Is video currently a part of your digital marketing strategy? If not, it needs to be. It’s estimated that video will make up over 80% of internet traffic by 2021. Its popularity has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years for several reasons. Not only does the brain process videos more quickly than written articles, but the majority of website visitors prefer watching videos to reading text. But even with these compelling facts, many small- to medium-sized businesses have shied away from embracing video marketing. This type of marketing is often believed to be both expensive and time-consuming. However, there are a number of options that make it easy for those with limited budgets and time to create awesome videos. Video marketing is more accessible than ever and it’s also an integral part of search engine optimization (SEO). Read on to learn more about why video is so important and how you can incorporate it into your online marketing strategy.
Why Video is Important for SEO
Search engines look at several different items when ranking your website including backlinks, user experience, online presence, and many more. These elements do take time to register with search engines, though. While your site may be incredible from the get-go, it won’t instantaneously pop up on the first page of search results. But with the proper optimization techniques, videos can get ranked in search engines very quickly. This means that you’ll have a great opportunity to get more visitors to your site just a short time after you release your video.
In addition, videos are easily shareable through social media and video sharing sites like YouTube. When you post your videos on these sites, you can include links back to your own website. The more your videos are shared, the more backlinks your site has. This tells search engines that your site is both trustworthy and popular, which serves to help your ranking.
Placing your videos on your site works to improve the user experience. Website visitors spend almost 90% more time on sites with video than those without. Another element that factors into a user’s experience with your site is the quality and content of your videos. They need to be good quality, engaging, and relevant. As an added bonus, videos give you a wonderful chance to show off your brand’s personality and increase brand recognition. Both of these will play a part in establishing a strong online presence and reputation.
While it’s relatively easy to put your marketing videos online, getting them seen will take a little bit of work on the back end. You’ll need to ensure that all of your videos are complete with metadata. Just like with web pages, videos have metadata that shows up in search engine results. You’ll need to give each piece a title, description, and tags. The title should be at least five words long while the description should be at least 250 words long. Tags are other important items that help search engines understand what your video is about.
Tags are keywords or phrases that help to categorize your video and make it easier to find. Don’t forget that file names matter for SEO. Opt for file names that are descriptive and relevant to the subject matter like top-haircare-products-reviewed.mov instead of video1479.mov.
Many video sharing sites will give you the option to create a video thumbnail from the file. While this is easier, we recommend that you create a custom thumbnail. As it’s this single view that will persuade someone to watch or skip your video, you should take the opportunity to craft as compelling (and pertinent) an image as possible. Video sitemaps will also make it easier for search engines to find and properly index your videos.
Using Videos in Your Marketing Strategy
So, how do you get started integrating videos into your marketing strategy? First things first, craft a plan. Start by coming up with a video style guide. This guide should address the standard look that you’d like for all of your videos, which may include things like fonts, color schemes, etc. Over time, this style will help establish your brand identity and increase brand recognition.
Then, figure out who your target audience is for every type of video you’d like to create. It’s quite possible that you’ll need videos that target different audiences, for example, potential buyers as opposed to returning customers. Determine the goal of each video. Would you like them to be shared, increase email newsletter sign-ups, generate business, etc.?
What types of videos would you like to make? Behind-the-scenes looks at your company, product demonstrations, and other how-tos are several popular options. You may also want to make videos that correspond to blog articles. User-generated videos by those who patronize your business can be helpful, too. These types of videos are effective at building your brand and expanding your online reach. Consider including a video on your homepage that tells visitors more about your business, team, and/or products as these provide a wonderful personal introduction.
Decide how often you’d like to publish videos. Your schedule will depend on factors like the content of your videos, how much time you have available, etc. If you can release videos once or twice a month, that’s great. Similarly, if you can put one out every week, that’s great, too. Remember, though, quality over quantity. Higher quality videos reflect better on your brand than those that may have been hastily put together. Try to make video a part of your larger content strategy. For instance, incorporating it with complementary articles, infographics, and other pieces will make it easier to extend the life of your content and increase its visibility.
Other Video Best Practices
If you want viewers to watch your videos all the way through, it’s essential that they’re immediately engaging. You only have a few seconds to capture someone’s attention, so make those first few seconds count. While the first few seconds are important, so are the last few. Don’t forget to include a call-to-action with your video. It could be a suggestion to sign up for a newsletter or simply a discount code that can be applied to a future purchase. Calls-to-action increase the likelihood of conversions.
Post your video on your site as well as on video sharing and social media sites. When you post on Facebook, opt for native videos as opposed to links to the video on your site or other sites. Native videos are those that you upload directly to Facebook. These start playing automatically and they typically get more shares than links to videos do.
Don’t forget about including transcripts and closed captions. You should put a transcript of the video on your site. All of your videos should also have closed captions, too. These are important because not everyone who watches videos will have access to audio. Both of these help to improve the user experience, which in turns helps with SEO. If you upload your video to Facebook or YouTube, there are options for automatic captioning (although you’ll have to double check and edit them to ensure that they’re correct). Alternatively, there are companies who can provide you with these services or you can take care of your video transcription and closed caption services in house.
In most instance, you’ll want to keep your videos to two minutes or less in length. After two minutes, engagement drops dramatically. Of course, this will depend completely on what you’re trying to achieve or convey. If you’re providing a thorough how-to video, this will require more time than a product overview video.
To perfect your video marketing strategy, you’ll need to pay attention to how viewers are watching and responding to your video. YouTube, Facebook, and many other social media and video sharing sites offer analytics that can tell you how often your video has been viewed or shared, the video’s watch time, average view duration, and more. If you embed videos on your site with YouTube, the player will still track engagement and other details. All of this information should give you a good idea of which videos resonate the most with your viewers and customers, which may have missed the mark, and how much of your videos are being seen. Modify your strategy accordingly to maximize viewership.
Tools for Creating Videos
There’s no shortage of programs and online options for creating videos. If you have a Mac computer, iMovie is free and easy to use. Another option might be OpenShot, which is a free cross-platform editor. Online, we’ve found that Animoto has a lot of useful features at a very affordable price. If you’d rather leave the creation process to someone else, sites like Fiverr have hundreds of professionals who can assist you.
Need Assistance with Your Marketing Strategy?
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