I’m not the most handy person. Late comedian Mitch Hedberg joked, “I don’t know how to fix a car. If my car breaks down, and the gas tank does not say “E”, I’m ****ed.” I tend to fall into that category. On the occasions that I am pressed into action to fix a sink, lay some tile, or troubleshoot a finicky electrical outlet, I’m probably going to need help. Usually that help comes in the form of a ‘how-to’ video. I’ll do a search to on the product I’m working with or the problem I’m trying to fix, and at my fingertips I’ll have a cadre of experts that will take me through the process of correctly addressing the task at hand.
That availability of expert opinions and information is just one area that video content has become a go-to resource for much of the information consumed online. Currently, video content accounts for 77% of Internet traffic. Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast predicts that figure to grow to 82% by the end of 2021. The overall amount of video content will grow 3x from 2016–2021 to 160 exabytes of content. To provide a sense of what that means, it would take more than 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2021—every second, a million minutes of video content will stream to viewers.
As video grows as the primary content type, content developers need to start thinking with a ‘video first’ mentality. Just as the shift from desktop to mobile has changed the way content is structured on the Web, the abundance of video consumption is having a similar impact.
Content developers need to prioritize video content in order to be accessible to their audiences. In addition to video content creation, there needs to be a concerted effort to make video content easily accessible via search.
According to a Searchmetrics 2018 whitepaper, “At least one video integration is displayed for 22% of desktop and 23% of mobile search results.” That statistic does not include the billions of monthly native searches on YouTube, the second largest search platform.
A relevant content development and organic search strategy needs to include video content and video-specific search engine optimization (SEO). That includes the following items that I will touch on below.
- Understanding how google reads and displays video search results
- Utilizing on-page video markup and open graph tags
- Incorporating video-specific tags in a website XML sitemap
Understanding how google reads and displays video search results
When incorporating video on a website, that video should be made available as a direct search result. You can see videos that are shown on a search engine results page (SERP) example below for a Google search of “how to fix a faucet”. Video search results include a thumbnail image that includes a play icon and time to indicate that the result is a video along with video-specific title and description metadata.
Utilizing on-page video markup
To enable video-specific search results, a Web page should utilize on-page video markup. On-page video markup is a set of HTML parameters that can be included with video content to describe to search engines what should be displayed in a video search result. The major search engines have worked with schema.org to develop a standard video meta-tagging structure.
Open graph tags
It is important to include open graph tags on video pages for social sharing and publishing. Below is an example of how a shared video appears when posting to Facebook. The title, URL, and image can all be defined with open graph tags.
Incorporating video-specific tags in a website XML sitemap
An XML sitemap is used to provide search engines with information about a website and tell the search engines which pages to crawl. Including video-specific tags in a sitemap will help search engines crawl and index those videos from a website.
As the proliferation of video content evolves, strategic development of relevant content and standards-based organic video SEO practices will be paramount to keep content in prime SERP locations.
The hardest part of a video content strategy is the process of getting it created. It requires developing an interesting story, deciding on the look and style of a piece, incorporating graphics and sound, and making all of that engaging and entertaining for a specific audience.
Although this post doesn’t cover the full video development process, there are several methods for expanding the top of the content engagement funnel with video.
For do-it-yourself types, there are definitely options to create quality self-shot phone video. Or, if you fall into the not-so-handy category, like me and Mitch, there are a myriad of options that include working with traditional publishers, freelancers, or even going the crowdsourcing route through sites like Tongal.
If need some more info about the video development process, you could always video search!