Adding Video for SEO
You have probably heard by now “Google loves videos.” Many people believe that simply adding a video to your web page will magically do wonders for your SEO.
It is never that simple! Google do seem to like videos. Especially when adding a video improves the user experience of the page. A good example of a page where a video adds to the user experience would is google analytics pages where there is often a video tutorial at the top of the page explaining the analytics data in greater detail, and how to break it down further using more advanced functions. This information if conveyed in the text would be very very long. The video can quickly explain complex functionality in an easily digestible format.
If a video does not add to the user experience of the page, then you should not add one just to get the supposed SEO benefits. Good SEO practices always put the user first.
To understand if the video will assist or hinder your SEO efforts on any given page you should first consider how search engines work. If your page is about cheese and you, add a video about cats. The cat video is not going to help your page rank for searches containing cheese. It may assist in the unlikely event of someone searching “Do cats like cheese?” but it is more likely to confuse Google in regards to contents of the page. Is it about cheese or cats? In this example adding the video will negatively affect your ranking for the key search term. You have essentially made your page less about cheese and more about cats.
Imagine instead; you have a page about cheese with a paragraph of text explaining how cheese is made. You add a video that shows cheese being manufactured in a cheese factory. Clearly, that is of interest to people wishing to know more about cheese and the cheese making process. It will improve your pages relevance to searches for cheese in general and cheese making in particular.
The better the theme of the video fits the theme of the page the greater the benefit to the website visitor will be and consequently the greater the increase in rank will be to the site owner. You have a general page that talks in broad terms about many different cheese related topics. You add a very specific video that talks only about one very narrow aspect of the cheese making process you will be strengthening the page. If you have a page that is entirely focused on ‘how buffalo mozzarella is made in Italy’ and you added a video that is very long and covers all aspects of cheese making and all types of cheese. That video is not going to do much good and may do some harm. The further off topic it is, the more confusing the signals you are sending. A general page can have either a general (but related) video or a specific video that relates to one section of the page. A specific page, however, should only have a specific video that tightly focused on the page topic.
How does Google know the video is related to the page?
This is done with a combination of signals. Most obviously the video title. Take care when adding titles that they are appropriate for the page where the video will end up.
If the video is uploaded to youtube then, it will have tags. These are added when the video is uploaded to youtube and can be edited by the channel owner. If you uploaded the video, then change the tags to include appropriate terms for the destination page. Don’t add unneeded tags; this just waters down the tags that are relevant.
Descriptions. Youtube videos also come with a description. If you uploaded the video, you get to add a description. This gives you an opportunity to tell both Google and users what the video is about.
Transcript. If your video has soundtrack youtube will transcribe it automatically. This transcription is an important source of information for Google. It is easy to add a video and give it a misleading title and description. It is much harder to game the system with the transcription available to all search engines.
In summary. Yes, video can assist with your SEO, but if you add the wrong video or don’t tag it correctly, it can also harm your SEO.