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How to Use Video to Improve Google Ranking & Conversions

Good Video Content Will Give You a Competitive Edge

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Online video is consuming the web as we know it whether you like it or not. Some prefer text content over video in most cases, and that’s ok too. I don’t think text is going anywhere, but demand for video is on the rise from both consumers, and businesses looking to stay on top of their marketing. Just like not all text is great, not all video is great, but when done well, I think you will find that it offers plenty of reward.

Content and Reputation

Bad videos are a turn off for viewers. They must have value. Otherwise they’ll be viewed as a waste of time. If viewers see your videos as a waste of time, this is generally going to equate to wasted time on your part as well, and chances are that you put a whole lot more time into your videos than any viewer will. But even worse, if your videos are perceived as a waste of time by viewers, it’s going to reflect negatively on your brand, or at the very least upon your ability to offer useful and informative content.

Remember, while the rise in online video popularity is certainly evident, many people would just as soon obtain the information they’re looking for with text. In fact, this is a good reason to offer truly unique content with your videos. Developing a reputation for having solid unique content with them will give people a reason to watch them. The best videos provide a user experience that simply can’t be duplicated in text.

Robert Scoble cited a good example in a recent post. "Text is easier to consume. Easier to search. All that stuff. But here, let’s try something. You take 1,000 words to explain to me what the next game from EA looks like. I’ll do it in a minute or two of video. The video will beat your blog every time," he declares.

Length is often a factor. As a rule, people generally do not want to watch lengthy videos unless they are either entertaining or truly useful to them. From a business standpoint, I believe you are going to have greater success with making the content as useful as possible in as little amount of time as possible.

Grant CrowellVideo Usability

Grantastic Designs Founder Grant Crowell writing for ReelSEO has a great article/podcast on web video usability. He discusses the need for video providers to have some kind of usability standards. In his article, Crowell talks about some factors that should be taken into consideration when providing video content:

– Location
– Features
– Testing

By location, he means, where it is being viewed. Is it being viewed on a website or in a stand-alone player? Is it on your own site or is it being viewed in an embedded player on someone else’s? Do you even offer the ability to embed your videos?

Apart from embedding availability, features of the video include things like the player itself, the navigation of that player, accessibility, search, image and audio quality, length, content, speed (buffering), conversions, and completion. Videos should also be tested. This means: lab testing, user testing, and analytics.

Engagement and Google

In Crowell’s article, he also talks about the engagement factor of videos. Being how user-engagement is of growing importance (and will likely continue to be as SERPs evolve), I wanted to hear some more of his thoughts on this, so I contacted him and we had a little chat. Following is what came of that:

Chris Crum: You refer to engagement as an active state, and I agree, but what kind of actions do you expect videos to inspire? Comments? Conversions?

Grant Crowell: The actions ultimately depend on the business model of the video owner. But the potential with video is far greater at engagement and conversions than with static content. The first step is getting attention. After that it can serve as a direct response or lead, or buzz (going viral), or branding.

Even within the video, you can have several calls-to-action, all clickable and with additional actionable items from them. (See our latest video interview at ReelSEO on Mixpo, for more on this.

"Conversions" can be both mini and macro, depending again on what are the business objectives of the video owner. A comment could likely be a mini-conversion. A hundred comments and 3rd party link popularity and buzz, well that could be a macro-conversion.

CC: SEO Bruce Clay recently speculated that as SERPs evolve, videos might make a difference in ranking. For example if two competing businesses have content of basically equal value, but only one of them has video, the one with video might be favored. How important do you think it’s going to be for businesses to offer some kind of video content on their sites?

GC: Video itself can be given an almost "unfair advantage" in the SERPs. We’ve demonstrated that at ReelSEO with how we’re able to have our own image icons show up from our videos for search results — directly from our ReelSEO.com site (not YouTube). I’ve even done a case study to show how [in] a video series I did on YouTube, the targeted keywords had my image icons show up higher that the entire local and regional media stories.

Google Video Icon

I believe the search engines, especially Google, consider video to have higher engagement potential than static content. Even when the external link popularity may not be great, just putting up new regular videos can show up right away, and at the top, of search results. I’ve seen it happen many times before

This is something that can be heavily abused however, it’s a weak spot with the search engines for determining quality standards of relevancy around video.

It is extremely important for businesses to offer video content on their own sites, both for search visibility and usability purposes. (Search visibility I would consider to be a part of usability, too.)

Not just on their own site, but [also] popular and relevant video sharing sites. There are websites starting to come out that are behaving a little more like video hubs for the SMB crowd. ragantv.com is one such example for the B2B audience. For the B2C audience, eHow and howcast.com are good examples.

Howcast

But the issue of usability is a tricky one since there are no real standards yet for both content and delivery.

