18th September 2013

What’s the Deal with Video Rich Snippets

By now you have definitely heard that you must include video on your website in order to encourage higher search engine ranking. So, you finally post some videos onto your homepage, but still haven’t seen much of a difference. Well, that’s because you haven’t optimized your video. By optimizing your videos, your site is 50 times more likely to Google page rank on the first page. Surprisingly enough, in the days where every app does it for you,  you must do this on your own (or hire a programmer). Although, if you do take the time to optimize each one of your amazing videos, you are opening the doors for higher page ranks, more organic traffic, and finally….those really cool looking video rich snippets in search engine pages that we all like so much.

What exactly are Video Rich Snippets?

A snippet consists of the few lines of information located below the SEO title of your website, blog, video, etc. All websites have these, so when someone does a Google search, they have a few lines of text to read about a website before clicking.  Now, a video rich snippet is the thumbnail-size video that can be added to the text.  Look at the two examples below.

video rich snippets

The top post has a video rich snippet, and looks pretty tasty compared to the second post of just text. Using video rich snippets for search inquiries is a fairly new concept. This is a good thing, since this means that you’ll have lower competition and simply stand out amongst the rest. But, before you go video rich snippet wild, follow along for everything you need to know about video sitemaps, to ensure you snippet real good. (had to do it.)

In order to make your site more legible for search engines, you need to map out the video into a video sitemap. Mapping out your video is how those video rich snippets appear in your Google searches. Fortunately, our video hosting guru, Wistia offers a simple and manageable way to map your video content and obtain video rich snippets with their video sitemap tool. This may seem a little confusing, so let me break each component for you.

What is the Video Sitemap?

Every website has a sitemap. This is what it sounds like, a map of the content on your site. Since video isn’t able to incorporate into a content sitemap, you must create one for each and every video that you want Google to read on your site. This process may sound tedious, but consider the rewards, as in your website ranking higher on searches. You don’t physically see the sitemap on your website, it is a behind the scenes type ordeal and looks like this:

Pretty complicated, but the map will tell Google and other search engines what to expect when they visit your site, so when people are Googling search terms, your site will more likely appear in related searches.

video sitemap

Why implement a Video Sitemap with Wistia

Here’s the tricky part, you can either add schema tags to your page and submit a sitemap to Google yourself or allow Wistia to do both for you. If you watch Wistia’s informational video, you’ll see why you need to host your video yourself or using varying host platforms rather than YouTube. Why’s that? Well, if you let YouTube sitemap your videos, the links always will go back to YouTube and not your website. Meaning, no increased traffic or optimization for your website, so what’s the point?

What Type of Videos to Use for Video Rich Snippets?

Even though the competition is considerably low with video rich snippets, it won’t last long. So, start now by being strategic with what type of videos you want to sitemap in order to represent your website. Typically, the best videos to sitemap are informational or explanatory videos. Why? Well explainer videos tend to offer information pertaining to your business, giving Google a really clear idea of what your website is about.

Also, there is a video rich snippet rule-of-thumb: Make sure to only sitemap videos that are directly related to what your website offers. If you decide to sitemap a random homevideo of your daughter playing in the rain, it may confuse Google when they analyze your website.

As you can see, the tools are out there to help your website and/or business reach the people that matter most to you. Any questions, leave them in the comment section.

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About the Author

Anish hails from London and holds a degree in software engineering from the University of Manchester. Following his education, he worked for several years in the financial industry as a platform administrator before founding Revolution Productions in 2008. In addition to over seven years of video production, Anish is seen as an industry professional, adding his insight in publications such as VentureBeat, ReelSEO and Wistia.

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