By Meghan Grosso, Brand & Communications Manager for vzaar
What’s almost as good as being the first result in a Google search? Standing out from all the other results on the page. The easiest way to do that is by including video content on your website.
Why? Because Google displays video results with a representative thumbnail image, drawing eyes significantly more than a simple text link would, and increasing the likelihood that your link gets clicked.
How big of an increase are we talking about? According to ReelSEO, videos have a 41% higher click through rate than their plain text counterparts. What is even more exciting than how well sites with video content perform is how uncommon they are. Video is still often under or improperly used by businesses online, so there is far less competition among the video results. In other words, if you take the right approach you can dominate for search terms that are relevant to your business far more easily than you might be able to relying on text alone.
How do you take advantage of video SEO? First, you need to create some video content. The more, the better. Work with a production company, or take a DIY approach and invest in a decent in-house video setup and start creating some content. Depending on your business, you should consider creating promotional videos, explainer videos, company culture videos, customer testimonials, product videos, tutorials…the list really goes on and on.
The different ways online video content can help your marketing, sales, and support efforts is a subject that deserves its own post, but we’re discussing video SEO specifically today, and for the purposes of this article, the important thing is that you create a video, any video.
Secondly, you should submit a video sitemap to Google. The truth is video still presents some challenges for search engines. Videos can be embedded in many different formats and search engines can struggle deciding how to index them. A sitemap will ensure your video content is indexed with the appropriate thumbnail and description.
Code for typical video sitemap
A video sitemap is a text file filled with useful information about your video. By submitting a sitemap to Google, you are informing the search engine of your video’s title, subject matter, run time, who the intended audience is, and many more details that will influence how and when it gets indexed.
This information is pretty valuable when put into Google’s hands. The more Google knows about your video, the better job they can do of putting it in front of the right audience. If indexed properly, whenever potential customers perform a search relevant to your content, Google will display the information and thumbnail image from your video sitemap on their results page.
What are the steps to make this happen? In order to setup a new sitemap, you’ll need to create a new word document, save it as an xml file, and upload it to your server. When creating the sitemap document, there is a sitemap protocol that you must follow, which you can find outlined in depth by Sitemaps.org.
If you’re not comfortable setting up your own sitemap, there are tools available that will automatically generate them for you. Google maintains a list of such tools here: http://code.google.com/p/sitemap-generators/wiki/SitemapGenerators
Lastly, control where your video content appears. In other words – not on YouTube. You might be taken aback by this suggestion. Many “experts” recommend integrating YouTube into online marketing efforts.
If you’re creating video content with the aim of generating buzz and awareness, YouTube is a great tool. However, if you’re creating videos to improve your site’s SEO, which is what we’re talking about here, you’re better off skipping it. When you embed a YouTube video on your own site, which page do you think is likely to rank higher in search results? The YouTube page will. When people watch your video on YouTube, it’s possible that the most engaged viewers will then click on the link to your site, but a lot of them won’t. Many of them will be sucked in by YouTube’s recommended videos or, even worse, by a competitor’s ad and quickly forget all about your original message.
The purpose of SEO is to drive traffic to your own site, not YouTube. You should keep that in mind when deciding how and where you host your videos.
YouTube offers many opportunities for potential customers to go elsewhere
Videos can be a tremendously effective SEO tool. Just make sure you’re not missing out on the opportunity! If you take the time to create compelling video content for your site, there is no reason not to take the steps to ensure search engines index it properly.
About the author: Meghan Grosso is the Brand & Communications Manager for vzaar, the video hosting service for businesses. vzaar exists to serve up your video content however and wherever necessary, on any device your audience can get their hands on. Built expressly for professionals with a service or product to grow and promote, vzaar is preloaded with all the customization, security and analytical tools your videos need to get the job done.