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Video content is another medium you can use in a content campaign; like written, visual, or short-form content, it can cover any number of different topics, offers a reasonable degree of creativity, and can be published almost anywhere. But up until now, video has been one of the less popular content marketing mediums. There are several reasons for this:
- Search engine crawlers focus on text, making word-rich article writing the “traditional” higher value proposition for SEO.
- Videos are perceived to be time- and budget-intensive, making them more difficult and expensive to create than other contemporary mediums.
- Videos haven’t traditionally been as easy to access as written material online.
- The returns on written content have been sufficient to sustain most campaigns.
Video content is rising in both popularity and importance for content marketers—but just how important is it going to be throughout this year (and beyond)?
Rising User Interest
The most important factor you have to consider is user interest. After all, your content strategy is almost exclusively focused on appealing to what your users want and need. If they want and need more video content, it’s in your best interest to supply it to them.
There’s no question that user demand for video has grown steadily over the past several years. Some estimates are predicting that up to two-thirds of all online traffic will be intended for video as early as next year.
It’s hard to measure this level of interest objectively, but take a look at the growth rates of popular video platforms, and how many people you know post and share video content more than any other medium. The prevalence of Wi-Fi and mobile Internet access is also making it easier for users to access videos at any time, furthering the popularity growth spurt and extending it deep into the next few years.
We know that written content is valuable for SEO because it provides lots of indexable material to Google and informs search engines about your area of expertise. Videos don’t function the same way, but they do provide a number of direct SEO benefits:
- Your video’s title and description add to Google’s understanding of your brand and site.
- Your video can be indexed as rich content, displayable above the fold on SERPs.
- Your video content library’s popularity, likes, and comments, can contribute to your brand’s overall authority.
- Viral videos can earn you tons of backlinks to increase the domain authority of your site.
- Your video can rank in platform-specific search engines, like YouTube search, giving you more web real estate.
This hasn’t changed much in the past few years, but the accessibility of videos makes these benefits even more appealing.
Because so many business owners are worried about producing videos (whether it’s the perceived cost, the lack of familiarity, or just a general fear of change), there’s a significant gap in the content market. There’s certainly no shortage of written content, which has started to approach the brink of oversaturation, so if you want an easy way to stand out, video content gives it to you almost immediately. If you’re in an industry that seldom uses video, this benefit is even stronger—differentiate yourself from the competition by staying ahead of the curve.
Increased Developmental Focus
There are also a host of new technologies in development or recently released that increase the availability, popularity, or ease of creating video content. For example, Facebook and Twitter have both released features that allow the auto-playing of videos in users’ newsfeeds upon scrolling in the past year. New video-streaming platforms like Periscope and Meerkat have exploded in popularity. Even Google’s getting more into the video game with video-based ads in search engine results (still forthcoming on a large scale as of the writing of this article).
This is more than just an indication of where the market is headed—it’s an access point for those unfamiliar with video production. These social apps and tools don’t require much in the way of technical expertise or professional polish, but they can help you create video content that people want to see. The rest is up to you.
It’s also worth mentioning the longevity of video content. Like written content, most video content can be uploaded and archived for a near-permanent value on the web. Visitors to your site five years from now will be able to look at your video history all the way back to now, and as user interest (presumably) increases, that archive of content will only become more and more significant. The future of SEO is video, including video dwell time. Link building will only diminish in importance as time progresses. The only kind of video that doesn’t offer a permanent archival value is real-time streaming, which is incredibly popular today, but don’t write off that content’s value—it’s extremely useful for audience building if you use it correctly.
Ideas for Fresh Video Content on Your Site
Now that we’ve covered the importance of video content for SEO, how can and should you proceed? Unfortunately, a problem that arises is that high-quality videos are harder and more expensive to create than basic written articles. Coming up with ideas for videos, if you aren’t accustomed to the medium, is challenging.
Here are seven ideas almost anyone can use to produce original videos for a content marketing campaign:
Interviews are one of the most practical videos you can make, for several reasons. First, interviews can easily be translated into multiple mediums; in addition to making a video, you can publish the audio track as a podcast or downloadable mp3, and publish a transcript for the written SEO benefits. Second, interviews naturally involve a second person, usually a major authority in your industry. That person will inevitably share the video with his/her own audience, greatly multiplying the initial reach of your content. You can also turn an interview video as part of a series, giving you an easy thread for future development.
If you have any products or services (and chances are, you do), you can produce a video showing your customers how the product or service works. For example, if you have a tech product that requires specific inputs or specific real-world applications, you can guide your users in best practices. If you have an app or a piece of software, you can help guide your users through the basics of its use. This is especially important if your product or service is complex or confusing to new users.
Instead of a demo, you can make a tutorial or instructional video, possibly one unrelated to any of your products or services. For example, if you’re a personal financial advisor, you can run people through the basics of creating a budget. If you’re an auto mechanic, you can teach people how to conduct a simple oil change. The more detailed you are, the better, but you don’t need anything fancy to complete the work. Walking users through the steps, one by one, with a suitable voiceover is more than enough for most applications.
