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Written by Sam Yadegar on Aug 18 , 2021

Because the most effective marketing videos keep search engine optimization in mind.

Here you’ll learn:

  • How to SEO factors into video marketing
  • Ways to prime your videos for search engine optimization
  • What technical elements to pay attention to
  • The importance of schema markup and sitemaps for videos

The results are in: Video is one of the top forms of media used in effective content strategies these days.

The rising popularity of videos makes them an integral tool for your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. 

It may seem harder to apply standard SEO tactics to video content. In reality, the approach is simply different. Let’s take a closer look at actionable ways to inject SEO into your video marketing strategy to take full advantage of its benefits.  

women videotaping a group of women

YouTube has an advantage for video SEO since videos uploaded to YouTube are automatically, and almost instantly, indexed in Google search. (Image via Unplash)

1. Add a video transcript

A video transcript is the text version of the words spoken in your video. Adding a transcript to your video allows you to implement standard SEO tactics like keyword placement.

Since search engines can’t crawl videos, transcripts give them an opportunity to index and rank this type of content. Additionally, a video transcript improves user experience (UX), thus keeping visitors on your website longer.

Transcripts also improve accessibility. Even though Google says that accessibility isn’t a ranking factor yet, it may become one in the future (and it’s just good to keep accessibility in mind in the name of equality). 

While creating transcripts, you can break them up and add captions to your video. This way you create extra text for the search engines to crawl.

Pro tip: Don’t have time to type up transcripts yourself? There are softwares and services that can do it for you. Just make sure to double-check the results to make sure everything was transcribed properly.

2. Choose the right hosting option

As a platform, YouTube has an advantage since videos uploaded to YouTube are automatically, and almost instantly, indexed in Google search. However, it’s worth noting that YouTube videos often rank for their instance on YouTube.com instead of the location on your website.

If you decide to host videos on paid platforms (Vimeo, Wistia), you gain more control of your videos like inserting links or CTAs.

Generally, YouTube is the most popular hosting option for SEO efforts. However, if the budget allows, it could also be worth it to at least explore other platforms with potentially higher video quality and more customization options.

Pro tip: If you decide to use different hosting platforms, don’t copy-paste all the metadata. Rather, take this opportunity to diversify the text to improve your chances of ranking for different keywords.

3. Optimize titles and descriptions

Similar to a blog post, videos need title and meta description optimization. If you want the video to rank higher, pay attention to these two elements. They should include keywords that your target audience is searching for. Oh, and as with any content you publish, avoid the black-hat tactic of keyword stuffing.

After all, SEO shouldn’t be your only goal when creating titles and descriptions. While you should aim to put keywords as close to the beginning as possible, focus on how engaging and clickable the text is — that’s going to be what gets you the results you want.  

4. Create a video sitemap

A video sitemap includes information about the video hosted on your webpage. Creating such a sitemap helps Google find, understand, and index video content on your website. It’s especially useful for new video content Google hasn’t had the chance to crawl yet.

Creating a video sitemap allows you to provide a variety of details and create an additional presence on a video.google.com search. You can submit a video sitemap through the Google Search Console the same way you would for any other XML sitemap.

Confused about sitemaps, videos, or digital marketing in general? Let us help.

video editing software on desktop computer

When a thumbnail appears in search results, it’s your best chance to catch the attention of your target audience. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Explore rich snippet SEO for videos

When your website is marked up in such a way that it lets Google know you want to promote a video, the search result appears with a thumbnail of a video. Thumbnails can increase your clickthrough rate (CTR).

To increase the chances of a rich snippet video appearing next to the search results, you need to add the schema markup to the HTML code of your video page. The schema markup is an additional map that helps search engines crawl your page and display it in search results with a video rich snippet.

6. Be strategic about thumbnail quality

When a thumbnail appears in search results, it’s your best chance to catch the attention of your target audience. The best ones are eye-catching, high-quality, and informative. Think of the thumbnail as an ad for your video. 

As a reminder, the thumbnail doesn’t need to be a frame from the video. It can be a separate image designed to attract the searcher.

7. Focus on video quality

While the video quality isn’t necessarily a ranking factor, it does affect the way users interact with your website. If visitors leave after a few seconds of watching your low-quality video, your bounce rate goes up. 

Creating a high-quality video doesn’t mean you have to invest thousands into professional equipment and a production team. It’s more about ensuring the video is easy to watch, carries value, and speaks to your audience.

