Let’s make a premise: if videos aren’t part of your content marketing strategy, then your competitors are about to leave you in the dust – if they haven’t already.
That’s a fact, reiterated by statistics time and again.
So, after spending a fair amount of time creating the perfect video resources, how do you make them bring the traffic that you wish they did?
Well, we’d say you optimise them.
Now, this leads us to an important marketing concept, video SEO?
Read on to find out what is it, as well as how to get it done.
What’s Video SEO?
Video SEO is the practice of optimising your videos to be crawled, indexed, and ranked on search engine result pages (SERPs) for relevant keyword searches.
There are so many video optimisation strategies that you can employ to increase the chances of your video ranking high, and which we wish to explore in this article.
Video SEO Over the Years
Video SEO has significantly changed over the years.
We recently started seeing video marketing becoming more popular with businesses.
Things began to shape up in the late 2000s when DSLRs became mainstreams. More and more marketers began using them, which saw the quality of the videos they produced improve.
Video production became easier.
Today, videos are almost dominating search engines. Adding to that, nearly everyone now owns a camera smartphone, which further makes it easier to shoot decent, high-quality videos, from just about anywhere.
Ranking a video in the universal search used to be easy, but not anymore, following the explosion of video content.
Don’t get it wrong: it’s one thing to rank a video in the video tab, but quite another to rank it in the universal search. It’s the same thing with getting whitelisted, which has become a lot harder than it was about three years ago.
It’s, however, become a lot easier to get a video indexed in the video tab.
There are SEO rules and practices that determine your video rank in the universal search. And they have a lot to do with how focused the video is, the authority of your website, and its relevance to the queried search.
Here’s what we suggest:
Don’t get so hung up on getting your video ranked on universal search. You should, instead, focus on optimising your video for the standard video search and watch as the rest of the chips automatically fall in place.
Google’s Video Results Have Significantly Improved Over the Years
Google used to display video results from different sources on the web. By observing laid SEO rules and practises, it was practically possible for any site to get its videos displayed in the video-rich snippets (displayed with a video thumbnail next to it).
But things have changed, and the competition is a lot fiercer than it was a few years ago.
The good thing is that video rich snippets have improved significantly since then. They’re far more eye-catching than they were and more likely to attract more clicks.
Often, when an online searcher runs a query, they’re not considering video explanation. But when presented with one, then that’s the option many of them have been found to ultimately favour.
Why Are Videos So Popular Nowadays?
Videos have grown to become the go-to form of content. Why is this so?
Videos Are Short and Attention-Grabbing
Videos deliver large amounts of information succinctly.
So, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a one-minute video would be worth 1.8 million words. That’s around 3600 pages of text.
In other words, readers have so much to gain and learn from watching a video as opposed to digging through huge chunks of text.
Videos Are Great at Telling Stories
Videos don’t just pack information. They tell stories.
As a result, they tend to stick in people’s mind for much longer than cold hard facts in text.
As a matter of fact, 80% of the population can remember a video ad they watched last month.
So, as you can see, the effectiveness of videos cannot be contested.
Videos Improve User Experience
Videos are created around user experience.
They try to communicate the things that people may like while blending visuals, sounds, and movement.
Videos can also be watched on almost any device, desktop, mobile phones, tablets, and so on.
How Google Adapted to the Growing Popularity of Videos
Google is always keen on observing behavioural trends. That explains why, in 2013, they decided to release a new search algorithm named the Hummingbird.
That saw their focus shift from keywords to user intent.
So, what did this mean for video content?
Well, much of what Google does to their algorithm is theoretical and pure speculation. Rarely do they come forth to shed light on the secret to their ranking algorithms.
But while you’re creating your video, you can think about the question it (the video) answers. That’s user intention.
And since online users have proven to have a strong liking for video content, Google started displaying them on their SERPs, especially when serving results for educational and informational queries.
The video results they serve can come in the form of a suggested clip, a video SERP feature, or an instant answer to a query.
You can experiment with their video feature:
Try running any how-to search query, and the odds are the results shown will feature at least one or two video results, unless otherwise.
How Can Videos Help You Boost Your SEO Ranking?
Let’s get one thing clear: simply embedding or adding a video to your web pages isn’t enough to boost your SEO score. It just can’t be that easy.
Videos have a more nuanced impact than that.
But before we get to that, let’s look at how having a video on your webpage could impact your SEO ranking.
Longer Dwell Time
When a visitor lands on your site, there’s no way you can convince them to stay for longer, apart from giving them what they want.
