Video is going to be one of the number one things we see websites utilize in 2013, but it’s important to create a video strategy that can really help your SEO. Adding videos to your website and marketing tactics is a great way to get users engaged, interested, and understanding what you have to say, but getting indexed by Google is a benefit not far behind. It’s important that a company realizes that just throwing up a video on a website isn’t going to help users. In fact, it could clog your load times and hurt your SEO and annoy your visitors (if they wait around long enough to see it). You have to sit down and create a real video marketing strategy if you want to be successful for your users as well as the Google bots.

How Videos Can Affect Your SEO

Videos affect SEO in the same way that content affects your SEO. Google wants every result to be as relevant as possible, so you have to prove to Google that your video is based on a relevant topic. Because videos are easy for readers to understand, quick to watch, and easy to engage with, companies find the following benefits of a video marketing strategy:

  • Easy to Share. Videos are more easily shared because they are more easily read (or watched rather). This brings a huge benefit to companies because it helps to increase visibility and improve social media strategies. The more people that share this content on social networks, the more people that will see your video and hopefully check out your company. At the very least, your name is getting exposure on social sites and hopefully a backlink.
  • Click Through Rate. People know that videos are easy to listen to than content is to read, so they will be more apt to give it a click. According to an aimClear study, videos have a 41 percent higher CTR than traditional content. This is something that Google takes into consideration, so the higher the better.
  • Time on Site. Going right along with CTR is time on site. A company’s time on site will increase if more people are sticking around to watch videos. According to a comScore study, webistes that contain videos hold a viewer’s attention two or more minutes longer than those without video content. This will give companies more ammunition when it comes time to talk with advertisers and more importantly; it’s something that Google takes into consideration when it comes time to rank your site.
  • Less Competition. Although the competition is expected to get greater in 2013, there is still less competition when it comes to the video sector. Trying to rank a piece of content is still more difficult than trying to rank a video because content is most common for websites (which makes sense), so taking advantage right away should give you the results you want to see faster than you’re used to when dealing with the plain-text content.

Because Google also understands these benefits, it’s important that a company knows how to optimize each and every video so that Google can give it the reward it deservers (better SEO and therefore a better ranking on a SERP).

How to Get Started with Video Marketing

It’s pretty easy to get started with video marketing. There are a few technical things involved, but the basics include the following steps:

1. Decide where you want to host your videos (hint: Your website isn’t your only option!)

It’s important to remember that a video marketing strategy isn’t all about videos on your website. YouTube is still the second largest search engine, so creating a YouTube channel with your videos is a great way to gain some of the benefits discussed above. After you include your video or videos on YouTube and your website, try moving to social networking sites. This isn’t going to give you the most success, but it only takes a quick second to post a video onto your Facebook page and see the type of response you get. It’s all about testing and the goals that you set out before beginning with a strategy.

2. Include keywords in your title tags and summary.

When you upload a video onto YouTube or onto your website, there will be a section to fill in a summary and fill in a title tag (the same way there is with content). Just as with content, make sure that you are placing relevant keywords in these tags. This is how you let the Google bots know what your video discusses since they can’t watch.

3. Add your script as a close caption whenever possible.

This point refers mainly to YouTube. Adding your script does two major things for your video: First, you make your video available to those who are visually impaired, and second, Google often indexes these scripts so you have more opportunity to use your target keywords.

4. When it comes to video on your site, go for rich snippets.

Rich snippets are simply pieces of information that show up on a SERP that give users information about that content or video. Rich snippets are far more likely to be clicked because it lets users know that your content is shown in the form of a video as opposed to hoping they click on your site to find out. You can get a rich snippet by submitting a video sitemap.

5. Make sure your video leaves watchers wanting to link back.

Just like traditional content, you want to make sure your video leaves people wanting more. In your script, simple ask users to share your content if they found it interesting and helpful. This will help you gain visibility and backlinks, which should make a big difference in your SEO success.

Of course, you have to have a video to optimize and to include on all of these different outlets, and that video has to be great. You can learn more about creating the “video” in “video marketing strategy” here.