31 October 2017
Еxplainer video raises brand awareness, educates potential customers, and…you know…explains what your company actually does. But online video is about so much more than just engagement and education. In fact, a quality video on your website is perhaps the single-most effective way to drive traffic to your site and outrank your competition for the web’s most sought after keywords (aka the words your customers are Googling right now). The right video can have a huge impact your entire business model. Here’s why video matters for your SEO strategy, and four key metrics you can track and boost to reap the benefits of video today.
Video SEO Basics: Blended Search Results
You can trace video SEO back to May 16th, 2007 – the day Google introduced “Universal Search.” Today, we take blended search results like videos, shopping links, PDFs, blogs, wikipedia, and images for granted, but before universal search (and YouTube) you had to dig for online video. Barbaric, right? But what’s more shocking is that here we are, a decade later, and most companies and marketers still haven’t realized the importance video SEO and how the right video can put your website—and your company—on the map.
There are only two real reasons to create a quality explainer video: to increase brand awareness and/or conversions. That’s honestly it. Rob Toledo, a user engagement and bounce rate specialist at Shutterstock, simply says:
“No longer just an interesting add-on, video has become an important feature for anyone concerned with SEO,...”
Sure, you can (and should) pursue other video metrics like increasing signups, building links, and getting more social shares, but increasing conversions and building your brand remain paramount. And explainer videos on your website or landing page, accomplishes both of these goals simultaneously. So how exactly does video affect your site’s SEO, and how can you use video in your content marketing strategy? Here are the four key video SEO metrics, and some best practices for using video to climb the search engine rankings all the way to the top:
1. Improved SERP rank
2. Bounce Rate & Dwell Time: Engagement
3. CTR: Click-Through-Rate
4. Quality backlinks
Video SERPs: Today’s Internet is Mostly Video
YouTube has over a billion users. 500 million people watch video on Facebook everyday. According to KCPB, online video will account for 74% of all online traffic by the end of 2017. This growing trend toward video results means that Google search algorithm updates prioritize websites with quality video content in SERPs. These prime spots generate an incredible number of unique visits and high-quality backlinks from reputable sources and social shares while also increasing CTR, ultimately leading to more brand awareness and thus, more conversions than nearly any other marketing strategy. That was a mouthful, but basically, good video > more website traffic > more conversions = hurray.
Ok, so Google prioritizes quality online video. Great. But what’s even more important than all the video SEO gobbledygook about CTR is understanding how people use the internet so that you can create the videos that people want to watch.
Here are just a few stats that show the importance and effectiveness of video on your search ranking and conversion rates:
· 50% of users look for product or service videos before visiting a store (Think With Google)
· Online shoppers who view demo videos are 1.8x more likely to purchase than non-viewers (DMB Adobe)
· Customers are 4x more likely to watch a video about a product than read about it (Animoto)
Forget the algorithms and the metadata. The right video can transform a “unique visitor” into a life-long customer or brand advocate in mere minutes. People will visit your site if you have a great video, and if you’re lucky, they’ll even share your video and do all the hard work for you.
Video SERP Best Practices
Ranking on the Google’s first page is an SEO’s top priority. Eric Sui at Entrepeneur describes the importance of video in search results ranking as a shift toward content, not keywords. “Google now cares less about whether you’ve optimized each individual page on your site to a particular keyword and more about whether your page’s content answers the question presented by the search user.” Translation—people just want their questions answered, and video is fantastic at that.
“People spent 2.6x more time on pages with video than pages without.”
Gareth Davies at WordTracker, claims that as much as “80% of the video content served up in SERPs are informational videos,” and Google’s own Head of Web spam, Matt Cutts estimates the Hummingbird update all the way back in September 2013 affected over 90% of search queries. The internet has shifted to video. Heck, the internet has shifted to mobile video People use the internet to find useful video content, and SERPs reflect that.
