8 Best Practices to Optimize Video Landing Pages for Search

8 Best Practices to Optimize Video Landing Pages for Search

Last month, I participated in a webinar for Liveclicker all about optimizing e-commerce video for search. I presented on both optimizing video landing pages (onsite) for search as well as SEO for YouTube.  In reality, these best practices are applicable to any video strategy and not specific to e-commerce with the exception of the examples used. The following is a summary of the 8 tips/best-practices that I provided with regard to onsite video landing page optimization, starting with some background on the ever changing nature of search.

Search is evolving at such a rapid clip that it is even difficult for SEO experts to keep up with the pace. According to SEOMoz, Google changes its search algorithm up to 500 – 600 times each year.

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen recently is the incorporation of social elements into search results. Social factors have always supported SEO in an indirect way, in that if you have good content, people want to share it and link to it. However, in December 2011 Google confirmed that it was using social signals such as likes, retweets and +1s for search engine ranking.

Earlier this year, Google announced a radical shift in personalization, Search Plus Your World, where the default search looks at your social connections. If you’re signed into Google with Search Plus Your World turned on, you see different search results than everyone else, which makes it a little more difficult to determine how well you’re ranking.

In this ever evolving world of search, what are the most important steps to take to optimize your video content for search engines?

Tip #1: You MUST Brush Up on General SEO Best Practices First

Optimizing video for search engines isn’t its own discipline, but simply an extension of SEO. Standard SEO best practices such as well-planned navigation, site structure, internal site links and title tags are important to drive traffic to your website. Once you have a well optimized website, then your video results should rank better as a matter of course.

Take Spanx.com, for example. After completing an SEO audit with Liveclicker and subsequently improving its page titles, metadata and links, they saw a visible uplift in video page views:

8 Best Practices to Optimize Video Landing Pages for Search

A few of the best places to learn about the latest search engine news and guidelines include:

Tip #2: Start with Keyword Research

It doesn’t help to rank first for phrases that no one is searching for. For that reason, you always want to start with keyword research when optimizing video, or anything else for that matter.

YouTube is a great keyword research tool for video (with the exception of their own dedicated keyword tool which is quite useless). Even though we're talking about on-site video SEO for Google, it helps to get an idea of what folks are searching for when specifically looking for video content (which is all you can search for on YouTube) If you go to youtube.com and do some searches, it’s easy to unearth related search queries being used to find video content.

8 Best Practices to Optimize Video Landing Pages for Search

When you filter your search, you see even more examples:

8 Best Practices to Optimize Video Landing Pages for Search

Google’s keyword suggestions are also helpful in determining what people are searching for in Google (regardless of whether looking specifically for a video), as are other keyword research tools that you might have access to:

8 Best Practices to Optimize Video Landing Pages for Search

Tip #3: Submit a Video Sitemap to Google

It can be quite difficult for Google to find videos on your pages. The best way to ensure that Google can find your videos is to:

  1. Create an XML video sitemap that tells the search engine exactly where your page is, and where your video is, along with some information about it.
  2. Submit your video sitemap through Google’s webmaster tools.
  3. Once you’ve done that, Google crawls your page to verify that the video exists and in most cases, indexes your video where it can appear in the universal search results.

How do you know if Google has indexed your videos? The easiest way to check is to go to Google Videos and do a search using site:yourwebsite.com with no spaces to see how many videos on your site are indexed and determine if there’s a mismatch.

8 Best Practices to Optimize Video Landing Pages for Search

Tip #4: Test adding Video Transcripts to Landing Pages

Many e-commerce sites don’t have much text, in which case it may be worthwhile to include transcripts of your videos. Liveclicker studied 37 pages before and after adding transcripts. Pages with transcripts earned on average 16% more revenue than they did before transcripts. Why? The uplift was likely related to increases in traffic through long-tail keyword searches resulting from matches in the transcripts.

How should you include a transcript? Ideally, you want it to be in the source code rather than hidden from your viewers. It’s ok to put the transcript of the video at the bottom of the page, but it must be representative of the content of your video and not stuffed with keywords.  Of course, you can use that same transcript for YouTube, which we'll cover in another post.

Tip #5: Help Viewers Share your Videos with Opengraph

In most cases, it’s sensible to make videos on your website shareable through social widgets such as Facebook like and Twitter retweet. Did you know that you can also allow your videos to be viewed on Facebook directly when someone likes your page? For example, if you were to go to the blog post shown below and click “Like”, the video thumbnail along with the description would show up on your Facebook wall for all your friends to see. When a friend clicks the video thumbnail, the video will then play directly on their wall. If you have a player with integrated Buy Now buttons, that will show up on Facebook as well.

8 Best Practices to Optimize Video Landing Pages for Search

If you want to do this, you can use the following code in the top of your page to tell Facebook where to find your video and its size:

<head>
<meta property="og:video" content="http://example.com/video.swf"/>
<meta property="og:video:secure_url" content="https://example.com/video.swf"/>
<meta property="og:video:height" content="640"/>
<meta property="og:video:width" content="385"/>
<meta property="og:video:type" content="application/x-shockwave-flash"/>
</head>

Tip #6: Leverage your Video Content

The more content you have on your pages that can be ranked within the different verticals in Google – image search, organic search, video search etc… – the more traffic you can drive to your site.

