video sitemap entry provided by Google:

<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
xmlns:video="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-video/1.1">
<url>
<loc>http://www.example.com/videos/some_video_landing_page.html</loc>
<video:video>
<video:content_loc>http://www.site.com/video123.flv</video:content_loc>
<video:player_loc allow_embed="yes" autoplay="ap=1">http://www.site.com/videoplayer.swf?video=123</video:player_loc>
<video:thumbnail_loc>http://www.example.com/thumbs/123.jpg</video:thumbnail_loc>
<video:title>Grilling steaks for summer</video:title>
<video:description>Get perfectly done steaks every time</video:description>
<video:rating>4.2</video:rating>
<video:view_count>12345</video:view_count>
<video:publication_date>2007-11-05T19:20:30+08:00.</video:publication_date>
<video:expiration_date>2009-11-05T19:20:30+08:00.</video:expiration_date>
<video:tag>steak</video:tag>
<video:tag>meat</video:tag>
<video:tag>summer</video:tag>
<video:category>Grilling</video:category>
<video:family_friendly>yes</video:family_friendly>
<video:duration>600</video:duration>
</video:video>
</url>
</urlset>

 

The video sitemap allows you to take advantage of vital video meta details.

As this protocol allows you to edit the video’s details it means that if you can create an alternative title for video this maximise on your search potential.

Example:

Let’s say you host a video on a page. The video on the page is about a cat climbing up a wall. Your page’s title tag is ‘Video of a cat climbing up a wall’. By changing the video sitemap code you can reference the video with a different title. The benefit is that you can add alternative keywords to maximise your visibility in the search results. So the video sitemap title could be ‘Hilarious video of cute british shorthair cat scaling a wall’. OK so the example’s not great but you get the point. This is particularly important if you don’t want to out rank your existing content page which hosts the video. By spinning the video’s descriptive title you can make the most of search query variations.

Can I syndicate my videos?

Yes you can. Yahoo initially created the mRSS (media RSS) protocol back in 2004. This protocol allows you to format video files in a search engine friendly format and also means that readers can subscribe to your video feed.

Read more about the exact format of mRSS here. Essentially it allows you to control the Meta credentials of each video including title, video description, video display parameters, ratings, comments and video thumbnail and more.

If this process is too complicated then there are a number of other solutions, such as the very easy to use TubeMogul which will upload your video to over a dozen social video sites at once.

 

Off-site video hosting

There are a plethora of video services ready and willing to host your video content for free. This has a number pros and cons.

The main pro is you don’t need to worry about hosting costs. The con is that the video promotion will be mostly pointed at the off-site location. So if it were to become popular it’s likely the users will share the link to the off-site hosted URL. This will result in the video hosting provider gaining the link juice. Even with that aside, there are many benefits with off-site video hosting.

It's always a good idea to brand or watermark your videos so wherever they travel, they carry your website’s URL. The mighty Youtube gives the user a lot of options which I will cover in depth in another blog posts. But essentially you can control the video’s title, tags, comments and embedding privileges.

There are many video sites to which you can re-host your video and take advantage of spinning the title to incorporate multiple keyword combination.

 

What factors contribute to rankings of a Youtube video?

Matt Cutts’ video last year about ranking factors for Youtube included some interesting insights. The title, description and tags will always be a good starting point, but recent technology enhancements mean that Youtube can automatically generate a transcript from speech. Other elements which could also influence ranking apart from video views include:

• Ratings
• Playlist additions
• Flagging
• Embeds
• Shares
• Comments
• Age of video
• Channel views
• Subscribers
• Inbound links (from external domains)

Video SEO is a huge area in itself and I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for more video SEO advice in upcoming posts.

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