YouTube is the second most used Search engine.
Videos are ever-popular. Why? Because they pack everything users need. When Apple introduced the mouse peripheral to go along with their user-friendly OS X, the main point was crystal clear: user experience. Videos are all about user experience too. They combine visuals, movements, and sounds. They can, therefore, feature everything that appeals to humans. Characters, faces, emotions, music… That is why they became so popular and are all over the place.
What works well on the Internet is quickly assaulted by hordes of marketers and companies. Videos added another form to content marketing. Most likely the best one, according to numerous studies, that you can freely check in our other blog posts. When creating content, the goal is, as it is an inbound marketing technique, to pull users towards your brand. Achieve this by providing them with interesting, valuable information and answers. Videos are the best Internet and TV format. Content is the best digital marketing technique. Thereby, it is safe to assume that they are a perfect fit for each other.
However, for content to work fine, you must generally have a proper SEO (search engine optimization). Both for your website structure itself (GDPR popups are hurting your SEO!) and what’s on it. This will ensure you show up on the very first pages of search engines (Aka Google…) results. SEO for textual content is hard to learn and hard to master. The concept, however, is pretty straightforward: use the keywords people will type.
Why do videos stand out in search results?
First, let’s make sure that you are aware of the Google universal search algorithm. In short, it makes a search look for every format type at the same time. The Image search will only display images. But the universal one is the one most users are utilizing when typing about their needs and questions. That means not just your blog posts appear in search results. But everything you have, including images, videos, comments… Videos will always show up first and are thus unmissable and extremely important. Google is aware of the fact that videos are perfectly suited to answers their users’ requests. More than anything else.
Besides, Google uses algorithms that optimize results for the end user only (such as Colibri). Once again, they mostly care about the user experience, above anything else. That means their goal is to provide the best value possible. It does it by analyzing sites’ content and checking how it could answer the user’s request. SEO still works extremely well but competition is harsh now that everybody is aware of the benefits. Moreover, it is less and less efficient. Simply because what matters the most is the content itself rather than how you wrote it. All the statistics gathered are extremely useful for their bots to know what user requests the video can answer. They prioritize the content and the value over any optimization trick.
Videos are therefore perfect when it comes to providing value. Thanks to their many ways of showing how things work, interactively presenting things and so on. Explainer videos, video tutorials and reviews, education videos, et cetera. They are all insanely valuable, preferred by the users and thus loved by Google. Customers are nearly two times likely to purchase after viewing a video than if there are none available (Hubspot).
What makes a video show up?
Now that you’re aware of the fact that Google favors content and even more precisely, videos, you still need to get your videos ranked higher than others’. Here’s how YouTube ranking system works, what it relies on to establish results priority order:
- How often users watch the video (long term).
- For how long users watch the video (average).
- Number of times viewers add the video to their playlists.
- How many comments are posted.
- Number of likes (and how do dislikes compare to them).
- How many subscribers the uploader currently has and their recent growth.
- How many times the video appear on external websites and social posts.
As you can see, optimizing your ranking is nearly impossible to do by yourself. Simply put, even with help from the best SEO specialist out there, you would still struggle. Especially if your content is not worth viewing, rating, debating and sharing. Those are the four main requirements you have to meet if you covet consistent results. By all means, don’t ignore them.
How much is SEO important for videos?
For your video to perform well in all previously listed statistics, people have to view it first anyway. Without search engine optimization, the best content won’t be noticed at all. Without the best content, SEO won’t be any use at all. Both are complement one another. They are thereby equally important for your videos to thrive. Particularly in an Internet world where 300 hours of videos are uploaded every single minute, only on YouTube…
Let’s focus on the optimization aspect:
- Shorter videos mean you have better chances for viewers to watch them entirely, and they usually perform much better (up to 2 to 3 minutes).
- Focus on how-to videos and explainers to answer users’ requests as best as possible.
- Choose keywords carefully for the title, description, and tags. Make sure that these will show rich snippets in search engines’ results.
- Transcribe the script. This will make it easier for YouTube bots to understand what you are saying or showing. They will, therefore, know whether or not your video is worth watching for users.
- Take advantage of backlinks, especially social network backlinks.
- Upload your videos to YouTube and not only on your website. Having them on both sites will make your SEO much stronger and efficient. There is not a single reason to not go for both.
- Always optimize your strategy for mobiles and social media. Missing that equals missing your whole strategy nowadays. Besides, keep in mind that creating different videos for different sites is the ideal way of doing content marketing. All media and channels have their specific purposes and audiences. Tailor your content.
- Have a wisely chosen goal: viral VS long tail. If you want to go viral, don’t focus on optimization but on content for a quick, short Long tail gives long–term value, over time. It helps to rank higher, thanks to the fact that YouTube prefers videos that are frequently watched. For SEO, long tail videos are the obvious choice. That is particularly true for B2B businesses. Indeed, they will always be more convinced by things that proven their worthiness over time rather than viral ones.
- Self-promotion is a waste of time for SEO. Bots and algorithms will always prioritize useful information over self-promotion. Self-promotion will only perform very well if you use specific methods made for that (AdWords). Even with promoted links and videos, content is still much more efficient.
- Always add a CTA (call to action) in your videos, preferably at their end. Moreover, make them easy and worth to share.
- Offer extra value for visiting your site (if the video is hosted outside). This is mostly done through Examples: discounts, more information, exceptional offer…
Benefits of SEO videos
Optimizing videos for search engines is somehow easier than textual content. Still, it is quite time-consuming and requires a lot of consideration and experience. How much exactly is it worth it?
Well done videos will perform great and will reach more targets. This will ensure you a much lower bounce rate and higher dwell time than other forms of content. According to Wistia, people spent 2,6 more time on pages with videos than pages without. More dwell time and better bounce rate give you a better SERP (search engine result page) ranking.
Moreover, videos, especially on YouTube, will allow much better feedback. First, because users can leave comments and ratings, but also because you have plenty of very accurate statistics. Including: how long did they watch, at what specific time did they leave, how frequently do they watch and share, et cetera. These allow you to improve your strategy over time and tailor it precisely.
Dropbox is an excellent example of that practice. The company added a single explainer video on their main page and that increased conversion rate by a stunning 10%. And that was only the beginning.
Videos are fundamental to companies nowadays. People will always check the Internet and look for information throughout search engines. Having a good SERP ranking is absolutely mandatory. Therefore, optimizing your videos as well as your whole strategy is necessary too.
Keep in mind that you should not, in most cases, restrict to video content. A great strategy is one that is diversified. Sites with both articles and videos will always rank higher, at least if they have proper SEO. Besides, always link your contents towards each other whenever possible. Backlinks are an awesome source of traffic.
To conclude, be aware that, as for social media, content marketing and SEO takes time and has an indirect impact! You need to be patient and drive a hard bargain to succeed.