There seems to be a lot of marketing myth concerning video and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). There’s no doubt that video is a powerful marketing tool and is very beneficial when it comes to user engagement, but it’s not entirely the magic cure all for SEO that many profess it to be.
Video is Popular
Don’t get me wrong, video is powerful. Not just with desktop users, we can access video on our smartphones and watch content on the move. Indeed, research by the Local Search Association (LSA), suggests that video is expected to take up almost 80% of all internet traffic by the end of the decade.
Marketing spend on video is rising and is increasing in popularity among SMEs, both here in the UK and around the globe. That doesn’t mean there aren’t issues. According to the LSA poll, nearly half of small businesses cite lack of budget and available technical experience as barriers to engaging in this kind of content.
Marketers are fond of saying a picture paints a thousand words and it’s not far from the truth. If a picture does indeed paint a thousand words, moving pictures (video) has us mesmerised and completely under it’s spell, especially if the content is set to play automatically. As consumers we engage with visual material much better and more often than written content.
SEO and Video Content
Video is beneficial for your organic site ranking, but simply uploading a video and jumping up the search engine rankings is not going to happen. Having video content on your web pages suggests that you have quality content – something that web crawlers, search engines like Google are always looking for. However, search engines can only “see” a limited amount of data when it comes to video. It can see when someone clicks the play button, it can see how much of the video is watched and both activities (as long as the user doesn’t immediately click away) will help that page to rank. Experts suggest that video will continue to be an important metric in SEO algorithms, so technically having that video on your page is going to help boost its ranking, if it is optimised correctly! Here are a few tips to help you:
- Putting keywords into your video information is important, just as it is with other media such as images. Make sure your title has your keyword included (as close to the front as possible).
- Transcribe your video! Not everyone will be able to hear the content, the search engines can’t. So, give them a helping hand and transcribe the video content.
- When adding video content to your site don’t upload it directly to the site files, video files tend to be huge. If you upload the video directly you will slow your site down. A slow site will be detrimental to your SEO rankings.
- Add geotagging to your video, this will help the search engines to determine your location and like it or not, Google and the like rely heavily of geographical locations for their results.
- Add a couple (only a couple) of relevant meta tags to your video.
- Make sure the page or post has a well written meta description that includes your selected keyword.
- Add this valuable collateral to your social media channels with links back to the page it sits on within your website.
Making the Most of Video Content
Hosting: I always recommend uploading your video content to YouTube, it is owned by Google which is beneficial when it comes to SEO. Hosting the files on a video sharing site and embedding the video code to your site, can also stop your own site from being plagued with slow download speeds. The speed at which your video appears on a user’s screen is important – over half of users are likely to stop a download if it takes more than just a few seconds to appear on their smartphone or tablet.
Backlinks: You can create useful backlinks into your website from your YouTube channel or other video hosting sites, something which still impacts on overall SEO. And, of course, there’s the opportunity to build social signals and get your content on platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn (profile) and Facebook with links back to your site.
All this works very well if you get it right, but it’s not the be all and end all and is certainly not a magical SEO cure for your website. You need to ensure that you have the SEO basic foundations covered. If these components are missing from your site, no amount of video content is going to remedy your ranking problem.
While I believe you should make sure video content is included in your overall digital marketing and SEO strategy, it is not a cure all! So, to bust the myth – next time you hear someone utter the phrase – video is great for SEO, ask them “How so?”.