At ReelSEO, we love video. We love making it, watching it, marketing it, and writing about it. And we have all kinds of readers. Some are polished experts that—quite frankly—sometimes know more than we do about a particular aspect of online video. Some are intermediate users, who create and market a lot of video but still enjoy having a community to share and learn.
And some of our readers are pure novices… newbies… babes in the woods. Some of our readers love video and want to get involved, but have no earthly idea how to go about doing that. It is for the people in this last group—the beginners—that we offer this first article in a planned series called Online Video Basics. If you are an advanced online video user, you might find this series covering ground you've already explored—but you also might find some new nugget you missed back when you were still a beginner yourself.
Before diving into online video, it's important to determine if online video is for you. It definitely is, but I want to lay out the case for video so that anyone on the fence will have the motivation they need to jump off and get going. Whether you're a small business owner, a Fortune 500 CEO, or just a talented individual, video should be a part of your online strategy.
Therefore, I present to you a list of possible reasons why you might want to get involved with online video:
Video Helps You Stay Current
Video is the hottest thing going on the web. If you've been thinking lately about starting a blog or setting up a Twitter account, you're still slightly behind the curve. Everyone's talking about video now… and with good reason. It's entertaining, it's easy to find and consume, and it engages viewers in a way that text simply cannot.
Video is on a meteoric rise, and shows no signs of slowing soon. Along with that trend, there is a growing segment of the online audience that has begun favoring sites that use video over sites that just have text.
Additionally, video advertising is the fastest-growing form of online advertising. On just YouTube alone, the number of advertisers rose tenfold in the past year. That means all your competitors are out there using video to steal away your customers… and it's probably working.
Remember when email started gaining momentum in the mid-90's, and there were old-school business people that furrowed their brow and looked down their nose at this newfangled electronic mail trend, saying it was a fad and wasn't for them? That's how people sound today who say similar things about video. People don't forward long, text-based jokes to each other in email anymore… they send links to videos. If you want your content to be seen as something that is hot and fresh, you need to have it in the hottest and freshest format… and that's video.
Video Is Where The People Are
YouTube is gigantic. They claim to serve two billion video views per day. Want to know why no one's leaving comments on your company blog? Because they're all over at YouTube watching videos.
Let me give you an analogy: When I was a kid, my friends and I decided to have a party. We got our wiffle ball equipment, a few water balloons, a boom box, and some pretzels, and told all the neighbor kids to come meet us in our backyard. We thought it was going to be amazing.
But unbeknownst to us, Timmy Tompkins down the street had his own party that day. And he had Super Soakers and a Slip-n-Slide. Game over. Nobody came to our lame party because they were too busy having fun at the Tompkins party. We gave up after a couple hours of stubborn pouting, grabbed our trunks, and booked it to Timmy's house and ultimately had a blast.
Don't let online video ruin your company's ability to connect with customers… join the party! There is a type of Internet user that loves video so much, they rarely start their browsing anywhere other than YouTube. If you're not on YouTube… these people will not ever find you… period.
Video Can Help You Get Discovered
Video is rapidly increasing in search engine importance. Bruce Clay, one of the godfathers of SEO, has even said you basically won't exist, in search engine terms, if you don't have video:
"…In the case of video, we believe that as one of the more important engagement objects, Google has actually started to build it into the algorithm. To us, that means if your website has engagement objects on it, video or mp3… it is going to be received by the algorithm better and your site will actually have an opportunity to rank better.
Now today, we haven't seen it much as an incidence of ranking, mostly because not everyone is doing it. …I don't think we've yet seen even the tip of the iceberg.
I think, that a year from now, we are going to be sitting here saying – 'if you don't have video, if you don't have engagement objects on your website, you are just not going to rank. It will make you last amoung equals if you don't have it.”
Have you noticed in the last year or two how much more frequently you see video results in the main Google search results? Wouldn't you like to be the one capturing those clicks and speaking to those customers? Well, if so, you'll have to create video to do it. Because I can tell you this: Google wouldn't be rolling in their "universal results" (non-traditional things like video, books, news, shopping, or Twitter comments inside the standard Google search results) if they weren't being clicked by users.
I've been working in search engine optimization for nearly six years, and at this point… I would rather have a video I created showing up on the first page of Google results than my website… because videos in search results are almost certainly receiving more clicks than standard website listings.
Video Helps Sell Products
This one's really simple. Research shows that video helps sell products on retail sites. I don't know if you've ever worked with retail website clients before, but my experience is that they will do almost anything if they think it will help sell more products. I've seen e-commerce sites with jacked-up product pages, SEO shortcuts, image overload, and a host of other unwise actions, all because someone convinced them these tactics would help sell more products.
And all they really needed all along was some video. And this isn't even me convincing you that video helps sell products… this is based on hard data.
Also, I'm fond of telling my clients, "Even if you don't have a retail site… you're selling something. Maybe an idea, or an image, but you're still selling.” And it stands to reason that video would also help you non-retail companies "sell" whatever it is you're selling.
Video Appeals To Most People
I have a coworker—let's call him Chad—who hates video. Whenever he visits a blog or news story page, only to find there's a video there instead of a text-based article, he gets irate. "I can speed read and skim the page in five seconds and know if there's anything there worth spending more time on," he'll say, somewhat boastfully, "I don't want to sit through ten minutes of video just to find out if I'm really interested in the article!”
Have you ever met anyone like Chad? He's not the only anti-video guy I've met. While folks like him are in a minority, and the vast majority of web users seek out and prefer video, it's an important illustration of how diverse our audience is. I would never suggest that one of my clients eliminate all text from their website and replace it with all video. Likewise, I would never recommend they ignore video just because there are still "readers" out there in the world.
Adding video to your web presence doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing venture. You can ease into it. And including a few videos throughout your website is a fantastic way to ensure that you're appealing to both the "reader" crowd, and their counterparts, the videophiles.
So… is online video for you? If you don't answer "yes," then I have definitely failed in my task today. Online video is pretty much for everyone, and might eventually end up being absolutely vital to any successful web presence.
If you're not already dabbling in video, I hope that this article has given you reason to consider diving in. Don't worry… we won't leave you stranded… now that you've decided to get involved in online video, you've actually just created several more decisions for yourself to make, and we hope to help guide you in those choices as well.