I want to thank Grant for taking the time to talk to me about this (emphasis added), and I think he had some very interesting things to say that should encourage those looking to break into online video or expand their efforts. Grant’s company Grantastic Designs has been in the search marketing game for a long time, and he is clearly well-versed in the ways of search.

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  • http://martincanchola.podbean.com Martin Canchola

    As we go on into the future, video will get more and more popular! When HD quality gets better on the web and loading times speed up, this is when well will see an even bigger boost in video views. If you are launching a video campaign, then don’t forget about tubemogul.com. This will launch your one video to over twelve different video search engines with the push of a button. The reason why it’s so easy sometimes to get a video up is because of universal search. Google displays text, pdfs, powerpoints, audio, video, and more. So get creative and study the serp’s in which you are targeting and whatever is missing from the universal search aspect, then be the first to post it!

    • Chris Crum

      I agree with you about the future of video, and that sounds like pretty good advice to me.

    • http://www.sogorbmac.com Sogorbmac

      The video is more just a wave of the future but an important reality already. I show you some figures:

      According to eMarketer, 52% of all web traffic is already in video format. More than 70% of all web users watch online videos. Talking about YouTube, the average time spent by a user watching videos each day is around 27 minutes.
      So, video is a reality and websites which do not hold this format are loosing the train…

      Search Engines do visit video websites minutes after having submitted a video and also relevant search results are starting to show videos in first positions compared to other traditional text results.

      Google’s Spain president told us in a conference that users are starting to carry searches using YouTube’s video seach box instead of the traditional google home white page when looking for information…in fact most of the time, you have to see it to believe it !!

      Good article and really good replies.
      Congratulations !!

      • Chris Crum

        I would also agree that it is a reality already.

  • http://donotclick.org/ abdul arifin

    i agree with Martin Canchola

  • http://www.rightmobilephone.co.uk Neil McHugh

    An informative a timely article, we have just started to integrate video into our handset review pages. At this time they are manufacturer or marketing advertisments specific to the handset, we have plans to brand and make our own later this year.

    But for now we feel it compliments our review pages and offers the user a quick visual overview of the handset, thus useful to our users.

    An example here, feedback welcome

    http://www.rightmobilephone.co.uk/Phone-Reviews_Blackberry-Storm_646_Mobile-Review.html

    Cheers, Neil…

    • http://www.bestlogoproducts.com/ jules

      Not to be a smart ass – but why isn’t this article as a video feed ?

      what should it cost to get a simple 1 minute video shot ?
      rgds jules rosen

      • Chris Crum

        I didn’t mean to imply that text would cease to be relevant. I’m not saying all content should be in video. We do offer video content however.

        Plus, if I posted it in video, all of the video skeptics (who need this info more than anybody) may not have seen it :)

  • http://www.indiesurf.com Darren Tan

    Video is definitely better, we don’t have to strain our eyes and read, but they take up lots of space, therefore we need websites like youtube. And it also needs some time to load.

    Text is good as well, fast-loading page compared to video, but it’s not as convincing and effective as videos. So it’s still the best to use both.

    • Chris Crum

      I don’t think anyone is going to advise against using text as well.

  • http://www.onlinevideoconcepts.com Greg Wildman

    I started putting videos up on youtube for lawyers websites 4 months ago and the results are great. They are going to the first pages of search engines and they are also average from 100 to 200 views per month. Which is great when you consider most lawyers websites average around 300 visitors per month. I think now is the time to put video on your site before your competitors do.

    • Chris Crum

      Case in point. Thanks for sharing.

      • http://tenerifemortgagebroker.com Spanish mortgages

        Perhaps I am just dont have enough imagination but i would really like to add to some of my sites.
        Cannot really think how to make them engaging though. I suppose improving SERPS is a good reason for video but I dont want to have video there that isn’t engaging.
        Can you point me at a couple of examples – like the lawyer sites you mention?
        I imagine looking at a lawyers website is almost as boring as a mortgage website!

  • http://www.NationalShowTickets.com Mary

    We have used video in a few instances and had mixed results but I think now after reading your article we will use video a bit more and see if we see favorable results. A lot of your points are indeed valid and make sense, thank you.

    Mary

    • Chris Crum

      Remember that we are still in the early stages of the online video “revolution.” Not sure I’d give up on it if favorable results don’t come right off the bat.

  • http://www.eplatformmarketing.com Jim Hobson

    We are experiencing an increase in inquiries for video content. Clients are, as you would expect, concerned with production costs and are not fully convinced that there will be a good ROI. Fortunately we can show site metrics that verify that client sites with video enjoy longer visits from visitors. The conversion rates are higher and in some cases we can see noticable improvements in search results.

    One client example is a window tinting company website http://www.HotSpotTinting.com which uses video to demonstrate a process that would be difficult to convey in words.

    Video and multimedia value is a part of every conversation with prospective clients as well as existing clients. I anticipate that at least 40% of our clients will add video in 2009.

