Don’t fall into the ‘Video is good for SEO’ trap


As you’ll know, we’re now living in a world that revolves around rich online content such as photos, web apps and now more than ever, videos. Online video has been huge ever since the success of YouTube and I’m sure that you’ve all heard a million stats and figures about how video is taking over the web and more to the point, how it can work wonders when it comes to SEO.

The truth is, a video is good for SEO. Common sense dictates that Google and other search engines will apply some weight to websites with video content. The simple reason for this being that people love watching videos and a website with video content are much more likely (at least in Google’s eyes) to offer what the average browser (or ‘Googler’) is looking for.

However, a lot of SEO’s have taken the idea of video and have fallen into a deadly trap. If you’re someone that thinks as simply as ‘Video is great for SEO’, then you’re one of the people I’m talking about. Let me explain why this ‘pure thinking’ might be causing you harm.

Jack of all trades, master of none

#1 – Video Content Isn’t Necessarily Good Content

Anyone worth their while in the world of SEO will understand just how important great content is for any website. If you have a website or have worked on a clients website, you’ve probably spent hours creating great content for the site because as you will know, good content is what separates a great website from a bog-standard, mediocre website.

Apparently, your content might consist of many different types of media. It could be a well-written article, some stunning photos or yes, you guessed it, a video. It could even be a combination of the three.

Now, you might think that Google love’s video and that your sites visitors love the video too but the truth is, if the video on your website isn’t relevant and high quality,  it doesn’t matter if Google does actually rank you slightly higher. The reason for this is that all of those extra visitors are simply going to experience bad content, whether it be in the form of a video or any other media. If this happens, it’s likely that they aren’t going to stick around or have any incentive to make a purchase, share your content or link to you. The web’s a big place and there’s plenty of websites with exceptional content that they’d much rather visit.

What I’m trying to say is that if you’re one of the people embedding any old rubbish on your website solely for the purpose of the search engines, then well done, all of that effort of creating a video and embedding it into your website was wasted. No links were gained, no social shares and certainly no trust.

#2 – Google Needs to Know About Your Content (Video Sitemap)

I can’t emphasise this point enough! What the heck is the point in having a fantastic video created if Google doesn’t even know it’s there!? Creating a video sitemap will take you just a few minutes of your time (especially if you have only a couple of videos on your site or can use a WordPress plug-in) so why do so many people neglect doing it!?

Sure, Google is smart these days but let’s make life easier and tell Google when we have great video content on the site to share with our visitors. Do this simple task, and in return, Google can let all of those millions of searchers know too!

Once Google knows about the videos on your site, it may include a video thumbnail in the search results for some of the keywords your site ranks for. Why is this good? As I mentioned before, people love videos and because of this, they are more likely to click on a search result with a video as it stands out from the other listings. This leads to more visitors who in turn, might share your video content with even more visitors on social media sites.

#3 – Video Is Good For SEO For Legitimate Reasons

People love videos and this is the main reason they’re so powerful from an SEO point of view. Let me explain with an example of what is likely to happen when you have great video content on your website:

1. Visitors will see your video and love it!
2. Visitors will click the ‘Like’, ‘Tweet’, ‘Email’, ‘Digg’, ‘Stumble’, ‘+1’ buttons that you have on your website (don’t tell me that you don’t have these on your site!)
3. Visitors will flock to your website from social media websites.
4. They will do the same and share it with their friends!
5. Someone might even blog about the video and give you a nice, juicy link!

You see it!? Great video content is going to create a buzz, and before you know it, you’re going to have links from all over the web, including links from some of the biggest websites out there if your content is good enough. It’s these kinds of links that are incredibly powerful and will dramatically increase your rankings.

Final Thoughts

Some of you might have read through this article and thought “well, surely that’s just common sense?”. If you’ve thought this, you’d be right, but strangely, it doesn’t seem to be that common. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t come across a website with a poor video and often, they can be on pretty big websites too.

My fear is that much like written content (which now seems to be available at about $0.00001 per word), the video is going the same way. People are expecting video content cheaper than ever, and like cheap content, it’s pretty pointless and presents now benefit regarding SEO or for your visitors.

If you’re going to do video, do it properly. Don’t opt for some crazy £50 video package; create something great that is going to attract attention or don’t bother at all

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