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woman using a laptop to review SERP as a result of video SEO

Video SEO: 7 Ways Video Can Improve Your Ranking on SERP

Video SEO is the practice of using video to improve ranking on SERP, Search Engine Results Pages. Just adding a video to your page can help you earn more links, views, and featured snippets. It improves SEO metrics like dwell time and bounce rate while attracting mobile users.

Check out these seven ways that video boosts search engine optimization. We’ve also included tips for making the most of every video SEO opportunity.

Video SEO: A Super Short History

You can trace the importance of video SEO back to May 16th, 2007, the day Google introduced Universal Search. At the time showing images, shopping sites, videos, blogs and corporate home pages on one page was ground-breaking.

Today, we take blended Google search results for granted. Mixing all of this together makes search easier for users, but it also creates more competition for prime digital real estate. Adding video content to your page can help it earn higher rankings in search results.

1. Video SEO Attracts Mobile Users

According to Statista, 60% of people who watch digital video do so on their smartphones. They average about 50 minutes per day on their devices. Not only are users eager for video content, Google also prefers mobile optimized pages.

In 2020, Google introduced mobile-first indexing for the whole web. The crawl bots that index sites are now using the mobile version of all websites as their default. So a mobile-ready site with video is more likely to attract users and to be indexed by search engines.

2. Video Increases Click-through with Featured Snippets

Your brand can reach the top of the SERPs with a video featured snippet. A video featured snippet or featured clip is a suggestion video that may answer the user’s question. The placement makes people more likely to click because the video result is so prominently displayed.

google search results showing a video featured snippet as a result of good video SEO

There has been some speculation that Google prefers YouTube videos over videos from other sources. However, those allegations are hard to prove.

Videos from other sites certainly do appear in search, so it’s a good idea to optimize for them. Here are some quick SEO strategies that can optimize your videos to rank on Google:

  • Embed a video on your website — Including a video on your home page or landing pages is the first step.
  • Choose or make a quality video thumbnail — It should be an interesting image that shows users what the video is about.
  • Surround your video with strong content — Search bots rely on surrounding content and metadata to understand what the video is about. Include a video title and description.

Video hosts like YouTube, Vimeo, and Wistia can help you share your videos. Make sure you compare the pros and cons of each video host platform before you commit to one.

3. Video Improves Dwell Time

Simply put, dwell time is the amount of time a user spends on your page after clicking through from a SERP. Dwell time is a rough way to measure how relevant the page is to the user’s search. In most cases, people are more likely to spend time on a page that delivers what they’re looking for.

video SEO

You can improve dwell time by delivering quality content that answers the questions a user may be asking. Video can also help. A person who watches your video, or even a portion of it, stays on your page longer. Every additional second improves your dwell time.

For this to work, your video must be immediately engaging. Even so, you should avoid using auto-play on your videos. Most people find it annoying and even those who are interested may miss the beginning of the message.

4. Video Decreases Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing only one page. While bounce rate is not a Google ranking factor, encouraging people to stay on your site can improve your SERP.

Well-chosen video thumbnails and the surrounding text can help people evaluate whether your site is right for them. Video decreases bounce rate by quickly engaging visitors. Once they’re engaged, they’re more likely to click through to other parts of your site.

5. Video SEO Offers Opportunities for Link Building

Your content does more than bring visitors to your site. It also creates opportunities for others to link back to your page. When you have a high quality video, people will want to share it with their audiences.

This increases your reach, but also improves your SERP. Basically, if others see your content as useful, Google is likely to agree.

Although sites can and may link back to your blog pages, video increases the odds. Videos are engaging and easy to consume, so people are more likely to share them. Link building can be complex, but many brands find it is worth the effort.

6. It Extends the Long-Tail

A viral video is great, but it’s hard to make a video go viral on purpose. When measuring the success of your video, you’re likely to see more modest results. That’s actually a good thing for your SEO.

When HubSpot tracked visits to their site, their most popular pages attracted just a small fraction of their inbound traffic. A majority of their traffic came from lower-performing pages, or the long tail.

a chart of
image from Hubspot

Video contributes to the long-tail in a unique way. It may attract a different audience because it can be discovered in different ways than text articles. Each of these unique visitors contributes to the long tail.

7. Google Prefers Video

For all of the reasons listed above, Google prefers video. For every search, Google’s goal is to deliver content that will be helpful and interesting to the user. Since video tends to be more engaging than text, it makes sense that Google would show video first.

Video creates an SEO cascade effect. Sites with video content are more likely to rank for competitive keywords and rank prominently in search results. This generates more traffic and keeps users on site longer. No wonder digital marketers use video marketing for everything from paid ads to blog supplements.

Video SEO: Quality Matters

Video SEO starts with quality video. Users want to see videos that answer their questions and meet their expectations for quality.

Here are a few quick tips to help you create quality videos that rank well.

  • Keep Your Video Short: 30 – 60 seconds is ideal. Engagement rates fall sharply after 4 minutes.
  • Surround your video with metadata: A good thumbnail, short video description, and video sitemap helps bots and users find your video.
  • Transcribe Your Script: A video transcription helps Google crawl your content for relevant keywords. It also makes your video more accessible.
  • Use high-quality audio: whether you’re recording live action or making animated video, poor sound quality will turn users away.

As you plan and create your video, you should have one clear goal in mind: to answer a user’s question. Your video may be interesting, sad, or funny, but it absolutely must be informative. Focus on the target audience and their needs and your video is much more likely to succeed.

For help creating quality videos that are ready to rank on SERP, contact the video creation experts at IdeaRocket. We create share-worthy videos for healthcare, HR, B2B brands and others. Contact us today to start your video creation project.

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