Getting Started with Video Rich Snippets

video rich snippets

Whether you’re using a search engine like Google or using a social network, websites with videos or photos attached are more likely to draw the attention of consumers. In fact, according to Buffer a Facebook post including a photo gets 39 percent more interaction than one without. Video has a similar impact, especially if you utilize what are known as “rich snippets”—an SEO tactic that can help increase your ranking in Google and help your result jump off a search engine results page (SERP).

Rich snippets have been around for a while, but they’ve been gaining traction over the last few months as an effective way to make your content stand out on SERP. Creating a video snippet is a little complicated, but the juice is well worth the squeeze in the end.

A Quick Look at Video Rich Snippets and How They Work

Video rich snippets work the same way as Google authorship (where the writer’s photo shows up next to the article on a SERP), but use a video instead. Below is an example of what a video rich snippet looks like on a SERP:

video rich snippets

As you can see, the first result using no rich snippets, the second result uses a video rich snippet hosted on a website, the third has a video snippet hosted on YouTube, and the fourth is using authorship. This lets readers know immediately there will be a video to view if you click the second and/or third result. When people click on the video rich snippets in Google or other search engines, it takes them directly to the page where the video is hosted (for the majority this is YouTube, but more on that later).

Getting Started with Video Rich Snippets

Below are the most basic steps you can follow to get started creating a video rich snippet:

1. Decide where you want to host your video.

You can choose YouTube, which is immensely popular and a nice tool for searching for videos on a topic, or you can host the video on your own site. The only real problem with YouTube is that it doesn’t lead people to your website. Your YouTube video will also likely rank higher on search engines than your website, so even if you include the same video on your own page, you’re essentially competing with yourself.

However. a higher rank for the video can be a good thing if you want to promote the video above all else. YouTube can help ensure more eyes will see the video, not to mention it will bring people to your YouTube page. If you have a lot of videos this might be great, but if this is the only one, then people could navigate to a “related” video that isn’t yours. It’s also worth noting that hosting your video on YouTube is much easier, so I recommend this as a starting point.

2. Upload your video.

Schema.org is a great tool to use to upload your video, creating a near-universal markup that both Google and Yahoo can understand. To make things easy, you can visit this link and simply add the URL or ID of your video to generate the source code. Schema.org is actually a fairly big topic full of coding and different options, so I recommend checking out the following video from Matt Cutts, the Head of Google Webspam.

If you don’t use YouTube for your site, you may have issues uploading video, as most WordPress Plugins only work with YouTube videos. However, you can purchase a Yoast Video SEO Plugin for $69 for one site or use it on up to 20 sites for $249.

3. Alert Google through Webmaster Tools.

Instead of waiting for Google to crawl your site, be proactive and give them a heads up by logging in to Google Webmaster Tools to submit your video sitemap:

  1. Click “Site Configuration” in the left sidebar of the Webmaster Tools page for that website.
  2. Hit “Sitemaps.”
  3. Click “Add/Test Sitemap” button in the top right-hand corner.
  4. Enter your sitemap into the text box that appears (/system/feeds/sitemap).
  5. Click “Submit Sitemap.”

If you’re unfamiliar with video sitemaps, don’t sweat it. You can either create a video sitemap on your own, which you can learn about here, or simply use the plugin mentioned above that will ask you questions and create the sitemap for you. If you do have a developer in your company, he/she should be able to help you pretty easily (I am not a developer myself, so I use the plugin and it works great for someone without much experience in sitemap creation).

The Takeaway (and a Few Extra Tips)

Keep in mind video rich snippets will likely be the first thing viewers see in search engines, so make sure the videos are a good representation of your site so you can put your best foot forward. With video rich snippets gaining popularity, you will want to keep up with those sites already utilizing this method and set yourself apart from competitors who are not yet up to speed. In general, informational videos typically work best for video rich snippets.

As a consumer, have you found yourself clicking on video rich snippets in search engines? Have you used video rich snippets on your site in the past? Let us know your experiences in the comments section below.