Companies that use video enjoy 41% more web traffic than those that do not. The most efficient drivers of traffic to any given site are search engines. Even if you flunked out of Algebra II, it’s easy to do the math. If you want to find something, the first line of attack is usually Google, followed closely by asking your mom where you put that thing you need. A report by Brightcove found that video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines. It fits into the equation: reaching higher up on Google’s rankings is fifty times more likely with a video than with a web page. And since increasing traffic is one of the primary ways to promote and monetize your video content online, ensuring that it can be found on search engines is pretty darn important.
Search engine optimization doesn’t happen in a vacuum, unless that vacuum happens to be a web bot which crawls and indexes websites. You need to “feed” these bots good information and strong, relevant keywords in order for your video to rank well. If you’re looking for a pair of jeans, what do you search for? If it’s for price and fit, you might look up “high rise jeans under $100” or, if you’re into it, “mom jeans”. Because who doesn’t want pants that go up to your chest, am I right, Jan? If it’s for utility and you’re a fisherman in Northern Oregon (because nothing else explains why one needs that many pockets), you might search for “cargo pants fishing”. Keep this search methodology in mind when inputting title, description, and meta keywords for your video or landing page. What are some common keywords used in your industry? How do they rank? The relevancy of the metadata you input has a direct impact on rankings.
Using a dedicated platform is almost as key to this whole operation as which keywords you use. Using a platform such as YouTube to host and embed your videos is the equivalent of giving away your content (and the rights to your content) for free. You want to drive video searches to your own domain. You can do so by using a platform which will create video sitemaps for you. Sitemaps are text files containing relevant data about your video content, which is more “food” for our friends like Google bot. By hosting your content on a platform designed to suit the needs of your brand or organization, you control every aspect of what a user gets when searching for videos like yours. You can create a unique landing page for your video without the clutter of advertising that YouTube and other free video hosting platforms come with, so that users remain in your domain for longer without all the added noise.
The First 48
According to Stone Ward, the first 48 hours after your video goes live are critical (similarly to solving homicides or declaring missing persons but perhaps without the added drama). The same paper found that engagement metrics such as views, searches, and shares create search virility. Video increases time spent on pages: not only does it drive traffic to your page, it’s more likely to keep it there. Perhaps this is an indicator of the times—not so much that we have shorter attention spans and have lost our ability to appreciate words, but that we have made great strides in using video as a medium for storytelling. Whichever you choose to believe, it has been proven that video engages more viewers for longer. Longer visits via highly engaging video content increase conversion rates, which positively impact search engine analytics.
While feeding our search engine overlords is critical to search engine optimization, you have to remember that people are part of the equation, as well. You may have the top rank for a given search term, but if the second highest rank has a catchier title and description, you can still be left in the dust. Be honest: would you rather click on something called “male bonobo exhibits territorial behavior” or “funny monkey throws poop”? Human beings are the ones behind the screen, after all—and they are the ones sharing content on social media for others to interact with, share, and like. Bots can’t do that.