Yoast Video SEO WordPress Plugin Review

I’m not huge on video here at Sugarrae, but when Joost deValk let me know he had a new video SEO plugin for WordPress, I knew it would come in handy for some PushFire clients – so I bought the plugin this week and decided to test it out. I also know that videos are an effective avenue of promotion for some affiliates, so I decided to test out the plugin and review the plugin here on Sugarrae.

First, to be clear, this plugin has nothing to do with optimizing your videos to show up higher on YouTube or other video sharing sites – rather it’s aimed to help get you more traffic through the regular search engines by helping the videos you embed on your own website appear alongside the search results when the ranking page on your site has a video embedded on it.

Second, the Video SEO plugin requires you to ALSO use the (free) WordPress SEO plugin (but frankly, you should be using that anyway if you have a WordPress based site and want to rank in the search engines).

Installing the plugin was about as simple as it gets. I uploaded it, activated it and then went to the WordPress SEO menu and clicked “Video SEO” and put in my license key (by the way, Joost told me that when you buy the plugin, you have the ability to use it on an unlimited number of sites) and clicked to save it.

Then a secondary menu popped up asking me “Post Types to include in XML Video Sitemap” with several check boxes underneath…

Video SEO Dash

I was a little unsure what to do with these options, so I went to re-open the Installation & Usage Instructions that I’d previously opened and glanced at when I bought the plugin seven days earlier. However, when I clicked the link in the email, I got a screen that said “You do not have permission to download this file.” [headdesk] Luckily, because I already downloaded it when I first bought the plugin, I was able to find it in my downloads folder.

I was on my own for Pages, Posts and Media because the installation guide didn’t touch on these. So I simply assumed that the question was “do I want videos to appear next to any or all of these types in the SERPs?” So I checked off Posts and Pages and clicked Save Settings. I wasn’t sure what Media meant to be completely honest. All I see in the Media library on the sites I work with are pictures. And I’m not sure why I’d want a video to show up next to pictures. I’m obviously missing something about how some other people use the Media Library. I’d like to see the Installation guide assume I’m more inept. :)

The installation guide then said…

Be sure to click the “Re-Index Videos” button. You don’t have to do this after publishing a new post, but you have to do it now to make sure all your older videos are recognized by the Video SEO plugin.

So I did as I was told and then waited for it to do its thing. It said it was reindexing for a minute or two and then showed me all the posts it found that contained video (ex. The Post Title Here – youtube from iframe or oEmbed). That’s it. New posts with videos automatically get added to the Video XML sitemap.

After installing it on a client site, I remembered I do have a few videos embedded here at Sugarrae, so I decided to add the plugin here as well. Then I ran into a few issues.

I ticked off Posts and Pages and clicked Re-Index. When the plugin said the list was complete, I instantly noticed that my About page – which has a video embedded – wasn’t in the list of videos it found. I then noticed my recent post on how you can make money blogging was also missing (which has an awesome video featuring Derek Halpern embedded within it). Those were two I was able to spot off the bat, but I have no idea if it missed any others.

I also have a video on my affiliate marketing category archive – which ranks very well for the term “affiliate marketing” – but I also didn’t see an option to have the category archives included in the video sitemap (i.e. there was no category checkbox).

So, since I know Joost, who owns Yoast (which is how “Joost” is pronounced #funfact), I sent him an email describing the above issues. Not surprisingly, he updated the plugin within a day to not only include include the ability to tick off categories (as well as tags), but that also fixed the issues I had with the above videos being recognized.

Video SEO dash

The plugin works perfectly now.

Adding the video markup did leave me with one question though. On several of my posts, I use review markup, authorship markup and now, video markup. I know that combining authorship markup and review markup results in the review markup showing AND the authorship markup showing, but smaller, underneath the result (see below example).

review and authorship markup combined

But how will Google handle posts with video markups now included and how do they choose which of the applicable markups to display? I asked Joost this question and he responded:

“When you combine authorship and video markup, Google will show a small author highlight below the snippet. With ratings there is, as of yet, no real good way to be certain what Google shows, but combinations are rare.”