Pro tip: If you want the search engine to see your video, keep it closer to the top of the page, or “above the fold.”

8. Keep it short

If you want videos to contribute to your SEO efforts, consider keeping them on the shorter side. If your potential audience is pressed for time, they may not be able to watch a long video.

Many people look at the video length before starting to watch it. If they see something longer than 5-10 minutes, they may be more likely to abandon it before clicking the play button.

Of course, if your video is truly valuable, it’s likely to rank high anyway.  However, you may want to consider breaking it down into several short videos. This will also give you an opportunity to use more keywords in titles and descriptions.

The takeaway

Videos continue to rise in popularity for businesses trying to target their audience and grow their reach. It’s easy to see why: They help companies achieve marketing goals from lead generation and conversion to brand awareness. 

Optimizing your video marketing with SEO can boost your marketing efforts and bring more people to your website. As long as you keep rankings in mind when creating videos, implementing SEO into your video marketing strategy shouldn’t be complicated.

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar

Sam Yadegar is the co-founder and CEO of HawkSEM. Starting out as a software engineer, his penchant for solving problems quickly led him to the digital marketing world, where he has been helping clients for over 12 years. He loves doing everything he can to help brands "crush it" through ROI-driven digital marketing programs. He's also a fan of basketball and spending time with his family.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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Written by Caroline Cox on Aug 6 , 2021

Video marketing continues to grow in popularity — here’s how to make it work for your brand. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • The latest statistics and data on video marketing
  • Tips for reaching your audience through video
  • Ways to measure your video strategy
  • Where video marketing is headed

Video marketing is one of the more powerful marketing tools in play right now. Not only can it help initiate an emotional connection between businesses and their target audiences, but it allows you to transfer information in a faster (and often more engaging) way than other content types. 

Still unsure whether video marketing is worth it? Let’s dive into its power, influence, and effectiveness.

A look at video marketing statistics

HubSpot reports that 93% of marketers swear by video as an integral part of their marketing strategy — up from 78% in 2015.

On the B2B front, shorter videos tend to perform better. In fact, “the vast majority (73%) of videos produced by businesses are 2 minutes or less in length,” according to Marketing Charts.

In 2020, Think with Google reported an 800% increase in the global watch time of purchased feature-length and ad-supported videos and movies.

Lastly, the average person will spend an estimated 100 minutes daily watching online videos in 2021. That’s nearly a 19% increase compared to 2019 daily viewing (estimated at about 84 minutes).

video marketing 2021 strategy

There are plenty of options when it comes to affordable applications and software solutions that can help you create video content professionally and quickly. (Image via Unsplash)

The state of video marketing today

Video marketing’s popularity is growing for several reasons. Whether we’re scrolling online via our desktops or on our phones, there’s so much competing for our (and our customers’) attention. The easy-to-digest format of video gives people’s eyes a break from textual information.

This might be part of the reason why YouTube is the world’s second-most visited website — after Google, of course.

Video also gives people a real-life picture of events, and can be easily shared across multiple platforms. And, particularly on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, it fits seamlessly and unobtrusively into timelines. 

What’s more, video is accessible — to watch and produce — to anyone with internet access. Thanks in part to the meteoric rise of TikTok, videos don’t have to be feature film-level quality to be successful.

There are plenty of options when it comes to affordable applications and software solutions that can help you create video content professionally and quickly. 

How to make video marketing work for your brand

1.  Build your plan 

When you’re building a video marketing plan, ask yourself the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. 

  • Who on your team will be creating, uploading, and sharing this content? Who is the target audience?
  • What kind of videos do you want to create? These could be short behind-the-scenes videos of the inner workings of your company, how-to videos, educational explainers, paid social ads, or anything in between.
  • When do you want to begin launching your video marketing? Once you know a deadline, you can work backwards to determine when you need things like scripts and deliverables.
  • Where will you host your videos? You can have them on your website, in your emails, on your own branded social pages. You can also build a following by hosting them on a site like Vimeo or YouTube. Just keep the video’s intent and the analytics you want to gather in mind.
  • Why do you want to invest resources in video marketing? What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to measure success? What are your goals?

Once you have a holistic view of your video marketing plan, you can get down to the nitty gritty.