Videos help to keep your site visitors busy.
Their engaging nature (when compared to text and images) means your site’s visitors are likely to spend more time absorbing it.
Backing this statement is a study finding that seems to suggest that users are likely to spend 2.6 times more time on your website if it has a video in it.
From an SEO standpoint, dwell time plays a key role in determining your page rank. The signal Google gets when a visitor stays on your site for longer is that your content is valuable.
In other words, the longer visitors stay on your site, the more Google gets to see your content value and page trustworthiness, which ultimately translates to a better page rank.
Increased Click-Through Rate
It’s simple logic. People are more likely to click on your search engine results if it contains a video in it.
By letting users know that the webpage they’re seeing contains a video, you’re increasing the chances of them clicking on it. This translates to more traffic to your website.
Google is constantly updating their SERPs to provide users with more information about websites and the content they contain.
That explains why they had to come up with a rich content snippet. Essentially, this form of search results was designed to help users understand what type of content a particular webpage contains before they click on it.
You can start by providing Google with as much textual information about your video as you possibly can. On top of that, you have to work on your video thumbnail. Make sure it’s catchy and more enticing to the reader for them to click through it.
Improved Banklink Profile
People will share your content if they find it amazing. If your video resonates with them, they’ll not hesitate to link to it – another key ranking factor.
The more your video circulates the web, the more backlinks it will get. And on the off chance that the video goes viral, then you’d have stroke a goldmine.
If you’re hosting your video in one of the video streaming websites such as Google, you can share your website link under the description just in case any of your viewers want to credit you by linking back to your website.
Google My Business Listing
Google tends to favour sites that take full advantage of their Google My Business listing.
And those that do, get rewarded by being featured in their local pack.
From a casual glance, listings with images, messages, and posts rank higher than those with minimal information. Now, imagine what a video could do to your listing.
You don’t have to overthink it. Just create a short explainer video, explaining your business or some of the products you’re offering. Add the video to your GMB listing and get to gain an edge over your competitors.
7 Great Video Ideas for Your SEO Strategies
Before you even think about optimising your videos for SEO, you have to think about how you’re going to create those videos.
We know how hard it can be to get started with the whole thing, and that’s why we decided to share a few video ideas to help you get started:
1# About Us Videos or Company Overview
You can create a short video detailing your company overview or about us. You can also tell a short story about your business. Tell your viewers how you started, as well as what inspired the original idea.
Once the video is ready, you can upload it on your YouTube channel and embed it on your site’s homepage or about page for added SEO juice.
2# Onboarding Videos
You can create videos that show clients how to proceed with your services.
These videos are created for new customers to walk them through the onboarding process.
How do your services or products work? Is there a procedure for getting started?
Remember that you’re creating these videos with new users in mind. So, you want to make sure they’re as simple and easy to understand as it’s humanly possible.
3# Product Videos
You can showcase your products or walk your customers through the details and features.
These videos can be embedded on your product pages. You also want to make sure the videos are optimised for search engines.
You can share an overview of your products or showcase your product while it’s in use. In short, you have no shortage of ideas when it comes to creating product videos.
4# Tutorial or How-to Videos
A tutorial video demonstrates how to get something done, or how to use your products or services. It’s a step-by-step guide that a user can follow to get something done.
These videos can be posted on your product page, blog or resource centre. They can also be included as part of your customers’ onboarding experience.
Once you’ve created the videos, you can upload them on your YouTube channel and use the embed code provided to pin them on your website.
5# Testimonials Videos
How about you get some of your customers to say something about their experiences with your product.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Just find a few of your happy customers and ask them about your products or services and if they enjoyed using them.
Customers tend to trust testimonials more, even more when it’s in the form of a video.
Other than interviewing the customers on camera, a different approach would be to compile some quotes from reviews and edit them into a video.
6# Educational Videos
You can create webinar-style, educational videos that focus on helping the viewer learn or develop a new skill.
These videos are recommended because they directly respond to some of the questions that users are searching for.
Educational videos are a great way to showcase your expertise and drive users to your website.
7# Company Culture Videos
You can create videos that showcase your work ethic or company cultures.
These videos are a perfect complement for your “About Us” or “Job Page.”
Not only that, they’re also a good way to make your “about us’ page discoverable and your business more attractive to the candidates you’re hiring.
Should You Upload Your Videos on a Video Platform such as YouTube or Upload them Directly to Your Website?
