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Search Optimizing Photos and Videos: Your Ultimate Checklist

Search Optimizing Photos and Videos: Your Ultimate Checklist


The following is a bullet-point/checklist style article of what to do if you’re creating a lot of photo and video content and want to reap the benefits of search marketing. Note that Google is returning more diversified search engine result pages, meaning they’re showing links to more photos and videos! See below:

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There’s a ton of nuance to optimizing these two pieces of content, and information is not as easy to find as if you’re looking for ways to search optimize text/web pages. Here’s all you need to know below if you’re a DIY kind of person. Take stock of all the different places you’ll want to add your keywords.

Photos Elements to Optimize Include:

  • File name

  • Alt text

  • Captions

  • Descriptions

  • Structured data markup or Schema tags
  • File type (JPEG or PNG)

  • File size – smaller is better

  • Use dashes or hyphens between keywords

Photo anchor text is also important. For example, this linked text is read by Google, and Google uses the words to decipher what the images are about: Kitten playing with puppy.

Also: “The page the image is on, and the content around the image (including any captions or image titles), provide search engines with important information about the subject matter of your image.”Link

Lastly, page load speed is incredibly important. Image heavy websites usually have a slow load time, so continue doing your best in this regard.

Webmaster Tools: Submit a Google image site map for your website.

Important Off-Page Photo Social Media Signals and SEO

  • All social media shares

  • All comments

  • Number of followers on the social platform the photo is hosted

  • Link backs to the photos

Video Elements to Optimize Include:

Google prefers High Definition videos. Adding videos that are similar thematically to the same playlist further distinguishes them in search results. (Read more) YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.) Search optimized videos are 50x more likely to appear on page one for the phrase you are targeting.

The big SEO tactic for these websites is to submit a video sitemap to Google.

From Google:

“Google Video Sitemaps is an extension to the Sitemap protocol that enables you to publish and syndicate online video content and its relevant metadata to Google in order to make it searchable in the Google Video index. Sitemaps are an excellent way to make sure that Google knows about all the content on your site, including content we might not discover with our usual crawling methods. You can use a Video Sitemap to add descriptive information (for example, a video’s title, description, or duration) that makes it easier for users to find a particular piece of content. This is particularly important if your site uses JavaScript or Flash as part of its navigation. When a user finds your video through Google, they will be linked to your hosted environments for the full playback. You can also use an mRSS feed instead of a Video Sitemap.”

Video Sitemaps Explanation.

Key Off-Page SEO Indicators for Videos Include:

  • Video views

  • Time spent viewing the video

  • Likes

  • Dislikes

  • Ratings

  • Adds to favorites

  • Comments

  • Adds to playlists

  • Times the URL is shared

  • Channel subscribers

  • Link backs to the video

  • Annotations

Auto-watermarking photos or “providing an HTML snippet that other people can use to embed your image on their page while providing attribution. This snippet can include both the link to the image and a link to the source page on your site.”

Hope this helps. What sort of video content or photo content will you be search optimizing? Any additional questions, just email me or leave a comment. You can learn more about the marketing services I provide or schedule a consultation below. Thanks!

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