Video and the Web
One of the most important aspects of achieving video rankings is simply what 'player' is being used to display the video. There are several different video hosts to choose from, each with their own benefits. The three biggest video hosts include YouTube, Wistia, and Vimeo but there are tons more like Facebook, Metacafe and DailyMotion.
The quality of playback and UX of each player is open to debate, but there is one host that leverages an extreme advantage in terms of search compared to any other host. That is YouTube, simply because it is owned by Google. YouTube itself is said to be the second largest 'search engine' in the world. Therefore, using youtube video hosting can provide a lot of value to your videos in terms of pure search volume. However, that doesn't have to stop you from using other web hosting services in addition, but it does make sense to only apply one "embedding" on your website. So what's the optimal route and how can you take advantage of each video host? HTML5 has also made it possible to improve video rankings by 'marking up' content on your page that is associated with your embedded videos. We'll discuss the use of HTML5 elements later.
Test VideoVideo description
How To Host Your Videos
There are essentially 2 ways to display video on your webpage:
- Host the Video Yourself (via your web server)
- Use a 3rd Party Plugin (Youtube or Vimeo)
This is a very important consideration and will have pros and cons in each spectrum. Perhaps these methods of video embedding will shed some light on the matter.
Using Videos on 3rd Party Platforms
There are easily hundreds and probably thousands of reputable video hosting websites out there. However, it really only makes sense to consider a small handful as viable choices to host your video content. For the most complete list of video hosts I shall refer you to a Wikipedia page displaying a large list of video hosts, even though I hate linking out to Wikipedia, they already have enough PageRank...
Titles and Descriptions
Should follow similar rules as using the title element and meta description
Measuring User Engagement
The usual engagement metrics are considered here. Sharing, views, time viewed, percentage viewed, returns.
Using Annotations and Captions
Annotations and captions are a GREAT way to fill your video with relevant keywords to maximize your hit potential. It's also a great way to engage users and improve the experience of viewers by providing useful information. With annotations you can provide useful markups, extra tidbits of information and list resources. Captions will allow you to provide captioning for what is be depicted or spoken in the video, this provides another means for a crawler to decipher what a video is about.
Sharing and Embedding
The benefit of using 3rd party plugins is that it makes it very easy for other webmasters to embed your video on their own website. Although you may feel it infringes your copyright rules, it is a great benefit when others embed your video.
Using HTML5 Markup
Just like a self hosted video, you'll want to provide semantic markup in the form of appropriate html5 tags and schema.
Page Content and Surrounding Text
Other information on the same webpage as the video is subject to analysis in order to further decipher the content of the video and the relevant topics and keywords. Although the metadata such as title of the video, descriptions, annotations and other mark ups, should provide sufficient information for determining video content, surrounding text can further enhance the relevance, especially if it matches or is similar to the provided metadata.
Video Host and Source Information
The Video Ranking Function
SEO "Expert" Opinion
Are There Duplicate Content Risks When It Comes to Video Content?
Probably not at the moment, but one day it is likely.
Should I Use YouTube or Vimeo?
You should upload the video to all platforms regardless of your intention, as long as your goal is to acquire many views. How it's hosted on your site will depend on a few things, such as whether or not you want to "monetize" your video views. If you wish to display ads on your video for the purpose of monetization, then Youtube is the ideal path. If you wish to ignore ads and provide a better user experience, then I recommend using raw html5 and self-host the video but strategically connect it with your other platforms. More will be discussed about this later.