Getting video results in Google

NOTE: This article is now somewhat dated. For a more up to date and in-depth look at getting video rich snippets, please check out this post.

The following post is a beginner’s Video SEO blueprint. Follow the steps below to ensure that you’re getting video results in both Google Video Search and Google Organic.

whiteboard friday will Critchlow Google Search

1. Target the Right Terms

Certain terms are more likely to yield video results than others. Look for longer tail enquiries currently returning video results or other rich snippets. Don’t expect to get a video result for terms returning a lot of local results or competitive commercial terms.

For example, search terms containing the following words will typically yield video results:

  • “tutorial”
  • “review”
  • “test”
  • “what is…”
  • “how to…”
  • “demonstration”
  • “explanation”

2. Secure the Content

Either self-host your videos, or use a third party hosting solution which allows you to control where your videos are visible. I would recommend the following platforms for third party hosting:

If you’re self-hosting, using your own servers or a cloud solution such as Amazon S3  or MetaCDN to host your videos is fine.

Do not use YouTube or a standard Vimeo account for your hosting, as the or domains will rank for your videos, rather than your own domain.

3. Embed in a Crawlable Player

Ensure you embed your videos in an HTML5 player with flash fallback (or a pure flash player) – not an iframe. All of the major hosting solutions above have this option.

If you are self-hosting, then use a player from the following list of excellent customisable video players, or create your own in HTML5 and jQuery

Embed only one video on a page you wish to get a video result. Having multiple videos on a page will mean Googlebot may struggle to pick out an appropriate video to connect with the rich snippets. Equally, duplicate video content can be problematic – for best practice, ensure that each page holds only one, unique video.

4. Surround the Video with Supporting Information

If possible, ensure you have attached a closed caption file to your video player and include a link on the page to a text file with the captioning information in a TTML compatible format like SubRip (.srt). Most of the major video players have a proprietary solution for captioning, but if yours doesn’t, then you can include subtitles on HTML5 video using JavaScript

Alternatively, it’s also fine to include the transcript of the video as body text within the rest of the page.

Images, links and supporting text also help to indicate to the engines that this is a quality page and should be indexed, so make sure your video at least comes with an accompanying text description. A page with only video content on it looks thin algorithmically thin.

Blog posts featuring unique videos are the most common content types to receive video rich snippets.

5. Submit a Video XML Sitemap

A video sitemap is the main way of giving search engines rich meta-data about your video, ensuring that they have access to the thumbnail, raw video file and supporting descriptions of the content.

Once you have created your XML sitemap, ensure the sitemap is added to the robots.txt file and submit it to Google webmaster tools.

Use this template to construct your video sitemap:

Theelement in the sitemap refers to the location of the actual video file (.mp4 or .flv etc), while the

element refers to the location of the HTML5/Flash video player.

Dependent on your hosting solution, sometimes it’s not possible to include both

andelements – if you cannot provide both, including just one is fine.

Ensure than the

links to an image file in 16:9 up to a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 px.

Good practice is to ensure that the element links to a blog profile page, ideally one with rel=”author” attribution.

6. Include the Mark-up in the Page’s HTML Code

Schema is another way of giving the search engines some rich meta data about your video. Include as many of the relevant tags as you can, for the best chance of receiving video rich snippets.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Good luck!