Most software companies we begin SEO engagements with are underutilizing their videos as an integrated part of their overall content strategy.
You might also be in this camp if this sounds like you:
Your webinars live in one subfolder, your podcast videos live in another, and your product demo clips are reserved for your feature pages. None of these video assets are included in or alongside your content.
Two high-level SEO strategies for video content
There are effectively two ways to optimize your videos to receive organic traffic (and they don’t need to be mutually exclusive).
- You create video content that satisfies the search intent and ranks.
- You create video content that complements your optimized written content.
Another way to think about this is that you can either create optimized videos that fit into your keyword roadmaps, or you can create long-form written content satisfying the search intent. Then use that traffic to increase visibility into your video assets (podcasts, webinars, product videos, contextualized demos, etc.)
Let’s dig into how your team can take these from strategy to implementation.
Recommended Reading: SaaS SEO: The Growth Strategies Companies are Using in 2024
Strategy 1: Optimize your videos to match search intent
You’ve run a query on Google before and seen that the results at the top of the SERP were videos.
You might be thinking, how does this happen, or how do you make your blog post for this keyword outrank this video content?
Google tracks people’s experiences with the content it ranks on its results pages. When it can deduce that people are watching and engaging more with video content, the algorithms move those up the SERP.
If there is a video carousel or video preview snippet sitting at the top of the SERP, your blog post will not outrank that content because Google knows that’s not what its users want for that query.
Pro Tip: If you’re convinced that written content is a better way to explain a certain topic, but you need SEO to play a distribution role, create both and embed that video onto the written content.
The SERP can change over time based on how users behave and as search intent naturally shifts. Creating both hedges your bets for the short and long-term success of your content.
3 simple steps to turn this organic video strategy into a plan
Bringing this strategy to life combines intentional road mapping and natural discovery.
For the sake of brevity, we’ll assume you’ve done your due diligence on ICP research first. If you haven’t, you can start with this resource:
Once you understand which themes or topics you’d like to focus on as the pillars of expertise for your brand, you can do the following:
1) Use a platform for keyword research that tracks video snippet opportunities
You can start using a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to quickly search through queries you’d like to rank for.
Then you’ll want to filter by SERP features.
2) Scan through the list to see which terms make sense for you and your brand
After you select “Apply,” you’ll be given a list of queries that the tool recognized as having a video feature on it.
You’ll want to sort through that list of keywords and the content currently ranking for them to ensure they make sense for your prospects. That means watching a few videos you find ranking to understand what it is that people are looking for in that video content.
3) Verify the tool is correct
One thing experience will teach you about these data tools, video snippets, and the rate SERPs change in 2024 is that there is a lag in this data.
You’ll want to verify that a video snippet of some sort is located on that SERP with your own eyes before you commit to creating that resource.
Important caveats to this video strategy
Just as Google is a search engine, YouTube is a search engine.
It’s important to acknowledge that many things are search engines, and each has its own algorithmic factors to improve visibility.
For something like YouTube, it’s worthwhile to consider:
- How you title videos
- How much you publish
- The tags you use
- Taking advantage of their new Shorts product
- How you add CTAs to your videos to direct traffic flow
Note that ranking high on Google does not always mean ranking well on YouTube, and vice versa. But Google owns YouTube, and the growing trend is that more and more SERPs are pointing people directly to YouTube.
This trend has continued to showcase itself as recently as April 2023 as more and more people note that Google is simplifying search results by removing video thumbnails next to URLs on the SERP (unless the video is the main content on the page).
Strategy 2: Optimize your videos to complement your written content
This SEO video strategy is especially important if you’ve been creating video content but it’s not getting the continued visibility you hoped for.
Webinar pages, podcast episode pages, testimonial pages, and product demo pages are notoriously difficult to rank on their own. That’s because you create these types of content with a natural flow that serves multiple intents and audiences.
I.e. You don’t create your webinars specifically so new users can find you via Google.
You make them to discuss all the topics you need to based on an audience of warm leads you’ve invited to join via the distribution channels you have available to you - like email, via sales reps, or through social media.
In turn, video pages often provide thin text with limited context for a search engine to go off of, prioritizing a UX that gives people quick highlights, some bookmarks, and maybe an overview of what to expect in the video.
Metadata, for example, creates pages that outline the top 3 takeaways of each podcast episode. This will never rank for search, but for their regular audience, it’s a perfectly fine way to design these pages.
In this case, the best SEO strategy is to keep creating your various video assets designed for the channel and audience they were originally planned for. Then leverage the visibility of your other optimized content on the website.
You can do this in a couple of ways:
- Create a cluster of written content (blogs, articles, guides, etc.) centered around the main themes of one of your video assets. You embed snippets or the entire video to those optimized posts.
- Include inline, contextualized CTAs within that cluster inviting people to watch the full episode on that video asset's main page.
This means that organic traffic will either be able to see that video content directly on the written content that attracted them to your website, or that they’ll be funneled across your website with a natural call to action.
2 steps to make this SEO video strategy into a plan
Before we get into the steps, what’ll be most helpful is to quickly collect the video assets you have that you know contain your team displaying educational expertise. Or they may showcase the product solving the problem or pain points related to your ICP’s JTBD.
This will allow you to complete the first step of the SEO process.
1) Keyword research around pain points/goals/expertise covered in the video content
Remember, we’re not creating a transcript of the podcast episode, we’re elaborating on a smaller part of the episode. It’s easier to illustrate this with an example:
We recorded a podcast episode that centered around building quality content consistently and at scale. It’s something we do as an agency for our clients, and it’s a pain point they’re trying to learn how to solve internally.
In one portion of that podcast episode, we discussed how important SEO content briefs are to the processes of alignment, education, expectation setting, cost savings, etc.
What did we find out when we did our keyword research?
A lot of people search for content brief templates and how to build SEO content briefs (you can see our article + podcast video here) each month and expect to see an article explaining how to do it.
So we built a piece to rank for that query and embedded our podcast player and video on it.
The most important part is that the video is relevant to what we talk about in the article, so it feels like we’re adding value and providing a welcomed differentiator on the page.
2) Make the video asset's main page a part of the cluster
If you’d rather try and push traffic to another part of your website to view a relevant video, by all means, do that.
SEO rankings improve when you cluster your semantically related content topics. But that doesn’t mean clustering ONLY your optimized posts together in their own siloed part of the website.
Take advantage of and support your organic traffic’s user journey by making it a stop along their education route. Here is what a cluster might look like:
Tips when trying to move people around your website:
- Don’t expect them to be funneled easily. It’s their journey. We recommend embedding the content where you want people to see it.
- In the event visitors select a link to the main video asset’s subfolder or page, have it open in a new tab. You want people to have multiple tabs of your website open, and you don’t want them to lose the resource they arrived on.
- If these CTAs are a high-priority next step, move them up the page they’re on rather than placing them at the very bottom. A lot of traffic skims/looks for exactly what they want - and you want them to see the invite to watch your webinar.
Additional amplification tips to extend the video lifecycle beyond using SEO
If you’d like additional ways to continuously promote your video content, in addition to using SEO, read here:
Looking for more highly tactical content marketing tips?
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