Do you remember the time when you had to actually dig through a seemingly bottomless pit of online data to find a single video that contains certain information? Yes, there was such a time, even if you don’t remember it. It was only in May of 2007 that Google finally introduced Universal Search, which blended all types of content—text, video, images, etc.—in their search results pages (SERPs). Today, we’ve gotten so used to these blended results that we just take them for granted. The problem for marketers is that when we don’t realize how much search has changed, we also tend not to realize how important some components are for search optimization.
Take video, for example. Eight years after Google eliminated the need for us to dig deep to find relevant videos, many online marketers still haven’t realized how much impact video can have on their SEO campaigns. There are several good reasons why you need to start working on optimizing with video—that is, if you really want your brand to stand out. Note that practically every business is now promoting their brand/s online and it can be quite difficult to make a mark.
One of the reasons why you need to take advantage of video for purposes of SEO is that it is a very engaging form of content. Whenever people have a choice on whether to read text content or watch a video, a great majority will always choose to watch the video. It is therefore a very good way to catch the attention of your target market. Another excellent reason is that properly optimized videos are now being rewarded by Google and other search engines. Do an online search and you’ll see videos right up there among the top ten results.
If this still does not convince you to incorporate video into your online marketing strategy, here’s further proof that this is one powerful online marketing tool you just cannot afford to ignore:
With video, you can take advantage of the world’s second largest search engine.
We all know that Google is the world’s largest search engine. But what you may not know is that YouTube—coincidentally (or maybe not) also owned by Google—is the second largest search engine. Yes, folks, YouTube isn’t just a video hosting site. It is also a search engine, and a very important one at that. Even as you are reading this, more than a hundred hours of video content is most probably being uploaded on the site. More importantly, thousands (if not millions) of videos are being watched on YouTube right now. If this doesn’t convince you that YouTube is indeed a valuable resource for reaching as many of your target customers as possible, then I don’t know what will.
Of course, you’ll have to make the effort to ensure that your videos are of excellent quality, your video titles are catchy, your video descriptions are as detailed as possible, and that you employ a careful and strategic use of keywords and tags. This will make sure that each of the videos you upload to your YouTube channel is properly optimized and therefore improves the chance of the videos getting indexed both for YouTube and Google search. Your YouTube channel itself should be properly optimized.
Videos are now ranking on Google SERPs.
One of the top priorities of SEO professionals and online marketers is to get to the top of Google SERPs. Well, then, there is no reason for you to ignore the results of a Forrester study, saying that web pages containing videos are about 53 times likelier to land on page one of Google SERPs. Although the study was conducted way back in 2009, it still drives home the point that Google holds video content in high regard.
As mentioned earlier, whenever you do a Google search these days, you’ll likely see thumbnails of videos on the first page of SERPs. And while some of the videos that show up on top of SERPs are hosted on other sites, most of them understandably come from YouTube, considering that Google owns the site. If you are able to establish authority for your YouTube channel, therefore, you stand an excellent chance of ranking well on Google.
Video can help improve your conversion rates.
When people see video thumbnails on SERPs, they are likely to click on one of those links and completely ignore the links to text content. This was proven by an aimClear study that revealed a 41% higher click-through rate for results with video as compared to plain text links. This may be because people are naturally more drawn to images, moving or otherwise, than they are to pure text. When you combine video and text on SERPs, therefore, users will always be more likely to click on the video link.
Oh, and don’t just focus on uploading videos to YouTube. If you really want significant results from your videos, embed them directly to your website. That way, when a user clicks on your video link from Google SERPs, he will be brought to your website, rather than to YouTube. This is how you turn video views into actual web traffic that benefits your business. This is also the first step towards improving conversion rates. Note that testimonials and customer reviews are among the types of videos that are highly effective in earning viewers trust. They’re the ones that can reinforce your brand’s value and influence a viewer’s purchase decision.
Videos are very easy to share online.
Do you use Facebook on a regular basis? If so, then you’ve probably noticed how people share videos on Facebook all the time. They also do this on other social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. This is because it typically takes only two clicks to share a video. Social sharing is important not only because it exposes your content to a wider audience, but also because Google is now paying more attention to social signals. The more your videos are shared on social media, the higher the likelihood of them ranking on Google.
You can start a wave of sharing by posting your videos on your blog and social media pages. You may also want to share them on communities like Tumblr and Reddit. If you have an email list and you regularly send out newsletters, then it would be a good idea to include your videos in the newsletters. Study the online behavior of your target audience and then share your videos on all the platforms where they may be spending most of their time whenever they’re online.
Videos can help you build a solid link profile.
High-quality inbound links can be very helpful in getting you to the top of search rankings. But you already knew that, right? What you may not have realized is that videos are very effective tools for earning high-quality links and building a solid link profile. According to Casey Henry of Moz, videos can almost triple the number of inbound links you get, as compared to having pure text content.
Why or how exactly does video help you build links? Well, think about it. Your link profile is built by the people who link to your website, right? As previously mentioned, people have a natural love for videos, so they will be more likely to link to your site if you posted videos from time to time. As an SEO professional or online marketer, it can be easy for you to forget that web content is primarily created for people, rather than search engine bots. You need to bear in mind that content that people enjoy and appreciate are the ones that’ll give you those much-needed links, not content that may be search engine-friendly but bore people to death.
Video has the unique characteristic of being both search engine- and people-friendly. As long as a video is properly optimized, it will be sure to get indexed and stands an excellent chance of ranking high on SERPs. And as long as it is of high quality and you promote it well enough, people will be sure to appreciate it and link to it or share it with others who will, in turn, link to it. Dr. James McQuivey has even said on a Forrester study that “A video is worth 1.8 million words.” To make the most of video for link-building, make sure each video you produce focuses on a single topic, is of high quality, and is embedded on your website.
And just as you do with any other online marketing strategy, be sure to monitor your progress and measure the results of your video marketing efforts. If you don’t get the results you expect, conduct an audit to determine where the problem lies and then make the necessary adjustments. Remember to set specific goals for your video marketing campaign at the outset so you can easily measure your performance. Having clear and specific goals will help keep your efforts on track.