Since the Google Penguin and Panda updates, a lot of search engine optimization specialists have finally realized that ranking a website in the long term is not just about building a large number of links. It’s also about creating high-quality content that will attract links naturally over time. However, one aspect of SEO that is still underutilized by many financial institutions is the use of video.
So, why does video help SEO rankings? Here’s what we know about the connection.
First, we know that when Google shows a video thumbnail next to a search result, which it does for 26% of search results according to BrightEdge, users are more likely to click that listing. The presence of the thumbnail makes the result a “rich snippet” — which tends to have higher click-through rates than standard snippets.
We also know that Google has been rumored to prioritize search results with video above those results without video. While Google hasn’t explicitly confirmed this idea, many marketers agree that their own SEO results suggest it’s true.
Another advantage is that you can brand your video thumbnails to build brand recognizability. This may help your click-through and conversions in the long run because brand familiarity causes web users to feel more confident and to trust the website.
In addition to providing enhanced organic visibility, videos have also been found to boost on-page engagement, which is a major factor for rankings.
Video can help push the metrics that matter most.
Two of the most important metrics for SEO are the time users spend on your page or site and the number of backlinks referring to your domain — and video almost always improves both. Studies show that people spend over twice as long on a page with video than without, and the higher the quality of your content, the more likely you are to get backlinks.
So, video benefits SEO both directly and indirectly since the video alone likely influences your ranking, and also influences other factors that go into Google’s selection system.
In short, Google’s algorithms are increasingly prioritizing websites with video content, which is definitely not something you want to ignore. A whopping 93 percent of online experiences start with a search engine, so you want to do everything you can to appear on that crucial first page.
6 ways to make video work for your financial institution
Online videos are being watched more than ever. It’s even been suggested that more than 80% of online traffic is video-based content. If you’re not using videos, you could be missing out on a big piece of content marketing strategy. Here are some powerful tips on how to use video to improve your SEO.
1. Add video content to your site.
This may feel obvious, but you need to incorporate videos into your website in order for search engines to see it and rank your pages. You want a mix of media types on your site; this signals that your site is a resource-rich place that will benefit searchers. Consumers prefer sites with video content, which we expect will create a self-reinforcing loop where consumers click on more links with video. So business operators add more relevant videos, which increases the amount of relevant search results. All that said, you can’t really engage with any of the subsequent tips in this article if you don’t complete this one.
2. Plan your keyword labels.
This tip is all about clarifying exactly what type of information your videos contain. Be as explicit as possible about the topics each video covers and the priority of each keyword. After you’ve made that list, it’s much easier to include those labels in the video title, file name, description, and tags. This gives search engines lots of concrete clues that help them to match your content with searches on related topics. Resist the temptation to over-tag or keyword-stuff your content. Users dislike it when they watch a video expecting certain content only to discover that it’s totally unrelated to the topic they searched for. It’s ok to use a wide variety of keywords as long as they’re accurate.
3. Create transcripts of your videos.
Transcripts are a good way to make the information in your video more visible to search engines. It can also help make your content accessible to a wider audience, as some people prefer to skim the transcript for relevant information or may be unable to hear the video in the first place. In most cases, the words used in the video will match the relevant keywords and topics you’re hoping to match in search results.
4. Create a YouTube channel.
Is it any surprise that Google owns the second largest search engine, as measured in number of queries? That site just happens to be YouTube. While you may want to host your videos privately for a number of reasons, there is a strong case for small business owners to leverage the impressive reach of YouTube. In the majority of cases, your site will perform better (vs. hosting directly on your site) and you’ll get additional exposure (visits to your site, plus views directly through YouTube).
5. Include links to your website on YouTube and individual videos.
YouTube views don’t automatically convert into page views, but if you include links to your website on your YouTube profile and each video’s description, you can increase the likelihood of someone clicking through. You want to make it easy for users to click, but not obnoxious or interruptive to the content.
6. Show the search engines your social proof.
More views is better than less views. As you share your content on social media, and through marketing channels such as email, your viewership numbers will increase. This is a major signal to search engines that your content is valuable and worth watching. If you’ve included obvious links to your site, you’ll drive additional traffic that way as well.
You don’t have to be a video star — play the long game.
Creating video content can feel very intimidating. Thankfully, now that many people use social media platforms regularly and most everyone has a smartphone, the tools are in your pocket (literally). It can be as simple as getting a friend or colleague to hold your phone and press record! Of course, professional video production may be the right choice for your brand, especially if you want it to live on your website for a long time. There are a lot of resources for getting started, like this video tutorial.
As you create content for your site, you’ll begin to learn what fits your brand and what topics grab your audience’s interest. The name of the game is to start small and start today. Over time your efforts to generate and share video content will manifest in more traffic to your site — it’s a positive reinforcement loop.