A Guide to Video SEO in 2013

In the last year, the amount of online video we watch in the UK has nearly doubled – we clocked up 323 million hours in February 2013 alone.

We’re also watching more and more video on the move; Cisco estimate that two-thirds of global mobile data traffic will be video by 2016.

Quite simply, digital video has changed the face of marketing, offering unprecedented reach and engagement, and in the right hands, it’s a powerful tool for driving traffic and increasing conversions online.

If you want to get stuck into some video SEO, but you need to justify this to whoever controls the budget, here’s a bit of ammo:

Integrated Change TVVideo results appeared for almost 70% of the top 100 search queries on Google in 2012. (Marketing Week)

Posts containing videos earn 3 times as many links as plain text posts. (SEOMoz)

Videos in universal search results have a 41% higher click-through rate than plain-text results. (Econsultancy)

A top-5 video thumbnail will attract the same volume of clicks as the number-1 position. (43 Digital)

Video isn’t just great for getting visitors onto your site – it also increases the value of those visits, with some statistics suggesting product videos can improve conversions by as much as 400%.




1. Get the hosting right

If you just want views, YouTube is fine, but if you want to use video to improve your rankings, increase click-through from the SERPS, and get more people converting, that’s not enough. If you simply embed a video from YouTube, you won’t get the full credit for creating the content, so it’s best to either host videos on your own site, or use a service like Wistia, which hosts videos for you, and also provides you with a ready-made video XML sitemap.

2. Create a video XML sitemap

A video sitemap will help ensure your content gets properly indexed. Here’s a short video from Google about creating a video sitemap:

Make sure you submit the sitemap to Webmaster Tools ensure Google picks it up and sees you as the owner of the video content.

3. Use Schema mark-up

Using the schema.org/VideoObject attribute is vital for ensuring that search engines can index and display your videos. Google, Bing and Yahoo all support Schema. I recommend checking out another short video from the Google Webmaster Help team…

Once you’ve added Schema, use Google’s testing tool to make sure it’s working properly.

4. Surround your videos with relevant content

If you want your videos to rank well in organic search, then surround them with relevant content that adds value. If your video is on a product page, make sure you’ve got a killer product description too. If your releasing a webinar or how-to guide, then make sure you add a full transcript – users will appreciate this and Google will reward you for it. Content will add context to your video, clarify its message, and give it a much better chance of getting noticed.

5. Make it easy for people to embed your video

If you make it easy for people to embed your video, you’ve got a much better chance of getting some links. You can also control where those links point to and what anchor text they use!

Video SEO in 2013 - image credit Thunder SEO

Video SEO in 2013 – image credit Thunder SEO

6. Create a buzz!

Don’t rely on search engines alone to get your videos seen. Make the most of social channels and relationships with online influencers to get people watching and sharing your content.

Whether you’re working with a hilarious advert like this, informative content like this or something else entirely, now is the time to make the most of video content for SEO.