12 Video SEO Tips for E-Commerce Website Product Pages

Online retailers are responding to audience demand for more product videos.  The number of videos deployed by these retailers on both their websites and video sharing sites has tremendously increased from last year. Yet while a lot of e-commerce business depends on product page SEO, very few retailers are taking advantage of the huge opportunity of optimizing their videos on their Websites for search results. Here I talk about the many advantages for retailers and e-commerce enterprises with doing Website Video SEO for their product pages, and 12 of my top tips for what every retailer can, and should, do!

Consumer Demand Fuels Retailer Push for Product Videos

Let’s explore some of the market drivers behind why retailers have been making such a huge push with video content, and optimizing their website pages for search results:

An Internet Retailer Survey in February 2010, titled, “Website Design Strategies and Tactics” showed the #1 and #2 website design priorities across all US Online Retailers were as follows:

  • Better organized and updated home, category, and product pages.
  • Better search engine optimization.

That same survey also reported that the #1 advanced additional feature these retailers planned to add when redesigning their Website to be “video or [other] streaming media.” According to an analyst report, YouTube total views for top 50 retailer’s channels doubled in the last 6 months of 2010.

A follow-up report released earlier this year confirmed that “Retailers are responding to audiences’ growing demand for retail video. The number of retail video views, the number of subscribers to retailer YouTube channels, and the number of videos deployed by online retailers has grown significantly…”

What this all goes to show is that consumers have already embraced e-commerce videos, and now more often than not, expect a video to accompany a product on it’s own website page. Videos of products on retailer websites have been proven to add to the user experience, makes consumers spend more time on the website, improves overall engagement levels between the customer and the seller, and positive affects the bottom line with product sales.

Why YouTube Isn’t Enough for Retailers

Many retailers utilize YouTube for featuring as many as thousands and thousands of product videos. However, most video results for retail-related keywords are still for videos posted only on YouTube, where product videos don’t fare nearly as well for driving traffic to retailers’ own websites as Website SEO does.

Some analysts, including ReelSEO.com’s publisher Mark Robertson, believe that YouTube and other video sharing sites featuring product videos don’t do particular well in terms bringing traffic to websites. That makes sense, considering that YouTube is a video platform geared more for brand awareness, than product search and sales. (That’s also why an video E-Commerce platform, which I wrote about here previously, often makes a lot more sense for serious retailers – not just for sales, but also for SEO).

Video SEO for Retail Websites? The Blind Spot with Online Marketing

Many retailers and marketers still think of Video SEO as just something done primarily with YouTube and other video sharing sites, and perhaps social media channels. However the biggest gain from Video SEO actually comes from what the video you can optimize for your own website, as my video below explains:


Why Retailers Should Do Video SEO for Their Website Product Pages

Reason 1: Enhances existing Website SEO

Despite the push by retailer websites for increased SEO and video content, only a small percentage of online retailers are actually leveraging Video SEO to drive traffic directly to their site. (The handful of major retailers that are doing that include Zappos, HSN, and Organize.com). That is most surprising, considering that video on your product pages also allows for more search engine indexing and high visibility opportunities.

For e-Retailers, SEO is all about having search results links go directly to the product pages on their own Website, where consumers can buy. So it should naturally make good business sense for retailers to blend Video into their SEO activities. Simply put, product video on a website provides additional opportunities for search engine indexing and high visibility of product pages, and greatly enhances existing SEO on retail websites.

As a recent analyst report put it aptly, “Video on a product page already optimized for SEO, can enhance both the same product page’s SEO as well as strengthen overall website SEO…The more indexed product videos on the website, the more targeted traffic to the site: Video results rank higher,” and “video results drive more traffic due to the attractiveness of the thumbnail in the video result.”

Reason 2: Website Video SEO Performs Better Than YouTube

“E-commerce websites are better positioned than most other types of businesses to trump YouTube in Google’s blended/universal search results with their video content,” says Mark Robertson, founder and publisher of ReelSEO.com. That’s partially due to Google providing an XML Video Sitemap, where retailers can submit a feed of all their videos directly to Google, so that their entire video list will be indexed into Google’s Video Search (and with a good possibility, Google’s blended/universal search results.)

