Google’s ability to differentiate good content from bad is becoming more and more sophisticated. SEO strategies are starting to favour user experience over the link building tactics of old. At the forefront of this change is video content.
Although a video obviously can’t be ‘read’ and therefore contextualized by Google in the same way that the search engine’s algorithm can process the written word, it’s still a powerful technique for climbing the search engine results pages (SERPs) for many different reasons.
In this post, I want to explore five of these.
First and foremost, I’d like to state that YouTube is a search engine.
It’s all too easy to think of SEO as trying to rank your website on Google. But of course, SEO is the optimization of any piece of online content and YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the planet (that also happens to be owned by Google).
Considering SEO from within YouTube’s ecosystem is something that you can and and should do. Your YouTube videos and your channel can all be optimized to help you rank higher within YouTube’s search engine as well as in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). In fact, Google gives preferential treatment to YouTube videos, so get it right on YouTube and you may start to see an impact in other SERPs as well.
Using proper keyword planner tools, and thoroughly optimizing each video’s title, description, tags, and metadata is crucial to providing your content with the best chance to be noticed and then to thrive. Your title should include keywords that will rank on the first page of Google, your description should run to at least 200 words (with keywords carefully placed throughout), and your metadata information should add as much contextual information as possible to ensure your content is discoverable by an audience receptive to your message.
However, it is equally important to note that if you aren’t creating relevant, fresh and ultra-engaging content, all the SEO efforts in the world are unlikely to have a large impact.
If a single picture can paint a thousand words, it’s fairly safe to assume that a video can say a hell of a lot more. Well-produced and carefully planned video content can help build your brand and business reputation by efficiently communicating your core message and values in a compelling and engaging way.
From an SEO perspective, this is very significant, because the length of time visitors spend engaging with your website is actually a crucial ranking signal to Google’s algorithm. The longer people stay on your site, the more trust Google has in you and the higher you rank.
Of course, the more time your visitors spend exploring your content, the more likely they are to actively engage further with your business, clicking onto different pages and this too is an important ranking signal. As well as ensuring that your audience spends more time engaging with your website, even just the presence of a video can communicate to search engines that your site contains important and relevant information, ultimately boosting your SERPs ranking and increasing traffic.
As part of your SEO strategy, you should therefore be closely monitoring metrics like dwell time and bounce rate to help you identify increases after putting video content onto your website.
Ultimately, the better your content is, the better it will be received. Before your video content has even been created, it is imperative to gain an understanding of who you ideally want to share your creation. This key piece of information will help you to carve out your approach. Do you want to make your viewer laugh or cry? Do you want to educate them on a certain topic? Perhaps you may even want to shock them?
If you have steady, high-quality traffic flowing to your website already and a solid social media following, then you’re already onto a winning thing when it comes to generating social shares. Of course, social shares aren’t as powerful as links in the SEO world, so it pays to reach out and share your content with bloggers and influencers who are more likely to cite it and therefore link back to it.
Here are a few examples of easy to make low budget video content that can really drive shares and links:
Engaging video content takes many different forms and can be tailored to a variety of budgets, but as with all SEO efforts, consistency is key. If your audience comes to expect video content and you suddenly turn off the tap, you risk losing momentum and losing your audience. What’s more, search engines will realize your content has dried up, and this will be reflected in the SERPs.
SEO is widely accepted as the strategic practice of increasing website rankings, but arguably it’s biggest goal is to increase onsite conversions. Clearly, then, trying to attract increasing numbers of visitors to your site is only half the battle. Video content can play a huge role in the other half, which is getting all of that newly acquired traffic to convert.
Depending on your marketing objectives, a video can be used to prompt visitors to sign up to your mailing list, follow your social media pages, make an enquiry about a specific product or service, or go ahead and make a purchase. When you receive a new visitor to your website, you only have a few seconds to impress them, and this is where video is so powerful as you can achieve so much in mere moments.
Embedding an interesting video within the landing page of your website may not contribute at all to your overall search rankings, but it can certainly drive conversions and boost business overall.
You may notice that Google’s search engine results pages are updated from time to time, with more and more information being given on a website and the content found within them. This is done through rich snippets, and these can be utilized to provide your potential visitors with a better idea of what they can expect to see on your site before they make the decision to click through.
Google will display the thumbnail of your video, its title, and a short sentence describing its content. Ensuring that the description is accurate and fully optimized is obviously vital, but so is your chosen thumbnail. We are naturally attracted to well-designed images, and even though it may seem like just another tedious step that needs to be taken, ensuring your video’s thumbnail is eye-catching is of monumental importance for maximizing your CTR.
Google is giving more on-page real estate to rich snippets, which have been proven time and time again to secure higher click-through rates. In other words, if you have a video on your site, you want to be using rich snippets to allow people to preview that video in the SERPs and boost your CTR.
You only have to glance at the wild success of Instagram Stories, Snapchat Ads and YouTube influencers to see that the importance of video content within the digital sphere is only set to increase.
With a demonstrated ability to increase the visibility of your business, boost traffic and increase conversions, investing in video content could be the very best SEO tactic you adopt this year.
Guest Author: Evelyn Timson is the Managing Director of UK based video production company Aspect Film and Video. She has years of experience working with some of the world’s most recognisable companies and organisations like UNICEF, Nationwide, North Face, Taylormade, Adidas, Slimming World and Farrow & Ball. You can connect with Aspect on Facebook or Twitter or see a selection of their award-winning work on their YouTube Channel.
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