Video marketing is an excellent way for businesses to engage with potential customers. Some consumers are more likely to watch a video about a subject, rather than read walls of text that contain the same information. It’s highly recommended that businesses use video as part of the marketing strategy for social media and SEO marketing. However, to make the most of video marketing for SEO, there are some additional steps that Google recommends marketers take.
Broadly speaking, an ordinary video gives search engines little to work with in terms of indexable content. For example, unless extra data is provided, the only thing a search engine can know about a one-hour video is the length and the title. So while the video has an hour’s worth of content that can help potential customers, it can’t help search engines.
To rectify this situation, Google recommends that marketers and website owners do certain things to make video content more index friendly. During a March 5th Hangout, Google’s John Mueller provided some critical insights that online video marketers can use.
A key thing to keep in mind is that good video should supplement the content on a page, not replace it. Many sites have pages where the only content on the page is the video. Aside from the title of the page and the video, the page is empty of material in the eyes of a search engine. It’s better to make the video part of a page with more written content. This combination will help the page and video perform better on search engines. The increased text lets the video show up in more places. And watching a video keeps people on the page longer, which boosts SEO rankings.
Another good idea is to place a transcription of the video on the page where it’s hosted. This text significantly improves the SEO of the video since the search engine can now see all of the words being said in the video. With a transcript, people can actually search for a specific line in the video on Google and get the correct result. It becomes like looking for a song by searching the lyrics. Transcriptions of the video can also be used to add closed captions on services like YouTube, which makes your video more accessible to audiences.
As Mueller stated, “I think, in general, I would be cautious about using just a video as a primary piece of content on a web page. You should work to use the video in a way that supports your primary content, but not that it replaces your primary content.”
Making an effort to add context to the videos attached to webpages makes it much easier for search algorithms.
Mueller went on to explain, “… purely using a video on a page is something that, at least from a web search point of view, makes it really hard for us to determine what is actually useful on this page, and why should we show it in the search results.”
For some more advice on SEO from Google employees, read this article about a recent online discussion with Google which suggests that many 301 redirect tricks aren’t going to fool Google’s anti-spam algorithm.