Given the option, most people prefer to watch a video than read good old fashioned text. Therefore, it’s no surprise that video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion are increasing in populatrity, with YouTube inparticular being recently ranked the third most popular website in the world by Alexa.
Anticipating the need to find video content online, the major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) have created their own video search engines. These spider the web for unique video content and publish it in their video sections.
An interesting and cool result of this is that, instead of posting normal text listings, the search engines publish thumbnail screenshots of the videos on the search engine results pages (SERP). The thumbnail enables users to see what kind of video they can expect to see, before actually viewing it.
Universal search — a system that blends image, video, news, blog, local and traditional search to form a more complete experience and result set — is now integral to all three major search engines. Listings that have video thumbnails have been proven to receive a much higher click-through rate than traditional text listings.
So, how can you get your pages listed with video thumbnails?
- Embed your video onto your web page using any number of methods. For example, you could use Flash video, Windows media video, Quicktime, Ogg Theora amongst others. As a point to note, you shouldn’t use a third-party video site — such as YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion — for this; the video must be unique to your website.
- Create a thumbnail of the video for indexing.
- Create four meta tags on the web page that displays the video:
<meta name="medium" content="video" /> <meta name="video_type" content="application/x-shockwave-flash" />
application/x-shockwave-flashwith whichever video format you’re using.
<meta name="video_height" content="280" /> <meta name="video_width" content="460" />
Replace the height and width dimensions with those specific to your video.
- Create a video sitemap and submit it to the search engines. Google and Yahoo have a clear video submission process, whereas Bing does not, so you should submit to Bing in the normal way.
If your page is already in position one for a keyword, that listing will gain a thumbnail once you have optimised it for video. You’ll also get increased time on site and possibly page views, afterwhich you can develop a better conversion-rate strategy.