Videos are an organic search opportunity. They can appear in Google’s video carousels and improve the rankings of a page when embedded.
Here’s how to optimize on-site videos.
On-site Video SEO
1. Ensure relevancy. A video should contribute to the page’s purpose. Don’t add videos solely for search engine optimization. Put visitors first. Relevant, helpful videos drive engagement and send positive signals to Google.
Keyword research, the foundation of all SEO, applies to videos. Search Google for intuitive words and phrases. A query that produces video carousels is worth optimizing.
2. Emphasize quality. Make sure your video is clear, organized, and to the point. Ask friends, colleagues, and target shoppers to review it.
Study the videos in Google’s carousels to evaluate what’s available for a given query.
3. Use an enticing thumbnail. Video thumbnails appear in search results in carousels and video rich-snippets. A video’s thumbnail is also what people see on the page before playing it.
Thus thumbnails are important for organic clicks and on-page engagement. Create a unique image that reflects the video’s intent.
4. Upload to YouTube. Options for video hosting include your own site and third-party platforms (free and premium). But YouTube is the best choice for organic rankings owing to Google’s ownership of that site.
When uploading to YouTube, use the custom thumbnail above at 1,280 x 720 pixels with a minimum width of 640. Importantly, add extensive explanatory content, which will help Google categorize that video and rank it higher. Then confirm Google can generate a transcript from the video. A transcript indicates Google’s understanding of the content.
5. Use structured data. A video should be visible and playable on a page to have any chance of generating video rich-snippets. Using YouTube’s video embed code easily achieves both.
When embedding YouTube videos, add ?rel=0 to the video URL inside the code to prevent Google from suggesting competitors. With that string present, YouTube will suggest your own videos instead.
Consider, also, using Schema.org structured data when embedding your video. It’s not required for video rich-snippets, but it won’t hurt. Videoschema.com offers a free Schema.org generator.
Using YouTube as a hosting platform means Google will likely pull all the metadata — author, publish date, description — without the structured data. But definitely include Schema.org markup (and a transcript) when not hosting on YouTube.
6. Lazy-load videos. Videos can slow down a page. Always lazy-load videos to ensure good scores on Core Web Vitals.
There are solutions for implementing lazy loading depending on your platform. WPbeginner offers a workaround for WordPress that also adds ?rel=0 to embed code. A site called Section Design has a tutorial for Shopify. Wix claims to provide lazy loading by default.
Otherwise, check with your platform provider.
7. Produce a video XML sitemap. An XML sitemap can link to every video on your site, increasing discovery by search bots. Humans do not see XML sitemaps.
Keep an eye on the “Video pages” report in Search Console to ensure Google can access and index that content.