E-commerce retailer, eBags, added several still images from their videos to the bottom of the pages that had video on them. A lot of the images were indexed in Google Images and, as a result, they experienced a 115% uptick in traffic to the video pages.

Tip #7: Create Compelling Thumbnails

This is a no brainer as the thumbnail is the first thing that people look at and the most important. Make sure your thumbnails are eye-catching, relevant and high quality.

Thumbnails should be:

  • Clear, bright and in-focus with good composition
  • Visually compelling to attract a click (close-ups work well)
  • Accurately representative of your video content
8 Best Practices to Optimize Video Landing Pages for Search

Tip #8: Ensure your Landing Pages Load Quickly

One of Google’s new ranking factors is how long it takes for a page to load. Essentially, Google wants people to find what they are looking for. Faster pages improve the user experience while decreasing bounce rates, whether or not they contain video.

Some helpful, free tools that you can use to evaluate your site speed include:

So, there's a bunch of, somewhat random tips and best practices for optimizing video landing pages for search.  Obviously we've covered these in the past, but it never hurts to review best practices, right? We'll dive into part 2, YouTube SEO in an upcoming post.

Reprinted with permission from Video Commerce Consortium Blog.


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Posted in Video SEO
About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • tinybadass

    Glad to know I'm not the only one that thinks the YouTube Keyword Tool is useless.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

     @tinybadass Oh yeah..  it's completely ridiculous and actually kinda comical.  Maybe we should do a post just to make fun of it ;-).  

    • http://www.videoleadsonline.com/ videoleadsonline

       @reelseo Do it! Show how random and Stupid some of the suggestions are… It could be FUN! *Do it!!*

  • BlogAid

    You folks have THE BEST tips! Been reading your posts since Friday, especially all those breakdowns on the playbook. Thank you!

  • http://www.videoleadsonline.com/ videoleadsonline

    Good job with the ins & outs of Video SEO. I still think you should give a disclaimer re. the value of Video Site maps if your videos all live on YouTube and are simply embedded in your site. Somehow that never seems to get mentioned whenever video site maps are discussed. 

  • http://nextshoot.com/ Video Production Company

    Great article Mark.
     
    We've now begun using structured data markup or 'rich snippets' on our site. It's a very simple way of attributing authorship information and other data to a video tag.
     
    This can include a title, description, thumbnail image, comments and ratings. In theory, this may be returned in search results along with the link. If you have comments and ratings enabled for the video object it's another way of allowing crawlers to gauge popularity and interaction when rating a video.
     
    Once you've got it on the page there's a rich snippets tool in Google's Webmaster Tools for testing.

  • http://nextshoot.com/ Video Production Company

     @SimonSpykerman 
    Simon,
    We've noticed this but primarily where there's an HTML5 <video> object on the page. Google still seems to be having issues reading Flash- especially if it's a javascript embed. One annoying thing about this indexing is that it seems to override the thumbnail from the sitemap!
    Mike

  • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

     @Video Production Company  @SimonSpykerman Yeah, anytime they can sniff and find the video file, or you give it to them in the content_loc, they'll ingest it and pick their own thumbnail.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

     @Video Production Company Yup, we covered that a while back…  Little in terms of results at this point but it's the future so we agree - http://www.reelseo.com/schema-markup-video/

  • tinybadass

    Glad to know I'm not the only one that thinks the YouTube Keyword Tool is useless.

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

       @tinybadass Oh yeah..  it's completely ridiculous and actually kinda comical.  Maybe we should do a post just to make fun of it ;-).  

      • http://www.videoleadsonline.com/ videoleadsonline

         @reelseo Do it! Show how random and Stupid some of the suggestions are… It could be FUN! *Do it!!*

        • CarMercial

           @videoleadsonline Agreed! You guys should!

  • http://www.videoleadsonline.com/ videoleadsonline

    Good job with the ins & outs of Video SEO. I still think you should give a disclaimer re. the value of Video Site maps if your videos all live on YouTube and are simply embedded in your site. Somehow that never seems to get mentioned whenever video site maps are discussed. 

  • BlogAid

    You folks have THE BEST tips! Been reading your posts since Friday, especially all those breakdowns on the playbook. Thank you!

  • http://spykermedia.com/ SimonSpykerman

    Great article with a lot of helpful tips.  On tip #3 – do you still need sitemaps – I read elsewhere that google is indexing video directly and moving away from the need for xml video sitemaps?

  • MarcusKrieg

    Great article Mark! For the second part of tip #5, people would be watching the video on Facebook instead of your site page. It seems obvious to me that people would be more likely to watch a video on Facebook directly than watch one that directs them to a new site, but doing so means that less people are visiting your site. The extra video views might make the video more searchable, but you miss out on conversion opportunities and people looking at multiple pages.
     
    I guess my question is, how do you make the determination that one direction is better for a campaign?

  • TheVideoTourCoach

    Very good reminder to go 'back to basics' Mark. 
    For the video transcript tip #4, can anyone recommend a fast way to get the transcript typed up using speech recognition?
     

  • CarMercial

    agreed! You guys should do it.

  • http://www.moonfiller.com/ Taran

    Great article Mark!Glad to know I'm not the only one that thinks the YouTube Keyword Tool is useless.