Search engine optimization is all about publishing the right content on your website to ensure you rank highly for internet search queries that match your business or topics and keywords that you want to generate inbound traffic from. Using video across your website can be a great way to boost your SEO performance and give you a better shot at ranking highly with Google, but only if you do it properly.

My name is Tyler Lessard, and in this Chalk Talk, we’ll discuss the latest best practices for using video to drive your SEO performance and more inbound lead flow.

With video becoming a more important part of modern websites, it’s also becoming an important part of your SEO strategy. What’s interesting with video is it can help your SEO plans from a few different perspectives. Consider this for the moment: When somebody goes onto Google or other search engines and enters a search query, they’re presented with a few different tabs of results, which give you a few different chances at bat.

Showing Up in All the Right Places

First, is the All tab, which is going to present all the different web pages that are the a best fit for the search query. The second is a Video tab, which is going to present the videos that Google knows of online that are the best answers to that question.

Using video in the right way can actually give you a better shot at ranking highly in both of these different areas as long as you’re thinking about it in the right way. In addition to ranking highly for video and generally in the All tab, video can also help with your domain authority by driving longer engagement on your site and more back links back to your domain.

So let’s talk practically about how to do this, and make sure that you’re optimizing your SEO results and not hurting your SEO by adding more video to your website.

Video Hosting Matters for SEO

The first thing you’ll want to consider is where you’re hosting your videos. If you’re using YouTube to host your videos, and to then link to the YouTube version from your site, it’s not going to help your website’s SEO at all. Anybody searching for something related to that video are going to be directed to YouTube and not to your domain.

Using a platform like Vidyard or other video hosting platform, you can instead embed videos directly on your website, and this is going to give you all the domain juice related to that video content. Once you start doing that, there’s a few things you’ll want to consider each time you publish a new video.

The first very important step is the metadata you want to add to your web page. Every time you add a video to an HTML page, you’ll want to go in and update it with the Video Object schema type and add in the different tags related to that video. This is what tells Google and other search engines that there’s a video on this page and the related information about it.

The title, the description, the length, and so on is going to give Google the information it needs to understand that content and give you a shot at ranking in the Video tab. Once you have multiple videos on your site, you’re going to want to create an XML document called the video sitemap. The video site map gives Google complete information about all the videos across your website and it’s basically an aggregate of all this various video metadata. So it gives Google one place to know what you have, where it lives, and other metadata about those video assets.

What’s important here is that you can upload your video sitemap to the Google Search Console to make sure Google is always up to date and properly indexing your video content. Now if you’re using a platform like YouTube, you’re going to have to do much of this manually. If you’re using a platform like a Vidyard, some of this can happen automatically, so that every time a video is added, the metadata is automatically published to your page and a video sitemap is automatically updated and submitted to Google to keep you up to date. That’s going to help your with ranking in the Video tab and giving Google an idea of where your videos are. But equally important is using video to drive your master SEO and driving more traffic in general to your web pages, not just the video itself. And this is where transcriptions come into play.

Adding Transcriptions to Your Site

Transcriptions can be defined as transcribing the audio from your video into text format and placing it within the page so that Google can crawl all of that text, just like it does other text on your site, to identify key words and give you an opportunity to rank highly for search queries.

Now what you’ll want to think about here is two different types of transcription approach, depending on how you’re embedding your videos. First, if you’re embedding videos as a complementary part of a page, you can do the audio transcription, but just embed it in the metadata, so that Google can crawl it, but it doesn’t show up as text on the page and clutter up the information on the site. But if you have pages where you’re embedding just the video, say it’s a video blog, what you can also do is add the transcription as copy to the page. And what this allows you to do is to tweak the content a little bit, but to add header tags within the page throughout the content that’s going to give Google, again, a better idea of what those keywords are and what this page should rank for.

I always encourage that if you’re doing video as the hero on the page. If you don’t want all the copy cluttering up the website, then you can use CSS and Javascipt to hide some of that content, which is what we often do. So you can see the beginning of the content, but then you have to click a button to expand it and read more. This gives you the best of both worlds, the abilities to get all that information indexed, the headers in there for Google, but the ability for someone to expand it and actually read it if they choose to skim that content.

Video for Domain Authority

In addition to the metadata and the transcriptions, what’s also interesting to think about with video is how it can help you build domain authority. If you share your videos with third parties and they embed those videos on their site, they’re going to link back to you and build domain authority. This only works if they’re hosted natively on your site, not linked to from YouTube. If you can drive high engagement in your video content, if somebody comes to this page, watches a video for three minutes, and stays engaged on that page, that’s going to give you higher domain authority because Google see that as an indication of high value content.

People stay longer on pages with good video content, and this isn’t about just driving more traffic to the video, it’s about boosting your overall domain authority because of the richness and quality of the content that you’re delivering. In that regard you’ll want to think about how you optimize your click through rate. If somebody lands on the page, last thing you want them to do is bounce, so optimizing your thumbnail image to make sure they’re clicking through into the content. You can do that be testing different versions of your video or with a platform like Vidyard, it has integrated A/B split testing so you can figure out what’s working the best and then choose the most optimal piece to make sure that you reduce the bounce rates on that page.

The second thing you can do is track engagement. And any videos you find where half the audience is dropping off after thirty seconds, you know that that’s content you need to improve, or perhaps replace with something else to continue to ensure that you’re driving high engagement time. This is going to signal to Google that you’re an authority on that topic and give you a better shot at ranking highly from an SEO perspective.

These are a number of different ways in which you can leverage video content from an SEO perspective to not only drive people to watch your videos, but to boost your overall domain authority and improve the SEO of your web site across the whole thing, but you can’t do much of this with YouTube. So, think about how you’re going to leverage the right tools and the right video platforms to enable this and hopefully to automate much of this to ensure every time a video is posted, this stuff happens all by default.

My name is Tyler Lessard, and this has been a Vidyard Chalk Talk.

Jon Spenceley

Jon is the former Content and Social Media Manager at Vidyard, and is passionate about helping companies get the most out of their video. In his spare time, Jon’s an amateur longboarder, distiller-in-training, and is a sucker for breakfast foods.