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5 Best Video Practices For Google Search

Video is a growing format for content creation and consumption on the web, and Google indexes videos from millions of different sites to serve to users. Videos can appear in several different places on Google, including the main search results page, video search results,and Google Images.

You can optimize your videos to appear on Google by following these best practices:

  • Help Google find your videos
  • Ensure your videos can be indexed
  • Allow Google to fetch your video content files
  • Enable specific video features
  • Remove, restrict, or update your videos as needed

1) Help Google find your videos

  • Make sure that each video is available on a public web page where users can watch the video. Make sure that the page isn't blocked by robots.txt or noindex metadata, this ensures that Google can find and index your page.
  • Include your video in an appropriate HTML tag. Google can more easily identify a video on your page when there's an HTML tag around it.
  • Submit a video sitemap to make it even easier for Google to find your videos
  • Ensure that the page doesn't require complex user actions or specific URL fragments to load, or Google might not find your videos.

2) Ensure your videos can be indexed

Once Google has identified a video on a page, additional information is needed to make it eligible to appear in video features.

  • Provide a high-quality thumbnail

To be eligible to appear in Google video features, a video must have a valid thumbnail image. Otherwise, the page may be indexed but would only appear as a plain blue link. The thumbnail file must be accessible by Googlebot. Don't block the file with robots.txt or a login requirement. Make sure that the file is available at a stable URL.

  • Provide structured data

Provide structured data describing your video, to help Google understand what the video is about and surface it for relevant queries. Ensure that any information that you provide in structured data is consistent with the actual video content. When adding structured data, make sure to use unique thumbnails, titles, and descriptions for each video on your site.

3) Allow Google to fetch your video content files

A video page may be indexed and eligible to appear on Google, but Google needs to fetch the video file itself to understand the video contents and enable features like video previews and key moments.

Allow Google to fetch your video content files by following these best practices:

  • Use structured data to provide the contentURL value in a supported file format.
  • Don't block Google from fetching the video’s streaming file bytes.
  • The video host page and the server streaming the actual video must have the bandwidth to be crawled.
  • The video file must be available at a stable URL

4) Enable specific video features

  • Video previews 

Google selects a few seconds from your video to display a moving preview, which can help users better understand what they’ll find in your video. To make your videos eligible for this feature, allow Google to fetch your video content files. 

  • Key moments 

Google surfaces video segments through features such as key moments so users can navigate them like chapters in a book, engaging more deeply with your content. To enable this feature, use Clip structured data to identify segments and add descriptions. If your video is hosted on YouTube, you can also enable this feature by marking timestamps in your YouTube description. 

  • Live Badge 

For live streaming videos, you can enable a red "LIVE" badge to appear in search results by using Broadcast Event structured data and the Indexing API.

5) Remove, restrict, or update your videos as needed

When Google sees a video with an expiration date in the past, we will not include the video in any search results. The landing page may still be shown as a web result, without a video thumbnail. Make sure that your expiration dates are correct for each video. This is useful if your video is no longer available after the expiration date.

You can restrict search results for your video based on the user's location. If your video doesn't have any country restrictions, omit the country restriction tags.

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