By Bruce Clay

You want to optimize any videos you have on your site for SEO. Video enriches your website by offering media content that search engines and users are increasingly looking for. For quick reference, here’s a summary of the best practices for mixing in video:

  • Placement: Embed the video on the page it relates to, rather than in a separate window.

  • Descriptive text: Include an explanation of the video in the surrounding text on the page where it is played.

  • Saving: Save the video file inside the current silo directory, rather than in a central video directory.

  • Play: Use the HTML5 player to ensure that your video is compatible with different browsers and devices. Don’t set up your page so that a video starts playing automatically. Let users start it themselves.

  • Size: Choose a viewing size that fits your audience, and make sure that your video player can adjust the size automatically as a viewer’s screen size shrinks. There are various ways to handle this.

  • Quality: Render your video in a file size that fits your audience. Tech-savvy or urban audiences generally have faster connections and can handle larger file sizes. However, files need to be smaller for smooth mobile viewing. Find the balance between good quality and fast download speed.

  • Length: Shorter videos obviously are easier to download and more convenient to watch. Although the content largely determines the length, short is better than long on the web. Plan to make videos no more than two or three minutes long, if possible. Five minutes is an extremely long time on the web (though certain types of videos are expected to run longer, such as live event footage or recorded video conferences).

  • Posting: In addition to posting your video on your site, to help your video get noticed, you can upload it to a video-sharing site like YouTube, Vimeo or Metacafe, and link it back to your website. Or you can upload your video directly to one of these sites and use the provided embed code to show it on your site. Both methods have pros and cons, so read on.

  • Schema markup: Wherever a video is embedded on your site, adding a bit of Schema markup in your HTML code can help search engine spiders recognize and index your video more fully.

  • XML Sitemap: Tell the search engines where to find your video with a video XML Sitemap (a text file listing the URLs of all videos on your site).