Why all the fuss about the importance of online video SEO for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as a way to ultimately help to drive action and sales? I get versions of this question on a super regular basis, but instead of trotting out some top-level trends, today I thought I’d cite a specific study that proves to be very illustrative to this discussion:
In looking at a bevy of recent writings, some very interesting research was noted by my friend and SEO guru Mark Robertson, who reported that research from the folks at FindLaw showed that video marketing, which in this case meant adding an online video to a law firm’s web site, can help increase, to a somewhat dramatic extent, conversions from prospective clients.
The research reported that consumers typically visit an average of nearly five Web sites (4.8 actually) before deciding which attorney to select. When lawyers added video to their respective Web sites, however, this number decreased fairly substantially, to 1.8. Studies like this are great. They show the promise of how video can help small and medium sized businesses and point to the importance of placing video strategically throughout the “buying funnel” with the right messaging at the right time—and in the legal case above, accelerate people down the buying funnel. Let’s explore some possible explanations, of which there are many.
Online video can = better landing pages and conversions vis-à-vis users who arrive from the major search engines and elsewhere. Working with a range of clients on search engine marketing tactics incorporating video ads into their landing pages, we’ve seen conversions (we define as people who are viewing the video and clicking on a direct response action such as email inquiry, clicking for more information, or clicking to provide contact information a.k.a. lead generation) as high as 50%!
On a crowded search results page, online video can make the choice seem more clear, limiting the need or desire by users to “shop around” though search results and elsewhere. It’s too early to tell conclusively, but one would surmise that at a time when the use of video is still comparatively limited, the companies who do use it have a chance to “stand out” from others, whether in search results or elsewhere. Over time, however, as more and more SMBs leverage video in their search marketing, that will change. Longer-term, what will help businesses engage prospects is having the right video presented at the right time. Having the ability to measure the effectiveness of video advertising is something more businesses are aggressively focusing on now – having moved way past the notion that just publishing video is good enough to stand out.
The wow factor: Related to the above, people are attracted to something new. As I’ve written in the past few months, the Wow Factor only goes so far, especially as more companies adopt online video: Quality and relevant content will ultimately win, boosted by effective technologies and presentation formats, like video. For SMBs, I cannot underscore enough the importance of what I mean by effective technologies. To be effective, it has to be utilized. Looking back at our own experience in launching a video platform earlier this year, we spent a ton of time striving to make the process as “Apple-like” as possible – i.e., as elegant and simple as possible for business use. This means taking the word technology out of the businesses’ mindset and letting them focus on creating informative video ads that they can adjust and optimize that helps them in search discovery—and more importantly, giving viewers a reason to engage.
If it’s done right, video can make sites more relevant and useful to consumers: This helps in the SEO world, of course, but it’s just plain good business, too. To really work over time, online video and video SEO require freshness, tweaking, and just plain updating, just like Web sites and blogs do. This is to not only be discovered through search engines, but to be more fully read or viewed by users.
It’s been said before, but bears reiterating: Online video can level the playing field for the small business people of the world, by providing an affordable and interesting way to showcase points of differentiation from bigger competitors. From an SEO standpoint, it’s the ability to easily adjust and update that will drive true value both for search optimization, user engagement, and ultimately faster conversions.
This may seem like a lot to extrapolate from one study of the legal category, but it’s important to remember that most lawyers operate as small businesses. Just like any other small business, they need to stand out from the pack in crowded marketplaces, ultimately for the benefit of driving closer to their goal: more business.
Glenn Pingul is VP of marketing for Mixpo, an online video advertising company dedicated to small- and medium-sized businesses. The Small Is Beautiful column appears on Thursdays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.