Video optimization is a relatively new aspect of SEO, but as video content becomes more prevalent, it is an increasingly important component of successful search engine optimization. As lots of written content slowly disappears and is replaced by video content, how a page and even how entire sites rank is going to depend more and more on how videos are optimized.
Optimizing Videos for Search Engines
Videos can be a great avenue for new visitors to discover a site. Both Google and Bing feature video-specific search functions and in recent years Google has even started integrating videos into its normal search results. A well-optimized video can vault a site into a first page ranking in Google for a valuable search term.
The search engines’ ability to look directly at the content of a video itself is limited. So a video’s ranking inevitably depends on factors outside the video itself – much like images. The first thing to optimize is the video file itself. Make sure its title, description/summary, and keywords/tags are well optimized with relevant keywords. Next, normal on-page SEO factors can make a difference in how well the video ranks. These are the sort of factors that should be optimized on every webpage, including the title tag and meta description. If there’s a prominent video on the page, they should mention it. Even though video is replacing some written content, there’s still a place for written content in promoting videos. A detailed description of what’s in the video can help search engines pick up on the content of that video.
On a more technical level, try to avoid flash video players, as search engines don’t like them and some mobile devices don’t support them, which is bad news in an increasingly smartphone and tablet-dominated world. Finally, creating a video sitemap may also help Google find the video content on a site. This can be easily done through Google Webmaster Tools.
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Optimizing Videos for YouTube
The other major factor to consider when it comes to video optimization is YouTube. It is the second largest search engine next to Google (which actually owns it) and commands 800 million unique views per month. YouTube rankings depend upon number of views, video title, video description and video rating (likes vs. dislikes).
It’s much harder to ‘game’ the system on YouTube. Obviously the title and description should include relevant keywords, but beyond that a video’s ranking largely depends on its quality. The best way to promote content on YouTube is to create videos that people actually want to watch and share. Really, this should be the philosophy behind the creation of all content, but it’s especially important on YouTube. It’s also essential not to waste any YouTube popularity that a video does manage to achieve. Links back to the original site can be a great source of traffic.
Combined with solid SEO in other areas, these tips should make sure that a site is well-situated to take advantage of the video content wave of the future.