When it comes to displaying videos on your website, you have two options. The first one is where you upload the videos on a video streaming platform such as YouTube or Vimeo and embed them on your website.
The second one is where you directly upload them on your website.
So, which between these two options sounds better?
Ideally, I’d say both.
Uploading the video directly to your Website: Uploading a video directly to your website, as opposed to uploading it to a video streaming website such as YouTube or Wistia, means your visitor can see the video in context, without getting distracted by ads.
That enhances your visitors’ experience and can indirectly amplify your video SEO on Google. When users run a search query relating to your video, the odds are good that your video will be among the results that show.
Hosting the Video on a Video Streaming Website such as YouTube or Vimeo:
By hosting the video on a video streaming website such as YouTube, you’ll be taking advantage of the traffic that these sites already enjoy.
For example, YouTube has more than 1 billion active users, while Vimeo has over 170 million users. These are the people that frequent the platform, searching for YouTube videos to watch.
Your video will show up when someone runs a search query relating to your video on any of these platforms.
13 Ways to Optimise Your Videos for SEO
Your videos aren’t just going to show up in the SERPs. You have to make sure everything is set right, and here are 13 advanced ways to go about it:
1# Create a Video Sitemap
A video sitemap is a simple guide for search engines bots. It’s like a map to a treasure. It’s what makes search engines find your video and gather more information about it.
A video sitemap is a great way to help search engines find and understand your video content, especially if it’s a new video – and which Google might not have otherwise discovered with their usual crawling mechanism.
2# Name Your Files Appropriately
When saving your video files (before you upload them online), you want to make sure you’ve named them appropriately.
The best way to go about it is to use a keyword-rich filename.
By doing this, you’re helping both search engine bots and humans better understand your video content.
For instance, if you’re preparing a video about using a garden utility knife, an appropriate name for it would be something along these lines, “how-to-use-a-garden-utility-knife.mp4.”
3# Use Eye-catching Thumbnails
Your video thumbnails should both explain your video and entice users to click and watch it.
Depending on what your video is all about, you should use your thumbnail as a visual cue explaining your video.
If you have someone talking in the video, try using them for the thumbnail to establish a human connection and drive engagement.
4# Include Video Transcriptions
If it’s a video of someone talking, you want to include the video transcription on the page. The transcript will be published in your website’s code. Essentially, it summarises what was said in the video, thus helping search engine bots understand your content better.
A video transcript also increases your page word count, making your posts appear longer.
It’s a great opportunity to get more keywords on a webpage and improve its chances of getting ranked.
5# Use Video Schema Markup
Video schema markup gives search engines bots more information about your video.
When you upload your video, Google won’t see it immediately and figure out what it’s all about. They have to consult it with your code to understand it better.
Adding a video schema markup will help Google find your video content and understand it better. It also leads to your video appearing on Google’s video results in the SERPs.
6# Optimise Your Videos for Speed
Your videos have a better chance of ranking in the SERPs when they’re optimised for speed.
You want to make sure your videos load faster.
The smaller the size of the video, the easier it will be for it to rank. The problem with this is that it often comes at the expense of quality.
So, while compressing your videos for speed, you also want to keep your focus on image quality. Don’t over-compress the videos. Most importantly, make sure you’re using the best compression tools (we recommend you check out HandBrake and Blazemp).
7# Take Advantage of YouTube Video Search
We suggest you upload your video on a video streaming site such as YouTube and embed it on your site instead of hosting it directly on your website.
That way, the video will be ranked on both Google and YouTube. You also get to take advantage of YouTube search.
In fact, recent research shows that pages with embedded YouTube videos rank two positions higher than self-hosted ones.
8# Include a Keyword-rich Video-title, Description, and Tag
Same with regular SEO, your title and description play a key role in determining your video rank.
Simple logic demands you create video titles and descriptions that are engaging, keyword-rich, and relevant.
You can start by doing keyword research to ensure you’re targeting the right keyword phrases.
Next, use your creativity to make your video title and description engaging and interesting. This one should help your video drive more clicks. But while at it, you want to avoid overdoing it by overstuffing your titles and description with keywords.
9# Use Tags
Tags help Google and YouTube understand your video topic. They also allow you to use keyword and phrases that you couldn’t fit into your video title and description.
We suggest you use between 5 to 10 relevant tags on every video you upload, not more not less.
The tag must only be relevant to your video topic but also reflect how a user is likely to discover the video.
Let’s use Zappos as an example. All their videos are tagged as how to dress, how to cuff your jeans and 2020 fashion, and that’s because they want their videos to be among the results displayed when a user runs any of these search queries.
