Google's  SEO Best Practices for Video

Google's SEO Best Practices for Video

July 31, 2023
Marketing Two Cents

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Data Analysis Skills |

Active User Rate

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Campaign Budget

Click-through rate increase

Click-through Rate

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Return on Investment

Data Analysis Skills |


Daily Budget

Prioritisation of
Limited Resources

Click-through rate increase


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Video is a growing creative in this digital world. Often, webmasters seek ways to ensure maximum exposure of their video content in SERP.  This march, Google released five video SEO best practices in a new Lightning Talks on its YouTube channel. It shows us the video optimisation in a more technical way. That includes HTML tag, sitemap, Javascript, Structured data and more tricks to ensure your video features in SERP. I had an opportunity to go through the video &  help documentation, and show you the best practices.


Update as of 21st July 2021, Google releases a new way to enable key momont feature by using SeektoAction property. Google will then use AI to identify key moments in the video, and display links directly to those moments in Search results. Check enable specific video features for more details.

The optimisation can be categorised into 5 parts:

SEO Best Practices For Video - Checklist |
SEO Best Practices For Video - Checklist

Help Google find your videos

Keywords: Robots.txt, Sitemaps, Javascript, Structured Data

Allowing Google to index your video content is the first step for your video appearance:


  1. Include your video in an appropriate HTML tag. Google can more easily identify a video on your page when there's an HTML tag around it, for example: <video>, <embed>, <iframe>, or <object>.
  2. Include a video sitemap in Google Search Console(GSC). You have the option to create a separate sitemap just for video or combine the video sitemap with the primary sitemap. (Note: No more than 50,000 URL elements).
  3. Include video structured data on the page.
  4. You can have a standalone page for each video if that's more suitable for your site. If that's the case, make sure you have a title and descriptive content to explain the video in-depth.


Using <iframe>tag to embed videos on my portfolio page |
Using <iframe>tag to embed videos on my portfolio page
Apply VideoObject Structured Data To My Video Content Page - Rich Results Test |
Apply VideoObject Structured Data To My Video Content Page


  1. Do not use "<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex">" in the meta tag or "Disallow: /..." in the robot.txt that prevent Google web crawlers from indexing a page.
  2. Do not require user interaction to access the video content after a page loaded. Googlebot doesn't click on buttons and doesn't index dynamic content that requires user interaction. --- Make sure it's all in HTML in the viewpoint.

Suppose your website embeds videos from third-party platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook. In that case, Google may index both versions, and both versions may appear in video features on Google SERP.


Ensure your videos can be indexed


  1. Provide a valid thumbnail image (Minimum 60x30 pixels, larger preferred, I recommend WebP format) and make sure the image is accessible with an ALT tag. You can choose one of the following methods to include a video thumbnail:
  • If you're using the <video> HTML tag, specify the¬†poster attribute.¬†
  • In a video sitemap, specify the¬†<video:thumbnail_loc> tag.
  • In structured data, specify the¬†thumbnailUrl¬†property.
  • Google can generate a thumbnail for you if your video file can be accessed.¬†


Specify the thumbnailUrl property in my video structured data - Rich Result Test | DEANLONG.IO
Specify the thumbnailUrl property in my video structured data

Allow Google to fetch your video content files

Suppose you want to enable features like video previews and key moments in SERP. In that case, it's recommended to allow Googlebot to access/fetch your video file. That means a stable URL, a  contentURL value in video object structured data and no bandwidth limitation.


Enable specific video features

Video Preview

Google selects a few seconds from your video to display a moving preview, which can help users better understand what they’ll find in your video. To make your videos eligible for this feature:

  • Allow Google to fetch your video content files.¬†
  • Set the maximum duration for these video previews using the¬†max-video-preview¬†robots meta tag.
"Video Preview" Features in Google SERP  Source: Google |
What "Video Preview" in SERP Looks Like, Source: Google

Key moments 

Google surfaces video segments through features such as key moments so users can navigate them like chapters in a book, engaging more deeply with your content. To enable this feature, use Clip structured data to identify segments and add descriptions. If your video is hosted on YouTube, you can also enable this feature by marking timestamps in your YouTube description. To opt out of this feature, use the nosnippet meta tag.

Google "Key Moment" SERP Feature & Youtube Adding YouTube Timestamp Links Demo |
Google "Key Moment" SERP Feature & Youtube Adding YouTube Timestamp Links Demo, Source: Google
Adding YouTube Timestamp Links in My Video Description |
Adding YouTube Timestamp Links in My Video Description


Apart from adding timestamp in Youtube or clip markup in the schema, Google launched a new way SeektoAction to enable key moment features in July 2021. For the site owners who are not familiar with this property, you need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for this AI-based feature:

  • The video must have the ability to deep-link into some point other than the start point in the video URL. For example, starts 30 seconds into a video. I know Youtube hosted videos support this link format. So if you have your timestamp set up in your Youtube video description, simply right click and copy the link address. 
  • VideoObject structured data must be added to a page where users can watch the video. 
  • The total video duration must be a minimum of 30 seconds.
  • Google must be able to fetch your video content files.

My best advice is as below:

  1. Have your video hosted on Youtube 
  2. Create key moments by adding timestamps in the video description
  3. Copy one of the key moment links
  4. Clean the link and extract the link pattern 
  5. Attach it to SeektoActio structured data

Take my video, for example. I have my key moments set up in the description, and my first key moment deep link is With that in mind, I should put the following code in my VideoObject structured data

"potentialAction" : {
"@type": "SeekToAction",
"target": "{seek_to_second_number}s",
"startOffset-input": "required name=seek_to_second_number"}

Live Badge 

For livestreaming videos, you can enable a red "LIVE" badge to appear in search results by using BroadcastEvent structured data and the Indexing API.

Sources(1, 2, 3, 4)

Best Practices
Technical SEO
Industry Update
Dean Long | Expert in Growth MarketingHongxin(Dean) Long

Dean Long is a Sydney-based performance marketing and communication professional with expertise in paid search, paid social, affiliate, and digital advertising. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Information Systems and Management and is also a distinguished MBA graduate from Western Sydney University.

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