At the end of every conference comes the onslaught of obligatory summary posts of the top takeaways from the day. You can learn about all the best speakers, who had the most creative slides and catch some great summaries of the more intricate details of the presentations. But this time I thought I’d write something ...
How to optimise video content on your website.
Search today is not the user experience it first was. When searching Google, Bing or Yahoo! we often see richer results than the traditional ten blue links on a text heavy page. Now it is very common for a search query to trigger additional types of results too, particularly when searching Google you may see images, local listings (with a map) and of course video.
Whilst there are many statistics about video content being more likely to get to page one than standard text content; and whilst there is a great deal of truth in such statistics, there are conditions and dependencies. Just having video content on your site is not enough. Setting aside the content subject-matter and quality, your video needs to be optimised so that it can be effectively interpreted by search engines. Search engine crawlers cannot "see", or "hear" video content, so we're much more reliant on technical structure and on-page set-up, as information and relevancy signals here.
1. One video per page
Having one video per page allows you to explicity target data about that page, to the content of the video. As an example, having a keyword-rich URL, that speaks to the video content will provide an additional relevency signal.
2. Navigational and internal links
Ensure that your video(s) are well linked-to within the site, both by navigation and by internal linking. With internal links it is much easier and more natural to link with explicit anchor text, which will add additional meaning to what it is, that the video is about.
3. Video directory or sub-folder
House all collated video on the site into a specific folder or subdirectory i.e. http://mywebsite.com/video/
4. Video sitemap
Tell Google about your video content by creating a video sitemap and adding it to your Webmaster Tools account, for the site.
On the Page
1. Embed content
Ensure you embed your video content as opposed to playing in a pop-up window.
2. File names
Give the video file a keyword-rich, descriptive name.
3. Meta data
Ensure the page meta-title and description are a good balance of keyword rich, meaningful data.
4. Transcribe where appropriate
Depending on the length of the video and additionally from an accessibility perspective it is considered best-practise to provide a transcript of the audio. Not only will this make the content accessible to hearing-impaired users, but having the content transcribed on the page will add additional meaning to search engines.
5. Allow for easy sharing
Certain types of video content may naturally have that share-appeal, however, it pays to make this as easy as possible by ensuring your content is extremely easy for users to share. Consider providing an embed URL, and certainly ensure that you have social sharing icons to make it easy for users to share with their communities in a single click.