Zach Jackson

Marketers have mere seconds to demonstrate the value of their web pages. And of the major content forms, video is proving the most capable of catching and holding our eyes.

The dynamic and direct nature of video has been shown to drive user engagement, boost site traffic, increase conversion rates and generate revenue. As if that weren’t enough, it’s evident that carefully crafted video content can give you an edge on SERPs too!

In today’s article, we’ll be exploring video’s journey from a nice-to-have page feature to a strategic necessity in your SEO campaigns.

Are videos good for SEO?

Historically, digital marketers avoided video, assuming that it would reduce rather than increase value for users. Even those who saw its potential struggled to overcome their own production and cost limitations to execute quality video marketing.

However, with editing software becoming more affordable and intuitive over the years, as well as the rise of platforms such as YouTube making it easy to upload and manage video, video content marketing has become an increasingly viable option.

It wasn’t considered an SEO must at first, and was utilised as more of a flashy advertising feature by larger brands. But, as time went on, the applications of video content broadened, and now, a well-crafted video can add significant value to a web page.

As search engines are always looking for new ways to improve their services, they strive to elevate content that improves engagement in their SERPs, and videos do just that. This is why they’ve become such a vital tool in the marketer’s SEO arsenal.

What draws people to videos?

There are several reasons why consumers of content are drawn to videos:

  • Information density: Videos convey a vast amount of information in a clear, concise and engaging manner. People are typically happier viewing short-form video content than they are reading two or three pages of written content. By condensing key points into a digestible format, video foes more work on the user's behalf than any other content form. But it's not just the convenience factor that makes it such an impactful driver of engagement.
  • We love stories: Through video, marketers are given a platform to tell a subject's story - and nothing resonates with people like a well-told story. By incorporating narrative forms in video content, we can tap into deeper, more emotional levels in a target audience, increasing the retention of key ad details in the minds of viewers.
  • Videos show rather than tell:The visual aspect of video content makes it much more suitable for tutorials and showcasing products or services, helping users get to the crux of the matter quickly and with minimal effort.
  • Control​​​​​​​: Videos can also be paused, slowed down, skipped through, and replayed, giving the user far more control over how they consume content.

Video and SEO: Easy bedfellows

The connection between video and SEO isn’t always obvious at first, but when you consider a few key factors, it’s indisputable.

Video increases user session time

Videos may deliver information efficiently, but that doesn’t mean users are making a quick exit from the web page. On the contrary, surveys compiling video content consumption statistics have shown that sites with videos encourage much longer user sessions, which can be a big factor when Google is ranking your pages.

When users spend long periods on one or more of the web pages on your site, it tells Google that your content is highly relevant to the individual’s initial search query and that it is valuable to them.

Google loves anything that makes for a better search experience, as it makes their services look good. Session time is one of the major indicators of a site effectively meeting or exceeding the needs of the user. 

Google refers to your site’s ability to hold attention as its ‘stickiness factor’, and high-quality video content creation makes for the stickiest sites of all!

Videos encourage more (and better) backlinks

Another of Google’s criteria for ranking websites is their backlink profile, and according to a link building study carried out by moz, pages with an embedded video are capable of generating as many as 300% more backlinks than those that rely on static media alone.

Why? Well, part of the reason is that videos are far more likely to be shared on social media, significantly boosting exposure. Another is that sites covering similar niches to yours are likely to link to your video page if they don’t have the facilities to produce videos themselves.

You’re not guaranteed this full 3x impact, but a well-produced video that augments surrounding content is almost certainly going to boost the number and quality of the backlinks coming your way - 10–150% is a common range.

This tells Google that your content is good enough to be shared with multiple audiences across the web. Thus, your site will make Google look good if they present it high up on the SERPs.

Videos boost organic traffic

In the same way a robust backlink profile tells Google your site deserves a high rank on the SERPs, so too does a high organic CTR (click-through rate) - and videos are remarkably effective at increasing organic traffic to your site.

The “shareability” of videos means there are more portals across the web leading to your site. And more portals generally equate to more robust CTRs.

Platform synergy

YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google. By utilising this platform, you unlock an incredible amount of exposure instantaneously, and as you can link from YouTube back to your site, your new audience is likely to pay a visit.

In turn, your site will guide people to your YouTube channel, completing a mutually beneficial loop in which each platform promotes the other.

Videos are favoured by Google for rich snippets

Google may not have explicitly stated that it has a media preference when it comes to selecting sites for rich snippets. However, our own experience (as well as that of other industry experts) clearly illustrates that web pages that contain videos are more likely to land a thumbnail rich snippet spot at the top of the SERPs.

Videos can boost your keyword clout

Like any form of video content, the exposure of video content comes largely down to how you attach keywords. The title of your video, as well as your video description and meta tags, offers a wealth of opportunities to reinforce your current keyword efforts or broaden your approach by targeting additional relevant keywords.

Video transcriptions can help as well. By transcribing your video and placing the text on your webpage, not only are you providing greater value to users by offering them an alternative mode of content consumption, but you also provide some context to accompany the video. This helps AI systems understand what your page is about.

A transcript also enables you to target all the relevant keywords mentioned in your video naturally, meaning your page will be more competitive in the SERPs for a broad range of search terms.

Videos are valued by mobile users

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Recent research has shown that 90% of mobile users prefer to watch video content. This is likely due to the smallness of smartphone screens making textual content less accessible.

So, considering over half of global website traffic comes from mobile internet use, incorporating video content into your SEO strategy is a no-brainer.

Final thoughts

In summary, video content is very powerful indeed when it comes to SEO, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of quality written content. Video is a complimentary content form, meaning it’s heavily reliant on other types of content to provide context.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to create high-quality, user-friendly textual content first, then boost appeal and outreach with well-produced video content after the fact.

If you’d like to discuss the relationship between video content and SEO further or discover how else you can elevate your SEO efforts, contact us today.​​​​​​​