Marketers and managers have thrown around buzzwords like “SEO” for years, often with little understanding of what they mean, much less how they work. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is one of the key pillars of online marketing. To put it simply, it is the process of getting more traffic from unpaid sources – most notably search engines like Google.
A website well-optimized for search is more likely to appear in the front page of search results, and thus more easily found by customers. On the most fundamental level, the best way to optimize your website is to offer quality content to visitors. This means content that offers value in the form of information or entertainment, such as blogs, images, and videos.
Lately, video in particular has proven itself as a major SEO booster. With that in mind, this article will show how you can use videos to increase the organic (i.e. unpaid) traffic to your website.
Learning the technical specifics of SEO takes time you probably don’t have, but fortunately you can improve
1. Add Titles, Captions, and Metadata
Whether it’s a product or a service, sometimes you need to explain what you offer. If your company has a more complex buying process, you can put your customers’ minds at ease by walking them through it. Or, if your product has a learning curve, create some short and simple videos explaining how to use it best.
If you’re like Media272, you might have a service that requires some explanation. Videos like this can help clarify what you offer:
Here are some other aspects of inserting video into your web pages that you should know about:
- TITLE: the main factor determining whether your video appears in search results. Also, a good title will help viewers decide if they want to watch the video or not, so it could increase your video play rate. More views means more time spent on your page, which means higher ranking by search engines.
- DESCRIPTION: On YouTube, description is interchangeable with caption, but on your website, it’s a bit different. What you type in your video description will display in text in search engine results. It also helps search engines find and display your video when people search for related terms online, or keywords.
- TAGS: Related words and terms that connect to your content in some way. These are factored into search results, but not given as much weight
- TRANSCRIPTS: In certain places, it can help to add a typed version of everything said in the video. This ensures relevant content is more likely to be picked up by search engines, and it provides an alternative to people who are either hearing impaired or for one reason or another are unable to play the video with volume.
Because Google is essentially a database of text, the more text you can attach to your video, the better. Just make sure that the text is quality content, rather than spam or excessive keywords! As a rule of thumb, any new text you add should clarify or otherwise add value to the existing content.
2. Set Clear and Relevant Thumbnails
To be clear, Google will not rank you higher because of the content in your thumbnail. However, thumbnails are indirectly helpful with SEO because they significantly affect the number clicks your video receives. A clear thumbnail relevant to your topic will attract more clicks, especially if it grabs a viewer’s attention.
More clicks = more views = more engagement with your site = better SEO
Make sure your thumbnail is eye catching and suggestive of the content within. A good thumbnail is one that leaves viewers wanting to know what else is in the video. Further, a watermark or logo on your thumbnail also shows a level of professionalism, so potential viewers know they will find quality content. On YouTube in particular, a good thumbnail will significantly increase views.
Similar to thumbnails, you can add a poster image (as seen above), which is the image that appears when you look at a video on a page before pressing play (as opposed to seeing a random scene or a black rectangle). This is a chance to add an image that’s interesting, intriguing, or if nothing else, relevant.
3. Upload to Multiple Platforms
You might already understand how self-hosting your videos is better for SEO than simply embedding a YouTube video. A video on your landing page will help increase conversions and increase visitor engagement with your site.
However, this misses the bigger picture. By uploading your video to a variety of platforms, you increase your odds that potential customers will see it and become more familiar with your company. Additionally, each place you upload your video is one more location from which to link to your website, thus increasing traffic from a wider variety of places (another SEO booster).
When using different platforms, be sure to change your descriptions slightly on each. No need to completely rewrite them, but having diverse text descriptions will increase the chances that your video will be found on any given platform, while preventing a drop in search rankings due to duplicate content.
Sidenote: If you’re fairly internet savvy you might already know this, but never use flash for your videos. Among other reasons, search engines don’t even recognize it anymore.
4. Pay attention to Mobile Optimization
Most SEO articles will bash you over the head with the importance of mobile optimization, but will fail to mention this isn’t the same for everyone. As a whole, mobile video viewing surpassed desktop viewing years ago, so if you’re selling B2C, you should absolutely put in the time to make sure your videos are mobile friendly.
That said, the majority of businesses still view videos more on desktop computers, which means if you sell B2B, you don’t need to panic as much about prioritizing desktop views for your content.
Overall, it will still be in your best interest to optimize your website and its content for mobile as time goes on, so don’t wait too long. Mobile traffic still makes up a sizeable portion of B2B traffic, and providing a seamless experience for mobile users will help your SEO efforts.
Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo are automatically set up for this, but a video player on your website? Not necessarily. There are many tips and tricks for doing this well: for more technical information on how to keep your videos optimized for the web, check out this guide by Google.
5. Understand the Power of Links
The internet functions similarly to any other human network, where each website is like a person. If a person is well-connected and provides value to their connections, they become a central figure in the broader network. CEOs, politicians, and celebrities are some of the more extreme examples of this.
So if a handful of CEOs and celebrities all endorse a certain other individual, people who trust these central figures are much more likely to follow suit. Likewise, if the Apple website provides a link to some obscure personal site, this provides strong validation for the small website, so both apple.com’s visitors and search engines will take it more seriously.
To greatly oversimplify this, search engines like Google look at these networks and try to determine which are the most relevant sites to the most people. That way when you search for information, the web pages in your results are ordered not just by how relevant they are to your search terms, but by how central they are within the internet as a whole.
For instance, if you search a person’s name, you will probably find their LinkedIn or Facebook profile long before you find their personal website, because these social networks are drastically more central within the internet.
To sum this up, if you provide valuable information or services on your site, more people will link to your site. When more people link to your site, more people know about you, and more search engines will show you near the top of their results. The more popular the website that links to you, the better. Whether you receive these links from social media sites, or from individuals within influential businesses, your webpage — and therefore your business — stands to benefit.
6. Take Advantage of Specialization
Odds are, the value you offer as a business doesn’t come from the video itself, and it doesn’t come from your superior understanding of SEO. That’s why you hire others to do these things.
Which is a better use of your time: paying your own employees to do a task they aren’t experts in (rather than using the strengths you hired them for), or letting them do what they do best while you hire an outside company who does this work professionally?
Companies like Media272 can create professional videos for your business, and if you don’t feel you can invest the time to become an SEO expert, video distribution services like Traffic Geyser can help.
With today’s technology, it may be tempting to create videos yourself. However, using a video production company ensures you have quality content (which is better for SEO), and that you can spend that extra time doing what you do best.
While some SEO tips stay more or less consistent, search engines are constantly evolving. This may make the task of optimization sound daunting, but in reality it can work to your benefit. That’s because the purpose of search engines is to match searchers with the most relevant content possible. So if you provide quality content and valuable services, all things being equal you will gradually increase organic traffic.
Essentially, to overcome the quickly evolving and often confusing changes in SEO, we must ignore common trends like stuffing in a bunch of keywords or irrelevant tags just to try and game search engines. Instead, focus on making your content valuable (or at least entertaining) to customers, so they always want more of it. If you offer something to customers and provide an enjoyable or beneficial experience, Google search will reward that.
In a sentence: provide valuable content meant for humans rather than machines, and you will perform better in the long run than those who don’t.
If you want to learn more about getting started with video to kickstart your marketing efforts, follow the link below.
– Drew Estes, July 2018 –
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