It has officially been confirmed that there will be a mobile algorithm update on April 21 of this year. This is when Google will start using mobile-friendly compliance as a ranking factor in smartphone search, so most agree that getting your mobile strategy in order now is crucial (this includes all aspects of mobile, not just video). In the past Google has made updates to make sure that a website’s viewable on these devices and configured properly and have also introduced App Indexing, so this algorithm update is the natural next step. Google said in their official announcement:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
Google recommends using the Mobile-Friendly Test to get started as well as using the Mobile Usability Report to see where you could make improvements. If that’s not enough to convince you, I would also highly recommend checking out this article we wrote at the start of the year that talks about how important mobile is going to be in 2015. For example, Mitul Gandhi of seoClarity reported that mobile search currently makes up about 30% of total traffic, regardless of industry.
Even if your industry sees mobile usage far less, it’s still important to take this update seriously in case that changes in the future or if you want to grow this part of your business as mobile continues to grow.
How to Improve Your Mobile Video Strategy for Better SEO and Usability
While most companies are in full swing optimizing their mobile presence, the question of video is an important one to consider. According to a study by Ooyala and reported on in MarketingLand, more than 38% of video plays occurred on smartphones and tablet devices in Q4 2014. That’s the highest monthly total they’ve seen in more than a dozen quarters. Those numbers are up 16 times since 2011.
If you publish a lot of videos and want to bring this aspect to mobile users, there are a few things you can do to make sure your videos are optimized and working correctly:
Make sure your website is responsive on mobile.
This may sound like it has nothing to do with video, but this is actually the first and most important step when it comes to anything mobile related, and that includes videos. With a responsive website comes an easier time viewing mobile videos. Again, this is the number one thing you should be doing when it comes to mobile, so learn more here about responsive web designs and how to get started.
Think about how you want to display the video on your site.
There are several different ways you can publish a video on your website, but they usually all fall into three categories: Using an HTML5 <video> tag (self hosting), using an <iframe> code (YouTube or Vimeo), or using object/embed tags to display a Flash player (Viddler or Blip.tv). What type of video you show on your site will mean different things when it comes to optimization. A few pointers for the two most popular types of hosted video from CSS-Tricks:
- Self-Hosting. If you’re using standard HTML5 video, then you can use a code to help make sure that you have a fluid width as opposed to a static width. The code looks like this: <video width=”100%” … You can then move the height declaration so that the aspect ratio of the video is intact when a screen grows or shrinks.
The last type of video for mobile uses a service like Viddler, but this puts a focus on Flash, which is something that hasn’t always done well in the SEO world. If you’re a small business that does not focus on videos specifically, this is probably not going to be your best option. Still, you can visit the CSS-Tricks article for more detailed information. I would also recommend using Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming technology as an alternative option.
Once again, video is not the only aspect of mobile that matters. Visit this article to learn more about mobile optimization efforts you should try before April hits. The article gets into what you should double-check, what tactics you may want to implement, and how to get more advanced.
How are you preparing your videos for mobile? Let us know in the comments below.