How to Use Video to Recover from Google Panda Updates

Aug 04, 2011 10:25 PM  By

Google this past February made the first in a series of major updates to its algorithm, changing the way the search engine ranks content, and in turn how end-users find it. The changes unfortunately posed problems for many credible websites.

A poll conducted shortly thereafter by Search Engine Roundtable found that 40% of search engine optimizers said they lost traffic as a result. Google made subsequent updates in April and again in June; the most recent updates impacted its Panda filter. Regrettably for most site owners, each of Google’s updates caused them to lose years of SEO investment.

But you can get some of your natural search back with video SEO, assuming you have video on your site. And if you don’t, you might look into that before the holiday season.

Just be sure to leverage all the powerful video content. Make sure Google is fully indexing your videos and in turn driving increased traffic to your site. Keep in mind that although Google favors video content, it does not automatically index videos.

So if you already have videos on your site but they’re not indexed by Google, you need to make sure they are. If the videos on your site aren’t indexed, you’re not getting the SEO benefits you should.

One way you can tell if your videos are being indexed is go to Google, type “site:domainname” (your company’s domain name) in the search box, and click on “Videos” on the top left side of the search page. The number you see above the search results is the number of videos that are currently indexed. If that number is less than the actual number of videos on your site, you know there is room for improvement.

This page provides an example for Summit Camping Gear, showing that the retailer has more than 2,000 results – all videos from the retailer’s site.

To get your videos indexed, you need to systematically submit your video sitemap – including video title, description, duration and more, in the correct format to Google. Keep in mind that if anything changes in your videos, your sitemap will need to be resubmitted each time (unless you use a professional service that automatically does this for you).

Once it’s properly submitted, video content gets indexed into Google’s database almost immediately, unlike other types of content, which can take weeks or longer to be indexed.

You need to be proactive about submitting your video sitemap. You can either do it manually for each video, or you can work with a professional service to make sure your up-to-date video content is being submitted and indexed.

Once indexed, you’ll see your products, especially those with associated long tail search terms, rising in the ranks of Google search.

Also, because thumbnail video images appear alongside video listings in search results, your video results are likely to drive higher click-through rates.

Many online retailers have found that the use of video has dramatically improved their SEO efforts. DollarDays, for example, an online wholesaler of some 135,000 consumer products, created videos and submitted a sitemap shortly after the Google Panda changes.

Within 24 hours, all product videos (and hence all such products) were fully indexed, and many of Dollar Days’ product videos began appearing on the first page of Google searches. This also resulted in an immediate impact on both viewing and conversion rates.

Your videos, like all content on your site, have to be more relevant than ever before. But including product videos on each product page can boost relevance, especially if you’re labeling them correctly. Video is also a great way to engage site visitors and encourage them to spend more time on your site – another measurement taken into account by Google Panda.

Dr. Melody King is vice president-marketing at video production company Treepodia.