- Video will continue to be a vital part of digital strategy in 2023 reaching huge levels of advertising spend
- Just like written content, video content should follow SEO best practices. However, many organizations fail to recognize this and do not optimize their videos
- Patrick Reinhart, VP of Services & Thought Leadership, Conductor, provides a guide to SEO strategy for video content in this Q&A with ClickZ
Video advertising spending in the U.S. is expected to reach $78.5 billion in 2023. It is an undeniably vital part of any brand’s content strategy. Video has been found to drive a 157% increase in organic traffic from SERPs, and you can best realize these results when, just like written content, it follows SEO best practices.
So what foundational best practices are there for video strategy? What common SEO mistakes are marketers making with their video content? How does video tie into a brand’s broader SEO strategy? Patrick Reinhart, VP of Services and Thought Leadership, Conductor, answers the most frequent questions marketers have about optimizing their video content for SEO.
1) How can SEO data help you ideate and curate video content?
Patrick Reinhart: SEO data and search data have a million different uses across your business. As you follow search data across a year, you see trends in what people are talking about. In June you might see about Mother’s Day, in November you see searches for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This helps show you what people may particularly want to see out of your brand. Whatever your vertical or your business, use a keyword base to guide your research. Then you’ll begin to (Read more...) the small nuances and questions that people want to have answered.
So many people have questions they just throw into Google or YouTube. Answering those questions in the form of a video is immensely powerful, as you’re asking how you can help or educate that user. Can I create something like a DIY video? Can I answer that question? If it’s what they’re asking for, can I make a stupid cat video? SEO and search data can unearth where those opportunities are for your brand.
2) Why is it important to include video in your SEO strategy?
Patrick Reinhart: We all know how popular video content is. But when it comes to videos on SERPs, many people underappreciate and forget what goes into optimizing that type of content. They focus on the creative process and forget what comes next. But now brands are realizing they don’t have to spend huge amounts on cinematic-level videos. 40% of younger generations are searching on Instagram and TikTok and not on Google. Visual search, inclusive of video, is where the future is heading, and we should expect Google to move in this direction. And if the next generations are on TikTok and Instagram, you should have some video content that can serve these closed environments also.
3) What are the foundational video best practices of a thriving SEO strategy?
Patrick Reinhart: Optimizing video is not dissimilar to optimizing the written content, but let’s run through some of the top best practices. Firstly, marketers constantly ask me whether the content they should host video content on Vimeo or another platform. They, and you, should host it on YouTube. Start a channel, and create videos. It has all the fields you need. Put in a title, include links in the description, and tag it properly based on the correct keywords. Treat it like any other piece of content.
Secondly, transcriptions. Transcriptions are wonderful, but if your video is too long, summarize and write what it’s about. Thirdly, link back to the correct page on your site rather than the home page. If you’re talking about a specific product or offering or piece of content on your site, send it to that individual URL. Fourthly, you have published your video, nurture it. It’s a popularity contest. If your audience has been consuming your video, with comments and engagement, it will perform better in search. Links and click-throughs help with this performance.
Then, schema tagging. Lots of people miss this step. For example, you can specify a start and end date for a particular video segment which can help with specific searches, so people don’t have to watch the full video. Another one is seek-to-action, where you include a timestamp in your URL structure. Again, it helps the user get to a specific part of a video that answers their question. Marketers consistently overlook schema tagging.
4) What common SEO mistakes lead to mediocre performance of video content?
Patrick Reinhart: Too many brands create brilliant videos, and the work stops there. Like everything in SEO, you must socialize it and nurture it. Firstly, socializing. If you care enough to create it, you should care enough to promote it. Share it on social media or through other marketing channels. We’ll look at this in more detail in the next question. Secondly, nurture it. Follow the best practices I detailed above. Again, too many brands take the approach of ‘set it and forget it.’ You don’t have to nurture the video for years and years. But if you put it up and leave it there, how can you expect to stand apart from the hundreds of millions of videos on YouTube?
5) How should teams build partnerships with other marketing departments to successfully promote video content?
Patrick Reinhart: Lots of times people view SEO as creating a page or improving ranking for a given keyword. SEO should go beyond this. The search and SEO data described above can inform the strategy of other departments. So, to build partnerships, it comes down to education. Educate other teams on the problems you can solve for them. Explain how it can help their campaign live on well beyond its initial release. Show them what their campaigns should be about and what videos should cover. And once you’ve gone through your optimization best practices, use these departments to share the video content you have created and/or optimized. This is the way to overcome siloes between marketing divisions.
6) How can marketers cope with Google’s volatility when optimizing video content?
Patrick Reinhart: Yes, you should pay attention to the changes Google is announcing and what they may mean for your SEO practices. But try not to get too bogged down in a constant stream of updates. Remember, Google is constantly changing and evolving based on ML/AI that is based on search behavior. What you can do is keep up to date with best practice guides when Google, or other trusted authorities, release them. Most of the updates are designed to weed out shady sites that really shouldn’t include your brand. By keeping in line with your best practices, you can keep an eye out for major updates and instead focus on creating and optimizing excellent video content!
7) How should video tie into your team’s broader SEO strategy?
Patrick Reinhart: Video has a lot of different applications. Again, you just have the straight video play on YouTube, and these videos can appear in Google organic results. You should also embed the video content onto your site. You can drive traffic to your site using video, rather than driving it to YouTube. Do not limit one video to appearing in only one place. Spread it across YouTube, social media, your site, and other marketing campaigns. That way, one piece of video kind of lives in five or six different channels and helps gain eyeballs in many different mediums. When it’s used in these other formats, the content you create can drive traffic to your website. It improves the quality of your overall SEO health. You should apply and extend your SEO strategy to all content formats, not just written content, and not just video.
8) What SEO trends will be important in 2023 and beyond?
Patrick Reinhart: As we move away from third-party data with the death of the cookie, a lot of organizations want to turn to their first-party sources. They want to equip their internal teams with these insights. This will have an impact on SERPs. Results pages will fluctuate as Google rolls up more updates. As they try to compete with the likes of TikTok for the searches of younger generations, video content will only become increasingly important. We cannot predict exactly what this will look like, but we do know Google will push into visual search. It’s more important than ever that your brand follows SEO best practices for video content. Not only will it help your SERP ranking, but you can repurpose this content for those platforms where the visual search is already hugely popular.
Patrick Reinhart is the VP of Services and Thought Leadership at Conductor. He is the host of the Conductor 30|30 webinar series.