Video and SEO – Making Your Promotional Content Work for Your Website

Video and SEO – Making Your Promotional Content Work for Your Website

Over the last decade, the rise in the use of smartphones has revolutionised the way consumers interact with information. The ubiquitous nature of mobile use and hunger for easy-to-digest media has seen video become the most popular and widely-used format for communicating information and ideas.

When building a new website or carrying out a strategic website redesign, it has become more or less imperative to utilise video to its full potential and to focus video and SEO efforts in relation to mobile users. Without video assets, you risk the user being unable and unlikely to quickly process the key information you want them to focus on.

We’re not suggesting that written content is superfluous, people will always want to know more about a subject than a short video can deliver, but video provides instant engagement with your message in a way that written content cannot. So you should strive to ensure there’s a mixture of strong textual content and engaging videos available for your clients.

To host or not to host

First things first, before you can make sure you’ve got your video and SEO in sync, you’ll need to choose how your videos will be loaded onto your web pages as this can have a huge impact on the overall effectiveness of your website. Hosting videos directly on your website can slow your server and, if your video proves really popular (which is your ultimate aim), it could bring your server to a grinding halt. Even with just a few users looking at your video this can cause lagging and buffering issues which will increase bounce rate and leave users unsatisfied.

In the past, many websites have used YouTube to host and embed their video content, but there are alternatives which provide greater opportunities. YouTube is free, so there are cost savings, and it has a built-in, ready-made audience looking for top-of-the-funnel content to view, but there are some rather unwieldy downsides which may make it unsuitable.

Ads will play automatically and on longer videos they will split up the action. Plus, recommended videos will be shown at the end of the video and you have no control over what content will appear, so you run the risk of YouTube suggesting a competitor’s video at the end of yours – which is not ideal.

Dailymotion also offers free hosting and has the option to make videos private or password-protected but there are downsides similar to YouTube in respect of ads and DM has a smaller maximum file size and probably less of a ready-made audience.

Premium paid-for platforms, such as Vimeo and Wistia, offer far more control over the way videos are presented and provide the ability for you to create your own suggested video lists, display videos in carousels, add widgets, and use different display formats. There aren’t any ads and some platforms offer the ability to highlight other videos from your channel. Other useful features include being able to capture leads from video views and customize the branding.

The best video hosting option for you will depend on a number of variables, from cost to audience numbers and whether you want in-depth analytics and personalised branding. BORN Thinking can help you understand what will be most suitable for your business and website needs.

Video features to enhance SEO

Once you’ve sorted out your hosting platform, you’ll want to make sure it will work as hard as possible for you and garner the greatest number of views. Here are some of the key features to help your video content be visible to the search engines.

  • Using transcripts for search: Video transcripts allow search engines to index the target keywords more easily. All new videos should have an accompanying transcript embedded. Also, where suitable, some pages may benefit from the transcript being added to the web page as an appendix giving search engines more content to index.
  • Rich snippets and the new Seek to Action markup: Each video should include structured data mark up in order to appear in Google’s video snippets. New Seek to Action coding is currently being tested by Google and may be a great option for videos which are explaining a step-by-step process.
  • Structured snippets: if you add a video with structured data to a page that is marked up with structured data, for example FAQ pages with data parameters for questions and answers, the video is more likely to appear in Google’s structured snippets when users search using a question such as “How do I make a promotional video?”.
  • Thumbnails: The static image that acts as a preview for your video can be the deciding factor in whether or not the user clicks to view. Manually-created thumbnails can increase clicks and interactions significantly and help your video stand out from the other returns. If your video appears in rich snippets, the thumbnail will need to reflect the likely search terms and keyword phrases that users are entering in order to maximise click-through rates.
  • Title and description: Each video should have a well-crafted, keyword-rich title and description in order to rank well in Google, YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Page relevancy and positioning: The video must be relevant to the page it appears on. Google prefers to index one video per page, so on pages with more than one video the most important/relevant should be placed first. Placing the video above the fold minimises the need for scrolling.

This is by no means an exhaustive list for video optimisation. BORN can help you understand what will benefit your video content most and how it should be presented on site.

Building links and shares

Really strong video content will hopefully attract links and shares. In order to maximise the opportunity for these interactions you could establish a regular weekly video that users can subscribe to. Such videos could either be in video blog format, or perhaps a weekly feature, such as a set of ‘Your Questions Answered’ or a news feed of the latest industry-specific news relating to your product or service.

The topic for these videos is entirely up to you of course, but creating a ‘need’ for these videos can be key. You could try previewing the next video or, if your video is showing a service process or a range of products, you could try saying, “Next week we’ll show you how to…” or “Next week we’ll be talking about…” so that your customer wants to find out more and will hopefully subscribe to your channel.

Video tracking and analytics

If you want to fully optimise your video output, the ability to track engagement and analyse the data are key. Tracking customer interaction and events can help you understand user engagement and what your target audience wants to see more of. Different platforms provide different tracking analytics, such as:

  • Retention rates (how much of the video is viewed)
  • Completion rates (users who watch the whole video
  • Call to action clicks
  • Conversion tracking
  • Video data segmentation
  • Campaign analytics
  • Competitor tracking
  • Best upload times
  • Subscriber behaviour analysis

What sort of video do you need?

While not directly linked to SEO, the type of video you choose to produce will depend largely on the product or service you are marketing and what you want to achieve by including it on the page.

Explainer/talking head videos

Videos of a person talking directly to the camera are a straightforward way to get a message across to the viewer. However, bad lighting and dodgy props can quickly make a great concept feel tired and dated.

For maximum effect you should create your talking head videos in a light, bright setting, with crisp audio, using multiple camera angles (even two camera angles can create great interest) and this will make the video visually engaging. Use some depth of field style shots to give the background a nice blur and help to bring the focus directly on the speaker at important points in the video.

Background music keeps a level of pace running throughout the video. And one or two visually relevant cutaways will provide visual stimulation and keep the viewer engaged.


Animation can be a useful tool for complex subjects or for processes with a number of different steps. You can establish a colour palette for your animated video which reflects your branding and even use the same fonts and imagery you already use on your website.

Using a voice-over with typographical and vector icon animation creates a clean simple look which allows the information to flow and creates interest. While a voiceover with typographical animation alone means your message won’t be lost if the user doesn’t have the sound on.

Scripted action

If your budget allows, a scripted video to explore a concept or branding attribute can be beautiful, effective and engaging. We have all been influenced by advertising at some point or another, but you should be careful to ensure that when you add a video to a page on your website, it is going to a) interest the visitor to that particular page, and b) not be something they’ve seen before. So leave your big-budget videos to the Home Page and use simpler, really pertinent videos for the rest of your web pages.


Home page videos

Adding videos to your home page and other main landing pages is known to increase conversions substantially. A well-crafted, impactful video with the right thumbnail is likely to reduce bounce rates and increase engagement.

Using a clickable play button, rather than an auto play button, will mean less of an impact on page load speeds and puts your user in control – ultimately, if they land on your home page with the intention of buying your product, making an enquiry or simply to get your phone number, playing a video may only serve as a distraction, so let your user be the judge of whether they watch or not.

BORN Thinking – Helping you make the most of your video marketing campaigns

With almost two decades of experience in SEO and digital marketing, the team at BORN has developed the practical knowledge and experience to help you ensure that your marketing strategies work and that your website performs well in search.

We have developed a unique understanding of the factors that can help you increase and sustain your online presence and conversion rate including video optimisation.

Contact BORN today, to find out how we can help your video content work for you.

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