2.  Make personalized video content

Personalized video is a powerful way to capture the attention of your target audience. This type of video marketing has seen an uptick as brands seek fresh ways to connect with their customers. 

Personalized videos also allow companies to engage with consumers and build trust. Forbes notes that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. Personalized videos allow you to:

  • Stand out from the crowd – Personalized videos separate your business from the competition. It shows them that you’ve taken extra steps to create quality content that caters to their needs and interests in an easily digestible way.
  • Increase your email open or click-through rates (CTR) – Breaking through the noise, connecting with your target audience, and getting them to take action is a challenging undertaking. Data show personalization converts 202% more than standard calls to action.
  • Build a relationship with your customers – Converting a new customer is great, but retaining them is even better. Personalization allows you to build solid relationships with your customer base. Once you earn their trust, they’re more likely to make repeat purchases and spread the word about your offerings.

Pro tip: HubSpot suggests using videos in your email marketing for things like displaying company culture, providing bonus content, announcing an event, and more.

3.  Create a social media strategy

Creating and posting videos on your social media platforms can be a highly effective way to get your products or services in front of a wider audience. But one size doesn’t fit all. Even as you make quality videos, it’s crucial to ensure that they fit within each target social media network’s respective best practices.

Different types of content resonate on different social platforms, and what works well on one might fall flat on another. Along with classic trial and error, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to posting videos on social media.

  • Twitter: Brevity is a critical factor here, so make your video posts short and sweet. You can “pin” new videos to the top of your profile feed for added exposure.
  • Facebook and Instagram: These are great outlets for posting quick how-to or teaser videos, with helpful closed-captioning text or subtitles so viewers can watch without sound. In terms of exposure, Facebook favors longer videos. Live videos are also popular on these two platforms. 
  • YouTube: YouTube is a massive library of video content where users go for entertainment or education. Establish a dedicated roster of subscribers and grow it using creative, informative, and educational content.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is an excellent channel for connecting with B2B customers. It’s also a great place for that behind-the-scenes content that humanizes your brand. 
  • Pinterest: Later Media reports that the number of video views on Pinterest last year has grown more than 6 times its numbers in 2018, with organic video Pin views up by 240% year over year. This visual nature paired with the autoplay feature on desktop makes this platform prime for video content.

For more on paid social media marketing, here’s what you need to know.

woman sitting in front of a camera with a bookshelf in the background

It can be tempting to obsess over your view count when it comes to videos. But there are plenty more helpful metrics to be gleaned. (Image via Unsplash)

4.  Regularly analyze video marketing metrics

No marketing strategy is complete without set goals and a method of identifying and tracking metrics. Pick one or two goals per video (such as increased brand awareness, conversions, or engagement) and stick to them.

Keep your target audience and buyer persona in mind when thinking about your goals. You can use demographic information like their age, interests, method of consuming media, and even their present stage in the buyer’s journey.

It can be tempting to obsess over your view count when it comes to videos. But there are plenty more helpful metrics to be gleaned. Aim for a holistic approach and focus on metrics that are most pertinent to your goals. These can include:

  • Awareness and reach metrics like views, play rate and replays, shares, and impressions
  • Video engagement metrics such as likes and positive reactions, dislikes and negative reactions, comments, video completion rate, time-on-page, and watch time
  • Conversion metrics such as CTR, traffic sources, buyer and behavior metrics, and viewer demographics

Pro tip: Search Engine Journal reports that now’s the perfect time to add video into your strategy (if you haven’t already) as a cost-effective way to boost brand awareness in a way other ad types can’t.

Where video marketing is headed

Moz recently reported that YouTube had dominated Google Video search results in 2020. This means that, when it comes to video carousel results on the search engine results page (SERP), YouTube videos surfaced most often.

What can that tell us? For one thing, optimization matters. It’s not enough to upload a video and move on. You’ve got to make sure it’s poised for maximum exposure through video SEO elements like a proper title and description, engaging thumbnail image, and accessibility options like captions. 

The takeaway

The creation and implementation of a successful video marketing strategy takes time and effort. But apart from making quality videos, you must also understand how to ensure they resonate with your target audience, attract leads, and — ideally — convert to sales.

Aim to make videos that represent your brand, provide insight to your audience, and connect with your customer base to build long-term loyalty. Video helps boost your SEO strategy, and today’s customer expects it.

This post has been updated and was originally published in November 2020.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

Questions or comments? Join the conversation here!

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