Video SEO Just Got Better: Meet Wistia’s New Standard Embed

November 8, 2015

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Jeff Vincent


Over the past few months, we’ve been focused on finding ways to streamline the optimization process, and make Video SEO simpler and more effective for Wistia customers.

With that in mind, we’re really excited to share that some recent releases have made Wistia embed codes better for search engine optimization.

You heard right. Video SEO is back, and the improvements we’ve made are available for all of our customers. We’ve taken the core functionality from our old SEO embed, and developed a new Standard embed that does all of the same work, but it loads faster and more reliably. It also involves significantly less code (which means there’s less risk of losing something while copying and pasting, or breaking a CMS). Go ahead and scroll through the embed codes below. There’s quite a difference!

The old SEO embed code:

<div id="wistia_nxsjz1hwgc" class="wistia_embed" style="width:620px;height:377px;"><div itemprop="video" itemscope itemtype=""><meta itemprop="name" content="Music Volume" /><meta itemprop="duration" content="PT38S" /><meta itemprop="thumbnailUrl" content="" /><meta itemprop="contentURL" content="" /><meta itemprop="embedURL" content="" /><meta itemprop="uploadDate" content="2014-06-18T20:49:02Z" /><object id="wistia_nxsjz1hwgc_seo" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" style="display:block;height:349px;position:relative;width:620px;"><param name="movie" value=""></param><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"></param><param name="bgcolor" value="#000000"></param><param name="wmode" value="opaque"></param><param name="flashvars" value="autoPlay=false&banner=false&controlsVisibleOnLoad=false&customColor=3ea9f5&endVideoBehavior=reset&fullscreenDisabled=true&hdUrl%5B2pass%5D=true&hdUrl%5Bext%5D=flv&hdUrl%5Bheight%5D=720&hdUrl%5Bsize%5D=12681482&hdUrl%5Btype%5D=hdflv&"></param><embed src="" allowfullscreen="true" bgcolor=#000000 flashvars="autoPlay=false&banner=false&controlsVisibleOnLoad=false&customColor=3ea9f5&endVideoBehavior=reset&fullscreenDisabled=true&hdUrl%5B2pass%5D=true&hdUrl%5Bext%5D=flv&hdUrl%5Bheight%5D=720&hdUrl%5Bsize%5D=12681482&hdUrl%5Btype%5D=hdflv&" name="wistia_nxsjz1hwgc_html" style="display:block;height:100%;position:relative;width:100%;" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="opaque"></embed></object><noscript itemprop="description">Music Volume</noscript><noscript itemprop="transcript" id="wistia_nxsjz1hwgc_noscript_transcript">

The new Standard embed code:

<script charset="ISO-8859-1" src="//" async></script><div class="wistia_responsive_padding" style="padding:56.25% 0 28px 0;position:relative;"><div class="wistia_responsive_wrapper" style="height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;top:0;width:100%;"><div class="wistia_embed wistia_async_nxsjz1hwgc videoFoam=true" style="height:100%;width:100%">&nbsp;</div></div></div>

Our new Standard embed

Metadata for SEO is now provided with JSON-LD

The old SEO embed worked by using microdata to include markup as part of the the overall embed code. This worked reasonably well, but it slowed things down, was prone to error and in some cases caused conflicts with other on-page markup and Facebook OpenGraph tags. The new approach works by injecting the same metadata, including transcripts, into the <head> of the page via JSON-LD.

It’s so speedy

The Standard embed code is ridiculously quick. It works with asynchronous JavaScript, which means the video player and all of the SEO metadata is loaded in the background, without holding up the rest of the elements on the page.

In practice, this means Wistia videos will now load more or less simultaneously with the rest of your page, faster than anything embedded with an iframe (like YouTube or Vimeo videos), or even the legacy Wistia API or SEO embeds.

Google rewards quick websites because they provide a great user experience, so this performance boost has benefits for SEO, too. Video can put a lot of pressure on page load times, and the new Standard embed ensures this is something you never have to worry about again. We love it when we find ways for our customers to completely stop worrying about something.

