You’ve probably heard the term search engine optimization (SEO) a million times. But did you know that adding video to your website can drastically improve your SEO efforts and drive more people to your website?
It’s true! Video is quickly becoming one of the most important forms of content marketing and its presence could make or break your optimization efforts.
Before we break down exactly how video can improve your organic page ranking, let’s talk a little more about what SEO actually is.
Search engine optimization is what you do to grow your visibility on search engine results pages. The higher your website ranks, the better—it means more people will see your page when they search a relevant query, click through to your website, read your content, and get to know your brand. It’s not an exact science, and the best practices change frequently, but optimizing your website content and structure could ultimately drive more conversions than any of your other digital marketing efforts.
In a noisy world, SEO is one of the best ways for businesses to be seen by their target audiences. Remember, when people use search engines, they’re doing a targeted search. They’re actively looking for what you’re offering, so making sure your site is the first one users see should be a crucial part of your digital marketing strategy.
If you know this, you’ve probably taken some steps to boost your SEO. You may have created specific blogs and articles based on keyword research. You may have hired a technical SEO expert to help your pages index and crawl correctly.
What you may not know is that video can help your SEO ranking as well–in a very significant way.
Video and SEO
The basis of SEO is aligning your internal content strategy with what the search engine’s algorithm is prioritizing. And while we don’t always have transparency from Google to know exactly what they’re looking for, we do know that video is a powerful tool for SEO.
So, why does video help SEO rankings? Here’s what we know about the connection.
First, we know that when Google shows a video thumbnail next to a search result, which it does for 26% of search results according to BrightEdge, users are more likely to click that listing. The presence of the thumbnail makes the result a “rich snippet,” and rich snippets tend to have higher click-through rates than standard snippets.
We also know that Google has been rumored to prioritize search results with video above results without video. While Google hasn’t explicitly confirmed this idea, many marketers agree that their SEO results suggest that it’s true.
Our data at Lemonlight is no exception—almost all of our pages bringing in the most organic traffic include video content, and we typically see boosts in organic traffic ranging from 10% to a whopping 250% when we add video content to existing posts. We host our marketing-related videos on YouTube as well (find them all here), so we’re improving our SEO efforts while also bringing in new traffic directly from YouTube.
Video also helps other metrics that we know Google takes into consideration for ranking. Two of the most important metrics for SEO are the time users spend on your page or site and the number of backlinks referring back to your domain, and video almost always improves both of these figures. Studies show that people spend over twice as long on a page with video than without, and the higher the quality of your content, the more likely you are to get backlinks.
So, video benefits SEO both directly and indirectly—the video alone likely influences your ranking, and it influences other factors that go into Google’s selection system.
In short, Google’s algorithms are increasingly prioritizing websites with video content, and that’s not something you want to ignore; 93 percent of online experiences start with a search engine, so you want to do everything you can to appear on that crucial first page.
How to Create High-Quality Video That’ll Boost Your SEO
The key to using video as part of your SEO strategy is to take the time to make high-quality content that’s aimed at a particular goal. After all, video alone isn’t necessarily your website’s saving grace.
Think of it as a cycle. Video gives you a boost in rankings, which allows more people to see your site, which means more people will click on your link. But, they won’t actually stay on your site very long if your on-page content isn’t high-quality.
As a matter of fact, this could be detrimental. Hosting a low-quality video with little or no context will make your rank plummet because the search engine doesn’t want to drive people to a useless page. At the start, more people may see your site in the SERPs, but if your page doesn’t satisfy their intent, they’ll quickly exit your page. This will increase your bounce rate (a metric we revealed earlier as one that Google prioritizes for SEO), telling Google that your page isn’t valuable. The end result? You’ll lose the ranking you just earned, and you might lose other rankings because your site now lacks authority in the eyes of Google.
None of this is a concern if you put some time and thought into your production strategy. Luckily, we’re experts when it comes to video creation and we’ve got some tips for helping you optimize your video marketing efforts. Start ranking on SERPs with the following crucial tips.
