Talk to any experienced, well-informed digital marketing professional who is up on today’s latest trends and understands the trajectory of the industry and they’ll be quite clear about one thing: The future of content marketing is video.
YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Twitch, Vimeo…everywhere you look, video is flourishing. It’s no longer a question of whether brands will use video – there’s very little future outside of it – but rather how brands are leveraging it to maximize exposure, influence audiences, drive conversions, and ignite loyalty. And at the heart of this quest for success with video marketing, you’ll find SEO.
Video SEO is the secret sauce to video marketing success. For the brands and marketers that recognize this, there’s nearly unlimited potential for growth over the next few months and years.
Let’s take a look at this powerful medium and how SEO can take your efforts to the next level.
The Rise of Video
When YouTube first launched in April 2005, online video was quite rare. There were no platforms dedicated to hosting video – at least platforms that worked well – and only a percentage of people even had the internet speeds to stream high-quality video without lagging, delays, or significant buffering. Today, it’s hard to imagine a world without online video.
Research curated by WordStream shows that YouTube has more than 1 billion users – accounting for nearly one-third of all internet users across the globe. More than 500 million hours of video are consumed on YouTube each day, and 45 percent of people watch more than an hour of Facebook and YouTube videos per week.
More video content is uploaded to the internet every 30 days than major American television networks have created in the past 30 years. Thus, it should come as no surprise that 87 percent of online marketers currently use video.
According to research conducted by Cisco, video accounted for 73 percent of all internet traffic in 2016. By 2021, they forecast that 82 percent of all internet traffic will revolve around such.
To understand the swift rise of online video is to recognize the appeal. Roughly 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. When the human brain interacts with visual content, it becomes stimulated far beyond what any textual medium can facilitate. Video content is more appealing to the eyes, easier to digest, and simpler to recall. Video marketing isn’t a fleeting trend – it’s the new norm.
Why Video SEO?
It’s one thing to upload compelling videos to YouTube – or to share a brief clip on Facebook – but to actually cut through the noise and earn views, shares, and conversions, you must give focus on SEO.
As you’re well aware, Google, YouTube, and other online search engines give priority to videos that satisfy their algorithms. And while the intricacies of these algorithms are continually evolving, the fundamentals tend to remain relatively stable from month to month and year to year. By educating yourself in these best practices, you can maximize the value of your video content and elevate your entire digital marketing strategy.
The Secrets Behind Video SEO Success
So without further ado, here are some of the top video SEO tips, techniques, and best practices that will set your content apart:
Do Video Keyword Research
As with any type of SEO, video SEO begins and ends with keywords. This makes keyword research a significantly important part of the process. However, it’s a little different from standard keyword research for text-based content.
Unlike traditional search engines where users type in a keyword and hit the search button, a majority of video views actually come from YouTube suggestions. Users type in a couple of words and then click the suggestion that matches their intended search. Thus, if you want to excel with video SEO on a platform like YouTube, you need to research popular keyword suggestions and tie them to your video.
If you have an established video channel, you can also mine your own YouTube analytics to figure out which keywords you already rank for and what opportunities you’re missing out on.
Once you find target keywords, you’ll want to focus your entire SEO video strategy around these search terms. The quickest and most effective way to do this is by adding these terms as tags.
Use Video Transcripts
Search engines are sophisticated, but they still can’t instantaneously sift through a video’s audio and pull out keywords. Thus, in order to make the audio portion of your videos SEO-friendly, you need to toss the search engines a bone. The easiest way to do this is by including a video transcript alongside your video.
According to an intensive study from SafeNet, transcripts significantly boost video SEO performance. The study compared the search rank for web pages with video transcripts and found that, in less than a month, these pages climbed the search ranks for targeted keyword phrases. In three separate instances, adding a transcript moved each video up from no listing to 14th, 9th, and 11th, respectively.
The simplest way to create a video transcript is to use speech recognition software that mines your video and creates a written dialogue. You can then edit the transcript for accuracy and post it in the description of your video.
Choose a Clickworthy Thumbnail
When an online user comes across one of your videos, the hardest part is earning the click. There are only a couple of ways to compel someone to watch your video. The title is an important element, but it’s not nearly as influential as the video thumbnail – the still frame that previews your video.
If you can make your thumbnail compelling, you’ll discover that you get significantly more clicks (which is good for SEO). Best practices include:
Include a human face to create an emotional connection
Make the thumbnail surprising, shocking, mysterious
Add a text overlay to convey a central idea
Zeroing in on the right thumbnail can be a challenge. You’d be smart to run some A/B tests to see which thumbnails work best. From there, you can refine your strategy and achieve optimal results.
Create a Video Sitemap
If you’re publishing video to your own website, you’ll need to provide some information about the video that makes it easy for search engines to understand and categorize your video content. A video sitemap is your best option.
A video sitemap provides search engines like Google with metadata about your video content. It functions as an extension to your website’s existing sitemap. Within the video sitemap, you have the opportunity to clarify the category, title, length, description, URL, restrictions, and even the target audience.
Produce Quality Video Content
At the end of the day, you can’t let your technical focus on video SEO negatively impact the quality of your video content. As much as keywords, transcripts, thumbnails, and sitemaps matter, they’re all useless without high-quality video content that’s engaging and shareworthy.
It’s nearly impossible to pull out individual elements of digital marketing and focus on them in isolation. Video SEO is important, but it’s closely connected with your content marketing strategy and larger branding efforts.
At Audience Bloom, we understand the relationship between link building, content marketing, and digital marketing. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can create quality content and use it to drive traffic and credibility to your brand, we can help. Contact us today and we’d be happy to walk you through the process!
Timothy Carter is the CRO for AudienceBloom. Since 1997 he's been helping businesses maximize their sales revenue from websites via content marketing, SEO and Internet Marketing strategies.
Over the years he's written for publications like Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, MarketingProfs and other highly respected online publications.