1. Keep Your Video Short: 30 – 60 seconds is ideal. Engagement rates fall sharply after 4 minutes.
2. Create Rich-Video Snippets: A good thumbnail, short video description, and video sitemap helps bots and users find your video.
3. Transcribe Your Script: A video transcription helps Google crawl your content for relevant keywords.
Video SEO: Dwell Time, Bounce Rate & Engagement
When Wistia looked at the top 100 highest trafficked pages from 2016 they found an interesting trend. “People spent 2.6x more time on pages with video than pages without."
That’s a massive jump in engagement, and while engagement doesn’t always translate directly to conversions, video content can directly benefit your organic search ranking on Google through the engagement metrics—dwell time and bounce rate.
Video SEO: Dwell Time
In 2012, Google introduced “dwell time” to measure how long users spend on site. It’s a roundabout way of measuring keyword relevance, and while it’s not perfect, it’s a great filter to catch sites gaming the keyword system and promote actually valuable sites aimed at helping users get the answers to their questions. While it’s not new, this shift toward usefulness and overall UX of landing pages begs a simple two-part question that is essential to your video marketing SEO strategy:
1. Is your website helpful/valuable?
2. Does your website communicate that value in a clear, timely manner?
If the answer to either question is “No,” you’ll have low dwell time and a a lower Google SERP ranking no matter what keyword voodoo you employ. Improve your dwell time and you transform your SEO.
“Wait. Isn’t ‘dwell time’ just a fancy word for bounce rate?” Good question. No.
Video SEO: Bounce Rate
Dwell time–or time spent on-site–and bounce rate are closely linked, but bounce rate measures irrelevance of search results, while dwell time is a marker for engagement levels with appropriate content. Long dwell time (at least 1-2 mins) is recognition that a search result is relevant to a query.
For instance, a search for “The Mighty Ducks” might display several different sites. An IMDB page for the Disney film, a Tumblr fan sites for the movies, and a National Geographic article about the fighting mallards of Timbuktu all contain those keywords. A user searching for clips from the film would bounce from the NatGeo site within seconds, but would engage with both IMDB and possibly the Tumblr fan site—if the content was valuable. Google measures the dwell time on the IMDB and Tumblr pages to determine which is more relevant to the search term. The bounce rate on NatGeo, however would only penalize them for that keyword, making them less likely to appear in the future for the same search term.
This relationship between CTR and dwell time is so vital to SERPs that Google even toyed with a “block domain” tool, which allowed users to permanently block a site from appearing in future search results once they bounced back to the SERP from the irrelevant domain. Google never took the feature live, but the fact that it existed speaks volumes about their commitment to relevant search results. Talk about bad for SEO!
When your bounce rate lowers and your dwell time increases, Google prioritizes your site for searches that contain your keywords. This equals more traffic, more links, better engagement, and higher Google search result rankings. “Time spent on site” is a quality and relevance metric. Luckily video is a great way to keep visitors around for a while. Oh and EyeView Digital found that “including video in a landing page can increase conversion by 80%.” So there’s that too.
Explainer Video and Conversions
As great as engagement is, your video needs to move the needle with results. That means increasing conversions. Luckily, video is great at increasing your bottom line. According to Invodo, “52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them feel more confident about going ahead and making a purchase.” But how does that confidence translate into actual sales? When people can see a new concept—and understand it—they’re far more likely to buy it. Take Dropbox for example.
We’ve talked about the Dropbox explainer video before, but it’s such a great example of the immediate impact an explainer video can have on conversions that it bears repeating. Dropbox increased conversion rates by over 10% by adding this single animated explainer video to their website in 2009. A 10% conversion rate increase might not sound impressive, but it’s incredible. To put that into perspective, Dropbox’s homepage received around 750,000 visitors a month in 2009. This video added thousand of signups every single day. That’s incredible ROI for a single video, and it’s still producing results. As of August 2017, this outdated explainer video has over 4 million views on YouTube. That’s evergreen SEO value.