The constantly changing nature of search engine optimization is at the same time one of the most challenging things about the industry, and also one of the things that does the most to keep the profession exciting. Every year there are new developments and new things to learn. And this year, one of the biggest things to start thinking about, and hopefully incorporating into your overall SEO strategy, is video.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen the overthrow of short keywords by long-tail keywords, the rise to prominence of mobile SEO, and the emergence of local SEO. Now, video is the next big step forward in advancing a proactive marketing strategy and keeping up with the ever-changing industry standards.
But why is video so important to SEO? For those who may be curious and maybe even skeptical, allow us to illustrate the reasons video is so important and help you stay at the head of the pack.
YouTube’s Place in Search Engine Optimization
When you plan for search engine optimization, more likely than hot the search engine you have in mind is Google. And that’s completely normal, as Google is certainly far and away the leader in search, with an average of nearly 186 million unique visitors each month.
But did you know that the search engine with the second-highest amount of traffic is one dedicated entirely to video?
That’s right, the runner-up for most-used search engine is none other than YouTube, clocking in at just under 171 million unique monthly visitors. Those visitors generate billions of views, watching hundreds of millions of hours of video per day, and YouTube is only building momentum: the number of viewers per day is increasing 40% per year, and watch times are going up 50% year over year.
Mobile users in particular are using YouTube more and more, with total hours spent watching videos up 100% year over year, and length of average viewing session up 50% since last year, putting it at 40 minutes per session. These mobile users account for more than half of YouTube views, making video marketing especially useful for mobile SEO.
YouTube also is localized in over 88 countries and 76 languages, opening up opportunities for more international traffic, as 80% of YouTube views are from outside the U.S. So if you ship your product overseas, YouTube could bring you more foreign viewers.
Perhaps more importantly though, because YouTube is owned by Google, content that includes videos is given significantly greater weight in Google’s rankings.
A Forrester study once found that web pages containing video were a whopping 53 times more likely to be featured on the first page of results for a Google search. This study was conducted in 2009, and SEO practices change over time, but the authority that video lends a page in Google’s eyes has remained constant, if not increased.
When you perform a Google search, you will notice some video results at the top of the first page, and sometimes a couple of top results will have video snippets available. It used to be that many more pages would get video snippets on the results page, but Google has since vastly reduced the number of snippets that appear. The exception, for obvious reasons, seems to be videos hosted on YouTube. Regardless of this though, video still seems to have the same effect on rankings as it did before the changes to snippets.
So hosting your video on YouTube may make you more likely to get a snippet on the results page. Aside from this though, getting your video in the handful of video results that show up at the top is also a clear win—after all, your content will appear above even the top-rated text-only page!
But there are other reasons to produce videos and particularly to host them on YouTube as well. They also impact your SEO in the same way that regular content does. By including keywords and optimizing the text in your titles, video descriptions, tags, and file names, you’ll be giving your content more weight for Google rankings.
In addition to that, YouTube also transcribes the spoken script in your video. So by optimizing the script of your video the way you would any other text, or even by including a transcript in the video’s description to make it more easily searchable, you’ll be able to achieve higher search rankings and pull more traffic.
Video and Viewer Interaction
Another aspect about video that makes it so attractive is that many viewers find videos more appealing and convenient to consume, making video a great way to not only reach more people but have them connect more with your content.
If we’re being completely honest, we have to admit that many people simply don’t like to read. Pearson, the education publishing and assessment company, estimates that 65% of people are visual learners. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to retaining information, research shows that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. It’s no wonder then that video makes up 64% of all internet traffic. That’s an awful lot of potential customers you might be losing because your text-based content can’t hold their attention.
But video also can appeal to everyone for its convenience. Videos are easily and quickly viewed on any device—while someone might not want to read a long article or blog post on their little smartphone screen during their commute, they can easily pop in some earbuds and watch some videos on the train. That’s why, as previously mentioned, more than half of YouTube views are from mobile devices. But videos aren’t only easily viewed but also easily shared, making them more likely than regular content to generate social signals.
This all yields real results. Not only do 80% of viewers remember watching a video ad in the past month, but 46% of those viewers took a follow-up action like looking further into the business’s website, according to the Online Publishers’ Association. Viewers remember videos and actually act on them!
Adding videos to your site, especially by embedding them, will boost your conversion rate because it humanizes your company. Getting to hear testimonials, watch demonstrations, hear the CEO speak, or see what the company culture looks like all draw the viewer in and establish credibility and trust. That leads to warm leads. It leads to sales.
Getting the hang of how to integrate video into your overall SEO strategy can be tricky though, especially if you don’t have any experience with video production. Luckily, we here at Frontier Marketing not only have the expertise necessary to guide you through the SEO side of video marketing, we also have the knowledge and equipment you need to make sharp, professional videos. If you’d like to discuss online marketing in the Midwest or video production for your business, give us a call at (847) 254-0837.
With our help, you’ll soon be ahead of the game in online video marketing—ready to explore the next frontier.