Use video to improve visibility and drive reader engagement
Is video good for SEO? In this post we’ll look at tips and best practices to improve your visibility and drive your readers engagement!
Table of Contents
We are addressing the complex transformations within the publishing industry that have been triggered by the Digital Transformation.
We are doing this with a specific and operational visual angle, focusing on the most effective, high performing, and versatile type of digital content: we’re talking about video.
In our previous post we focused on the 5 main benefits for publishers, from online video production and distribution.
Now let’s go further and tighten our focus around 2 keywords: visibility and engagement. Let’s say it right away: these are two fundamental keywords that are closely related to each other.
And you can’t talk about visibility and engagement without addressing everything related to search engine rankings. Why? Because if an editorial title (with its pages) is not easily reachable on Google, it basically does not exist. This is a fact; and you have to be very clear about that.
And it is precisely on improvement that search engine optimization (SEO) strategies focus. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it indicates the strategies for optimizing the ranking of a piece of online content on search engines to increase its visibility. The question at the heart of this post, then, is this: does video help SEO?
The short answer is this: yes, and very much so. In the remainder of this post we will draw a three-step path. In the first, we will see how important SEO is today, dissecting a series of very telling numbers and statistics. In the second, we will focus on the role of video in improving search engine rankings. In the third and final step, we’ll provide you with concrete, operational tips and best practices to aim for maximum SEO optimization of your videos.
SEO: how important is it?
In the opening of the post, we talked about visibility. Well, the issue is very simple: the better a website or an individual page ranks on search engines, the more they will be seen by users.
In this regard, consider the statistics we provide below: they are worth more than any of our comments about them:
- The top five organic results on Google’s first page collect 67.60% of all clicks (martech.org);
- In contrast, only 0.78% of Google users click on the results that appear on the second page (backlincko.com);
- As many as 93% of online browsing experiences start 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 generally:
- For 61% of marketers, improving rankings through SEO and increasing organic presence is the top priority for their inbound marketing strategies (digitallogic.com).
Let’s be very clear: SEO is not an exact science. It has been calculated that Google’s algorithm changes about 500 times a year.
But there are some firm points. And among them is the very important role played by video.
So: does video help SEO? Yes. But let’s go further and ask: how and how much?
We’ll see this in the following paragraph.
The importance of videos in SEO strategies
To show you how important videos are for SEO positioning, we want to appeal, again, to numbers and statistics, without too much commentary
Here is a selection of them:
- On average, videos rank as much as 50 times better in organic search engine rankings than links that contain only text (seoinc.com);
- Search results that contain a video have a 41% higher average Click Through Rate (CTR) than results from text pages (aimclear.com);
- Blog posts that contain video see a 157% increase in traffic compared to blog posts that contain only text (searchenginepeople.com);
- A key metric for improving search engine rankings is the average time spent by a user on a page. Videos add an average of 2 minutes to this time (wistia.com):
- Blog posts that include videos attract three times as many inbound links as text posts; this is another factor that is highly rewarded by search engine algorithms (moz.com).
Finally, a quick focus on YouTube, the second most visited website after Google, which is somewhere between a search engine and, in some ways, a social network:
- 70% of video views are determined by YouTube’s algorithm through recommendations and related videos; thus, again, it is a matter of SEO ranking and optimization (cnet.com);
- The most popular 10% of YouTube videos garner about 79% of the views on the entire platform (pewreasearch.org).
And there you have it, then, a further question that leads us directly to the third and final section of this post. Producing and publishing videos is critical to improving one’s search engine rankings: it is a self-evident fact.
But is it enough? No! There are best practices to pay close attention to in order to make sure that your pages that contain videos achieve even better rankings.
Optimizing videos for SEO – 7 best practices
And here, as promised, are the most important best practices when it comes to video optimization for SEO.
We have gathered them into 7 points, which we will focus on below.
1. Build a consistent context around the video
Let’s start at a basic but often overlooked aspect.
When you upload a video to your site, it’s not only a matter of choosing content that is effective and that stimulates engagement with the correct technical specifications. You also have to pay attention to the context within which the video is uploaded. So, take the utmost care for the text part (also to be optimized in terms of SEO), as well as for other types of visual content.
The key word here is consistency. In fact, algorithms are able to recognize the consistency of a video’s placement in the context around it and this consistency is always rewarded.
2. Take care of technical and backend aspects
For search engines, all technical and backend aspects are of paramount importance: let’s talk about the different types of tags and meta tags.
Choose all these carefully, relying on SEO marketing experts: improvisation never pays off here. Of course, some other absolutely fundamental aspects are those that concern the video title and description, which must contain keywords.
3. Take advantage of subtitles
First, subtitles make videos posted by publishers more accessible. On social media, for example, 93% of people prefer to watch videos without audio, from their smartphones (nexttv.com). Subtitles also have a direct impact on SEO: in fact, search engines will be able to track and categorize the text embedded in these subtitles.
Again: watch out for keyword insertion here, too!
4. The importance of the thumbnail
Thumbnails are the images that serve as previews for videos, on YouTube and beyond. In short, they are the business card, the first showcase of one’s video and crucial for getting a user to click play. In addition, for some time now, Google has started to show these thumbnails on the results page: they are very effective in attracting user attention.
Keep this in mind: a good thumbnail can double the traffic directed to a page (brainshark.com).
5. Stimulate 360-degree engagement
We said it at the beginning of this post: visibility and engagement are closely related. So, how can you use video to stimulate audience engagement?
There is no universal recipe but for sure:
- pay attention to the very first few seconds of the video; this is where users decide whether or not to continue viewing;
- study the script very carefully, relying on professional storytellers;
- publish your video on multiple platforms, optimizing it in an omnichannel manner;
- pay attention to all the steps that come after publication. Follow comments and respond, stimulating debate.
All sides are rewarded by search engine algorithms.
6. Be guided by data
The algorithm values what people show they value. And here we come to a crucial aspect.
The best way to get great search engine rankings is to learn about the tastes, preferences, and behaviors of your audience. How to do this?
By leveraging data analytics and embracing a data-driven perspective. You can also go as far as personalization, producing interactive videos that are designed based on the characteristics of your target audience. This is precisely what specialized companies like Babelee do.
7. Consistency and a long term view
Two of the central aspects that are always rewarded by search engines are consistency in content production and continuous updating. So: don’t limit yourself to the short term by fixating 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 and it’s also better for your users. And you will certainly be rewarded in the end. So: does video help SEO? Yes, very much so. But it’s up to you to make sure that your videos are increasingly effective, appreciated by the algorithms and by the audience.
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