Let’s say it all together now: mobile-optimized video. You need it. What’s really surprising is that some entertainment sites just don’t get this. And once your site, or the sites you’re posting your content on, start to drop in search rankings, it’s hard to get back in from “mobile exile.”
For example, entertainment site Box Office Mojo ranked as one of the worst mobile sites in a recent Searchmetrics study. Their desktop experience is just fine. But because the text is too small, the mobile display area hasn’t been set, and the content is larger than the screen, their mobile site just doesn’t return on search engines.
There are many things that factor in to making a website mobile-friendly – something Google now demands, and Box Office Mojo has yet to become. Things like, page load times, and size of text and buttons – and yes, how you approach video on your site.
Keep it fast and light
Your video content can affect your mobile ranking just by being too heavy. In the same Searchmetrics study mentioned above, they found that the top ten pages load up to “0.2 seconds faster than pages being ranked 20 positions lower.” If users are leaving before the page or video loads, they never get a chance to decide to hit “play.”
Video can be run from your own website, or from outside sites like YouTube. An active YouTube presence is important to help your brand in search rankings too, but you want to have video on your own website as well.
In that case, make sure mobile versions are "smaller." You don't need the highest quality video for the tiniest screens. And you want to be sure your video player is responsive, so it can play on any screen size.
Hosting video stored elsewhere (like YouTube) can give you serious lag as your site tries to access the content. Inbound Marketing Agents cautions "you may need to remove excessive external media assets from the pages that are loading the most slowly."
Instead of embedding videos, post links to video resources at external sites, which are optimized to get videos up and running quickly. Just remember to include video calls to action that send viewers back to your website to convert.
Care where your audience is watching
Mobile users are, well, mobile – and this changes how they access the Internet. BrightRoll makes the point that, "If a user is on WiFi, it’s likely they’re at home or stationary. Therefore, that user is more open to in-depth content. On the contrary, users leveraging their data plan are likely on-the-go. They would be better served by messaging that is short and to-the-point."
Ten-minute (or even three-minute) videos are too long. And interactive options are something else mobile users don't have time for. Don’t make them choose their own adventure or "enter" the ad. Give them the brief content they can watch/share and move on.
And don't just assume that video that plays on your desktop site is good to go on your mobile site. As ReelSEO cautions, you’d be surprised how often a video will look great on a site’s desktop version and just not play on mobile devices because it isn’t an MP4. Always test to be sure.
It sounds obvious, maybe, but too many marketers are still making rookie mistakes in vetting their video campaigns for mobile optimization. It's not just about making sure your landing pages (or your partners’ pages) are optimized for mobile (though they must be), but making sure your actual videos are mobile-optimized as well.
But though Google might be a little specific, it’s not exactly picky. A few small tweaks to the backend of your content can mean a big slide up in Google search rankings. So get to work!
This post originally posted on MediaPost.