Video and SEO: A Match Made in Rankings Heaven?

video and seoSince the earliest days of television, companies have recognized the power of video and its ability to help them connect with their consumers and illustrate the benefits of products and services. In the digital era, video is arguably even more important, as it is accessible via TV, desktop computers, tablets, smartphones, kiosks, and many more sources, opening entirely new worlds for consumer connection.

The digital space is also dominated by search engine optimization, an approach that allows companies to laser focus their marketing and messaging. So how do these two tactics – video and SEO – interrelate, and what are the possibilities and pitfalls of entwining them?

Let’s take a look.

The Benefits of Incorporating Video into Your SEO Campaign

1. Increased Visibility on Search Engines

Google and other search engines have long valued videos and other forms of media on pages, since high-quality videos, images, audio elements, and other aspects can complement website copy and enhance a user’s experience. These elements are established ranking factors within Google’s algorithm, and pages which feature them are known to perform better than those which lack them.

By using video, you also could find your page turned into a featured snippet on Google. Featured snippets are special boxes in search results that highlight information relevant to searchers’ queries. While regular snippets without video are great, video-rich snippets help you stand out from the pack even more, making it more likely your site will be clicked.

Along with this, considering Google’s ownership of YouTube, the company is predisposed to favor pages that lead to their own platform. So, when creating a video for your business, it’s a good idea to initially post the video on YouTube and then embed that video link on your own page. This will help you get hits on your YouTube channel, but will also encourage Google’s algorithm to rank you more highly for organic searches.

2. More Keyword Opportunities

Keywords are the lifeblood of SEO, in that they let search engines know what topics your pages are focused on so the most relevant users can be taken to your site.

While keywords can be incorporated into paragraphs, headers, and metadata for on-page copy, other options exist as well. For instance, you can optimize video titles with keywords to help improve your visibility in search engines. But beyond that, platforms such as YouTube are perfect for adding in keywords via backend tags and as part of the descriptions of videos. Doing so will not only help you to rank well within platforms like YouTube itself, but also on Google and other search engines.

3. Longer Site Visits

A well-made video keeps people interested, which ensures they will stay on your site longer. While time on site isn’t an official ranking factor considered by Google, the longer a visitor remains on your site the more likely they are to engage with more of your content and reach out to you about services.

As Lemonlight reports, people spend approximately twice as long on a page that features video content compared to pages that don’t, so it’s definitely beneficial to keep video in mind for this reason.

4. More Shares on Social

People love to share content they find interesting on social media platforms, so having worthwhile videos on your site can increase the likelihood of these shares taking place.

Since incorporating videos can be a part of your overall SEO campaign, such shares (and, ultimately, site visits) can be seen as directly brought about by the SEO work you’re engaging in. Yet another reason to consider the viability of video for your operations.

5. Gaining Backlinks

Backlinks are a foundational aspect of SEO, in that Google and other search engines are more likely to see a website as worthy of higher rankings when reputable sites have linked to it.

With well-produced videos being beneficial elements for site visitors looking to learn about a given subject, pages featuring such helpful videos are more likely to be linked to by visitors who oversee other websites. By displaying your industry expertise through video, you’ll be putting your site in a great position to be linked elsewhere, boosting your backlink profile and raising your value in Google’s eyes.

6. Increased Sales

That’s the name of the game, isn’t it? Your SEO campaign is only as strong as the results it produces, with more leads and sales being of vital importance. Thankfully, video can aid in this aspect as well.

As Plainly reports, approximately 51% of consumers are said to rely on product videos when they are looking to make an educated purchasing decision. HubSpot, meanwhile, notes that 89% of people report being swayed to purchase a product after having watched an explanation video.

Drawbacks to Video: 7 Things to Note

While it’s clear from the above info that video can be a greatly beneficial tool for companies and their SEO teams, the format is not without its problems. Though we believe the advantages definitely outweigh the problems, we’d be remiss if we didn’t address some of the downsides.

  • Slower load times – Videos can be a great asset, but they also run the risk of bogging down your site, at least a little bit. Some websites and content management systems might become a little more sluggish with videos incorporated, which could be detrimental to SEO since page speed is a ranking factor. Due to this, you’ll want to research your CMS and run some tests to see how well it works with new videos before implementing changes sitewide.
  • User exits – Though we discussed above the benefits of adding a video to a platform such as YouTube first and then embedding the platform’s version on your site, there is also a risk involved with this tactic. Users could click out on the video and visit the platform itself, whether it’s YouTube, Vimeo, or another site, taking them away from your content.
  • Weak user signals – Related to our first point, weak signals from a user’s personal WiFi could lead to pages featuring videos taking too long to load, or simply not loading properly at all, at least for a period. Though there is no fix for this on the site owner’s end, it’s a pitfall to be aware of.
  • Detracting from other methods – Since video can be costly to produce, it can take away from other viable SEO strategies such as written content creation, link building, guest posting, website development, and more.
  • Less viability in some ways – Video certainly has its advantages, but tried-and-true written SEO copy is still king, as keyword-rich content can bring considerable traffic, leads, and sales to a site over time. While video can complement such copy well, it can’t replace it, so video needs to be seen as an add-on rather than a self-contained alternative.
  • Time commitment – Going hand in hand with the cost aspect mentioned above is video’s time-consuming nature. Since videos need to be planned, written, performed, lit, shot, and edited, a lot goes into their creation. Plus, anyone who has worked on film shoots can tell you that many unexpected problems can arise, lengthening shoots even further.
  • Updating is problematic – It’s easy to update a piece of written SEO content, since talented writers can expand a page, alter its direction, incorporate new keywords, and perform other tasks in just a few hours. Updating videos, however, is more of a struggle, due to the aforementioned cost and duration involved. Plus, if you don’t have your original editing files, you may need to start from scratch or could be very limited in exactly what you could change.

If you’re considering using video alongside SEO, be sure to keep the preceding aspects in mind. With a well-balanced approach, you should be able to navigate any challenges and keep your overall campaign strong.

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Linton Lewis

About the Author

Linton Lewis

Linton Lewis is our Editor and a digital marketing specialist at Sixth City Marketing. He contributes to written and general marketing content for clients and oversees the editing for clients in various home services, manufacturing, education, and more.

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