Dre De Vera highlights the importance of video for SEOs in 2023 who want to dominate page one in Google. He explains that it’s now about more than just being at the top: it’s about pixels on the page as well.
Dre says: “It’s not that difficult. Being on page one is awesome, but owning more pixels on page one is even better. You can have your page one ranking with your blog, but when you have a video pop up you’ll be taking up many more pixels on that page. You’ll be taking up so much valuable real estate that’s incredible to have. Also, if you optimise your videos correctly you can get the time stamps in there and get even more space. Dominating the pixels on page one will get you that click-through rate, authority, and expertise.”
Regarding timestamps, does that mean taking a section of a video?
“You can actually do this with schema and stuff like that. You could also have YouTube do some auto-chapters that auto-segment content and pull those chapters. These will translate into the Google SERPS.”
Is it essential to do this if you’re serious about ranking videos on the SERPs?
“Yes, or at least have it turned on so Google can do auto-chapters. If you decide to turn this option off, make sure you add them in with some very keyword-rich headlines and timestamps.”
Is there a certain type of video that Google prefers? Is there a favourable video length, answering question type, or certain style?
“There’s definitely more of the answering question type. One thing you can do is look at the Google SERPs again and see if there is a video carousel on there. If there is, you’ll have a much better chance to get your video ranking. If you see a little straggling video on the second or third page, do a video yourself and you’ll pop up a carousel and have a great chance of ranking.”
Does ‘pop up a carousel’ mean including your video alongside other videos as the answer to that question?
“If you do your research and see it’s on there, then yes. When videos are long they have a better chance to rank. Fifteen minutes plus is a good target. You can also take your SEO-optimised blogs and convert them into scripts. Take the exact same content, put it on camera, and add everything to do with your video optimisations. Once you’ve done your high-quality video production and know how many words are on screen, you’ll have a much better chance of getting a video and blog ranking on page one. You should also publish both pieces of content at the same time.
Sometimes it’s a chicken and egg situation. Is the blog helping the video or is the video helping the blog? This is definitely worth checking out.”
Should videos solely be produced to rank them on the SERP? Will you get just as much value from these videos also generating traffic directly on YouTube itself?
“It’s definitely both. If you look at the video and it’s not only ranking on Google, but within the top 5 of YouTube itself, that will indicate it’s really helpful information people want to hear and see. This is something you can implement on your page as well, like the schema to actually make them pop up. It’s more important than ever, especially as Google recently put the video index reports in Google Search Console. They are paying attention to which videos are being indexed in Search.”
What format of video titles and descriptions would you recommend? Is keyword research also important?
“Keyword research is still important. You can do research for an SEO-optimised blog and see if Google can see that within your video. You should use your tool of choice for content optimisation, get your blog ranking, and then do that exact same thing within the video. This is working like gangbusters right now. The value of owning more real estate on YouTube or Google is extremely high.”
What type of keywords works best for that? Are you talking about really long-tail keywords, informational queries, or others?
“You’ll be ranking for regular keywords. For example, ‘What is cloud infrastructure security?’ When someone types ‘cloud infrastructure security’ you could be the blog and even the video ranking there. Sometimes, when the competition is higher (like with ‘VPN alternative’), you could get both a video and blog ranking, only for them to eventually fade off. The SERPs fluctuate. The blog may always be there but the video will probably pop back in and out.”
Where do you lie on zero-volume keywords and should you test trying to rank for zero-volume keywords to see if they bring any traffic to you?
“With zero trust long-tail terms, you can test these by scheduling live video on YouTube. Google loves showing these lives instantly on SERPs. If it’s long-tail enough, it will pop up there. If you just want to test something out to see if it will show up, do that first. Schedule a live video on YouTube and see if it shows in the results. This is a great way to see whether you can use video to take up more real estate. For the most part, you should go all in. When you see a keyword you’re going after, your strategy should be to make sure you have a video to complement it.”
YouTube wants you to build up a certain amount of history on a channel for it to recommend your videos to other people. Is this same sort of history and authority important for ranking videos on the SERP?
“Yes. Your account has to be strong enough to display on SERPs. One of the things you can do is tie your videos in with another piece of content. When you do that, you can include videos within your press releases for massive distributions. This is a valuable approach because ranking on Google and getting backlinks to your YouTube videos counts too.”
Is there a particular niche that this works best for? Is it B2B or is it just any type of business that can take advantage of this?
“B2B, but you can even apply this advice to personal branding and testing. It may be something that any company or industry can work with. It’s more for very educational queries - for people looking for an answer and it comes up. Google can see the content within each video and just pulls it out, ready to serve you up. Timestamps are very important because you’ll be helping Google even more.
Does Google want people to view an embedded video on the SERP or click through and actually land on YouTube? What’s the ultimate goal here?
“The ultimate goal is to take up more real estate so Google can define you as a brand builder. If your blog doesn’t stick out on page one, they’re going to see your video. One component of SEO that runs even deeper into 2023 is short-form vertical videos. Google is already indexing TikTok videos on SERPs. It’s being tested and it’s likely to become bigger and bigger. Even now, the Shorts algorithm within YouTube has been promoted by Google. You can easily garner millions of views posting Shorts, and this will eventually start trickling into the Google SERPs.”
Are you saying that it’s actually possible to incorporate videos from sites other than YouTube?
“We’re seeing this already. You can search for some of your favourite TikTok influencers on Google and their videos show up as a TikTok carousel there.
Every company is becoming a media company. People are trying to put up more videos. The way to optimise content to make sure you have more visibility is by getting it on Google. Upload your video wherever you can, whether it’s on TikTok, Twitter, Linkedin, or Facebook. You can then at least see your videos from other channels on the video tab and have your actual pages show up there. YouTube will give more benefits to ranking your video on page one of Google, but you can still use better videos to have your own page rank with it.”
Should every brand be on TikTok?
“Yes, but it depends on your business. If your crowd is there, then it’s worth experimenting with it. Lots of companies use Instagram as a place for company culture and stuff like that. If you want to get noticed, use video.”
What kind of ROI can you measure from video content?
“Be sure to use your UTM tagging. Tag your URLs. When some influencers post YouTube videos, you could even get leads just from people clicking links in the descriptions. You could see them coming in because of the UTM parameters there.
Companies should start building. Content creation is huge; we have a huge content economy and more B2B businesses are going to hire content creators going forward. When it comes to content creation, there’s a certain style that can generate connections between potential customers. Your content should build relationships with people.”
Should you include lots of relevant call-to-action links within the description of your videos and have UTM parameters on there so you can track whether people will click on those links?
“Yes. When you hire influencers and they ask their audience to click the link below, they’ll generally click the link below. You’ll see leads come in from their particular channel just from a UTM-tagged URL.”
What shouldn’t SEOs be doing in 2023? What’s seductive in terms of time, but ultimately counterproductive?
“SEOs shouldn’t be leaving out no-search-volume keywords. You’ll be missing out on opportunities if you do. Research B2B companies, see the terms they’re using, and go after them. By the time the industry has caught on, you’ll already be on page one. That’s one way to go after zero-term query words.
Alternatively, you can go for other zero-term keywords where you see impressions on the Google Search Console. If you’re getting a bunch of impressions there and you’re on page two, you could miss out on an opportunity just because third-party tools said they’re zero. Use your first-party data effectively. Talk to people internally, talk to customer service teams, and talk to customers.”
Dre De Vera is Head of Growth at Twingate and host/producer of the SEO Video Show. You can find him over at dre.me.
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