14 Jul 2014

How To Control Your Video Search Result Listing

Search engine result pages is becoming plain again. With author pictures going away, who knows what other rich snippet will be affected next.

But there’s no reason to be discouraged! We need to make the most of what we have now and if it’s gone one day, well, we’ll learn something else. That’s what makes Internet Marketing so exciting, right?

So let’s try to get the most from our video search listing (be it your Youtube video page or your website page with the video embedded in it) to get a higher click-through:

What Are Rich Snippets?

We’ve talked about search and social snippets before. A rich snippet is what you see below your search listing enriched with rating stars, author information, thumbnail, etc… scraped from the linked page.

For video listings, Google often shows the video thumbnail alongside the snippet. That image is probably going to attract visitors as well as increase the page engagement, as the listing often provides additional information like duration, and a description of the video (so the visitor will be well-prepared to watching the video when clicking-through).
Video search listing
Your mission is to optimize your rich snippets, and so get a better control over your video search result listing.

Here are a few tips to do just that.

Upload To YouTube

Youtube videos rank well! Surprised? Me neither…

You can also use other video hosting platforms (Vimeo comes to mind), and your own website, but maintaining your Youtube presence is a must. Deal with that.

Basic on-page SEO never fails…

…(unless you become obsessed). This is very similar to how you would do it for any other content. A few ways include:

  • Make sure your video title *naturally* included primary keywords you are targeting (use this tool to help). Optimize the title to reflect keywords and so target your ideal audience, rather than leaving it ambiguous or using the wrong phrases.
  • Write a good original keyword-rich, but not spammy, description that will attract viewers’ attention immediately.
  • Use the right tags. One of the worst things you can do is just add random, popular tags that you think will get search results. That will do nothing but annoy the people who come across the video. Use good tags.
  • Make sure what they see is going to be good. Thumbnails will show up in rich snippets. Your video thumbnail should be high quality and optimized so they want to click on it. Read this article with tips on making the most of your Youtube video thumbnail.

Custom thumbnail

Also read: How To Make Your YouTube Video Go Viral

Markup Your Page with the Video

When you embed a video to your page, it’s a good idea to add Schema.org code to make sure it’s easy for search spiders to “scrape”… umm understand your page…

Basically, schema.org is a way that all major search engines will see your video and grab its thumbnail easily. I did a detailed guide (and cheatsheet!) on Schema.org markup.

Schema.org Cheatsheet from Ann Smarty

**The easiest way to get the correct source code is through this handy tool that lets you put in the URL to a video, and it generates one for you. If you do want to go through all the source codes you can go to the official site here.

Create a Site Map

Another way to make it easier for Google to grasp. There’s a good WordPress plugin plugin for this. Check out Google’s Webmaster Tools for more details.

You can create a site map for non-YouTube videos. But the process is more complicated, and you will need a premium tool that can cost a bit.

Once you have your site map you can upload it to Google Webmaster Tools. That process is self explanatory; just go to Site Configuration and follow the steps.

Is That The Only Way To Be Seen?

No, you can promote your videos in any way you see fit. Run ad campaigns, utilize social media, create newsletters… anything you would do to promote any other content can help bring you attention and even launch you into viral status if the planets are aligned.

Like I noted above, this guide is only about making the most of your video search appearance. When people do a search for the topic of your video, they should see immediately that your content will fulfill what they need better than anyone else’s.


You never have complete control over your search results. But covering the basics is essential to get more out of your search listing than your competitor.

Do you have any tips? Questions? Let us know in the comments.