Video SEO is the practice of providing the metadata ("information") for your content to search engines to improve the richness of search results (i.e. "rich snippets"). This, in turn, drives more visits to your website.
Wistia puts this video metadata on your page by injecting JSON-LD into your webpage's header. As a part of your marketing efforts, following the proper metadata and general SEO conventions will help to improve your video's presence on search engines.
Wistia does all of the hard work for you. The JSON-LD file is automatically injected into the head of your website once your page is live. We handle all of the tricky stuff. No sitemaps, no extra coding, just copy and paste, and rock out. 🤘
What is Video SEO?
Confused about what Video SEO is? Don't worry! We've goton hand.
Video SEO is the process of adding metadata to your website so that a search engine can better read what's on your page. The video's metadata in the JSON-LD file will tell search engines things like:
- the video title
- the video description
- the length of the video
- the video transcript (if available)
- and the video thumbnail
Wistia's SEO functionality automatically includes this metadata in your website to optimize your site for search engine indexing. Using recommended markup makes it easier for Google to discover and index your content. Follow these steps to make your video SEO game top notch.
On-Page Markup for Video SEO
When search engines, like Google, crawl a page on your website, they can only identify and index a video properly if the page includes the right video markup. Google has extensive technical documentation about adding that markup (if you're feeling like a light read), but you don't need to worry about it! Wistia's Standard and Popover embeds automatically put that markup on the page for you.
When you add a Standard Wistia embed on a page, we'll inject the following
markup in the
<head> section for search engines to find:
- Name: The title of your video, which you can set on the video's page in your account.
- Description: A brief description of the video's content. It's important to write a description for each video, which you can do from the video's page in your account.
- Transcripts: Your video's transcript is automatically formatted as metadata to let search engines see that your video has captions.
- Thumbnail URL: The URL of the image search engines will use if they choose to display a preview of your video in the search results. Wistia's got you covered on this front!
- Embed URL: A URL pointing to a player for a specific video.
- Duration: The length of your video.
- Upload Date: When the video was uploaded to Wistia.
These are all of the "Required" and "Recommended" properties listed on Google's guide for video markup. As long as you fill out the Name and Description (and get yourself some captions, if you're feeling so bold), Wistia's got the rest covered. 👍
If you ever change that information in Wistia, it will automatically be updated on your website. Immediately! There's no need to re-embed your video.
You can use Google's Structured Data Testing Tool to verify that Google is able to see your video and its metadata. If everything is working properly, you'll see that Google finds a
VideoObject on the page.
For even more information on embedding, check out the embedding guide.
Can I See an Example?
Yes you can, you SEO-lover.
Here's an example for one of the videos on our embedding page!
Which, if you're feeling extra exploratory, you can go check out by inspecting
<head> code of the page.
"@context":"http://schema.org/","@id":"https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/vud7ff4i6w","@type":"VideoObject","duration":"PT31S","name":"Standard Embed Hello","thumbnailUrl":"https://embed-ssl.wistia.com/deliveries/c2e61496651bc2e88ce8e7f7006aa384c641d708.jpg?image_crop_resized=960x540","embedUrl":"https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/vud7ff4i6w","uploadDate":"2015-11-24","transcript":"Hi.\n\nI'm your standard embed code.\n\nI'm your basic go-to embed\ncode for getting video\n\nonto your website.\n\nI display inline on your page\nwith the rest of your content,\n\nand I'm also responsive.\n\nBecause I'm\nasynchronous, I won't\n\nblock the loading of all the\nother content on your web page.\n\nFor developers, I\nintegrate easily\n\nwith a player API, which\nsupports a bunch of ways\n\nto control the video player.\n\nAnd like all Wistia\nembed codes, any changes\n\nyou make to me, like the\nplayer color or controls,\n\nwill automatically update\nwithout having to re-embed.\n\nSo long!","description":"A video that explains the standard embed. Featuring, Bobby!"
