The use of video has witnessed a massive growth in recent years. With consumers increasingly using mobile devices to view content on the go, it’s much easier, and not to mention preferable, to watch a video compared to reading long documents. Not only does video increase our attention span, but it can produce something equivalent to gold dust for marketers – an emotional connection.
We’re all united at a certain point in the year when we’re waiting for brands to release their Christmas campaigns, some of which advertising execs pump millions of pounds of investment into, and the reason why they’re so successful is because they make us laugh, cry, and compel us to take action.
So it’s really no surprise that online video users are expected to double to 1.5 billion this year, with exponential growth forecast in the coming years. Brands are increasingly using video content to engage their audience but it’s not always optimised for SEO, and that can make it harder to find. If these predictions ring true and you’re not optimising your media for search engines, you’ll be missing out on a chunk of traffic and will find yourself struggling to stay afloat amongst a sea full of similar content.
Define your goal
With all content, it’s important to define your goal. From an SEO’s perspective, your video’s goal should be either to earn links or increase conversions. In order to generate backlinks, your main focus should be on providing quality content, which is increasingly important with Google’s upcoming algorithm update. Your content should provoke an emotional reaction so compelling that users are going to want to share it via social media. Alternatively, you need to provide something that’s of genuine value to the viewer.
If your goal is to increase conversions, placement is crucial. Videos on a landing page are much more likely to engage your potential customer and reduce bounce rates. If you’re selling a product, videos are a great way of demonstrating how it works. In a study, 52% of consumers said that watching product videos made them feel more confident about making a purchase. You could take this a step further by collecting your testimonials and creating a video – being able to put a face to the words on screen will increase trust, which is crucial for conversions.
So now you’ve created your video, how can you make sure people will find your website?
YouTube versus self-hosted
There’s debate as to what platform works best for promoting video content. Generally speaking, if a user shares or embeds your video and it’s hosted on your own website, it will generate traffic to you. Not only does this have the potential to increase conversions but it will also see you ranking higher in SERPs. However, that doesn’t mean that content posted to YouTube, or any other video platform, will hurt your SEO ranking, and there are multiple ways to optimise your content using either strategy.
Embedding your video and giving it its own unique URL on your website will improve traffic to your website and give you more credibility by increasing link juice when your content is shared. This is even more important if you’re producing a large amount of video content. If you use an online video platform, when it comes to others embedding and sharing your content, you’re essentially giving away credit for your website and the further detached the video becomes from its source, the harder it is for consumers to find the link to your website.
Your stand alone pages should include a title, description and transcripts that will get indexed by search pages and generally provide a much more fluid user experience. Your written content should compliment your video so carefully consider the keywords you want to rank for. Providing a transcript to your video makes it easier to naturally integrate the long-tail keywords in your speech that you’re targeting. As search engines become more adapted to understanding spoken language, using a video will only enhance your SEO efforts because it removes the extra burden of trying to write how people naturally speak.
YouTube is an excellent platform to attract viewers who have never heard of your brand and is a great place to gain an SEO boost. Google considers page speed in its algorithm which means it will affect SEO. This is doubly important for video content. No one likes to wait around for a video to load and viewers will be tempted to abandon your content the minute it pauses to start buffering.
Utilising the description box
YouTube actually offers multiple opportunities to improve your SEO using their inbuilt tools. The description box is often disregarded, but a carefully planned description will help YouTube determine where your video will rank for keyword searches. Clickable links can be used to direct viewers to your website and will also appear in search results. Of course, you could place your CTA as an annotation in the actual video, but this will not always be visible to mobile users or those with annotations disabled by default. Description links work universally and can be used to direct viewers to your sales pages, opt-ins or social media profiles.
The first two lines are the most crucial part of your description, as this is what will be visible in the metadata on search engines and in social media shares. While it’s best to include your CTA here, spamming the description with links is not going to encourage click-throughs. Your video copy is just as important as any of your other web copy, and doing it right will drive users to watch your video, not your competitors’. 55% of all Google search results in the US alone contain video, so not optimizing your content for search engines can have a massive impact.
Use your meta-tags
Metadata has become less important in SEO but is crucial to video indexing. Like images, Google can’t read media in the same way it can plain text, so your metadata should describe the video so that it can be read by search engine crawlers. Google has a great guide on how to do this using Schema, a vocabulary supported by the major search engines that makes on-page markup easy – to ensure you’ll get indexed.
We’re visual creatures, and video is the solution that keeps us engaged. In an age where companies are vying for our attention from every angle and posting updates to our newsfeeds at every second, our time is precious. Videos have the benefits of allowing us to process information at a much faster rate and providing an emotional connection or giving us a solution that we genuinely need. Producing quality video content is the first step, but without a solid marketing campaign in place, you’ll find it harder to get ranked on SERPs. As companies are recognizing the power of this form of media, using these techniques yourself will help you increase and maintain your SEO rankings in the long run.