The Google Video Indexing Report – The #1 New Way to Boost Your SEO
The way that companies and individuals use performance marketing is constantly evolving. New developments in technology affect the way that we represent ourselves, our brands, and our communities on the Internet. Perhaps the biggest change in recent times is one that you probably haven’t even heard about – The launch of Google’s new Video Indexing Report.
It’s not a secret that Google is the largest hub of information in the modern world. It’s the premier search engine globally, so the way that you are ranked on Google affects the way that the entire world perceives you, and whether they can even find you.
The way that Google ranks websites is through a ranking algorithm determined and executed by Google. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of everyone else trying to figure out how to hack that mysterious ranking process to be ranked #1. It is a proprietary algorithm that analyzes online content and determines how relevant that content is to users’ queries by keywords and other filters. Any online brand’s goal is to show up at or near the top of search results relevant to their brand and product or service, to capture their target audience’s attention.
Therefore, Search Engine Optimization or SEO, the effort to optimize content to drive it higher in results rankings, has long been a critically important facet of brand marketing strategy.
There are many factors to consider, including what information and characteristics are important to communicate to the world about you and your brand and what you do, the nuances of written and spoken language even as it evolves, the type of content posted – including text, image, video, and links – the habits of users browsing the Internet, and figuring out ways to affiliate your brand with complimentary results or differentiate it from mismatched or competing results. You could go so far as to say that effective SEO is the “holy grail” of online marketing.
In the context of your online video content though, historically, the only approach to SEO was editing the metadata of your content, and there was no direct way to see how effective your efforts were. Rather you had to track any changes to your ranking among the results of a search or traffic to your website and infer whether your SEO efforts were effective.
The Google Video Indexing launch is just the newest way you can leverage your performance marketing to grow brand awareness and gain deeper insight into whether your SEO is working the way you want it to.
With the launch of the Video Indexing report, we are now given opportunities to manipulate our SEO in ways we have never before had control over.
Here at Skillman Video Group, we have been utilizing SEO for our website for over a decade. For most of that time, the only part of a video on the Internet that could affect SEO was the text that you entered into the metadata fields. You would title videos with specifically chosen keywords to help drive your content to the first page of those search results. We also used to recommend that brand managers put transcriptions of their videos within the caption field so that there would be some SEO text affiliated with that content.
The launch of the Video Indexing report changes a few parts of our old SEO process. Firstly, Google now analyzes and automatically transcribes the spoken language audio track of a video into text using Artificial Intelligence and creates a closed caption file, whenever one isn’t already posted, so the words that are being said within your video content are more important than ever.
This raises the importance of being strategic and thoughtful about your video content,not only in terms of your key messages to your audience, but for SEO purposes as well, because now you have access to a multitude of tools that can help you analyze your contents performance and learn how to improve it.
How does the Video Indexing Process Work?
Google has been working on its voice-to-text software for over a decade. Their technology has allowed you to use your voice to ask questions of smart devices and transcribe words into text. This technology has recently become adequately sophisticated at interpreting human speech that Google’s bots can now “listen” and “understand” the spoken content in the audio track of your video. When Google crawls your video, if they’re not already posted, it auto-generated closed captions for your video, turning that into a readable, text format, which in turn their software that indexes content can then read and rank.
Google’s AI-powered bots can further take the speech-to-text information from your videos, along with other data attached to your video on your website, and translate that into a report that can be found on the Google Search Console.
The report itself shows how many indexed pages on your site contain a video that Google has already indexed and details about that video. It also shows how many indexed pages on your site have one or more videos that Google was unable to index, as well as details as to why that error may have occurred.
When Google indexes a page, it first searches for the prominent video on that page. If you provide structured data (like metadata) for your video, Google will have an easier time associating that data with the video on the page.
While Google tries to automatically understand details about your video, you can explicitly provide metadata information to Google such as the description, thumbnail URL, upload date, and duration. Videos can appear in Google Search results, video search results, Google Images, as well as Google Discover.