It’s responsive and mobile-friendly, out of the box

We’ve been experimenting with this for years, and now Wistia is the first video hosting platform to offer responsive, mobile-friendly video as a native feature with all of our embeds.

If you have a website with responsive design, this means your video will adapt to the size of the screen your users are watching it on. There’s no additional coding required to ensure your videos work within your page design. If your website works with a fixed width, you can still select “fixed size” and manually stipulate the size of the video you want to embed.

Wistia encodes videos at multiple bitrates and frame-sizes, and automatically delivers the highest quality video based on your viewer’s connection speed.

It all boils down to this: When you’re using Wistia, you can be confident that your audience will always be able to watch your videos, no matter what device they’re using or how fast their connection speed is.

You might be wondering…

What about transcripts?

Transcripts are context machines — they’re super helpful for indexing and ranking for the right terms. If you upload an SRT file or order a transcription from Wistia, it will be included with the rest of the metadata (title, thumb, description, publish date, etc.) in the <head> of the page, and will be indexed by Google.

The new embed code is really small, so where is the metadata hiding?

This is the question I asked Max, our lead developer on this, when he first demo’d the new embed codes.

If you want to see the metadata we’re including for your video on the page itself:

  • Open up your page in Chrome, and then open the developer tools window by pressing Ctrl + shift + I (PC) or Command + Option + I (Mac)
  • Do Ctrl/Cmd + F and search for “LD+JSON”
  • Click the dropdown icon
  • Voila!

How can I tell if my videos are indexed with a snippet?

  • Head to
  • Type in the URL of your website
  • See if your page comes up with a video snippet

Additionally, If you’d like to test how Google is reading your page, and whether they’re discovering your videos correctly, you can use the Structured Data Testing Tool. If it’s worked correctly, you should see something like this:

Do I need a Video Sitemap as well as the new embed code?

As of the recent releases, it’s not necessary to use a video sitemap in addition to the injected metadata to get your videos indexed and ranking.

My videos are indexed, but not ranking with a snippet – what’s up?

Sigh. There could be a whole host of reasons for this. It’s important to remember that Google treats video as an element of a page, not a whole page in and of itself.

It’s therefore very common to have video pages sometimes appear in the universal search results with a video snippet, and sometimes without one. The queries themselves are also a significant factor. Google will only show video snippets for queries when video results seem appropriate.

Our testing has shown that there are certain criteria that need to be met for a site to rank in universal search results with a rich snippet:

  • The site needs to be a trusted, high authority resource
  • A significant amount of the site needs to be video-focused
  • The page in question needs to have video as the most prominent rich media type

Even with all these criteria, ranking with a snippet is a constantly moving goalpost, heavily influenced by machine learning. Your best bet as a marketer is to provide Google with all the necessary metadata (which we’ll do for you), and then work hard to improve the quality and authority of your website.

Can I include more than one video on a page?

Yes. Google will be able to read and parse the data for more than one video per page, but it’s important to note that typically only one video thumbnail is chosen as the “rich snippet” to represent the page in the Google search results.

In other words, if you include multiple videos on a page, you are essentially rescinding control of which video snippet will appear in the search results for your page for any given query.

What if I don’t want my videos indexed?

No worries. If the page is blocked via robots.txt, or a meta noindex tag is present, then Google won’t index the page or your videos.

Do other video hosting platforms provide this structured data?

No. While YouTube videos can sometimes get indexed, the versions of the videos are the ones that typically rank, not the versions of the video on your site. Vimeo embeds don’t include this data, and neither do embeds from Brightcove, Vzaar, Vidyard, or Vidcaster.

We prioritized adding this structured data in this way to benefit the SEO of our customer’s websites, rather than our own platform. If you do want to get the social benefit of having your videos on YouTube, then we recommend embedding on-site videos with Wistia, and uploading them to YouTube as well.

If you have any thoughts, questions, or concerns, let us know in the comments below!

Jeff Vincent


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