7 Steps to Onsite Video SEO

Videos are an organic search opportunity. They can appear on Google video carousels and improve a page’s ranking when embedded.

Here’s how to optimize videos on the site.

On-Site Video SEO

1. Ensure relevance. A video should contribute to the purpose of the page. Don’t add videos solely for search engine optimization. Put visitors first. Helpful and relevant videos drive engagement and send positive signals to Google.

Keyword research, the foundation of all SEO, applies to videos. Google intuitive words and phrases. A query that produces video carousels is worth optimizing.

2. Emphasize quality. Make sure your video is clear, organized, and to the point. Ask your friends, colleagues, and target buyers to review it.

Study the videos on Google carousels to gauge what’s available for a given query.

3. Use an attractive thumbnail. Video thumbnails appear in search results in carousels and video rich snippets. A video’s thumbnail is also what people see on the page before playing it.

Therefore, thumbnails are important for organic clicks and page engagement. Create a unique image that reflects the intent of the video.

4. Upload to YouTube. Options for video hosting include your own site and third-party platforms (free and premium). But YouTube is the best option for organic rankings because Google owns that site.

When uploading to YouTube, use the above custom thumbnail of 1280 x 720 pixels with a minimum width of 640. It’s important to add extensive explanatory content, which will help Google categorize that video and rank it higher. Then confirm that Google can generate a transcript of the video. A transcript indicates Google’s understanding of the content.

Screenshot of a transcript on YouTube

When uploading a video to YouTube, confirm that Google can generate a transcript.

5. Use structured data. A video must be viewable and playable on a page to have any chance of generating video rich snippets. Using the YouTube video embed code easily accomplishes both.

When embedding YouTube videos, add ?rel=0 to the video URL within the code to prevent Google from suggesting competitors. With that string present, YouTube will suggest its own videos instead.

Screenshot of YouTube embed code containing ?rel=0

adding ?rel=0 to a YouTube embed code prevents Google from suggesting competing videos.

Also consider using Schema.org structured data when embedding your video. It’s not necessary for video rich snippets, but it won’t hurt. Videoschema.com offers a free Schema.org generator.

Using YouTube as a hosting platform means Google will probably pull all the metadata (author, post date, description) without the structured data. But definitely include Schema.org markup (and a transcript) when No hosting on YouTube.

6. Lazy loading videos. Videos can slow down a page. Always lazy load videos to ensure good scores on Core Web Vitals.

There are solutions to implement lazy loading depending on your platform. WPbeginner offers a solution for WordPress that also adds ?rel=0 to embed code. A site called Section Design has a tutorial for Shopify. Wix claims to provide lazy loading by default.

Otherwise, check with your platform provider.

7. Produce a video XML sitemap. An XML sitemap can link to every video on your site, increasing discovery by search bots. Humans don’t see XML sitemaps.

Keep an eye on the “Video Pages” report in Search Console to make sure Google can access and index that content.