Can video help boost your SEO?
Summary Improving your search engine rankings is high on the list of priorities for digital marketing teams at every company. SEO isn’t…
Improving your search engine rankings is high on the list of priorities for digital marketing teams at every company. SEO isn’t an exact science, but there are some fixed points: among them, the importance of video, which is always rewarded by algorithms. What are the steps you can take to make sure your videos get a better position on Google?
The most effective form of marketing in the digital ecosystem is video marketing.
Who says so? The numbers. For starters, consider these:
- 78% of people watch online videos every week. 55% watch them daily (socialmediaweek.org).
- The average user spends about 7 hours a week watching online videos (statista.com).
- The user viewing a video understands and retains 95% of the message contained. For pure text communications this percentage drops to 10% (insivia.com).
- Today, 86% of companies use video as a key tool in their marketing mix. In 2020, the percentage was 85%. In 2016 it was only 61% (smartzer.com).
- 87% of marketers said they were satisfied with the ROI related to their video campaigns (hubspot.com).
- 94% of video marketers say video has helped increase audience understanding of their products and services (hubspot.com).
There is also another statistic that is very telling:
- On average, videos rank organic on search engines a full 50 times better than links that contain only text (seoinc.com).
That’s why this post is dedicated to SEO and ranking.
How does video help SEO?
We’ll answer that in this post by looking at several different aspects. And, we’ll provide some practical tips to help you, in 7 key points.
First, however, let’s dig into some basic premises on the importance of SEO and the role of video in this area.
SEO: how important is it? And how does video help SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it indicates strategies to optimize the positioning and increase the visibility of online content on search engines.
The higher the ranking of a website or a single page, the more it will be seen by users, with the resulting return in number of clicks (and all that follows).
In this regard, consider these two statistics, which are worth more than any of our comments about it:
- The top five organic results on Google’s first page garner 67.60% of all clicks (martech.org).
- In contrast, only 0.78% of Google users click on results that appear on the second page (backlincko.com).
In short, it’s only natural that positioning through SEO is at the top of all brands’ digital strategies; just think that as many as 93% of online browsing experiences begin precisely through search engines (techjury.net).
- For 70% of marketers, SEO is more effective than PPC (Pay Per Click) in generating sales (databox.com).
- Search engines drive 300% more traffic to websites than social media (digitalmarketing.org).
Finally, more broadly:
- For 61% of marketers, improving ranking via SEO and increasing organic presence is the top priority for their inbound marketing strategies (digitallogic.com).
Mind you, let’s be very clear: SEO is not an exact science. It’s been calculated that Google’s algorithm changes about 500 times a year; and it’s normal for strategies and best practices to change very quickly.
But there are a few fixed points. And among them video plays a very important role.
As we saw above, links containing videos rank 50 times better, on average, than those leading to text-only pages. But that’s not all.
Some time ago, Google started showing video thumbnails in the results page, since users’ attention is very drawn to this kind of results (we’ll come back to thumbnails in one of the 7 key points to improve the SEO effectiveness of your videos).
If you continue to think about how video helps SEO, you will also find indirect advantages that are also important.
For example, one of the most important metrics for search engine rankings is the average time spent by users on a site or page; and videos – especially if well constructed – dramatically increase this time, because they capture attention much longer than text and images.
Specifically, people spend, on average, more than twice as much time on a page with videos than one that doesn’t (wistia.com). We could go on, but the direction is already clear.
Now we’re interested in getting down to the nitty-gritty and – as promised – giving you some tips for optimizing your videos for SEO. We’ve compiled them into 7 key points.
1. Build an effective and consistent framework
Let’s start from a basic point, one that is often overlooked.
When you upload a video on your site, it’s not just a matter of choosing the right content, that is effective, engaging, and with the right technical specifications (we’ll come back to this in the next point); you have to pay attention to the context within which it is uploaded.
That means taking the utmost care also for the text part (also to be optimized in SEO), but also for other types of visual contents. The key word here is coherence.
Google’s algorithm can recognize the relevance of a video in the surrounding context…and this coherence is always rewarded.
2. Pay attention to technical aspects
For search engines, all the technical and backend aspects are also of fundamental importance: we’re talking about the different types of tags and meta tags (which, without getting too technical, are the primary means of communication between the site and the search engine itself).
Choose all this with care, and rely on SEO marketing experts: in these fields, improvisation never pays off.
Of course, other important aspects concern the title, the description, and the length of the video. There are also important aspects that are not immediately under your control, such as comments, likes and dislikes, up to more refined metrics regarding retention, bounce rate, and audience behavior towards the video.
3. Maximum care also for thumbnails
We already mentioned the importance of the thumbnail, the thumbnail preview of a video, which increasingly appears among the first results in search engines.
It must offer the highest quality at a visual level, capture the attention, but also be perfectly consistent with the image of your brand or your campaign.
In short: summarize, identify, and intrigue, all at the same time!
It’s not easy, but it’s important to strike a balance, with the cooperation of marketing teams and those more focused on graphics and design.
Keep this in mind: a good thumbnail can double the traffic directed to a page (brainshark.com).
4. Quality always comes first
As we’ve repeatedly pointed out, SEO is an ever-changing field. One of the things that doesn’t change, however, is this: high quality is rewarded by search engines.
It’s a virtuous circle, involving data and people.
For example, if you just upload a video to a page without any context, you’ll probably get a decent initial ranking on Google. However, when users end up there, they won’t stay on the page for long, as it probably will not be what they are looking for. The ranking will gradually get worse and worse.
Instead, a quality video, one that is well indexed and placed in a coherent context, automatically leads people to spend more time on the page, to comment positively, to share, to appreciate. And this is rewarded by the algorithm, resulting in an improved ranking.
5. Q&A, How-to, Educational
Think about your own search engine experience. How many times have you “asked questions” to Google? Maybe because you just bought a new crafting tool and weren’t sure how to use it. Or because you were looking for a recipe to cook for dinner.
Intercepting these questions with videos can be a really smart strategy to improve your positioning.
Let’s talk about Q&A videos, How-to videos, and more generally about the area that can be labeled as “Educational.”
These videos are very appreciated by the algorithm and the reason is simple: because it is very appreciated by the users themselves.
6. Be guided by data
We closed the previous point with a concept that may seem obvious…but only at first glance. The algorithm appreciates what people appreciate.
And here, then, we come to a decisive point.
The best way to get a great search engine ranking is to learn about the tastes, preferences, and behavior of your audience.
How can you do it?
By leveraging data analytics and embracing a data-driven perspective.
You can go as far as personalization, that is, creating interactive videos designed based on the characteristics of the viewers. And this is exactly what specialized companies like Babelee do!
7. Consistency and long term
Here we come to our last sticking point. Two of the central aspects that are always rewarded by search engines are consistency in the production of content and continuous updating.
So, don’t limit yourself to the short term, maybe focusing on the obsessive search for viral content; instead, aim for a strategy that always has the medium and long term in mind.
It’s better for Google; it’s better for your users, too. And you will certainly be rewarded in the end.
Bottom line: how does video help SEO?
In so many ways. But it all depends on the quality and foresight of your video marketing strategy!
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