When it comes to getting your video to rank on Google search results, normal SEO efforts are no longer enough. In this guide we have mapped out the exact steps you need to take in order to get your video to rank on Google by creating and submitting a video sitemaps easily and effectively.
What Are Video Sitemaps?
A Video Sitemap is an extension of the Google sitemap protocol that ties together your video content and the metadata required to get it noticed.
Benefits of a Video Sitemap
- It makes it clear to Google what your content is
- You have the opportunity to provide a range of details through schema
- Additional presence on video.google.com search
- RAD picture thumbnail, which is a pretty great call to action
A Video Sitemap is simply a text file that utilizes the sitemap protocol with video specific tags in it. In its smallest form it would just be a tag that links to the landing page for the video as in this example:
Your video sitemap must have
- Landing page URL
- Landing page title
- Landing page description
- URL to thumbnail
- Clip ID
How to Create and Index Your Video Sitemap
As digital marketers we are always looking for more efficient ways to complete tasks. Because of this we have mapped out the easiest way for you to create and index your video sitemap that we have found the most success with. The tool you will need to correctly create your video sitemaps is the plugin: Yoast Video SEO. This plugin costs $69 per website but is worth every penny to properly implement video SEO with the least amount of effort and is compatible with both Vimeo and Youtube. Below are the exact steps you need to take with Yoast Video SEO.
Step 1: Download and install Yoast Video SEO
Once you have purchased “Yoast Video SEO” install and activate the plugin on your website. Yoast has a great installation guide you can follow if you have any questions.
Step 2: Go to Video SEO Settings in WordPress
Once the plugin has been activated go to the left hand side of your wordpress dashboard and click on ‘SEO’ The SEO menu will drop down and you will click on ‘Video SEO’ at the bottom
Step 3: General Settings
This is the section that allows you to check the general settings and this is where you will find your video sitemap. This is the place where you can customize the plugin so it only scans items that contain videos when building your video sitemap. Lastly under indexing you can force the plugin to index new pages that have not been indexed before (this feature comes in handy in the future after adding multiple videos to your site).
If you currently have no videos on your site you will want to go through the Video SEO checklist above and have the video embedded before you move onto the next step. If you already have a video embedded on your site continue to the next step.
Step 4: Visit page with video
The next thing you should do is visit the backend of the page the video is embedded on.
Step 5: Configure Video SEO
Once you are on the page that contains the video scroll down until you reach the Yoast SEO box. Once there click the “plug” button that is 4th down on the left. This is where you configure your video SEO.
Here you can complete the following things:
- Add a unique video thumbnail
- Add the video duration
- Add relevant tags the video represents
- Add relevant categories (if your video is on a blog post)
- Give your video a rating
- And if needed you can mark the video as “not family friendly”
You want to make sure to fill out all of these things as each element makes up that videos sitemap that will be added to your master video sitemap.
Step 6: Index your video
Once you have embedded your video and configured its settings you want to go back to the general video SEO settings in steps 2 and 3 and force index your video as it was not indexed prior to Yoast Video SEO being activated.
And that’s it! You have successfully created and indexed your video sitemap for your website. Now each time you embed a video to your website you can simply go to the Yoast SEO box, enter in the video details and then index via the force index button. And now that you know how to create video sitemaps we have provided even more video SEO Tips below to help you crush your video rankings.
Video SEO Tips
- Optimize your video content by making it sharable and linkable
- Your video should be responsive to mobile viewing (Vimeo does this automatically)
- Upload videos to multiple platforms for max exposure and improved rankings
- Use various keywords in the different places you host the video
- The more text you can attach to your video the more recognition you will receive from search engines
- Optimize thumbnails to be engaging
- The more text, images and diverse media you have on a page, the better it will appear to both the algorithms and potential customers.
- Place the content on an easily accessible page, targeting a term suitable for getting a rich snippet, keeping the video front and center of that page.
- Make sure the page is nicely linked up internally, so you can spread the link equity you’re going to get.
- Keep video content unique to the page, giving Google only one option to choose which page should rank for your video.
- Only one video per page
Pro Tip: Any terms including the following keywords are more likely return these rich snippets:
- What is
- How to
Only use one video per page so Googlebot does not struggle to pick out an appropriate video to connect with the rich snippets.
The best video hosting platforms for SEO
There are two flagship video hosting platforms that continue to dominate the overall industry: Youtube and Vimeo. Each have their pro’s and con’s and depending on the type of digital marketing you are doing, one of them will be the best fit to jumpstart your video SEO strategy.
- It’s the world’s most popular video sharing platform
- SEO is built in so you can be found for the content of the video
- YouTube is owned by Google so often gets favored in search results
- Annotations can be added within videos to lead people to act (CTA)
- Competitors content or even ads can be displayed near yours
- Public content is not as easily controlled or policed
- The network is designed to keep people on site, so people are less likely to visit your website
- Many businesses block YouTube videos internally
Youtube Video SEO Checklist
- Name video file using the core keyword the video is about
- Get the video transcribed using rev.com
- Upload the video to the companies Youtube channel that matches the GMB name
- Title the video using the core keyword you are trying to rank the video for (Example of keyword: Physical Therapy New York)
- Add a video description with the following information (url of page, description of the page, core keyword)
- Add the proper video tags (any keywords that fall under the page the video will be on)
- Click on “Advanced Settings” in youtube and add the date the video was filmed
- Publish video on Youtube
- Use the embed link to put the video on the web page
- Add video schema to the page
- Make sure video is placed in the video sitemap
- Share on social channels
- No advertising for viewers
- Customization of video player (logo, colors, thumbnails etc)
- Can use own domain
- Analytics is more detailed
- Beautifully designed layout for watching videos
- Created for Google to generate a rich snippet
- Every Vimeo video embedded on your site contains the thumbnail image and data required for Google to generate a rich video snippet in the organic search results.
- Significantly smaller audience, so less visibility
- No Free accounts for business usage (minimum $17 per month)
- Restrictions on storage based on plans
- Google said to favor YouTube in search results
Vimeo Video SEO Checklist
- Name video using the relevant keywords and words the video is based on
- Upload video to Vimeo
- Choose engaging thumbnail
- Give a title and description using keywords and terms to generate rich snippets
- Embed video onto your site
- For max rank value you want to use the old vimeo embed code and not the new HTML5
- Click on the “embed” link and then choose “use the old embed code.”
- Use a nice large frame on the page (640px by 360px is normally good) and isn’t tucked away in corner, where it will be ignored by a passing visitor.
- For max rank value you want to use the old vimeo embed code and not the new HTML5
- Create video XML sitemap so google can index all of your embedded video content
- Submit Video XML sitemap
- Ensure the page the video is on has supporting content, images, and keywords
What if you don’t have a WordPress website?
Google provides a comprehensive guide on how to create your very own video sitemap with example code, what it needs to include, and what information needs to be in the video sitemap. To create your own video sitemap follow the Google Video Sitemap guide.
This is a short checklist you want to follow when creating your own video sitemap
- Upload videos to proper hosting platform
- Youtube or Vimeo (see above for pro’s and con’s of each)
- Optimize the video according to the instructions outlined in the Vimeo and Youtube checklists
- Make sure you have the information to meet all google video required fields
- Find the google required fields at the bottom of this help guide
- Add the master video SEO file to the current live sitemap
- Submit the sitemap to search console
Video SEO is just the tip of the iceberg. Click the button below and let’s talk about more ways to grow your business.