22 June 2020
Video should be part of your content marketing strategy. Just like with your blog posts and articles, SEO is essential, so avoid simply creating endless content and putting it out into the void.
There are certain guidelines to optimising your videos for SEO and giving them the best chance to drive traffic to your site and boost conversions. Here’s a more thorough look at all the benefits of video SEO:
Improve dwell time on your site. According to SEMrush, dwell time is the second-most important factor when trying to increase your click through rates. Video results appearing in SERPs (search engine results pages) are more attractive than text based results and are more likely to get the click.
Decrease your bounce rates. Not only does video grab attention immediately, it also can more clearly explain your site, capturing that portion of searchers who’ll exit immediately if they’re not sure about the site. Search engines interpret lower bounce rates as more positive user experience, which can boost your rankings.
Strengthen your keyword strategy. Including a description (or even transcription) below your video will give Google more text that includes your chosen keywords to index and increase your chances of appearing higher up in search results.
Get more backlinks. Great video begs to be shared. People are more likely to share (and create backlinks to your site) if you have an evocative, funny, or useful video. Backlinks drive more organic traffic to your site, and also increase your site’s authority in the eyes of Google.
YOUTUBE, VIMEO, OR SELF HOSTED?
You can host your video either on your own site, or on a video hosting platform like YouTube or Vimeo. We recommend you do both. Hosting your video on YouTube or Vimeo allows you to take advantage of all their established traffic. YouTube and Vimeo both have relative advantages. YouTube is simply bigger, with 82% of video search results pulled from there. Vimeo on the other hand, is ad-free and more professional, which might be important if you’re considering your brand’s reputation. You can also now customise your Vimeo player to match your brand or campaign colours. If your video is hosted on a streaming platform, you can still embed it on your own site, allowing visitors to enjoy it without the distraction of all the other videos.
Wherever you decide to host, optimising your video for SEO is similar to optimising a blog post or web page. It’s all about making sure that search engines can find the appropriate information and making sure people want to click through.
Titles and Descriptions
Write titles that hook viewers in and include keywords, and descriptions that clearly explain the topic and value of the video. Common video search terms are ‘how to’ and ‘review’, so include those if appropriate. Video provides a number of opportunities to give search engines more keyword-rich text to crawl, namely closed captions, and scripts and transcripts.
Transcripts and Closed Captions
If your hosting platform doesn’t have an option to include a transcript, you can include one in the description box or just underneath the video on the page. Just like audio should be optimised for listening, transcripts should be optimised for reading and skim-reading, so keep this in mind while editing. It’s okay if your transcript doesn’t match the written script word for word. That being said, remember that search engines will be indexing your script, so make sure it includes plenty of (natural sounding) keywords!
Adding closed captions is a great idea. Not only does it make your content more accessible, it also means people scrolling with the sound off can still engage with your content. Plus, Google crawls the text, which means even more keyword-rich text is boosting your SEO efforts. Although some platforms may have automatic captioning available, make sure you check and edit these, as they’re often incorrect.
Thumbnails play a huge part in whether people will choose to click or not, so don’t leave it to chance. If you’re hosting on your own site, you can define exactly which second in the video should appear as the thumbnail (or get a web developer to help you if grappling with HTML is beyond you). If you’re hosting on a streaming platform, you can upload any image to use as the thumbnail, it doesn’t have to be a still from the video.
If you’re hosting on a streaming platform, you’ll have the option to include tags in your video. These tags help the platform group your content with other relevant content and make smarter suggestions to viewers. Viewers don’t see these, so go ahead and include as many keyword variations as you can think of.
Don’t be shy. Ask for the ‘like, comment, subscribe, or share’ at the end of your videos. Platforms use engagement metrics to determine whether users are enjoying the content, so it’s worth taking the extra second to encourage some engagement.
WHERE TO DISTRIBUTE VIDEO?
With all the different types of video, it can be tricky at first trying to figure out what to publish where. While there are no hard and fast rules, there are a few common-sense guidelines that will help you decide.
ON YOUR WEBSITE AND LANDING PAGES
Using video on your website and landing pages brings plenty of SEO benefits, as outlined in the section above. Your website is a good place to put evergreen video content that won’t need to be updated too often. Think about something informative, non-time sensitive, and interesting.
IN YOUR EMAIL MARKETING
Using video in an email can increase click through rates by 96% and decrease opt-outs by 75%. In fact, even just using the word ‘video’ in the subject line can bring substantial benefits, increasing open rates by 19%. Assuming your emails are already personalised, imagine the impact of sending out personalised email content to your list!
The benefits of having video on your blog are more or less the same as having them on a website or landing page. If you’re incorporating guest blogging into your SEO strategy and are submitting blog posts to partners, including a short video could increase your chance of getting shared. After all, you’d be providing them the benefits of video and saving them the effort of making it themselves.
As with blogs, you’re greatly increasing your chances of your release being shared on a site if you’re giving them video benefits.
YouTube has over 2 billion active users. Take advantage of the people already spending time on the platform. Remember that YouTube is designed to suck people into black holes of related videos though, so use your channel to drive people back to your website.
From a numbers perspective alone, Facebook’s 2 billion users could rival YouTube, but there is one advantage. Everyone on YouTube is posting video. Your videos on Facebook are competing with image and text based posts too – which makes them stand out even more.
OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Every social media platform these days has some kind of video capability. LinkedIn has embraced video lately, as has Twitter, Instagram has always been a visually driven platform, and TikTok is video-only. Just make sure you double check the specifications for each platform instead of blasting the same one out and getting subpar results.
For more Video Marketing insights, check out our free online e-book.