How to add rich snippets for video SEO

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  • June 20, 2013
Tom Armenante

Tom Armenante

Account Manager

Video SEO is a very important aspect of any SEO campaign for a site with video content – there are many benefits that can be gained from implementing a successful video SEO strategy. These come from the extra traffic that the videos generate, increased conversion rates and increased brand awareness from videos that get large amounts of exposure. However, the main aspect to consider when you are developing your video SEO strategy is the suitability of the types of video for different jobs. For example, hosting the video on your own site or on a service such as YouTube or Vimeo can make an astounding difference to the effect the video has on your site.

There are four ways in which a video can truly be useful to your overall SEO strategy:

  • Rich snippets
  • Conversion
  • Brand awareness
  • Links and social shares

While the video needs to be the same great quality for each of these, it is not a good idea to try and target all of them with one video. Some of them do overlay; for example, if you get rich snippets implemented correctly you may see an increase in conversions throughout the pages with the rich snippets on your site.

The Video Rich Snippet

In this article, I shall be talking about the video rich snippet and how it can be successfully implemented across your sites using a video site map, as well as looking into what sort of videos should be used for this and where they should be placed on the site.

video SEO

Uses of Video Rich snippets

Video rich snippets are generally considered to increase the click through rate of the corresponding result because, similarly to the Google+ authorship rich snippet, it draws your eyes straight to the result, as it is more eye-catching than other text based results.

These videos are generally thought to have more impact on a product or category page, but there is no reason that the right video couldn’t be included on your home page, particularly if your site specialises in one product or service.

The main type of videos you should ideally be using for the rich snippet videos are informational videos explaining how either a product or a service works. That way, the consumer gets a better grasp of what they are investing their time or money in.

An important way to portray this and something that needs to be kept in mind when using a video is the thumbnail of the video that is used because the image in the search engine result will be the first thing that is seen by the visitor. Therefore, it needs to be clear and descriptive to explain what the video is about; for example, the washing machine in this Which washing machine rich snippet example:

Hosting the Videos

When you are trying to get rich snippets to work on your site, it isn’t recommended to use YouTube as one of two things might happen; the video might rank higher on YouTube than on your product page resulting in your site losing a lot of potential traffic; or if they do make it onto your site the visitor might just end up watching endless amounts of related videos in the YouTube player and forget why they originally came to your site.

Instead Wistia is a great video hosting service that lets you only host the videos on your own site and also once you have entered in all of your videos information Wistia creates a Video sitemap for you on the Wistia site so you don’t have to make your own, this also usually gets picked up by Google a lot quicker that if it is hosted on your own site, Wistia says it can take up to a week to work when you host the Video sitemap on their site.

The way Wistia works with your sitemap is that they host it on their site and you just point Google to it in your site’s robots.txt file. They make this very simple by just giving you the exact line to add to your file. Once you have done this you just need to add the URL of your robots.txt file to your account then verify it and it will host your Video sitemap on the Wistia site, simple.

Wistia screenshot


Manually uploading a Video XML sitemap

If you decide to host the video on your own site then you will need to create your own video site map to get the video rich snippets. This is just a XML file that will include all of your video’s information on it, which helps Google see how the video is marked up as well as telling Google what the video’s thumbnail is.

For information on how to create an XML video site map, Moz has created a very useful Google spread sheet that has the ability to generate the site map for you once you add in all the correct information.

Additional information

One additional tip for helping Google recognise the video on your site would be to mark it up with’s video mark up. This will just help Google understand why the video is there and what is does. The code is pretty much just a description of the item written into the HTML.

While it is a lot more difficult to get your videos showing up as rich snippets, it can be done if you use a YouTube video. One of the best ways of doing this is to use the Yoast Video SEO wordpress plugin.

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