You Tube is now the second biggest search engine and many websites are now putting video on their website to help improve site stickiness and provide additional information. Video can also be a way of driving traffic to your website.
Most websites make videos stream on their website by either:
- Using a video sharing service like You Tube, Vimeo, Daily Motion or Meta Cafe
- Using a private paid hosting service like Amazon S3, EZS3 or Wistia
There are pros and cons of using either service.
If you are using video from a public video sharing service like YouTube, your video will be automatically detected by Google and therefore it has the potential to be indexed by search engines.
However you need to make sure the title and description information is filled out as a bare minimum. You can also upload a transcript of the video if you want.
If you use private video hosting services then you will need to let Google (and other search engines) know about your video.
You can do this by submitting a video site map to Webmaster Tools. The file you submit needs to be in the form of an xml file. It needs to contain information about your video.
This includes search engine optimisation information like:
- a title;
- a description;
- the page the video is on;
- the location of the video content (this is different then the page the video is on);
- a thumbnail of the video.
Optionally, you can also provide information about how long the video is, when it expires, how many views the video has had, the publish date, descriptive tags, the category it belongs to, if is it family friendly or not, and any restrictions on where the video can be viewed.
The information helps Google and other search engines determine the content of the video so it can be displayed in search engine results.
Some of this information is quite technical so it is worth checking with your web development firm if they have submitted a video sitemap for you.
So why would you use a private video hosting service?
The main reason why people often use private hosting services are:
- They don’t want the logo of the video sharing site displayed on the video
- They want higher definition, more crisp videos
- They want more control over viewers i.e. they don’t want visitors to be able to click on the video and go off to another site such as YouTube
- They have longer videos that they want to add on their website (YouTube places video time limits for new users)
- They want to reduce the risk that their videos or video channel is banned (users can report videos on YouTube)