And that’s not just Google. According to an analyst report, the Bing search engine surpassed Google in retailers’ video indexing in 2010. What all that goes to show is retailers stand the most to benefit from Video SEO efforts, which compliment and enhance other marketing SEO pratices.

So where can I find a website design example for a video SEO product page?

Fortunately, I have one available. Below is a website architecture example of a landing page with video, optimized for search engine results, which I worked with Jim Zisk, Video Product Manager at Freedom Interactive. This same page architecture is also good for retailer websites and other enterprises doing product page SEO to follow.

Case Study in Website Product Page Video SEO: Zappos

Zappos is an e-retailer who has heavily dedicated themselves to a video strategy, especially with Video SEO on their product pages. The result has been a huge increase in traffic to the Zappos website, at a cost much less than comparable keyword PPC. Check out an example of a Zappos product web page, optimized for Video SEO. (Can you spot the 5 areas on this single product page where they’ve inserted the word “video?”)


My Top 12 Video SEO Tips for E-Commerce Website Product Pages

Here is my list of best practices and cutting edge tips I’ve gathered on how to take your SEO to the next level with video on your website product pages:

  1. Create video landing pages. Apply the 1/1 rule – one product video per one URL. Create unique URLs with keywords including your product’s name. If you already know video to be a popular search term for your product line, then also consider including the keyword “video” at the end of your title tag as well as in your description copy.
  2. Embedding – embed the video as an object in the webpage. This will allow for the greatest opportunity for SEO, over implementing the video on a separate page. (Embedding the video in a pop-up window is generally a bad SEO practice.)
  3. Apply all Website SEO fundamentals – title tags, headers <h1, h2…> descriptions, body text, keyword anchor text to URLs, cross-linking with related product pages and other website pages, etc.
  4. Provide context to surround video. Place keywords and copy around the video that is actually beneficial to customers. Tags and transcripts are very good, and allowing user-generated comments can work very good as well. (But if you do accept user-generated comments, be sure to moderate them!)
  5. Consider “review” videos. Enlisting others to review your products – be they regular consumers and fans, or sometimes web celebrities with their own built-in audience – can be a great way to have videos people want to watch and will link to, and additional content and URLs for the search engines to point people to your products.
  6. Syndicate your videos to Google search with a Google Video Sitemap. Be sure to include links to both the actual page where the video resides, the URL of where the video is being hosted, and the link to which thumbnail you want them to use. (Note: You’re not supposed do a Google Video Sitemap with YouTube-hosted videos, so be sure to use a professional online video platform instead.)
  7. Consider a separate video portal side-by-side with your main website. (Buy.com, Newegg, and Overstock have this.) You can do it as a .tv domain, or a “videos” subdomain. (You will want to make sure you have a large enough quantity of videos with regularly added new videos to justify having this.)
  8. Engage the community. Include social media links and “share” buttons next to each product video. These count similarly as backlinks, and we know that search engine optimization is largely based on link popularity. You want to encourage others to link and embed your own product video whenever possible, and consider allowing for other’s own video responses when appropriate and feasible to do so.
  9. For video sharing sites and social media channels, include a hotlink URL in the description section. This will let you point people directly to the website URL for that same product.
  10. Scale product video to your entire catalog, whenever feasible!
  11. Provide unique content around your videos. Don’t simply repeat the same copy that the manufacturer or brand provides you with – that’s going to appear on your competitor sites (and will be seen by the search engines as duplicate content, lessening your chances of appearing higher in the search results). Even if you are dealing with thousands and thousands of products, have at least a system in place that can take a partial transcript of the audio portion of the video itself.
  12. Create optimized category pages for your product lines, with video. Product page video SEO doesn’t have to stop with the individual product page!

Want More Info on Video SEO for Websites and Product Pages?

Whether you’re an retailer or other e-commerce specialist doing online video, or an Internet marketer involved with video, I recommend checking out these links for some good multimedia resources on Website Video SEO for product pages, and your website in general.