When it comes to website video, we are frequently asked the question “How do I get my website video to appear high in Google search results?”. The answer is you will need to invest in some diligent webpage housekeeping, combined with a few specific practices relating to video hosting.
The good news is that generally Video SEO (VSEO) is done really badly, so with a little effort, there is often a good opportunity to steal a march on your competitors.
1. Start With Good Website SEO
Of course, your video is more likely to appear in results if your website has generally been well optimised for search engines and has achieved reasonably good rankings. Unless you are looking at fairly niche key terms relating to your video, it will be harder to get it to rank highly if your general website rankings are poor.
2. One Video. One Page.
If Google rankings for your video page are your goal, then it’s important you stick to putting only one video on any given page.
It is common for web developers to encourage clients to have all their videos in a gallery on one page and – even worse – play the videos in lightbox popovers (where the video player launches in a darkened overlay over the webpage itself).
This approach can look smart and make it easy for the user to browse lots of videos in one place, but if you are concerned with making your webpage video discoverable on Google, it will do nothing for your Video SEO.
However, you can do both. That is, have a dedicated page for each video and also have a page where all the videos are shown all together in a gallery.
WARNING: If you put a video on more than one page on your website, be sure to change the video file name and re-upload it to your video hosting platform, even though it may be a video that already appears on your website. By doing this, Google will see the second upload as a new video, because by re-naming and re-uploading it will have a unique location on the server and a unique embed code.
It’s important for Video SEO that Google perceives each webpage video to be a unique entity.
3. Make Your Webpage Title Tags Work With Your Video
It’s generally accepted that Google looks at up to 200 factors related to your website, when determining your webpage rankings. These are factors such as the keywords in the text, the keywords in your subheadings, the names of your image files, the freshness of the pages and webpage loading speed – to name just a few.
In practice, you will find that about 6 to 10 of these factors seem to exert the most influence, so it’s a relief to know that you don’t need to be lying awake at night worrying about the other 190.
That said – if I was asked to pick one ranking factor over all others, I would say the most powerful is the relevance of the keywords in your title tags, in relation to the content on your webpage.
This means that if you want your website video to be found through Google, make sure the title tags echo the theme of your video and put the word ‘Video’ into your title tag.
So if I have a video promoting a hotel in Bristol – then the words ‘Hotel’, ‘Video’ and ‘Bristol’ must appear in the tag.
If you’re unfamiliar with title tags, they are the words you will see when you hover over the webpage tab in your browser and as the blue headline link that is shown above each webpage listing in Google. Most content management systems (CMS) allow you to easily edit your title tags.
4. Surround Your Video With Relevant Content
SEO is largely about corroboration. For example, this means that for Google to think your webpage – and the video on it – is a really good example of content about hotels in Bristol, then everything on that page needs to be echoing the keywords hotel in Bristol.
And in particular, for Google to think your webpage video is about hotels in Bristol you should surround the video with unique and varied page content that reinforces those keywords. The places to do this are in the text, the subheadings, the image file Alt Tags, the image file names and – of course – in the Title Tags.
In addition, some video hosting platforms will even allow you to relate keyword metadata to the video itself.
WARNING: Don’t over do this. If it reads or sounds awkward and repetitive, then reduce the use of your keywords and vary the phrasing a little. If you use your keywords in an unnatural and unhelpful way to the user, you can be penalised by Google for ‘overstuffing’ and your rankings may suffer.
5. Make it Big and Near the Top
Experience shows that it’s beneficial to VSEO to make your video player at least 600px wide and to place it near the top of the web page. At the very least, make sure that your video player isn’t below the ‘fold’ – that is – so low users would have to scroll down quite a bit to even know that the video is there.
If you think about it, this makes perfect sense from Google’s point of view, as their aim is to deliver high quality relevant results to their users. If someone searches for a video, clicks through to a web page, and isn’t instantly and effortlessly offered a video, then that isn’t a good search experience for them.
6. Don’t Use YouTube to Host Your Website Video
Although almost every organisation needs to have their videos on YouTube, it can seriously damage your website traffic if you embed your videos on your own website using a YouTube embed.
This is because the YouTube location for your video will almost always outrank the web page location of your video – pulling potential traffic away from clicking through to your website and into YouTube instead.
The best strategy is to treat YouTube as an entirely separate video distribution channel and to target a slightly different set of keywords when tagging your YouTube video as compared with your website video.
For example, if you were a holiday company in Devon offering walking holidays, you might take a single video and give it the title Walking Holidays in the South-West on YouTube, but change the title to Hiking Breaks in Devon for your website. By doing this, your YouTube video will not compete with your website video for Google rankings.
7. Use Wistia’s Video Metadata Tool
And finally, if you really want the best possible chance of your website videos ranking well on Google, then using Wistia to host your video is undoubtedly the best route to take.
When you host your website video with Wistia, you can choose to have Wistia inject metadata (keywords) about your video onto your webpage. This information is accessible to Google and helps them identify your video as particularly relevant to specific searches.
Wistia makes this very easy for you to implement. All you have to do is tick a box labelled ‘SEO Metadata’ when selecting your embed code options and then type some phrases using your chosen keywords beneath the title of your video when you upload it to Wistia.
To find out more about Wistia’s SEO tools visit their Video SEO help page.
Wistia is a dedicated video hosting platform and although they are not the cheapest video hosting option, the SEO benefits can very easily outweigh the expenditure.
For more information about Wistia’s charges, visit the Wistia Pricing Plan page.
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