Video sharing sites pose a particular set of problems for search engine optimization. Google’s crawlers can’t interpret video content and so rely on the textual content and markup that surrounds the videos to get an idea of the terms for which videos should be ranked. It’s likely that Google is going to get better at interpreting video content in the future — they’re certainly working on artificial intelligence algorithms that recognize the subject of moving images and that can pull textual transcriptions out of videos — but the technology in its current form is rudimentary, and so owners of video sharing sites should make sure to optimize the pages their videos appear on properly.
At the core of any SEO strategy is the creation of high-quality content that encourages viewers to post links to the site. The better the content, the more likely it is to garner the back links and social shares that will help a site to rank in the SERPs.
Videos have one significant advantage over text content. Users can’t simple cut-and-paste them if they want to include the content on their own sites. Making it easy for users to embed your content provides an excellent opportunity to both increase awareness of your site and get a back link.
Embedding can cause SEO problems in some cases. It’s possible that if a higher authority domain embeds your content, their page will rank higher than the source page in the SERPs, but on the other hand, you get a link from the embed and often viewers of a popular video will click-through to the source site. The extra brand impressions and links might be worth the risk.
Make Videos Easy To Share
While search is important, social media is a huge component of video visibility on the web. Videos don’t go viral through search alone. To that end, video sharing sites should make social sharing widgets a prominent part of their pages.
Optimize Textual Content
As I mentioned earlier, videos are something of a black hole for search engine crawlers. The techniques for optimizing the on-page content for video sharing sites are almost identical to optimizing any web page. Close attention should be paid to using keyword-optimized text in:
Meta description tags
Category and tag names
All text descriptive of the video content
Submit A Video Sharing Sitemap
You’ll have noticed that some videos that appear in search engine results have rich snippets where a thumbnail image and a description of the video appears with the link. That’s achieved by submitting a video sitemap to Google via Webmaster Tools containing information about your video. Google has a comprehensive guide to creating video sitemaps.
Use Schema.org Video Markup
Schema.org VideoObject markup is Google’s recommended way of making them aware of the metadata associated with videos. Schema markup is simply a set of extra tags added to the HTML surrounding a video so that Google can understand details about the video that it can’t glean from the media itself.
Once again, Google provides a full description of how to include the schema markup for videos on your site, and if you are interested in all fields that the video schema makes available, you can check them out on Schema.org.
If you follow these SEO techniques, you’ll be well on your way to getting your content its rightful place in the SERPs.