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The Rise of Video: 8 Tips to Boost Your Site’s SEO With Video
Columnist Wesley Young takes a look at the Local Search Association's latest research on how consumers respond to video ads -- and how local businesses can take advantage of this effective marketing tool.
It wasn’t all that long ago that we were talking about how mobile was growing and the impact it would have in changing the marketing landscape. Been there, done that. So what’s the next thing that will revolutionize the marketplace? There’s a good chance it is video.
Video already makes up 64 percent of all internet traffic, according to Cisco’s 2014 Visual Networking Index, and it’s forecast to grow to 80 percent of all traffic by 2019. The popularity of video has spread to advertising and marketing, as well, with eMarketer estimating that $7.77 billion will be spent on online video advertising in 2015.
Spend on video advertising is expected to almost double in the next four years, to $14.38 billion, with mobile growing at an average rate of 65 percent each year. Even the much-maligned desktop will experience growth in video advertising at an average rate of 11.5 percent per year.
This growth extends across all sizes of advertisers. The Local Search Association (LSA) just released a white paper titled Online Video’s Next Frontier – Local, and our research shows that SMBs’ use of online video in marketing has doubled in the last year alone.
While only seven percent of small local businesses with annual marketing budgets of less than $10,000 used video last year, 12 percent use it this year, an increase of 71 percent.
For those SMBs with marketing budgets of more than $10,000, 37 percent use video this year, an increase of 131 percent over last year.
Effectiveness Of Video
The reason for such rapid growth in video advertising is its effectiveness. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth much more. Forrester estimates that one minute of video equates to 1.8 million words of text in the message communicated.
The effectiveness of video is more than just volume. Even with that much information crammed into one message, consumers remember videos. The Online Publishers Association states that 80 percent of users recall watching a video ad in the past month, with a whopping 46 percent of those taking some follow-up action, such as looking for more information or visiting the advertiser’s website.
LSA’s white paper cites similar numbers. LSA surveyed 2,000 consumers and found that 44 percent of buyers viewed an online video while searching for local products and services. Fifty-three percent of viewers contacted the business after watching a video, 51 percent visited the business website, and 33 percent visited the store. Seventy-one percent of viewers ended up making a purchase.
Performance numbers like these explain the high satisfaction rates SMBs have with online video. LSA’s white paper reports that 70 percent of local businesses were satisfied with the performance of their online video marketing, suggesting this is an area where marketers can boost their reputation with clients.
Ease Of Use
There remain some obstacles to using video, especially for small businesses. LSA’s white paper reports that 47 percent of respondents cited lack of budget as an obstacle, and 45 percent said they lacked in-house expertise to create compelling content.
Yet technology is making video ever more accessible, and there are ways to simplify video production to overcome those obstacles. Jon Barocas, CEO of bieMEDIA, a provider of online video marketing content, states, “The price of online video production is dropping dramatically due to the technology required to shoot, edit and distribute online video.”
Perhaps the most successful example of low-cost video is Dollar Shave Club’s promotion that went viral. The video cost $4,500 and generated 12,000 orders within 48 hours. That was three years ago; today, the video has almost 20 million views.
While that may be an anomaly, it certainly demonstrates that you don’t need a six-figure budget to create a compelling video. Here are several ways local businesses can keep video production simple and inexpensive:
Use simpler video formats. Videos don’t have to be movies with actors and special effects.
- Animation is very popular and can be kept simple. Below is an example of a video using stick figures.
- Photo montages create flow without movement, and parallax technology creates motion from still photos. The video below was made using only still photos.
Keep videos short. A study released this year from Microsoft revealed that people have shorter attention spans than goldfish: eight seconds. Yet it is surprising how much information can be communicated in a short time via video. Check out this six-second Vine video from Lowes:
Cut the script. Since video communicates so much on its own visually, sometimes you don’t even need a script for it. Check out this video from Brazilian restaurant and bar 512 Espaco Cultural.
Bundle services. Including video with other bundled services such as websites, landing pages and enhanced listings can help keep costs down.
8 Tips On Using Video To Improve SEO
Even the best video is useless unless it can be found. Here are some tips about how to use video to improve SEO and get your website and your video found.
- Video integration. The presence of video itself affects the most important SEO ranking factor: content. Video is evidence of quality content, and as part of a media mix on a site, it helps send signals to search engines that your page or site contains rich media relevant to search requests. It is expected that search engines will continue to increase the ranking factor of including video as consumers demand video in search results. So having video on your site will boost page rank.
- Keyword labels. Provide more information to search engines to help identify your videos as relevant to search results, just as you would label pictures and graphics. Including keywords used for text SEO in fields used to describe your video (in titles, file names, descriptions and tags) ensures that the relevance of your video to search results is clear to search engines.
- Video transcript. Including a transcript of the audio portion of your video improves its findability and adds further support for its relevance to search requests.
- Video sitemap. While information on your video sitemap might duplicate some of the keyword labels used to identify the video, it is a separate process. Video sitemaps are an extension to the general sitemap of your Web property. Metadata that may be customized include duration, rating, view count, age appropriateness, whether the video may be embedded and other useful information.
- Host your video on YouTube. YouTube is, on its own, the second-largest search engine in number of search queries. Secondly, YouTube is owned by Google. You can make your own conclusion about what that means, or you can look at this chart. While some suggest hosting your video on your own website for SEO purposes, my conclusion is that in universal search results, videos either come tied with big-name brands or tied to publisher sites like YouTube, AllRecipes or ThisOldHouse. For small local businesses, exposure on YouTube that triggers secondary actions is likely your better bet. You also don’t risk bogging down your site with slow load times.
- Optimize videos for load time. Google considers page performance in its algorithm. Page load time affects user experience, which means it affects SEO. And users turn away from slow sites — 57 percent of mobile users abandon the site after three seconds of waiting, according to Radware. Check out this tip from Digital Inspiration on how to use an embedded video thumbnail that does not load the video player until the play button is hit.
- Backlink from your YouTube video. While shares and links to your YouTube video won’t count as links to your website, you can create two backlinks from YouTube. Create a YouTube channel and insert your Web page into your channel profile. Also insert your link in the video description.
- Social signals. Getting more people to like or view your video is a positive signal to search engines of the value of your content. This will increase the likelihood of your video being found and driving traffic to your site.
Video will only continue to grow in popularity and accessibility. Consumers like video, use video and remember video. Those are all great components for a successful marketing strategy.
It’s also becoming much more affordable and accessible for local businesses. Make sure to use video both for the marketing power it brings and for its increasing importance to your site’s SEO.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.