In January 1996, Bill Gates published an essay titled ‘Content is king’. Seeing where content is right now in the online space, you wouldn’t be wrong in calling Bill Gates a soothsayer.
But he couldn’t have foreseen the kind of content that would dominate the online space: video.
Videos have a hegemonic online presence.
But, why video?
People are more inclined to watch a video. Do this little experiment:
Search for Red Bull or Monster Energy or Vice in Bing. You are sure to get video results right at the top. That’s because these brands have focused their branding on video content, and hence are more likely to be popular as more and more people watch videos.
Now search for Lockheed, Gatorade or Bose, in Bing and you’re way less likely to find a first-page video result.
Not to take anything away from these brands and their popularity, but it shows when your content strategy isn’t as video focused or oriented towards emerging internet consumer trends.
Red Bull and Monster Energy have become inescapable names because they have tapped the potential of video content and published an innumerable variety of content not related to sports and other fields.
What’s in it for you?
You might not be a media and content-oriented company, but you should still consider the perks of having videos for your products and services. According to MWP, online video now accounts for half of all traffic on mobile alone, and 59% of senior executives say that they will opt for video when given the choice between video and text.
Incidentally, in understanding the ‘why’ of video popularity, we’ll also get the answer to how videos generate great SERP rankings.
Why are videos so popular?
Strong emotional connection
A video is very accessible, easy to consume and engages the audience’s attention for longer periods of time. A video contains much more information than text and images.
It conveys emotions, actions and can explain concepts and idea very easily. No wonder videos have 41% higher click-through rate than plain text, and high conversion rates and ROI on top of that.
How does it help SEO?
The ease, accessibility, and immersion of video means that people spend a longer time watching content that you produce.
If you can make an engaging video, people spend more time on your webpage, increasing the what is called the ‘dwell time’. Dwell time was mentioned in a Bing blog way back in 2011.
Source: Bing blogs
More dwell time directly translates to Google recognizing your video and the page it’s featured on as something of value. The more dwell time you have, the better your pages will be ranked. Sweet!
According to Martech.zone, a well-optimized video can increase your chances of getting featured on the front page of Google by as much as a factor of 53.
The inherent engaging qualities of video also means that it has an astounding worldwide audience penetration.
Which brings us to:
The inescapable reach of video
Source: YouTube for Press
YouTube alone has over a billion users across continents consuming content in 76 different languages. Its reach is enormous.
Video is the go-to, easy to consume, preferred form of content for many people. According to research by Hubspot, 62% of people thoroughly consume videos, and 53% people expect more video content from any platform.
Internet video traffic is expected to grow four times and constitute 81% of ALL consumer traffic by 2021.
There is a natural inclination for search engines to favor videos due to the consumer trends in video consumption.
With so many people watching videos all the time, aided by mobile phones and ever-developing tech and techniques, video content is bound to surge your overall brand image to the top of the search results page.
Video advertising was started in Yahoo and Bing as far back as in 2015, and has been massively effective for them and their clients. But you don’t have to spend money on video ads. Simply having a market-relevant video means that your name is more likely to get featured in a top search listing.
How videos are featured in the SERPs
Google has been rolling out and beta testing many video-related features. A mere 7 months back I started noticing Google showing ‘suggested clips’ for various search results. Now, it’s an all-out feature to list relevant snippets of videos in SERPs.
A great way to feature in ‘suggested clips’ results is to make how-to videos. Your brand can be a hundred different things, but there is always room for making how-to videos.
Don’t know what to record?
Make a behind the scenes video of an event or your daily office happenings. Get some groovy editing and publish it with a ‘How to run an (industry name) office’. Whip in some humor and you’re sure to get your name thrown around SERPs.
Google’s image content readability is scarily good, and now it’s in for videos as well.
Still in beta, Google has been experimenting with identifying elements of video content to show relevant search results. It’s sure that this will be a part of their regular algorithm.
Source: The Verge
Your video content will have an immense impact on what the end user gets in their search results. This is perhaps the next peak time for getting your video content published regularly.
You might have seen a variation of this image identifying feature in other places.
If you own an Android phone, you might have come across the Google Photos app grouping together similar faces, places, and things. Or you might have seen various CAPTCHAs across the web asking you to identify sign boards, cars, buses and what have you.
Expect similar machine learning to be applied to video content, if more sophisticated. One single video can carry thousands of image elements. When Google’s Video Intelligence API catalogs all those keywords, that would give your video a huge SEO advantage. Just make sure to include elements in your video catering to the industry or keyword you are targeting.
There are reasons aplenty and means uncountable to get better in video marketing and to get featured in top results. There are many nitty-gritty details to take care of, but through it all, there are some very basic rubrics that establish the foundation for good video publishing.
Up next are some simple ways to phenomenally increase the chances of getting your video content to the top of the SERPs.
Best practices for getting your video higher up the SERP
Make short videos
Aim for 1-2 minute videos. You can easily shoot up to 4 minutes, but anything after that means you will start losing significant viewership.
Transcribe your video script
Even though Google is getting pretty darn good at parsing video content for context-based searches, transcribed text helps its bots crawl your content with more accuracy. Means you are more likely to get featured for a much broader variety of internet searches.
Social shareability and multi-platform hosting
More platforms mean more reach. Make sure your content is omnipresent. Upload your videos to YouTube, Wistia, Facebook, Twitter, your own hosting platform, or cross-share between all the other platforms to ensure your video content is always there when needed.
Cross-share only if you can’t natively upload to other social media platforms. You will gain phenomenal relevance, recognition, organic traffic, and SEO from native uploads and virality.
One study actually showed native videos in Facebook getting ten times more shares than YouTube video links.
Keep your video metadata relevant and updated. Add relevant titles, subtext, add descriptions, tags, make transcriptions and subtitles so your video is efficiently crawled by search engine bots.
Submit a video sitemap to Google along with some information using webmaster tool. It helps you to index your page better.
Custom, high-quality thumbnails
Make custom, high-quality, topical thumbnails that catch the eye. Click-bait thumbnail images might net you immediate views, but are bad for your reputation in the long run. You can even include text to give some context for the viewer.
Great immersion, endless capabilities, conveys emotions, global reach, occasionally no language barriers: videos are your cornerstone for a great marketing strategy. They give you front page results, get more conversions and are rising to be the most consumed online content.
You see, in many ways, a video is much like a trebuchet.
You might have a capable marketing force that gives results, but a trebuchet enhances your tactical abilities. It lets you mount a market assault with ease, from a safe distance and gives great results. Besides, a well-made trebuchet looks pretty, much like a well-made video.
Videos are your trebuchets. They look good, carry huge SEO value and make your brand a force to reckon with. Get them.