Initially, when Google indexes a website, each individual video posted there passes a video indexing bar and a range for indexability. At this point, Google is not trying to rank videos based on quality or content, it is just trying to compile data about the videos themselves.
The highest-ranking video that can be indexed on any page is then associated with that page in the Google index. That page is then added to the Video Indexed Total in your video indexing report. If Google was able to find videos on the page but was not able to index them, that page would be counted in the No Video Indexed category.
In the video indexing reports, the number of videos indexed plus the number of No Videos Indexed should approximately equal the total number of videos posted within your site. If there is a discrepancy between these two numbers, that means a number of pages are not being indexed on your site. This could indicate that something prevented Google from understanding your online content.
The more of your videos and pages that are indexed successfully, the more likely they are to be included in Google search results. If a page is not indexed for any reason, it will not be included in the report and is less likely to appear in Google search results.
Why you may not be getting indexed
When updating your SEO strategy around these developments, it’s important to remember that the video indexing software that Google uses is a new technology. There currently isn’t any way to know on what schedule or with what frequency Google is analyzing your website, when they’ll index it next or how often they’ll do so. When you access your Google Indexing Results through the Google Search Console, you’ll be given a list of pages that have been indexed along with a list of pages that weren’t. Here are some tips and tricks to make sure Google can understand your content:
Each page on your website should only host one video. If you have several videos embedded on one page, Google will choose the one with the highest ranking and wont index the others.
If one video is indexed from multiple pages, Google will show that video in search results from any of its host pages. Google will, however, only show one video per user search, which is typically whatever it deems to be the highest-ranking video.
You can use the URL Inspection report to index specific pages. This tool can show you details such as the video and thumbnail URL, the page index status, and a list of issues that are preventing the video from being indexed. If a video was found on the page you will see a Video indexing section in the URL inspection results, but if no videos were indexed, you won’t be able to find a Video indexing section.
Your video can be hosted either on a landing page within your site, or embedded into your site from another video-hosting platform, like YouTube or Vimeo.
We use Vimeo to host most of our video productions. Videos that are made available for public viewing can be sorted into a Showcase like the one you see below.
In Vimeo, you can even toggle on the “SEO: Show in Google Results” switch to ensure that Google is also scanning the videos you are posting here. Many video hosting apps now give you this option, giving you a way to boost your SEO with simply the push of a button.
What does the report tell you?
The report is meant to help you understand the performance of your videos on Google and identify possible areas of improvement, giving you greater insight and control in your SEO efforts than ever before.
If you find an issue causing the video indexing problem, you should be able to find common fixes through their Troubleshooting guide. You can use a report to validate the fix and track how your video pages are being updated in the Google index in real-time.
This report is the best way to improve video accessibility on your pages, but you still need to be intentional about your content. You can get so much more SEO mileage out of your video content if you can be strategic about it, and if you are aware that Google has the capability of ranking your content based on what is actually being said in that video.
How to Optimize your Video Content
If you are committed to creating thoughtful content with the intention of boosting your SEO, we suggest that you first produce a list of keywords that you want to target, to use in video, just like you would do with text-based content. The intent behind identifying these keywords is that you are the #1 search result that comes up on Google if someone were to search by your chosen keywords, now included within your videos.
Once you’ve come up with that list of SEO keywords, you can then “backward-engineer” conversational ways to use those keywords in topical long-form videos.
You want to make sure that when you are filming and producing this content, you are not “stuffing” those keywords in. An important thing that you need to be aware of is that this content that we create for SEO purposes is not the same content to be posted on your social media sites. This content should not even be on your website homepage but should be buried within a landing page on your site.
However, you still want a human being who finds the content in an SEO keyword search to be able to sit down and watch the video and understand it, so fit in those keywords in a natural way, making sure that that content is still coherent and reasonably enjoyable to watch.
For example, here at Skillman Video Group, one of our SEO-targeted keywords is “Boston Video Production”, because that is the service we’d most like to focus on. In order to target this keyword, we created a video entitled “Boston Video Production”, in which our CEO, Christina Skillman, talks about the top things to consider when creating video content in Boston. During the 6-minute video, Christina managed to say our SEO keyword 20 times.
