Videos are an organic search opportunity. They can appear in Google’s video carousels and improve a page’s ranking when embedded.
Here’s how to optimize videos on site.
Video SEO on site
1. Ensure relevance. A video should contribute to the purpose of the page. Don’t add videos just for search engine optimization. Put visitors first. Relevant, useful videos drive engagement and send positive signals to Google.
Keyword research, the foundation of all SEO, applies to videos. Search Google for intuitive words and phrases. A query that produces video carousels is worth optimizing.
2. Emphasize quality. Make sure your video is clear, organized and to the point. Ask friends, colleagues and target buyers to review it.
Study the videos in Google’s carousels to evaluate what is available for a given query.
3. Use an attractive thumbnail. Video thumbnails appear in search results in carousels and video rich snippets. A video’s thumbnail is also what people see on the page before they play it.
Thumbnails are therefore important for organic clicks and on-page engagement. Create a unique image that reflects the video’s intent.
4. Upload to YouTube. Video hosting options include your own website and third-party platforms (free and premium). But YouTube is the best choice for organic rankings because of Google’s ownership of that site.
When uploading to YouTube, use the custom thumbnail above at 1280 x 720 pixels with a minimum width of 640. Importantly, add extensive explanatory content, which will help Google categorize and rank that video higher. Then confirm that Google can generate a transcript of the video. A transcript indicates Google’s understanding of the content.
5. Use structured data. A video must be viewable and playable on a page to have any chance of generating video rich snippets. Using YouTube’s video embed code, both are easily achieved.
When embedding YouTube videos, add ?rel=0 to the video URL within the code to prevent Google from suggesting competitors. With that string present, YouTube will suggest your own videos instead.
Also consider using Schema.org structured data when embedding your video. It’s not necessary for video rich snippets, but it won’t hurt. Videoschema.com offers a free Schema.org generator.
Using YouTube as a hosting platform means that Google will likely pull all the metadata – author, publication date, description – without the structured data. But definitely include Schema.org markup (and a transcript) when not presentation on YouTube.
6. Lazy-loading videos. Videos can slow down a page. Always load videos slowly to ensure good scores on Core Web Vitals.
There are workarounds for implementing lazy loading depending on your platform. WPbeginner offers a solution for WordPress that also adds ?rel=0 include code. A website called Section Design has a tutorial for Shopify. Wix claims to provide lazy loading by default.
Otherwise, consult your platform provider.
7. Produce a video XML sitemap. An XML sitemap can link to every video on your site, increasing discovery by search bots. People don’t see XML sitemaps.
Keep an eye on the “Video Pages” report in Search Console to ensure that Google can access and index that content.