Video marketing can have an incredible effect on your enterprise. While it should not completely dominate a campaign’s message or aesthetic, the use of video fits in neatly to the requirements of search engine optimisation (SEO).
Put simply: video content does help your SEO.
The rules and conditions to which search engines like Google operate today have changed drastically in the last 5-10 years. What was considered authoritative and trustworthy in 2007 or 2012 is not necessarily the case in 2017.
Video is now a mechanism for websites and online content hubs to engage users and alter casual visitors to regular customers and consumers. Sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo have recongised this trend and are rewarding domains who utilise in-built video and streaming technologies.
There is a wider perception from marketers who are usually of an older demographic who view video as a luxury or additional extra. There are niches where that perspective might still be valid, but there is almost no marketplace out there that cannot be enhanced by video.
A video can distill a message and give a clear, thorough and professional presentation. The entire production is controlled from the scripting process to the marketing in digital forums and elsewhere.
All of this reflects well for search engines that use their internal algorithms to judge and determine the merits of websites. A flood of video will not help the speed and usability of a page, hurting the end result. Yet a liberal use of the technology with the right content in the right location can accelerate performance no end.
Let us examine the reasons why video helps to elevate an SEO score.
SEO’s foundations were built off the back of the backlink phenomenon. When content was being created, it was those hyperlinks that referenced trusted sources that gave search engines a means of connecting the dots. The greater the quality of the backlink, the more often a site has followed the rules and has authority on the matter.
All of this applies to the world of video. Any YouTube, Vevo or video link of any description that becomes popular will have an in-built link. That can be spread throughout social media on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Reddit or any appropriate platform.
By 2017, videos are becoming more accessible and easier to share. There is no need to copy large portions of coded text or download new software to see it. This allows the backlinks to be boosted and channeled through a variety of platforms instantaneously.
Likewise, it is simple enough for videos to backlink and reference other videos. They can form part of a series as YouTube gives uploaders the chance to create a specifically designed playlist.
Any visitor to the site who has a login will be given an auto-generated list of recommended videos. These are not random, as they take into account the name and genre of the videos watched. The connectivity is therefore enhanced, just as the SEO results are boosted.
Google Rates Video Searches
The great aspect of video content is that many of the same rules and principles for other types of content are transferable. This consistency has made it simpler for a platform like Google to tap into video’s popularity.
Any online video will require the following:
The Google crawlers that examine and rank the validity of content do not treat video exactly the same as written content. There can be issues that makes this format slightly less visible than their blogging counterparts, putting greater emphasis on the headline because much of the description forms part of the video itself.
Since Google’s own Hummingbird update was released, sites with video content were given preference in the ranking search engine results pages (SERPs). Over a period of time, this would evolve because of lower bounce rates, higher click-through rates and overall stronger engagement.
Google might not have started out with the intention of giving preferential treatment to sites that integrate video content, but they had to change because of those key performance indicators.
Power of YouTube
As has been the case for many years, Google has been the dominant presence when it comes to online search engines. They hold a monopoly on that market, so much so that the very term “Google” represents typing a term into a search engine. It has become a part of the global lexicon.
Yet YouTube stands next as the most popular search engine – something that does not sit too comfortably with the likes of Bing or Yahoo. It is no wonder that Google bought out YouTube to have the pair in sync with each other’s operation.
The sheer numbers emanating from the site points to one factor: YouTube is a must have for any enterprise that desires an online presence of substance.
According to Adelie Studios, 41% of users in 2017 prefer to consume video content through YouTube. That beat out the likes of mainstream television (36%), Facebook (7%), Instagram (1%) and Twitter (1%).
Stop and consider that for one moment. YouTube has overtaken mainstream television for a preferred means of watching video. For all the history and cache brought about by commercial stations and the advent of Foxtel, more people surveyed are happier to head to their YouTube tab or app.
This rise in YouTube popularity correlates with the importance it holds in the domain of SEO. The audience is already there and it does not cost thousands of dollars to be placed in the traditional commercial environment of broadcast television.
Variation & Variety
Videos do not need to be mechanically auto-generated pieces of content that follow the same pattern as blogs. They can range from any type of style or genre to fit the requirement of the domain:
- News story
- Preview or Review
Usually a video will overlap with one of those scenarios as they seek to either inform or engage the user. Yet video is the same as any other form of online content where the product must pertain a degree of quality and authority.
So long as those boxes are ticked, then the audience will gravitate to watch it.
The review videos in particular have become increasingly popular as consumers head to YouTube to discover if a product is right for them. The channel Pocketnow for example will publish short 10-minute videos examining the merits of smartphones that are released into the market.
Every year there will be at least one new smartphone released by the major retailers and this is a niche that continues to grow by the week.
The account Pocketnow will garner in the region of 100,000 to 400,000 views or more per video depending on the product. Whether it be an iPhone, Samsung or Blackberry phone, they will have picked apart the usability of it, how it compares to the predecessor and make a non-biased recommendation.
Consumers want to not only read about the positives and negatives, but want an interactive experience where they can see live pictures while they hear direct from a reviewer.
Page Ranking Adds To Web Score
Web content marketers have had to get accustomed to the need to focus on SERPs more thoroughly. It is not enough just to consider the actual domain as the ranking tool, but every single page that consists under the URL. From the home page to every testimonial, tab and contact section, it all forms part of the overall picture.
For video, creators can optimise each page with the inclusion of short videos that are rich in content and inclusive of a transcription. Video content will help the SEO score, but only in the instance that it is utilised throughout the domain. Micromanaging can be tedious, yet it will help the Google ranking.
Social Media Messaging
Search engine optimisation has a lot of moving parts occurring all at once. This sequence takes references from the on-page SEO that surrounds the actual content on the webpage, but it also factors in off-page SEO elements including social media.
Forums like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest are now channels that drive a higher percentage of traffic. For all of those outlets, video has become an integral part of their business model to the point where they imbed their internal software. Any social media site that lacks video capacity will lose a large portion of their accounts.
As a general rule, video certainly boosts your SEO score. However, there are some guidelines that should be considered before rushing into any haphazard uploading.
- Keep tabs on quality – any video that lacks a professional outlook with low value production quality will have a high bounce rate.
- Be consistent – whether it be the timing of the upload, the style and manner of the presentation or the voice of the host, there must be consistency. This speaks to brand awareness and a coherent message to convey to the consumer.
- Stick to YouTube – it only makes sense to utilise a platform that is under the Google banner, seeing as that is the search engine you need to impress in the first place.
- Have a variety – do not feel the need to upload the same video just for the sake of it. Ensure they have a strong relation to the page or domain they are being shared on.
- Embedding over linking – links are tenuous when it comes to SEO content scoring. Having a video that can be played on a website is far more valuable and user friendly, drawing out a longer engagement and lowering the bounce rate.
If those key performance indicators (KPIs) are monitored and followed, then there is no reason not to include video in your content strategy.
Lucas is the Managing Director and the Head of SEO Strategy at SEO Shark. He has over 15 years of experience in achieving SEO results for small and medium businesses as well as multinational and ASX-listed brands. He is also an author of multiple publications about digital marketing.