Video Snippets: How to Rank on Google Search with Your Videos
Quick test: You may have interesting videos to share on the Internet. But do you know how to rank these videos on Google and improve your brand’s visibility? More importantly, do you realize the importance of video rich snippets in delivering the most bang for your buck?
A study by Wyzowl shows that 87% of businesses use video as a marketing tool. That’s huge. Yet not surprising at all. We live in an era where the search engine giant Google also believes videos to be indispensable for buyers’ shopping experience.
A requisite for any powerful digital marketing strategy, video content not only improves user engagement but also adds to your brand’s credibility. And, honestly, companies that don’t have a dedicated video marketing strategy are losing customers.
There’s no doubt that YouTube, Facebook & Twitter are some fantastic platforms to draw the eye to your video content. Still, the cost of overlooking the popularity of ranking a video on Google Search weighs heavily on your business decisions. And numbers don’t tell you otherwise: 90% of online B2B researchers use search to research business purchases, and search is their #1 resource for research.
Think about the benefits you can get by capitalizing on your video content. Now, to actually get them, optimize your videos for Google search with video rich snippets.
Before we get to what a video rich snippet is, it’s essential to understand that apart from Google Search results, videos also appear in Video Search Results, Google Images, and Google Discover.
Here’s what they look like:
Search Results – It’s the quintessential search results page on Google. Almost every Internet user knows what a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is. But the results that appear on the page depend on the type of query you enter in the search bar.
A typical example of a Google SERP goes like this.
If you search for a video query in the search bar itself, it will bring the following results:
Apart from the usual results, you also get images, news, videos, and shopping results.
Video Search Results – By clicking on the ‘videos’ filter, you will get video only results.
Google Images – The ‘images’ filter will bring you a host of images for a video.
Google Discover – Launched in September 2018, Google Discover is an app feature that uses your previous Google searches to recommend content. A rather new take on the erstwhile Google Feed, Discover shows the usual content and news with a greater emphasis on visuals, particularly ‘videos’.
By providing you information about things you search the most about, this feature gives you more context and control over the content you want to see. Whenever you make a search on your Google app, you also get the ‘Discover’ option on the bottom-left of the app.
What is a Video Rich Snippet?
Before we get to video snippets definition, let’s first understand what ‘rich’ snippets are.
Usually, a SERP result comes up with three main things:
- a URL
- a title
- a meta description
And it looks like this.
That’s a “snippet”.
Rich Snippets or Rich Results are the Google search results that feature some extra details like reviews, events, recipes, and other information to better navigate the search results.
To a layman, a rich snippet is just a brief piece of information that appears in search results below the website’s URL. It helps you understand the site better to decide whether you want to visit it.
To a pro, it’s the structured data markup that you can add to your site to make it more visible to search engines.
Here’s an example of a rich snippet:
Now, let’s discuss the subject matter of this article – video rich snippet.
A video rich snippet is the information that comes up on Google with a tiny video appearing along with the search result. It lets a user understand a particular search query better with a related video. And it’s an excellent way to increase the click-through-rate (CTR) of your search results.
Video snippets have a URL, a title, and a description like usual snippets. In addition, they also include the duration and upload details of the video along with a thumbnail.
Take a look at a video rich snippet below:
Now that you know the video snippets definition, it’s worth noting that search engines can’t watch your videos. Search engines know your content is there, but it takes a lot of effort on their part to understand what it is all about. You can make their job easier by adding structured data to your content.
Let’s understand what makes a video snippet, well, ‘richer’: Structured Data.
What is Structured Data?
Content is for humans. So, how do search engines work out the correct usage of content? The answer lies in ‘Structured Data’.
As Google puts it, “Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content”.
Let’s say you wrote an article on “how to make chicken stew”. A simple post without structured data won’t share details like the time taken to make the recipe, the ingredients used, the calories it has, the steps involved along with images. But with structured data, you can use help search engines crawl with relevant information like:
“It takes a total of 90 minutes to cook this recipe.”
“Here’s a list of ingredients used.”
“It contains 563 calories.”
“These are the steps to follow.”
“This is how it looks.”
If you add structured data correctly, your video rich snippet will look something like this:
Now, let’s see how to add structured data to your site and optimize videos for SEO.
Steps to Add Structured Data Using Schema.org Markup
To add structured data, most of the websites use schema.org, and it’s what Google recommends too. Why?
Because it’s easy for almost every major search engine to understand this markup. Here’s what the website has to say:
Put simply, schema markup is the language of search engines.
With this language, your video rich snippet can provide all the information needed for Google to understand your video on Google Search.
Types of Structured Data
Here’s some information on the three types of structured data: JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa – thanks to our good friend, Google:
Seems like too much information? Let me help.
