Seven years ago, Google revolutionised the text-only landscape of its results pages (SERPs) by adding visuals. Nowadays, you’ll have noticed that video results are appearing closer to the top.
Video content obviously has a big role to play in search engine optimisation (SEO).
In an article for Business2Community, IdeaRocket content marketer Shawn Forno outlines the four key reasons behind why video is an invaluable asset in your efforts to attract traffic and keep the attention of visitors.
Quality content over added keywords
Firstly, as we already mentioned, videos rank higher in SERPs. But why? Forno quotes an estimate by WordTracker’s Gareth Davies; according to him 80% of the video content that ranks highly in results pages is made up of informative videos – cooking recipes, instructions on how to assemble and use products, DIY guides, walkthrough solutions to specific problems, etc. This, it seems, is what people are after.
Because of this, Google’s Hummingbird search algorithm update from last autumn has been designed to prioritise quality content over keywords. So, even if you have optimised a page for a keyword, Google will instead focus on whether it answers users’ questions or not and give priority to a page that does.
Other ways to optimise your video
So, how do you optimise your videos for SERP? One piece of advice Forno gives is to keep them shorter – about four minutes long – so people will watch them all the way through. You should also provide attractive thumbnails for your videos so they look better on SERPs and include a transcript so search crawlers can scan it for relevant content.
Thumbnails are the key to the second reason videos are so valuable for SEO: they encourage people to open the video. A good thumbnail shows that the video itself is good, so people will choose it over less attractive videos. However, you should make sure that once they click on the video they go to your website (and create traffic), instead of heading to where the video is hosted (usually YouTube). To keep traffic where it belongs, embed your video on your site, Forno suggests.
Climb the results’ list
The third major benefit of video comes from the fact that people actually spend time watching them. If a person stays on your site through the duration of the video, it will bring down your bounce rate. It also brings up dwell time, a metric Google introduced in 2012 to measure how much time people spend on pages. The logic is simple – if people sit through an entire video, then the content is relevant, and a higher dwell time takes you up in SERPs.
Google also cares if your content is linked. Time-pressed users tend to skim over text articles as video is faster and easier to consume. It’s the same reason behind why they prefer to share videos over text. This is the fourth biggest advantage of video content, so make sure you focus your video on a relevant topic, make sure it is good quality and remember to embed it on your site and optimise it for video linking.
If you’re a little bit lost with these latest developments and need a helping hand with your marketing strategy, then don’t panic – we’ve been doing this for years and take pride in the expertise of our team.