    • Chris Crum

      Production costs are often a concern, and I won’t be surprised if we start seeing a lot more do-it-yourself video applications get attention. Things similar to what Google and Spotmixer are doing with TV ads, where users can upload content and/or use things from a free library of stock content (music, transitions, images, etc).

  • http://www.lifestyleclotheslines.com.au Lifestyle Clotheslines

    Video has been great for our business model and has really made a difference to our sales and conversions. We show customers inside the boxes so they see what they get, plus how they can install or use these products at home…we love video and will be doing more and more!! you can see how we use video here at our website http://www.lifestyleclotheslines.com.au/clothesline-video-reviews

  • Guest

    Thanks for introducing me to REELSEO.com That is a cool site and has more information that I could ever read on video SEO and online video marketing. Ill be reading for weeks. Good Find.. Thanks

    • Chris Crum

      Agreed. They have an interesting site over there.

  • http://mattermedia.com eddie

    i would like to hear other inputs, but at first it seems video is much better suited (as thus likely to show up) as SERPs for informational queries. Transactional queries, with some exceptions (concert tickets?) and informational queries are less likely to be satisfactorily answered by a video result.

    would any reelseo folks like to chime in on this one?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kySl-ZHz1AI Jane Jiang

    for me to interact with the west through the internt as well as to learn from foreigne cultures including information visually.

    JJ from CN

  • http://www.propdata.co.za/ Robert

    I’m still not convinced that video is the way to go (well certainly not yet). Bandwidth restrictions continue to be a massive obstacle to overcome and until that has been done – ALL video marketing is a pain. Agreed that if EA launch a new game I might want a short video clip. But as I’m restricted to just 3GB of traffic a month with poor download speeds I’d rather see a few screen shots and a good write up.

    Ultimately give me the text and a few images, entice me to click through to the video.

    • Chris Crum

      Well, I’d say that offering text and images complimenting the video is probably a fine idea. You do want people to click through to it.

  • http://www.tornadomaster.com/home.html Tornado Shelters

    So far video is the way to go for getting rank if you have a decent site.
    Whatever the market that you’re in video will speak for itself in getting your point across.

  • http://www.firmalatter.dk Ejvind

    We’ve known for a while that video sells – just look what happened once TV entered the scene after radio. Radio is still here, but we no longer sit the whole family together to listen to a particular show.

    We don’t even do that with TV anymore. So we can deduct from this, that people want their experience to be individual. So of course Video is important, but I believe the next step – personalized video to be even more important.

    Examples of that kind of video kan be found in certain games and other places, wher the person watching is presented with a choice, and that choice gives an opportunity to go to the next scene.

    Another scenario is that videoads will become as personalized as the text ads are today – targeting you as a customer whereever you go, and whatever you do – always staying on top of who you are, and your preferences.

    It will be most difficult to resist buying and buying :-)

    • Chris Crum

      Doesn’t sound too far fetched to me.

  • http://www.rygestopguiden.dk/Rygestop-Nikotinprodukter/Nikotinprodukter-Nicorette-Nicotinell.aspx Nicotinell Pris

    Video is good (and easy) content to attract users. But if it does anything for your SEO, I am not sure.

  • http://www.insuranceblog.co.uk InsuranceBlogger

    Great topic by the way – We love this one!

    We have been using video for one year to create micro sites and even have our own local TV station for continuous content: Perranporth

    We use a video blasting tool to distribute short films to the video sharing hubs and Social media sites. A short description includes a link to your money site.

    We have seen our films appear at the top of SERPs for long tailed keywords in a matter of minutes on Google. We even have bets and guessing games about which one will appear first and after how many seconds!

    From the video hub sites our films get miraculously copied across other sharing sites , blogs etc – thousands of clinks for free.
    Some blackhatters send up multiple versions with different attributes such as .wmv or .avi. The length and format cannot be distinguished as dupe content. WE don’t do this and think quality naturally brings loads of free links and traffic which I can assure you it does.

    VIDEO SEO IS HOT

    Think on this – I went down the pub, video’d my favourite local band with their permission stuck it on youtube etc with my links.
    Two days later they were the Buzz on the NME site (Because it takes a music feed from Utube) and my links get spread even more and they get famous – and I’m helping people for FREE!

    For loads more video SEO tips from the experts visit The
    System
    where we tell it all for free!

  • http://www.seolinkmart.com Filomena J Serraino

    Hi, I have been reading comments on placing video’s on your website, I have found them to be very interesting, fortunately I am having a video produced for my website, I will keep in touch for any changes to my search engine ranking.

  • http://www.malaysiawebhostingreview.com/ Simon Server

    i know the important of video for SEO, but some how youtube has nofollow for the link to your url link. That is kind of sad.