Webinars, rather than focusing on any products or actions, tend to focus more on general topics. They’re a perfect opportunity to show off your abilities as a thought leader and gather people together. When you first release a webinar, it’s best to offer it to a live audience. Publicize it across social media channels, and consider offering a reward in exchange for attending. As you do multiple webinars, you’ll gradually build a dedicated audience subscribing to them. Beyond that, you can offer all your old webinars as downloadable or streaming videos in your archives.
5. Q and As
Q and As are like a hybrid of webinars and interviews; like a webinar, you’ll be showing off your expertise and talking about a handful of specific topics relevant to your industry. Like an interview, you’ll be in charge of finding and responding to certain questions on that topic—except the questions are going to come from your audience. Use social media channels or surveys to bring together common questions your followers have on a certain topic, and prepare them in advance so you can answer them all on video. Q and As are another repeatable idea, so you can easily turn them into an ongoing weekly series.
6. Video Infographics
Video infographics are much like infographics—they use visual imagery (and sometimes sound) to illustrate pieces of information, such as statistics or trends. Generally, infographics are more labor and skill intensive than other forms of content, especially if you want to make an impressive one. But basic video infographics don’t demand years of video editing experience or niche expertise. For example, you can use a simple whiteboard or basic on-paper sketches to illustrate your concepts. If you aren’t artistically talented, you can use stick figures and graphs. The key is to reduce complex topics to simple visuals with accompanying data or narration.
Once you create your infographic, you’ll need to do all you can to promote it.
Video testimonials from your clients and customers are some of the best forms of video content you can offer because they don’t feature your brand at the center. Instead, a human face and independent third party will be presenting your brand (hopefully) in a positive light. Its biggest advantage is also a core hurdle to overcome; you’ll rely on your customers to produce and send you these videos. It takes some of the pressure off you, but in exchange, you’ll have to offer prizes or similar incentives to get the ball rolling for customer-submitted reviews.
Creating Viral Videos
Now, let’s talk about something that most marketers strive for at some point: a viral video. This has become the Holy Grail.
How do you set out to create video content that has the potential to go viral? Let’s look at four guaranteed ways:
- Hilarious content almost always goes over big
You don’t need to go overboard on this one. Just study some of the most hilarious viral videos that are making the rounds on the social space.
You can either borrow other people’s hilarious content, stage your own, or stay perpetually on the lookout for something hilarious to use as the basis for an amusing and potentially viral video.
To become a successful video marketer, you always need to have a compact camera on hand, all the time. You never know what funny material might be lurking around the corner. Ideas are not that hard to find; they come at us all the time. Most people just don’t bother to capture them when they happen.
- Create controversial content that evokes curiosity and interest
You can create videos that talk about some of the most trendy topics in politics, entertainment, and the news. Topics that you might choose include those that provoke people’s passions and emotion. Try to devise video content that might clarify people’s thoughts about the subject.
- Provide good information
People go online not only to find videos about news and entertainment, but in order to learn how to do stuff. They love videos that show them exactly HOW to do something or create new things. When setting out to create an instructional video, be as informative as you can and provide as much value as possible. If you can inject a little humor into it, even better.
- Provide easy ways for people to share your videos across the Internet
Encourage your audience to share your videos across the social space by including buttons for Facebook Like, Pinterest and Twitter. In fact, at the end of your video, ask viewers to like or share your videos. There’s actually no harm in doing that. In fact, it’s extremely beneficial.
Up next, let’s look at platforms that are conducive to video marketing.
Video Marketing Beyond YouTube
While it’s true that YouTube is still the biggest site for video sharing, with over 4 billion daily views, other sites also have significant reach and influence. Many of the video sharing sites beyond YouTube have a tremendous amount of videos being shared and viewed. As such, they represent a ripe advertising opportunity.
In fact, many of the viral videos being shared on Facebook are from sites such as Vimeo, DailyMotion, and Veoh. Sharing your videos to sites other than YouTube makes sense if you want to expand your reach to a broader audience. Additionally, these other video sites provide significant SEO value.
Search engines highly value video, which is why you almost always see videos on the first page of Google search results. Online videos rank well and quickly in search engine results pages, which creates a ton of untapped potential to outperform the competition. While rankings for textual results are more competitive than ever, we’re in a golden era of video SEO; there are still plenty of keywords and niches that would be easy to get a high-quality video ranked for.
So, don’t just explore YouTube marketing; consider video marketing to include other big-time video sites as well. Here’s a list of the most popular video-sharing sites outside YouTube:
Veoh is ideal for long videos and mostly consists of full-length videos and series. Its generous bandwidth makes it possible to deliver long videos with excellent quality.
Viral videos from Vimeo regularly make the rounds on Facebook and other social networking sites. Although Vimeo is free to use, it has tons of features that allow hardcore online video marketers to post classier videos. Vimeo is known for top-quality and artistic videos.
If you’re looking to create webisodes or online video series, check out Blip.tv. It has a sophisticated dashboard that allows you to plan your webisode – a cool feature that no other video sharing site has.
What’s also great about Blip.tv is that it lets you cross-share your videos to other video sites, including YouTube, which saves you time syndicating your video.
Video marketing is a growing market, and marketers are scrambling to figure out how to create videos that are beneficial for SEO. For more information on creating successful marketing videos, contact us today.
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