Talk to any video production company and they’ll tell you that video is good for SEO.
But does it really help you get more business through search engines? And how?
I’ve always been sceptical that slapping a 2 minute “talking head” video on your website is going to do much to get a small business found more on search engines. Which is what seems to be implied. And I’ve seen some frankly ridiculous mis-information on some websites (“Google may soon disregard any sites without video” is my personal favourite).
So here’s my guide to what video can do for you – and what it won’t.
For the purposes of this article I’m going to assume you are a small business with a limited marketing budget for whom a professionally produced video would be a significant investment.
I’m also going to assume that you are looking at hosting your videos on YouTube and embedding them on your website (there are other options – if you are serious about using video then I recommend you get expert advice on this).
Visibility in search
Video offers additional opportunities to appear in the search results both through the main Google search and within YouTube.
Certain searches on Google will include videos in the results and these can be nice and prominent. In addition, competition is generally much lower than for web pages.
But….. Google will only display videos in its main search results for searches where it thinks videos will be popular. Typically these include:
- Anything fitness or sports related
- Funny videos
So if you want your video to appear in normal search you will need to optimise it for this type of search and have titles like “How to ……”, “….. Tutorial”.
You will need to do some research to see if there are relevant searches in your niche where Google returns video in the results.
YouTube itself is currently the second largest search engine after Google – bigger than Bing, Yahoo et al put together.
So it offers great opportunity to bring your products and services to a wider audience.
However, I’m prepared to bet that most people searching on YouTube are not looking for “Accountant in Altrincham” or “Wedding florist in York”. Generally they are looking to be educated, informed or amused.
If you want to use video to improve your search visibility you need to look at the types of videos which would be (a) relevant to your business and (b) appear in searches.
Putting a video on your website is NOT, of itself, going to improve your website ranking in Google.
However, a good video brings related benefits which will help your website ranking such as encouraging people to stay longer on your pages and increased social shares which make it more likely you’ll attract links.
What video can do for you
For a small business, video can bring huge benefits. Whether you add video to your main website pages, product pages or blog you can use it to increase engagement and convert visitors to customers.
Bring a personal touch to your business
For a consultant, coach, therapist, accountant or other service provider letting people hear your voice and see you smile will start that getting to know you process – and make it more likely that you’ll attract the right kind of clients.
A “behind the scenes tour” can also be very engaging and can work for just about any kind of business.
Showcase your products
Showing people how to get the most from your products can really encourage sales. Let’s say you sell homewares – a quick 2 minute video creating a simple flower arrangement in one of your vases will show buyers what the vase will do for their home much better than any still photo.
Educate people about your products
Demonstrations, set up guides, maintenance guides – there are lots of possibilities you can use to inform people about your products and give them the confidence to buy.
Putting together your video strategy
Before you book that slot with a video company, think about what you want to achieve and how best to use video to achieve that.
Help potential customers get to know you
An introductory video doesn’t need to be long but it should usually be professionally produced. A video production company will help you create a good script and will ensure the finished result is well lit and doesn’t show you looking like a criminal in the freeze frame.
Showcase and instruct
Short showcase and demo videos can be added to your product pages or blog and you may be able to create these yourself.
Drive more visitors to your website via search
You will need to do more than simply record a “talking head” introduction to your business. As we’ve seen, the type of searches which return video may be different from your usual search keywords and the ranking factors are also different. Video SEO is a subject in it’s own right so be prepared to devote some time and budget to creating and implementing your video project.
Implementing your strategy
Once you have your strategy, you will need to decide on your budget and implementation plan. Video can be expensive so make sure you are clear on the return on investment you expect.
If you do plan to use “homemade” videos, do be ruthless when judging the quality (lighting can be a particular issue) – poorly made video can do more harm than good. But sometimes the casual feel of amateur clips can feel more real for a small business than a slickly produced film. However, don’t waste hours of your time faffing about with the technicalities – if you get stuck, it’s time to call in the pros.
So, yes, video can be good for your business, but be clear on your goals before you start and make sure you understand exactly how video is going to help you before you spend your hard-earned budget.