Posted to Volacci's blog on January 10th, 2012

Video SEO: Bringing Visibility to Invisible Content

 

The ongoing question about the superiority of video over text (or vice versa) is irrelevant. Sure, video is a newcomer to the SEO game (trailing text by about two decades), but the question shouldn’t be about the importance of one over the other; it should be about how they can coexist and bring people to your site.

video_seo_san_diego_netvideoseo_optimization_2_4c36.jpg

Video SEO is a process to ensure that Google finds, indexes and displays your video content. Here are some important video SEO tips. 

1. Upload your videos to YouTube. The ever-growing video giant is taking over the webosphere, and despite the numerous benefits of posting videos to YouTube, one stands out above the rest: a 100 percent chance of being indexed by Google. Feed the giant and everyone wins.

2. Submit a video sitemap through Google Webmaster Tools for each of your videos. Search engines can only see that there's a video, not what it's about. Build a sitemap for each video (or have one generated) and submit it to Google to boost your video rankings. It tells search engines where the video is (your site), its original location (YouTube) and what it’s about (unicorns and glitter).

3. Make sure your website has a robots.txt file that includes your XML and video sitemaps. The robots.txt file lets the search engines know what they can and can't index and must be uploaded to the top-level directory of your site (directly after the .com, .net, .org, etc.). Here is CNN's robots.txt file, and notice the sitemap URLs on the first four lines.

Sitemap: http://www.cnn.com/sitemap_index.xml
Sitemap: http://www.cnn.com/sitemap_news.xml
Sitemap: http://www.cnn.com/video_sitemap_index.xml
Sitemap: http://www.cnn.com/sitemap_election_2010.xml
User-agent: *
Disallow: /.element
Disallow: /editionssi
Disallow: /ads
Disallow: /aol
Disallow: /audio
Disallow: /audioselect
Disallow: /beta
Disallow: /browsers
Disallow: /cl
Disallow: /cnews
Disallow: /cnn_adspaces
Disallow: /cnnbeta
Disallow: /cnnintl_adspaces
Disallow: /development
Disallow: /NewsPass
Disallow: /NOKIA
Disallow: /partners
Disallow: /pipeline
Disallow: /pointroll
Disallow: /POLLSERVER
Disallow: /pr
Disallow: /PV
Disallow: /quickcast
Disallow: /Quickcast
Disallow: /QUICKNEWS
Disallow: /test
Disallow: /virtual
Disallow: /WEB-INF

4. Create a page on your website for each video. Give each video a place to call home so you can perform routine SEO tasks for each video page.

5. Maintain consistent tags and titles. Match up title tags and video titles. After all, Google looks at these two items and how they pair up. If they’re the same, your ranking will be much better. The same applies to meta keywords and descriptions. Write descriptions that incorporate keywords in the order they are listed. NOTE: Video SEO will consume much less of your time if you have a video-friendly content manager. We use Drupal 6, which allows us to install a variety of video-friendly modules.

6. Write out the transcript from the video. Search crawlers cannot read the contents of video. That's why it's helpful to include the transcript of the video so the text can tell the crawlers what the video is about. This has significant value in optimizing a webpage where a video lives.