If you thought you could simply post a video on your website and move on with your day, then you better think again. According to Google’s John Mueller, site owners must include written content whenever they publish a video to a web page.
In simple terms, you can’t just embed a video and add a title to it. Google maintains that a video should never be used a primarily content. Instead, a video must be incorporated in a way that supports the written content.
On March 5th during the Google Webmaster Central Hangout, Mueller briefly addressed this issued and provided some actionable tips on how a video should be used from a search engine point of view.
Let’s analyze how website owners can appropriately use a video on their site without hindering their SEO growth.
Video Shouldn’t Replace the Main Content, but Support It
As far as web search and crawling is concerned, it takes Google a long time to process a web page with just a video on it. Specifically, search engines have difficulty determining why the video is useful and why (and how) the page it’s presented on should be displayed in the SERPs.
For this reason, Mueller recommends creating content around the video by including a transcription of the video and adding some commentary.
For example, if you’re running a cooking blog and you wanted to include a video to help your readers understand a recipe better, then you should transcribe the important points of the video and add commentary.
Of course, your readers may not read the transcription, but this addition is beneficial to search engines.
You Must Include Both Commentary and a Transcription
No one likes doing more work than what they have to, but you have to consider that your readers and customers aren’t the only ones visiting your website. Google and other search engines have a job to do, and that’s providing web users with the best possible online experience.
Think of it this way.
How can a search engine properly index and rank your web page when they don’t even know what they can’t understand video is doing on the page in the first place.
Because of this, add both a transcription and commentary to your web page if you’re going to use a video. Don’t choose between doing both. You have to do both!
The transcription is primarily for the aid of a search engine’s web crawlers. If you provide these bots with more information, they can process, index, and rank your web pages faster.
Additionally, the commentary is for both the web crawlers and your readers. Again, videos should only be used as secondary content. So, you’re responsible for adding context to your video that thoroughly explains what it is the video is about.
By adding a transcript and commentary to your web pages that have video content, you can effectively improve your site’s “crawlability”. Further, you can also provide more information to major search engines, which can, in turn, help your site stand out in the SERPs.