Video Marketing for SEO in 2018

Nicole Grodesky
By Nicole Grodesky

When you’re searching for a breaking news story or a review of the new golf club you’ve had your eye on, how likely are you to click on a video instead of a text article? If you’re like most people, then very likely. In fact, 72% of people prefer to watch a video to learn about products, services, and information rather than refer to text alone. Video content’s popularity shows no sign of slowing down, with a projected 80% of online traffic going to video in 2019.

Including video in your marketing strategy is proven to boost your search engine rankings by improving behavior metrics, such as time spent on your site, pages per visit, and bounce rate. This is unsurprising considering YouTube, the video sharing platform, serves as the second most popular search engine in the world with 1.9 million monthly active users. The number one search engine, the almighty Google, also ranks video in search engine results pages, with pages that feature video being 50x more likely to appear on the first page.

The wise marketer is staying on top of this trend by implementing a video marketing strategy aimed at reaching a particular goal, whether that be to boost product awareness, increase conversion rates, or spark social media engagement. However, simply producing videos isn’t enough to meet these objectives. Video, like your blogs and web pages, are more successful when created with their own SEO strategies in mind.

Keywords for Video

Keywords, words and phrases that a web user enters into a search engine to find content and information, are as important for video as they are for any other form of content. What good is shooting a video if no one can find it online?

Ultimately, keyword research for video isn’t much different than conducting this research for written content. The goal is to tune into how your target audience is searching for content like yours and tailor your efforts accordingly.

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To begin, draft a list of keywords or phrases you think will work for your video’s subject. Then. perform a preliminary search on platforms like Google and YouTube to see how similar content is being found online. Start by typing in a word or phrase related to your video into the search bar and take note of what auto-populates in the search. This will give you a general indication of what videos your audience is most interested in watching. Notice how many titles come up for each search. Choose keywords and phrases that hone in on your niche audience rather than compete in an arena of overly saturated keywords.

Next, check out the competition. See how similar companies of proportional size are marketing their videos and take note of their strengths and weaknesses. Glance over the titles, tags, and descriptions to get an idea of what may work for your own videos. Take the time to actually watch a few videos to see if there are consistent traits, themes, and production elements across successful content.

If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to invest in keyword research software. These tools can help you plan keywords by providing you with information on the prevalence and success of keywords or phrases, from the amount of web traffic they earn to the average click-through-rate.

Optimize Your YouTube Page

So, your team has created a video you’re sure your audience will love and you’re ready to upload it to your YouTube channel. How do you ensure your video gets the attention it deserves?

SEO isn’t just for Google, folks. In addition to the use of keywords, you can fully optimize your YouTube page by utilizing the following tactics.

  1. Add Tags

YouTube tags act like tags you might use on your blog or social media. They provide the search engine with information about the video’s contents so that it can be found more easily in searches. Implement those keywords you worked so hard to gather into your YouTube tags. Don’t be shy, either. Load up on relevant tags, but stay away from spam-riddled keywords.

  1. Add a Website Link

If your business sells products or services, it’s important that you lead your audience to your website where they can continue moving down the purchasing funnel. Go into your channel’s settings to add your associated website link to your page. You can also link your website in the video and description to make sure that your audience doesn’t miss an opportunity to learn more about your company.

  1. Add a Long Description

Your video description gives the YouTube algorithm more information about your content so that it can rank you accordingly. While you may think a short explanation of the topic is enough, YouTube actually prefers a longer description (about 250 words or more). Infuse your keywords into the description, making sure to mention primary keywords multiple times without committing the marketing crime of keyword stuffing.

  1. Write a Compelling Title

Increase your click-through-rate with a title that clearly communicates what viewers can expect from your video. Ideally, your title should be between 60-80 characters long and feature prominent keywords.

  1. Design an Interesting Thumbnail

In addition to the title, your channel’s thumbnail is one of the first things the user sees when scrolling through YouTube’s search results page. A thumbnail is a clickable image that represents the video’s content. When designing your custom thumbnail, consider the visual aspects of the image, including colors, contrast, graphics, and text. These qualities should be consistent with your overall branding and with one another.

  1. Feature Branded Channel Art

To piggyback on the tip above, you can also get creative with your channel’s art. On your YouTube channel’s homepage, you have the opportunity to create a banner graphic that highlights your business’s branding and style.

Implement SEO into Video

Did you know you can implement SEO into the video itself? Certain qualities can signal to YouTube that your video deserves a better ranking because users are finding value in your content.

The number one ranking factor for YouTube is audience retention, or how much of your video your fans actually watch. Like your bounce rate, audience retention tells you how engaging your content is and provides insight into shortcomings. A high click-through-rate won’t get you very far if your audience retention is poor.

To ensure that your audience keeps their eyes glued to the screen for the length of your video, consider these key components.

  1. The 15 Second Rule

YouTube itself claims that the first 15 seconds of your video can make or break your engagement rates. Data suggests that viewers who make it past the first 15 seconds are likely to watch the majority of the video.

Your introduction should show viewers that your video is worth their time. State the topic so that the viewer knows what they can expect from your content then jump directly into the subject. How you choose to execute this strategy, however, is up to you.

Experiment with your video intros to determine which performs best for your audience. Do viewers like a quick clip of the video followed by a branded introduction sequence? Do they respond better to a verbal introduction of the topic? Once you’ve nailed down what works for you, maintain stylistic consistency in video production.

  1. Create Long Videos

Longer videos outperform shorter videos in YouTube’s search rankings. Oftentimes, users come to YouTube to learn information or to be entertained, meaning they’re willing to spend a few extra minutes on valuable content.

Tailor the length of the video to the topic and intent. If your most recent video is a tease of a new product release, it’s okay to keep it short. If you are creating a tutorial on how to use that product, then the video will be a great deal longer.

  1. Use Pattern Interrupts

While consistency is essential to any marketing strategy, too much consistency in your videos can backfire if your content becomes too predictable. The overall structure and style of your videos can be similar, but you should also break up content with pattern interrupts.

Pattern interrupts are instances that create a brief respite from the usual. For example, the inclusion of a blooper can keep your audience entertained while they still receive the correct information from the video.

  1. Encourage User Engagement

User engagement is a significant ranking factor for YouTube. The platform takes the number of likes, comments, subscriptions, shares, and playlist additions into account when ranking your video in search engine results pages.

One of the easiest, and most effective, ways to encourage user engagement is to simply ask. Groundbreaking! We know. In your video, use a specific call to action. For example, you can ask viewers to comment on the answer to a question related to the video or ask them to subscribe for more kick a** content.

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Nicole is a Senior SEO Strategist with experience in technical SEO, SEO keyword strategy, content strategy, and Local SEO. She has experience with enterprise level Local SEO initiatives that manages multiple business locations up to over 300 stores nationwide. Her Local SEO expertise is in managing Google My Business accounts and building local citations to create an authoritative local presence for business owners.