1. Use videos on your website.
Creating videos isn’t enough—you need to actually publish your videos on your site. Just make sure that the placement makes sense. A brand video fits nicely into your “About Us” website page or your homepage. A product video is a great asset for your e-commerce platform or your website’s product descriptions. Testimonial videos are especially powerful and can work pretty much anywhere on your site. One bonus tip—while you’re distributing your video content for SEO purposes, you can repurpose the same content elsewhere to supplement the rest of your marketing strategy. Here are 20 places you might want to consider posting your video once it’s finished.
2. Give your video some context.
Publishing your video on an otherwise blank page won’t do much. Be sure to embed your video where it makes sense, and surround it with other relevant written and visual content. You might even include a transcript of your video to target more keywords and turn any visual graphics used into a downloadable JPEG. The more Google can understand how your video fits into the content on-page, the better your results will be.
3. Be sure your video educates.
If your potential customer has questions about your brand, services, products, or industry, then answering these questions will educate and empower them when making their purchasing decision. If you answer their questions continuously, you become an authority and gain credibility because of the value you provide. The search engines see this and start to boost your pages even more. Consider a Q&A video or a demonstration of your products in action for your product pages. You can also use video on educational pages like your blog to provide an alternative to reading long text. (Note the video at the top of the page on this article—we’re doing just that!)
4. Be consistent.
You can’t go to the gym one time and expect six-pack abs. The same goes for video marketing! Consistency and dedication are key. Work to consistently to provide value, and work at ranking not just for one keyword, but for numerous relevant keywords that match your customers’ search intent. The good news is that you’ll be motivated to create more content once you see how well it works!
5. Don’t forget the technical details.
Uploading your video to a site like YouTube or Vimeo is just the beginning. Don’t forget to enter the right information on the backend so search engine crawlers know how to categorize and prioritize your video.
YouTube uses various information to create your ranking:
- Title tag information
- Audience retention
- Keywords in description tag
- Video length
- Number of subscribers after watching
- Likes and dislikes
Not every one of these is entirely in your control (like comments and subscribers, for instance), but work on the ones you can control so you know you’ve done everything in your power to help your video rank.
We also asked Eric Enge, SEO expert and founder and CEO of Stone Temple Agency, what his number one tip for SEO would be and how video can help give your pages a boost. Here’s what he had to say!
There are a growing number of queries that contain some level of video content in them. The positions occupied by videos in those results are basically not available for regular web pages. This creates a great opportunity for you, where you can compete to get into those SERPs two different ways: with your regular web pages, and separately with your videos.
However, the first thing to realize is that Google is far more likely to rank videos hosted on YouTube. If you want your videos to rank in Google search, hosting them on YouTube is your best bet.
YouTube is a very large search engine in its own right. You can earn significant traffic to your videos from people that perform searches on YouTube, and while that traffic goes to the video, and not your site, this still offers powerful branding opportunities.
However, Google and YouTube rank videos differently. YouTube does use the metadata (title, description, categories) that you enter for the video to determine relevance and then uses view time-related metrics to determine rank.
To be specific, YouTube looks at the total time spent on YouTube. It doesn’t matter whether or not all the videos watched are from your account or not. If someone starts with your video and goes on to watch videos from other channels, this still accrues to your benefit.
Google uses a much more traditional set of algorithms to rank videos. The metadata you enter still matters here, but so do links to the video itself. To rank well in both search engines, you need to:
- Create compelling videos that people want to watch (ideally to the end) and that are worth linking to.
- Create videos that lead to people wanting more video.
- Leverage playlists that people want to use to guide their viewing. Don’t be afraid to include videos from other channels in your playlist.
- Embed the video on your own site.
- Get people to embed your videos to drive more view time to them.
- Consider paid campaigns to drive more view time into your video.
- Promote the video via multiple channels to drive more view time, and to potentially attract links to the videos.
- And, of course, be very thoughtful about how you implement the metadata for the videos you create!
There you have it! According to Neil Patel, video SEO is still underutilized, so now is a great time to get started. If you need help creating a video strategy to improve your SEO rankings, our expert video strategy team can work with you to find the perfect solution. Just click below to schedule a call with our team, and make sure to subscribe for more video marketing tips and tricks.
Related eBook: 8 Ways to Effectively Distribute Your Video Content