In certain cases, the most effective way for your site to share information with potential customers is through video. While text may be preferable for most pages, videos stand alone in their the ability to mix images with instructions in a dynamic and interactive way. “How To” videos are especially effective – as when they’re properly done – they effectively communicate to two of the viewers’ senses: sight and hearing.
However, Google indexes text far easier than video. Generally, text pages land higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) than pages containing video(s). Even if an equal amount of information is contained on the text as on the video page, all of the individual words in the video are not indexed, while every word on a text page is indexed.
While this may someday change, in the meantime, there are at least a couple techniques that you can use to make sure your videos are indexed in a manner that boosts your site’s web presence:
1. Submit a Video Sitemap
While Google will eventually recognize a video on a given web page, it won’t index it until Google automatically crawls it. Therefore, instead of waiting, you can submit a video sitemap as soon as you post or embed the video.
The first step is to make sure your site is verified on Webmaster’s Tools. From there you can submit a video sitemap in the same manner you would submit an xml sitemap. Be sure to add keyword-rich meta descriptions and titles. It’s also important you’re using one of the following files, or else Google won’t be able to crawl it: mpg, .mpeg, .mp4, .m4v, .mov, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .ra, .ram, .rm, .flv, .swf.
2. Add On-Page Markup
Markup language is used to communicate with Google inside the source code to highlight useful information. Google recommends using schema.org, as it’s a versatile markup language applicable with Google, Yahoo and Bing. With video, markup communicates to Google what is in the video, which will therefore make the video appear in search.
A thumbnail URL will be required for schema markup, as the video itself must have a thumbnail image. Using alt text should improve the page’s SEO as well, since the words used in the alt text will be additionally indexed. Make sure this image is a .jpg, .gif or .png file.
3. Upload Video to YouTube and then Embed on Site
Sometimes the best method of submitting a video to your page is also the easiest. If your site doesn’t already have a YouTube channel, go make one. The more places with back links to your site, the better. Also, YouTube can be a great resource for directing traffic to your site. YouTube also makes it easy to submit videos onto your site, as once the video has been uploaded to YouTube, there will be an “Embed” button located just beneath the video. Simply copy that code and post it into your site to embed the video.
It’s important to optimize your YouTube video in a similar style as you would with any page on your site. This includes giving it a keyword-rich description with a fitting title.