How To Index Your Videos For SEO [Tactic Tuesdays]

on under Tactic Tuesday, Video SEO.

Videos are a powerful way to engage your audience, but they won’t do you a lot of good if people can’t find them. Let’s talk about how to make sure they get fully indexed and discoverable in the search engines.

1. Find All Videos On Your Site

If you have the full version of Screaming Frog, you can use it to find all of the videos on your site using custom snippets. The rest of this step will explain how to do that. If this isn’t possible for you, you can alternatively run a Google search along the lines of “site:example.com video” to see all pages where you mentioned the word “video,” and use similar expressions to try and hunt down all references to videos in your content that you haven’t already catalogued for yourself.

If you do have the full version of Screaming Frog, you can create custom filters such as these to locate all of your videos:

discover video snippets

To set these up, go to Configuration > Custom > Search in the top menu. Custom searches look for snippets of text in the source HTML of a page. The text I’ve entered above is:

The first four of these use snippets found in embeds from YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, and Wistia. The final one looks for the <video> html tag.

To view the pages that include these snippets, click the “Custom” tab, then click the “Filter” drop down and select the filter corresponding to the snippet you are looking for. You will see a list of pages containing videos that use that snippet.

Now that you’ve tracked down your videos, you can start working on optimizing indexing.

2. Markup Your Videos For The Search Index

Google explicitly requires three pieces of markup in order to include a video in their index:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Thumbnail

Google recommends using Schema.org markup and the “VideoObject” itemtype. Here is an example they provide:

video schema google

These schema properties are required:

  • name
  • description
  • thumbnailURL
  • Either contentURL or embedURL

The following are recommended by Google for indexing:

  • duration
  • uploadDate

3. Create Transcripts

Transcripts are highly recommended for your videos. Google can not parse the audio in video files (at least not in a way that is fast enough to serve a search index), so this is the only way for search engines to know what’s in your video.

There are two places to put the transcript, and we would recommend doing both simultaneously. You can include a transcript within your schema.org markup, and you can paste it on the page for viewers to read in one piece of markup.

That schema.org markup takes the form:

<span itemprop=”transcript”>Your transcript here.</span>

As long as you put this within the the <div> containing the schema itemtype markup, this transcript will be associated with the video. It will also be visible on the page for users to read. This assures that both the video and the page will be indexed with this text associated.

All set!

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