To video or not to video, to boost discoverability?

To video or not to video, to boost discoverability?
YouTube has been outperforming Yahoo and Bing in terms daily searches which indicates that videos can be an important traffic builder for your website especially if your video is hosted on YouTube. In fact, in 2009 a Forrester study stated that “pages with video are 53x more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results.” Despite being a five year old study, yet the point prevails – Google SERPs prioritizes video results.

Yet the focus of each organization should predominantly be to deliver first class video experiences as opposed to focusing on increasing their ranking and discoverability.

Any company can enrich its website by adding video content but that alone does not guarantee increased and improved SEO rankings. The objective should still be to ensure that the content and key messages are targeting their audience.

Videos that historically do well and become popular and viral are ones that are entertaining or add value to their target audiences.

So, the million dollar question is, should we do videos to accomplish SEO success? A combination of tactics can ensure video is optimized for search engine success. See some tips below to help you out:

Get listed in more video search engines
YouTube is a hugely important search engine. So upload your videos on YouTube, vimeo and other video-search sites.

Use schema mark-up
According to Dan Shewan (source Wordstream, March 2014), Schema is a type of microdata that makes it easier for search engines to parse and interpret the information on your web pages more effectively so they can serve relevant results to users based on search queries.

Invest in a video site map
Create a video site map so that you can attach tags to your video to impact your SEO positively. Also, use schema on the unique video page to process the results and index more efficiently.

Use a unique URL
It’s important to use a unique URL for each video and include schema code in the unique video player page for each video that’s specific to the video loaded in the player.

Label it
Create a nice label with relevant keywords or a short description of the video. Also use an <H> tag in the HTML around this label.

Describe it
Include a longer description, again with relevant and targeted keywords.

Don’t overdo keywords
Google nowadays penalises sites that overload their video titles and descriptions with keywords. So, don’t overuse keywords. Try to write your keywords in an engaging and relevant manner to your audience, with accurate tags and a clear title prompting the user what he / she will watch.

Use ‘video’ in your title and descriptions
Try and incorporate terms such as ‘video’ and ‘how to’ in order to improve the possibility of your content returning a video thumbnail result. Remember, you’re trying to tell the search engines that this is a video.

Link to it
Create links, on your site and others to the video page, using keywords and the term video in the link.

Submit it
You can include video content in your sitemap or create a special mRSS (media RSS) feed, providing the video title, description, a thumbnail URL, and so on. Also, when you upload your video ensure you completely fill in the description with your best keywords. Use your url in the title of the video. Use your url in the first line of the video description which is what viewers see first when they perform a search.

Transcribe it
Transcripts open up your content to more people. They also enable search engines to better understand the content. Research indicates that captions can boost SEO by increasing keyword density, and also increase the completion rate of video from 40% to 80%.

Don’t use pop-up video players
Opt to embed the videos into your page instead. If you do use pop-ups, the video might not be found by the search engines. You might also allow other people to embed your video into their sites.

Keep Your Video Short
Ideally your video should be less than 4 minutes as engagement rates fall after 4-5 minutes.

Create Rich-Video Snippets
This is the thumbnail next to the description of the content on the page.

According to Luke Gaydon of Econsultancy “Any video SEO strategy must start with, and build upon, a website SEO strategy, and HTML mark-up will only grow in relevance as search engines depend upon tags to boost the effectiveness and accuracy of search results. But even more fundamental to success with video is the importance of creating content for people, rather than for search engine robots.”

Additionally, according to Eric Sui at Entrepeneur.com: “Google now cares less about whether you’ve optimized each individual page on your site to a particular keyword and more about whether your page’s content answers the question presented by the search user.”

So, remember the benefits and the impact of videos on your click rates
  • People are the ones creating links to your content – not robots and people like video if they are entertaining and engaging.
  • Higher Click Through rate - According to an aimClear study search results with video have a “41% higher click-through rate than plain text” due to the rich-video snippets beside search results
  • Videos Make Your Pages “Sticky” – with an average online attention span less than eight seconds using videos is the easiest way to make people stay.
  • Page Authority - Video buys your site those crucial seconds that make all the difference. According to one comScore study of retail sites shows that “visitors who view video stay two minutes longer and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors.”


George Botsaris
George Botsaris
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