Do websites with video rank better for SEO?

Lee Fuller, 5th May 2016

As video becomes more and more popular online, brands are asking the question “should we be “doing” video?”

The short is answer is “yes”.

Video is a great way to tell your story and create engaging content that has the ability to not only grab potential customers attention, but also provides an opportunity for you to give real value. If you have decided to put the energy and budget in to creating video content, you need to consider how to maximise the impact this content will have and think about the best way to make sure you drive as much traffic as possible.

To make sure you are maximising the chances of your videos success there are steps that can be taken to increase exposure within the SERPs (search engine results pages), these points are often overlooked but can have an impact on rankings and also CTR. Some things to bare in mind:

  • The content still has to be relevant
  • Make sure your video is engaging, your readers will bounce quickly if they don’t find any value
  • Speed – i would suggest using a 3rd party to host your videos, Youtube or Vimeo are great although there are lots of alternatives
  • Production matters – although cat’s being scared by cucumbers filmed on a mobile phone is entertaining, that is not really a professional impression. Be creative and create the best video you can within your budget. If you are doing a series of videos, get a pro intro done, and add music, it makes a difference

So once you have the points above all in place you then need to think about how to structure the page on your site where the video will live. This is where you can gain real SEO value from your video’s.

Video Schema

Google recommends using schema.org markup for videos, this provides specific information about the video to search engines as they cannot interpret the actual video content (yet) – Yahoo! and Bing also support schema.org markup.

Implementing the markup is all about giving search engines context, they want to learn as much about your page as they can so that they can use this information to show their users the best results. There is a lot of supported properties within the schema.org markup for a video object but, the example below taken from Google’s developers blog covers the required elements you need to include in order for your video snippet to be pulled in to the SERP’s.

<div itemprop="video" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/VideoObject">
 <h2>Video: <span itemprop="name">Title</span></h2>
 <meta itemprop="duration" content="T1M33S" />
 <meta itemprop="thumbnailUrl" content="thumbnail.jpg" />
 <meta itemprop="contentURL" content="http://www.example.com/video123.flv" />
 <meta itemprop="embedURL" content="http://www.example.com/videoplayer.swf?video=123" />
 <meta itemprop="uploadDate" content="2011-07-05T08:00:00+08:00" />
 <meta itemprop="expires" content="2012-01-30T19:00:00+08:00" />
 <meta itemprop="height" content="400" />
 <meta itemprop="width" content="400" />
 <object ...>
 <param ...>
 <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" ...>
 </object>
 <span itemprop="description">Video description</span>
 </div>

https://developers.google.com/webmasters/videosearch/schema#adding-videoobject-to-a-video-page

Once you have the code above in place you can use Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool to see if it is all working correctly.

Transcription

Another important thing to consider which again is often overlooked is video transcription. This is a really simple thing to do and it gives a lot of extra context to search engines, as well as improving the relevancy of your video pages. Remember to keep this engaging and don’t just lump a huge block of copy below your video, check out Moz’s Whiteboard Friday videos they do a great job of their transcriptions (Rand’s latest Whiteboard Friday at the time of writing this post.)

Ticking off these points will go a long way towards maximising the rankings of your onsite video content, and if you are consistent and do this with each video you should start to see some great things when it comes to traffic coming in to those pages.