Managing Your Metadata
The title should be relevant for the video. Make sure it's short and sweet. Don't try too hard to make it wordy, or shove too many keywords into it. Just focus on appropriately naming the video for a viewer's experience.
Be as descriptive as possible, but again don't go overboard with keywords. Make the description useful for viewers, not for bots.
If your video has captions you can leverage that information to help your video get indexed with optimal context. If you want to see how you can add captions to your video, our Captions help page will show you how!
How Can I See What My Metadata Will Look Like?
Easy peasy! Our Embed & Share modal includes a dropdown menu that lets you look at all of that sweet SEO data. It's easier than ever to see the same information that search engines are reading to help them rank your page.
From the Video Actions menu, select Embed &Share. From the Inline Embed tab, scroll down. There you'll see an option for SEO Metadata. Click the carrot next to the "Inject video metadata..." option to see all of that metadata glory.
Optimizing After Indexing
The goal of SEO is to drive more traffic to your website. Optimizing your video content for search engines means that your pages will show up in video-specific search results, thus driving more traffic to your site.
When a searcher clicks the video still in results, they will be taken to your website, which is a major advantage over YouTube SEO.
We recommend keeping a close eye on your traffic during the SEO indexing process—see if you notice an uptick after your video content is indexed. From that baseline data, you can experiment with changes to improve incoming traffic.
First, make sure you have related content on your page so that search engines have context surrounding the video. If you notice an increase in traffic from specific searches, add more content for those visitors.
Second, the thing that drives folks to click on the video is the thumbnail! Choose a thumbnail that looks attractive for the topic at hand.
Video SEO FAQ
Video SEO is tough but valuable. Customers have asked us lots of questions about using our Video SEO tool for their video. We'll attempt to compile them here.
I thought only YouTube got indexed on Google search results? Should I have my video on both platforms?
Google has continued to support an open market, indexing videos that follow their SEO guidelines, regardless of where they are hosted.
That being said, you probably don't want to have your video on YouTube and use Wistia Video SEO. Because YouTube videos are indexed by default, your content will compete with itself in the rankings if you use both. Then the YouTube links to your video will drive traffic to YouTube, instead of to your website.
If the most important metric for your video is views, YouTube is a great place for them. If your goal is to encourage a conversion event, like a sign-up, subscription, or a share, then you want to drive viewers to your site to watch your video. That is where Video SEO can be a valuable tool.
Can I use playlist embeds?
At this time, we don't provide SEO for the playlist player types. We made that decision because in our tests it seemed required for the Google bots to have direct access to the video on the page, and immediately accessible to the visitor, in order to reap the benefits of video on page rankings.
It's been several days, when can I expect to see my video ranked in SERPs?
It can take up to 2 weeks for Google to index new content.
Because Google can be a bit of a black box sometimes, it's not possible to determine exactly when new content will be indexed for video results. In our experience, a waiting period of 10 - 15 days is not uncommon.
If you have been waiting for a considerable amount of time, double-check the list of possibly bad practices below, to make sure your content doesn't fall into one of the areas of content that Google doesn't index reliably.
What can prevent videos from being added to Google search results?
There are a few practices that we have seen prevent indexing.
- Redirects are a tricky practice, and more often than not, they seem to cause failures. Google might not follow the redirect when crawling, or the redirects might be set up incorrectly.
- Disallowing content in the robots.txt file would result in everything appearing "successful," but your content never appears in search results. Double-check that any "disallow" blocks in your robots.txt file do not point to content you want indexed.
- Putting video farther down the page can have a negative effect on the content. Where possible, make sure your videos are embedded at a good viewing size (at least 600px wide) and near the top of the page.
Can I use Wistia embeds to build links for SEO?
The Social Bar includes an embed button, which allows viewers to embed your video in other places. Wistia includes a customize option for adding links that point back to the original site into the embed code your viewers can access.
So if one of your viewers re-embeds the video, new viewers can track down the original source of the content, which Google and search engines also value.
For more information on video backlinks, check out our Customize help page.
More questions? Just want to talk about SEO? Give us a shout. We'll be happy to talk more!