We all know that video is one of the most engaging forms of content that you can invest your marketing dollars into. We also know that search and social media are only getting more and more competitive, so you’re going to need all the help you can get to be noticed.

What you may not know, however, is that your video content can actually help you stand out from the crowd in search results and social media.

Improved Search Visibility

Google search results Recent eye-tracking studies have shown that video thumbnails on a results page attract the most attention. This can obviously have a great impact on your search traffic so you should definitely spend the time to make sure your content is optimized for maximum visibility.

To achieve this result, the search engine in question needs to know that there is a video on the page and have access to contextual information surrounding that video. You can provide this information to the search engine engine through either a video sitemap or something called schema.org videoObject markup.

Indexing your content

Video Sitemap VS schema.org videoObject:

While you can, and should, use both of these methods, time is a factor you should be aware of. SEO is a bit of a tricky animal and indexation by way of a sitemap submitted to Google can take a bit of time. With that said, Google recommends you prepare both a video sitemap and videoObject markup to make sure you’ve got your bases covered.

There is another way to get google to index video content on your site. It’s done using a bit of code called schema.org videoObject markup. This will give search engines some context surrounding the videos on your page as it crawls through the pages on your site. In fact, this is the recommended method of telling search engines about the video content on your site.

The difference here is that by using a sitemap you are actively telling Google that you’ve got videos on specific pages on your site. With videoObject markup, search engines will discover the videos on their own as they crawl your site.

How To: Sitemap

If you use a platform like Vidyard, which automatically generates and hosts your sitemaps, you don’t need to do anything here.

If you’re using a platform such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Brightcove, you need to build your own sitemap, host it, and submit it to Google. We’ve put together a tool that expedites much of the process, but you’re still going to have to host it and submit it to Google.

If you’re going to be making one of these yourself, you should take a look at the documentation that Google has put together for this, regardless of whether or not you use our tool.

Generally speaking, it looks something like this:

Video Sitemap Example

Where this is container for the whole sitemap:

Video Sitemap Container

and each block of <url> tags is for one video/player:

Sitemap Entry

How To: schema.org videoObject

It would be wise to start off by taking a look at the documentation for videoObjects on schema.org. One huge difference between this and a sitemap is that this is code that you put on the page alongside your video embed code.

Ideally you want to give the search engine things like video length, description, transcript, and a thumbnail, if possible. Generally speaking, the more information, the better. For a full list of information you can pass to the search engines, refer to http://schema.org/VideoObject.

Again, by doing this, you technically don’t need to submit a video sitemap to get your video content indexed. To top it all off, videoObject markup is recognized by Google, Yahoo!, and Bing so you don’t have to worry about having different markup for each search engine.

Social

Increasing the visibility of your video content isn’t just limited to search. Using some markup, you can optimize your videos for maximum visibility and usability in Facebook and Twitter. The setup for both requires adding some code to the section of the page each video is on. Some video platforms, such as Vidyard, do this automatically so you don’t have to.

Twitter

Twitter player cardTwitter cards allow you to place objects inline in the Twitter feed. By using the markup at the following address, you can get your videos to appear inline in Twitter as a player card (check out Twitter’s documentation for formatting). You should also use their tool to validate your markup and make sure that everything is working smoothly.

Facebook

facebook_videoBy using Facebook’s open-graph markup, your Facebook posts have video thumbnails and some descriptive text. Some service providers, Vidyard included, will automatically generate open graph tags for you so you don’t need to do anything from your end.

If you don’t use Vidyard, or your service provider doesn’t automatically provide open graph tags, you can enter them manually into the head section of your page’s HTML. Facebook’s documentation should help you get started.

Conclusion

In case you didn’t have enough reasons to invest in a video strategy, here’s another one. Video can increase your visibility in search results and social feeds. If executed properly, it has the potential to generate a ton of traffic and engagement from your inbound channels.

Amar Chahal