Dos and Don’ts of Video SEO

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Video content can be a huge boost to your ecommerce website’s SEO. Thanks to Google’s Universal Search feature, videos can drive traffic to your website, but only if you are optimizing them. If you are asking yourself if video is a must for your commerce website, then think no further.

However, video SEO has its own set of rules. Here are a few dos and don’ts to get you started. 

Do:

  1. Allow search engine bots to find your videos. Submit a video sitemap to major search engines as well as an mRSS feed. Make sure that User-agent “Googlebot” is allowed in every nook and cranny of your website; Google will not enter where it is forbidden.
  2. Use keywords in all tags. Keywords in Title tags and descriptions will both be essential to the way Google views your videos. Make sure these are meaningful and filled to the brim with good keywords. The title tag is the most important part of your video SEO, so make it especially good.
  3. Give videos their own URL. You can place multiple videos on a certain page, but make sure each has its own URL. You can instead give them each a hashtag, but the URL solution is generally more effective for SEO.
  4. Build links to your videos. The power of linkage, both internal and inbound, is one area in which video SEO is similar to that for text. The more links, the better the links and the more inbound links, the better.
  5. Provide text for all videos. You should have either closed captioning or a transcript for all of your videos. Google can read either, and you will also be improving the accessibility of your website to the hearing impaired.

Don’t:

  1. Host videos yourself. Most ecommerce websites do not have the bandwidth necessary to host their own videos. This slows down loading, which makes Google sad and lowers your ranking. Use a content delivery network (CDN) instead so videos load almost instantaneously.
  2. Get lazy with tagging. Google expects that your ecommerce website video tags be in a certain format. Do not leave these blank or enter them incorrectly. One common error is to submit dates in the wrong format. Google requires the date to be entered as YYYY-MM-DD.
  3. Use the wrong kind of video format. Most search engines follow Google’s lead, and Google currently indexes only videos that are in .asf, .avi, .flv, .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .mpeg, .mpg, .ra, .ram and .wmv. 
  4. Disallow comments. Comments are also read by Google Bots, and they can increase your SEO immensely. Many of the types of videos offered on an ecommerce website will not draw large amounts of comments, but you still should make it possible.
  5. Spread the love. You want for the video on your website to come up at the top of search engine results, not the syndicated version on YouTube. Syndicate sparingly, placing videos in no more than three sites, and do so only when there is a clear benefit to your company. Give syndicated videos their own titles and tags to avoid the duplicate content issue.