See below example:

authorship and video markup

I’ll update the post once Google re-indexes the reviews I have with all three markup options to show a screenshot of what they decided to display. :)

One other thing to note… if you’re concerned about listing video markup next to posts on your site that are from videos that were not done by you… clicking on the video in the SERPs will not take the user to the video on whatever video sharing site it comes from rather than your actual post. The video picture shown next to the result is simply that – a picture. If you click on the “video” shown in the SERPs, it takes the user to the actual post on YOUR site where the video is embedded.

The Video SEO plugin is $89 – and if you’re using a lot of video on your site(s) and want those videos to show alongside your posts in the SERPs, it’s well worth the price to be able to create a video XML sitemap with a few checkbox clicks and the push of a button.

About Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is an affiliate marketing veteran and the CEO of PushFire, a search marketing agency specializing in SEO audits and link building strategies. She is also the author of the often controversial Sugarrae blog. You can connect with Rae via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Sugarrae runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

If you’re someone who doesn’t understand a lot of PHP, Genesis will give a ton of functionality that you wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise with a simple control panel instead of having to alter code. For the advanced, Genesis has incredible customization possibilities via Genesis hooks.

The theme is not only highly customizable, but it has allowed me to run Sugarrae more professionally, with a much more targeted focus on monetization than it ever has been able to achieve before.

You can find out more about Genesis below:


  1. Mark Mason says:

    This is an excellent review Rae. It’s clear to me that adding the video markup should help SERP conversions, but have you actually seen any data to that effect? Just curious what the expected impact would be (which will be a complicated function of other stuff like SERP position and description quality), etc. Either way, very cool.

    When I talked to Joost about this plugin via twitter, he mentioned that the current implementation relies on a YouTube hack if your videos are on YouTube. Curious to know if you are using YouTube vids for embedding and if you understand the implications of the “YouTube limitation” that Joost was talking about.

    Thanks again for the great article.


    • Rae Hoffman says:

      Mark… I ask Joost about it and he said “Well, it IS a hack, so they might disable it at any point. It works now though and has been working for 2 years…” … I do use YouTube for the most part, but I’m not super concerned about Google killing the hack for the near (or even foreseeable) future.

      I’ve seen actual data in regards to authorship and review markup, but not with video markup yet. I’ll likely end up doing a post about them all and my experience with them at some point. :)

  2. Kyle Clouse says:

    Great review. We’ve added the Yoast plugin to our site and are ranking much more with it installed. Our site also has the video thumbnails in the SERP’s. It’s definitely worth the money.

  3. Jonathon Hamer says:

    Great review of this one and I’m planning on buying this week! I did buy gravity forms and making my way through it and so far I love it!

    I know your a big fan of thesis but have you heard of “Headway”? Its real good stuff!

  4. Holy Spirit Gift Shop says:

    Rae, thanks for the review. I’m just curious, are you able to get Joost’s WordPress SEO plugin to work with Thesis? I can only get it working in Genesis.


    • Rae Hoffman says:

      I use Thesis on Sugarrae – had no problems seamlessly getting the two to work together… to my knowledge, the Video SEO plugin works with your database, not your theme. Your theme should be inconsequential. :)

  5. Ajay Jhunjhunwala says:

    I first heard about this SEO video plugin in SEOMOZ blog. I was happy then about the features. But came to know it is paid ($89), little worried. But overall it is very useful no doubt. It is in testing phase for few video submission website platforms, waiting for those results.

  6. Hi Sugarrae, thanks for your article. Could you also share your thoughts on how well this plugin works? I mean, it technically works ok, and also I am sure your vids are now popping up in the SERP,s but the most interesting question is: did you notice any increase in traffic (since I guess that was your main goal in buying the plugin in the first place, right? So, would you spend it again if you would turn back time? ;)) – GJ

  7. Syamsul Alam says:

    Joost creates many awesome plugins, one of them, wordpress seo is one of the best seo plugin ever created i think, and it is free.

    But for some reason i don’t really like this plugin of his. I think it kinda overpriced and i think i know good hack to create similar snippet without using his plugin.

    Simply uploading the video to youtube or vimeo or daily motion and connect it with with Google+ does the tricks for me. All of my youtube videos has little picture of me below it. Easy.

    There are also several free plugins out there which created video sitemap for embedded videos in our site too.

    However, great review though… :D

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