    • http://www.tmondo.com Games

      But why they use nofollow attribute on video links

  • http://www.buildingmailinglists.com/ Tim Buttles

    I personally am moving my business into video marketing in 2009. Your article was very timely and much appreciated!

    I would like to place this post on my WP blog, and would like to know the protocols I need to use to get permission do so.

    Pls contact me via the email above

    Thankx
    Tim Buttles

  • http://www.design-ecommerce.com Hugo Gill

    Good article. For sure video (viral) marketing is of ever growing importance. I really push my clients to add this to their marketing mix along with Google Maps, Google Product Search, Google Image Search and even Google Adwords. The more variety of listings (mix of the above) they achieve in the SERPs, the better in my opinion.

  • joyce in vancouver

    Living proof of video success. We have a retail location and have begun putting video on screens in our display window. Interest in our window has gone up immensly…it has given us a captive audience to promote our sales. Sales have increased over 40 percent as well!! I was wondering if it would have the same effect online as it has at our retail store. We have been using www.hd1080stockfootage.com for our retail and presentation video footage and they say that they will have web licenses this month. This type of success has me motivated to get our company on the web finally – also knowing where to find the low priced, eye catching content, to make us stand out from the rest, is a plus.

  • http://www.mariathemuse.com Maria

    I have to say I like and don’t like the idea of video.

    The pros of course are that it really ads to the user experience, and allows them to grasp concepts they may otherwise not understand fully. And well, it’s just nicer.

    The cons are quality, download time and, stealth.

    I’ve seen a lot more videos lately that are really poor quality. I expect this from kids messing around on YouTube but not from people who are trying to professionally promote their business. This is why I haven’t added video yet. The ones I’ve done don’t look professional.

    Download times are another issue. I have a decent computer and relatively fast internet connection and yet even on YouTube lately I’ve had to sit though some really choppy video. I tried to watch a training video recently that was 30 min long and it took over 2 hours to download and still kept freezing and jumping. Needless to say I complained.

    Finally there’s the stealth factor. People often surf at work and they just can’t have videos (or audios) playing when they enter a site. so at the very least you need to be courteous enough to add a play button (instead of the auto play feature), as well as text for people who just can’t watch at the moment. If the text grabs them they can always come back at a better time and watch.

  • http://www.donmackeynissan.com Debbie Shelor

    Hi:

    Once again you’ve touched on a subject that I’m very interested in. I’ve been interested in getting into video with our dealership website http://www.donmackeynissan.com, but just haven’t taken the plunge yet. Thanks for helping me navigate the terrain a bit.

    Deb

  • http://www.babypushchairsonline.co.uk/index.php?cPath=6 Baby Pushchairs

    I am fully behind the idea of using video content in online businesses. Information overload is a common symptom to many internet users. The average attention span of a web user today is measured in seconds. To communicate a product profile or benefits effectively within the shortest possible time, you need to engage your visitor interest right on the spot. And online marketing video is a highly effective visual way to send that message across to your visitors in the shortest time.

  • http://moneyusingvideos.com Money Using Videos

    I don’t want to sound all cliche and stuff, but doesn’t videos provide more contents and kinda more effective then just plain text?

  • http://www.qualityclotheslines.net Clotheslines

    We have video in our site to help our customers choose if they want to install our products themselves. Its a great conversion tool.

  • http://www.quicksitemaker.co.uk Mike

    This is great info guys but seems to focus on the quality of the video itself to get backlinks from interested people. I have seen a lot of internet marketers or Gurus talking about getting backlinks automatically using videos as if they can just be posted for quality backlinks. Can anyone expand on that?

  • http://www.schneidervideoprod.com Schneider Video Productions

    Schneider Video Productions is an owner-operated New York based company, offering personalized service and superior production value. Video is a fast-growing category of online advertising. An ever-increasing number of small business are taking advantage of its unique strengths in driving new business.

  • http://www.marketmasters360.com mark

    Video is taking over the internet usage sector. Information that I’ve been getting states that over 60% of all internet traffic is videos watched. This number is expected to increase when people start using their mobile devices to watch videos on demand any place and at anytime. It is more critical then ever to be on this upwards trend of reaching your audience by using quick videos as stimuli and to get a quick response from your marketing efforts.

  • http://www.totnessearchenginemarketingagency.com/ Adam Sue

    This is a great post. Keep it up! hope to read more of this related post to your site

    Thanks,

  • Mark Agar

    Interesting read and may make me rethink my plan for videos. Id love to be able to make really decent mobile phone review videos, its just a time and resources issue. I was making videos that were just a slide show of images, think I will cease this after reading your article.

    Cheers

    Mark

  • http://www.mobilefonereviews.co.uk/ Mark Agar

    In Fact, Im going to action this now, heres to some DECENT upcoming video reviews :-)

    Cheers for the inspiration

    M

  • http://www.solutionbuilt.com Matt Rogers