10# Don’t Include so Many Videos on a Webpage
Here’s the thing: You can include multiple videos on a page, but Google will only crawl one. So, what’s the point.
Unless you’re not concerned about SEO, we suggest you stick to only posting one video per page.
But if you really have to, then we suggest you start with your best video first, and then display the rest.
Also, by displaying multiple videos on a webpage, you’ll be making it difficult for you to optimise for just one specific video.
In fact, Google itself suggests you create a standalone webpage for each video, with a video title and description that’s unique to each video.
11# Optimise Your Webpage Around the Video
One of the reasons most videos don’t get indexed is that search engines have a difficult time finding them.
This means your video won’t be showing up in the SERPs, which goes on to lower the number of people watching it.
It’s your job to make it easy for search engines to crawl your video. One way to go about it is to try and create your webpage around the video. You have to make sure the video is visible to both search engines and the humans watching it.
12# Avoid Embedding the Same Video on Multiple Webpages
Like regular SEO, avoid creating multiple pages targeting the same keywords.
The reason being, you don’t want to see your pages competing to outrank each other.
Also, if you have a page that’s relevant to your video, you should try uploading the video to that particular page, and not anywhere else.
That’s a great idea for ensuring that both the page and the video get to rank.
13# Use the First 10 Seconds to Get the Viewer Hooked In
Use the first 10 seconds of your video to grab your viewers’ attention. Then figure out how to keep them hooked to the end.
Remember: the attention span of an average person is only 8 seconds. You have to make sure you’ve captured their attention within the 8 seconds, or else they’ll be distracted enough to want to leave.
According to a recent study, you only have the first 10 seconds to capture the viewer’s attention. Once these 10 seconds are up, your viewership will most likely start dropping.
So, when writing your script, we suggest you pay more attention to these 10 seconds.
7 Ways to Promote Your Video after Publishing it Online
Your job is far from getting done. Good job for embedding the video and optimising it for search engines. But until you’ve promoted the video and succeeded to place it in front of your target audience, your job is far from getting done.
You have to strategically promote the video to get it to perform. Remember that the more people watch the video, the more the video is likely to perform.
That being said, here are 7 effective ways to give the video the necessitated initial push:
1# Ask Viewers to Share the Video
Since backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors in SEO, the least you could do is ask viewers or the people you know to help you share the video or page.
Ask them to share in on their social media accounts, blogs, or any other digital outlets they’re on.
Consider reaching out to some of your clients, customers, and fans and ask them to do the same.
2# Use Open Graph to Optimise the Video for Social Sharing
Ever tried sharing content online, only to find the post’s data – image, title, and description — are not auto-filling? All you have is an empty post (read: an ugly post).
Well, the reason this is happening is that the person who created the post didn’t bother using the Open Graph protocol.
Open Graph refers to the data that promotes seamless integration between your website and the various social media platforms. It tells social media platforms what images, headline, and description to display when someone shares your link on social media.
Without it, social media platforms have to guess what information to display – and in most cases, it might not be shareworthy or ideal.
3# Feature an Expert in the Video
This is an old trick that still works like charm.
All you have to do is find a popular figure within your industry and offer to feature them in one of your videos. Leverage their popularity and get a slice of their audience.
By the dint of getting a noteworthy figure to appear in your video, your video will get more attention. The person may also share the video, thus exposing you to their audience.
Remember to include their name in the video description and title and tag them when sharing it on social media to generate maximum impact.
4# Run a Paid Ad Video Campaign
Sharing your video might earn you some organic traction. But it’s just not enough.
So, how about you promote the video and see how it goes.
You can run a video ad campaign on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform.
Before you object to this, you might want to note that Facebook limits their organic reach. That means the only way to earn decent video views on the platform is by promoting it.
5# Share the Video on Email
Video and email form a dynamic duo.
Besides making your emails more captivating, adding videos to your emails can increase your email click-through rate by up to 300%, according to a recent study.
Sharing your videos is the first step. After that, you also want to consider running a series of promotional campaigns, part of which include running a separate video email marketing campaign.
6# Create Great Videos
The basis of video SEO is to create videos that your viewers will be thrilled to watch and share.
For this, you want to prioritise quality and content over anything else. Put in the works and make sure the video itself is enough to sell.
When a user watches it, would they be compelled to share it around? The point is to try and put on the viewer’s shoes, and focus on producing content that strikes a chord with them.