It means, no more wrapping the markup around HTML elements when you use JSON-LD. Phew, what a relief!
RDFa stands for Resource Descriptive Framework in Attributes. Often preferred to chain structured data vocabularies, this HTML5 extension is quite difficult to use.
But one good thing about this code is that you can incorporate RDFa tags with your web page’s preexisting HTML code. That’s why many developers use this code in both the body and head sections of an HTML page.
Microdata is a WHATWG HTML specification that nests metadata within existing content on web pages. Acting as a boon for the beginners, Microdata is pretty easy to use. It’s usually used in the body of an HTML page but can be used in the head segment as well.
How To Add Video Rich Snippets
Anyone who has ever created a snippet would know that creating a video snippet is no mean feat. It’s no wonder that many businesses ignore this often-crucial step towards driving more web traffic.
But it can be easier than you think! You just have to choose the simplest ways to do so.
For this reason, I’ve picked two of the best options to implement schema – Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper and WordPress plugins. Let’s check them now.
Option #1: Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
Adding schema markup to your site wouldn’t have been more straightforward, had it not been for Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper doing all the ‘help’.
Step 1. Go to the Structured Data Markup Helper page
Visit the Structured Data Markup Helper page and sign in, if not already done.
Here’s how the page will look after you sign in to your Google account.
Step 2. Click on the ‘Website’ tab
Choose the website option from the two tabs – Website and Email.
Well, if you want, you can mark emails too. But that’s for another time.
Step 3. Select a data type
Next, Google will ask you to select a data type to understand how to categorize your data. There are twelve options you’ll get here:
- Book Reviews
- Job Postings
- Local Businesses
- Question & Answer Page
- Software Applications
- TV Episodes
Step 4. Enter page URL or HTML
For published web pages, pasting the URL is the preferred choice. However, if you don’t have a page that’s all ready and published, you can paste its HTML into the bar at the bottom.
Step 5. Tag the elements that you want to mark up
Next comes in the option to highlight page elements and assign tags to them to optimize videos for SEO. Mark up as many elements as possible to create the most comprehensive markup you can.
If the tag you want isn’t on the list, add it by clicking the ‘Add missing tags’ button.
Step 6. Create the HTML
After tagging, click the ‘Create HTML’ tab on the top right.
I’d suggest choosing JSON-LD from the dropdown menu that comes next as it’s Google’s preferred type of structured data and easier to use too.
Copy the code and then insert it into your web page. After creating the HTML, submit the web page to search engines.
Option #2: WordPress Plugins
Millions of website users have WordPress as their preferred CMS. If you’re one of them, then adding structured data with plugins is the easiest option.
Step 1. Install a plugin
You’ll find plenty of plugins to choose from:
I’d suggest trying the Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets plugin for its easy-to-use interface.
Once you have chosen your plugin, download, install, and activate it before moving to the next step.
Step 2. Configure schema markup
Open the Rich Snippets tab from your WordPress Dashboard to configure your schema markup.
Click on ‘Video’, and you will find the strings to be displayed on the frontend.
Again, I’d recommend using as many fields as possible to make your video snippet all the more effective.
Once done, don’t forget to save your post and store the schema markup data. That’s it!
There you have a simple way to add structured data to WordPress. And even though schema markup may not give your WordPress site’s SEO a direct boost, it does help in bringing more visibility over time.
Testing Video Rich Snippets
To fully utilize the power of video SEO, it’s important to review the inserted schema markup before you publish your page.
Use Google Rich Results Test to test the performance of your schema markup quickly.
You can either enter the URL or paste your schema markup code in the toolbox to review your video rich snippets.
Added Video Rich Snippets – What to Expect Now?
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your rich snippets will be displayed in SERPs right away – no matter whether you’ve implemented them correctly or not. Google mentions it too in its General structured data guidelines.
After markup, it can take weeks for Google to crawl and index your page properly.
So, implement the markup and let the search engine do its task. Results may start showing up in a couple of weeks or months. And modifications may be required too. If you’ve been wondering – “Do videos improve SEO anyway?”, then trust me – they do. But patience here is the key.
Go Ahead, Make the Most of Your Video Rich Snippets
I can’t emphasize this enough, but investing time in your website ensures that it’s there for the long haul. You might find technical video SEO time-consuming, but it’s one thing that helps your website the most.
Adding video-rich snippets is the best practice every business should adopt, so it makes sense to understand the basics of structured data, schema mark up, and how to optimize videos for SEO.
I know I’ve said this before, but if you put in the right work here, you can increase the click-throughs for your pages and get more traffic to your website. And if you think video creation should be a cinch, then create a free account on Wave.video to make, host, and share your videos like a pro.