Videos are a huge part of Google search engine results pages (SERPs). With 244.4 million video viewers in the U.S. alone, video marketing opportunities are endless. In fact, studies show that marketing professionals gain 66 percent more marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and a 54 percent boost in brand awareness by implementing videos in their marketing strategies.
Now, you may already have a video marketing strategy in place; perhaps you’re simply exploring your options before developing one. Whatever it may be, it’s critical to take Google’s structured video data into account.
By leveraging structured data and schema markup, you have the ability to manually provide more details to Google so it can understand what you have to offer within your webpage.
However, let’s understand the basics before we delve into the intricacies of structured video data and schema markup.
When you Google something, here’s an example of a basic result that Google returns:
This regular desktop snippet includes the following:
1. URL (this could be a full URL or a URL with breadcrumbs like the one above);
2. Meta title;
3. Meta description.
While these are the standard elements, SERPs can often also include favicons and thumbnails. Favicons are icons you can see within mobile SERPs, and thumbnails are cropped images that Google sometimes showcases within search results.
Image: Favicons on Mobile SERPs
Image: Thumbnails on Google SERPs
Rich snippets include more elements than just these select few mentioned above.
These search results stand out because of how they’re formatted and where they’re located within the SERPs.
You see rich results everywhere on the internet.
For the recipes’ rich snippets within the image, you can see images, ratings, reviews, and even information about how long it’ll take you to make the food!
These rich search results make it much more enticing for people to click on them rather than just a big block of text.
And as you can see, there are many types of rich results.
Rich search results can showcase products, videos, events, FAQs, how-to’s, news articles, local businesses and organizations, job postings and a lot more.
But how do you get rich results like these for your own site?
You need to add structured data to your website.
In this blog, we’ll look at what structured data is, the importance of data structure, why search engines need it and precisely what’s in it for you.
Let’s dive right into it!
In simple terms, structured data is a piece of code that helps search engines understand the content of a web page.
As humans, when we see a piece of content, we can easily comprehend what the content is about.
Let’s look at this example.
We can immediately see this is a blog post on job interviews. The blog’s title is “Here’s What To Say In An Interview To Land The Job Offer”, the article is published by Forbes and it’s written by Jack Kelly, a Senior Contributor at the website.
Now, while all this information is relatively straightforward, what about the image?
If you were presented with just the image, you might not have guessed it has anything to do with a job interview. While it is a bit abstract, as humans, we can make the connection with all the other pieces of information available to us.
However, this isn’t something that search engines can do.
This is where structured data comes into the picture.
Structured data helps search engines like Bing and Google understand what is included within a specific web page.
It is a code written in a particular format with a specific vocabulary that Google and other search engines can understand.
Structured data is a type of metadata. Therefore, regular visitors will not be able to see it on a web page; but search engines can.
Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex have developed a project named Schema.org, where businesses can access all the structured data markup that works with these search engines. (FYI, schema markup is just a way to write code.)
More often than not, Google Search is the first point of contact for people to find and view videos.
Video information is normally gathered by search engines automatically.
However, you can take advantage of structured video data and provide specific information (like video description, upload date, thumbnail and duration) to nudge Google towards positioning your web page as a rich search result.
If you already have a content marketing strategy in place, it’s time you realize the importance of data structure.
The first step is to implement schema video markup on a small scale and analyze how much of an impact it has on your search analytics. Ask questions like:
Next, test it to see what works best for you, and then implement it across all your videos.
There are two types of structured data you need to take into account when it comes to video content:
Have you ever searched for something, and the top result included a video that started playing from the exact timestamp that answered your query?
That’s one of the objectives you can achieve with these structured video data types.
Clip and SeekToAction structured data allow businesses to inform Google manually about the key moments within your video.
1. Clip structured data. Using clip structured data, you can provide Google information about the timestamp and label each segment to pinpoint key moments within your video. This structured video data empowers Google to direct users to a specific point within your video.
If you use YouTube, you can simply include the timestamp and the label within the video description like this:
Here’s an example of how your video will show up on SERPs if you have everything in the right place:
2. SeekToAction structured data. This second structured data type allows Google to understand precisely how your URL structure works and where the timestamps go within your URL structure.
According to Google, “SeekToAction structured data enables key moments by indicating how your URL structure works so that Google can automatically identify key moments and link users to those points within the video.”
So how is it different from Clip structured data?
It enables Google to identify key moments instead of you having to do it manually.
Suppose you have a platform where several users can host multiple videos. Here, SeekToAction structured data makes it easier for you by letting you instruct Google about how it can automatically link to any timestamp within the videos hosted on your site.
This means that Google can spontaneously identify the rest of the key moments based on your URL structure.
Now that we’ve discussed the two primary types of schema markup for video, you already have an understanding of where you have to include them.
However, the position is slightly different when it comes to website schema markups.
JSON-LD is the structured data format we recommend for businesses to develop, test and release their schema markup to improve their search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience.
Some other formats that businesses can leverage are microdata and RDFa (Resource Description Framework in Attributes).
While it’s a simple process to include structured video data in your YouTube videos, it’s pretty complicated when it comes to website schema. So it’s a good idea to let an experienced web developer with SEO expertise handle this part of your site.
Or you can work with a B2B SEO agency to take care of all the aspects of Technical SEO for you (along with everything else you’ll need to boost your SEO positioning on Google).
Google’s Rich Results Test tool is a schema testing tool that allows you to verify your structured data.
Google’s URL inspection tool can help you understand how Google evaluates your web page and videos. After implementing your structured data, you can use this before asking different search engines to recrawl your site.
Lastly, it’s also a good idea to submit a sitemap to Google to ensure that they keep up with any future updates you may make to these web pages.
As a general rule of thumb — always adhere to Google’s guidelines. While we’ve discussed two primary aspects of Google schema markup for videos, they are not the only types of structured data for videos.
We also have BroadcastEvent, which enables you to be eligible for a LIVE badge, and the limited access ItemList, which allows you to display carousels, among other structured data.
Therefore, there are a whole bunch of guidelines you need to consider while building your video marketing strategy.
✦ Webmaster guidelines
✦ Video best practices
✦ General structured data guidelines
✦ Video sitemap guidelines
✦ Carousel guidelines (if it’s applicable)
✦ Livestream guidelines (if it’s applicable)
✦ Best practices for marking timestamps on YouTube (if it’s applicable)
✦ Clip and SeekToAction guidelines (if it’s applicable)
Google continues to prioritize user intent and user experience each passing day. Now, if you’re looking to work through SEO for videos, it’s a whole different space to tackle.
You need to consider every single nuance and make the most out of everything that’s organically available to you (at least until Google becomes smart enough to crawl through images and videos).
Implementing structured data for videos will help Google provide users with the best results, thereby improving user experience and engagement rate. With clip and seek schema markup, you can improve the SEO positioning of your videos within Google SERPs.