Again, the point of these videos is to get them to show up on the search results page when someone searches for something matching or similar to your company or your brand. It is not intended to convert any of that traffic to your website into actual paying customers. It has only been created with the intention of boosting your SEO rankings on Google.
Now how exactly can you ensure that you are preparing your content to be indexed? The first thing to do for SEO is make it easier for Google to read your content; post videos with pre-edited and proofread caption files.
Not only is including a caption within your video going to help boost your views for those who actually watch (because videos with captions get played on average more than those that don’t), but you also make it much easier for Google bots to scan and understand your transcript.
If you don’t post your own captioning to boost your SEO, many hosting sites will do it for you, bearing in mind that many are using the same underlying technology. For example, YouTube is a subsidiary of Google, making it the second-largest search engine in the world. When you upload a video to YouTube, it uses the same dictation technology that Google uses to auto-generate its captions.
The drawback is that you have less control over how they’re interpreting those spoken words. These captions are only 70% accurate, meaning that the words that you are speaking might be misinterpreted.
Your content may include industry specific jargon, proper names, homonyms, colloquialisms, or heavily accented speech whether foreign language or disability, among other challenges to AI speech-to-text translation. If you aren’t intentional about copyediting, you might be losing out on prime SEO opportunities because a simple keyword is misspelled.
There are a multitude of free and paid captioning services on the Internet. At SVG, we often use a third-party vendor called Rev.com, to create all of our closed captions. Whatever service you select, you need to make sure that you have exported the resulting closed captions into an .srt file format.
This is the file format complementary to a video that Google bots can read easily, that can be uploaded to almost all websites along with the video you’re posting. While you can’t open and view and edit these files in a word processor to check your SEO terms and other spelling and translation, you can do so through one of the online applications or download a supplemental txt file version that lets you view apart from the video.
You also want to be 100% sure that you are not using open captions, also known as “burnt in” for your video. Burning in means adding the always-on captions that are an actual graphic displayed over your video. Since many video hosting platforms now auto-caption, allow users to toggle captions on/off, and display by default when the video is muted, there are a few exceptional cases where burnt in may be useful, such as display in a noisy exhibitor hall or for a particular audience.
Otherwise, they prove another major disadvantage over covering up your scene with no option to adjust style or turn off: Google has no way of reading those graphics and won’t be able to understand your content. Making sure you have an accurate .srt file is the best way to take advantage of these new SEO capabilities.
New things you can do:
Google’s Video Indexing Report isn’t the only recent launch they’ve released to their users. Your video content can now be embedded with Structured Data that divides your content into step-by-step moments for recipe and “how-to” videos.
This “Key Moments” feature allows viewers to watch and navigate through videos in the form of chapters. Not only does it make it easier for viewers to access the specific information they’re searching for, but it also allows the audience to engage more with your content.
Although Google creates these “chapters” by scanning your video and automatically detecting segments, you can also manually input “important points” into specific parts of your video.
There are two different ways to do this. You can first Clip structured data by specifying the start and end point of each labeled segment. You can also create “SeekToAction” structured data which will prioritize key moments by telling Google where timestamps go in your URL structure, so Google can automatically link viewers to those parts of the video within the caption.
These new features offered by Google can do wonders for your performance marketing, but only if you ensure that the words being said in your video, especially your SEO keywords, are transcribed correctly. If your instructions or narration is understood incorrectly by Google, it won’t be able to successfully separate your content into these segments.
Not only will Google have a harder time understanding your content, but you also may waste an opportunity to boost your SEO.
Now that you know about the Google Video Indexing report, you can audit your search engine optimization efforts to see how well your SEO content is actually performing for your brand. And now that you know that Google is translating and indexing your video content, you can be even more intentional about creating and posting meaningful and SEO keyword-laden content with accurate captions that promotes your online content to the top of your target audience’s search results!
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