At the Search Engine Strategies conference a few weeks back, we had the pleasure of interviewing Bruce Clay.  We asked Bruce about the importance of online video when it comes to organic and universal search ranking algorithms in Google. For those of you not in the search marketing industry, Bruce is sort of a "big kahuna."  He founded back in 1996, before some of us even were on the internet, and his firm Bruce Clay, Inc. , is the is one of the top SEO and SEM firms in the world.

In our interview with Bruce, he discusses "Engagement Objects" and talks about how these engagement objects, in particular video, are thought to be of crucial importance when it comes to organic and universal search.

What is an Engagement Object?

An "Engagement Object" is an element or multimedia component that you can add to your website that is engaging and causes users to interact with your website.

Bruce also talks about variables that are important to the Google search algorithm and discusses how the introduction of universal search has resulted in a change in the number of variables that are considered for ranking.   Previously, it was accepted that Google used 120 variables to rank websites.  Since the introduction of universal search and more use of engagement objects across websites, the thought is that Google has increased the algorithm variables to 200 variables, most of which can be attributed to these engagement objects.

"...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 dont think weve 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."

Thanks to Bruce Clay for taking the time to talk with us ;-)

  • Carl Street

    Good article -- "Reader" is missing the point. Success in marketing comes not from skating to where the puck is; but from skating to where the puck is going to be and Video is where it is going to be.

  • w3origin

    I am shocked  by reading the article. I never thought that video is how
    much important for ranking. If its true then definitely i am going to
    try it.
    Mark- i have a question for you, i am little bit confuse about video
    submission. How to use videos to get ranking ? Will you please

    • Mark Robertson

      too long of an answer :) I would look into video sitemaps for Google as a starting point.

  • philipbrassington

    A very interesting interview. A link to this was sent to me by a Yell sales rep. An intesting take, I like the idea of grouping them as engagement objects and the purpose of them, but I think its more conversion than rank.

    The most striking thing I have taken from this is this comment
    "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.”

    Well guys, its almost two years on. Is anyone sitting anywhere and saying? Didn't think so.

    Nice post though...

  • Rachid Video Marketing

    True, a relevant video gives more trust to your website.
    In order to get good ranking, its a key thing you've got to have!

  • Guest

    everything with SEO helps - the more you do the better it is....


  • SEO Expert

    I don't think having video on site that much important. There are lots of site without video on site and they all are on good rank in google. I saw some people doing video marketing on youtube.

  • SEO Expert

    I don't think it's important to having video on site. There are lots of sites without video. I saw some people make video for youtube marketing.

  • Make Money Online


    I definitely agree with you on this... Also, if you don't take action with Social Networking, you probably won't rank there either.

    Nice info.


  • SEO India | Sartorius

    Yes that's right video and image optimizations are very important now days if you want your site to come top.

  • Judy

    This is a very interesting article. I believe video will play a very important role. Thanks so much for the information!

  • Marina

    Great article!

  • home builders ranking

    Allow search bots to crawl your sites without session IDs or arguments ...

  • TS

    Thanks for the info.

    I tend to agree. Forrester Research has also released a study which states you have a 50x better chance landing on the front page with video on your page than without.

  • Alex

    Hi, thank you for your great job!
    Please tell me, is it possible to make one swf file from JW player and flv video file?
    Thank you

    • Mark Robertson

      I done believe so, nor do I think I quite understand why that would be worth doing....

  • Juan R. Villa

    Mark, I agree with you. As per Bruce words, Google has now around 200 variables in the algorithm, so video is just one of them. This reinforces the idea that video is just one variable, one of the 200 variables used by Google's algorithm.

  • “Andrew Pelt”

    "Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It's very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker."

  • “BisayaMoneyMaker”

    "Hope to see more of those post in the future."

  • Dan Monceaux

    The more testimonials I see and hear to this effect, the more excited I become about my businesses prospects in producing tailor-made videos for website embedding. Bring it on!

  • Pull Up Banners

    Interesting point. I know it seems like the only logical advancement in web development to - add a movie to a website.

  • Julian

    Yes, I think some comments are missing the point - video is not and will not be the be all and end all, but rather a very important ranking factor, albeit one of many. Video on the web, especially in terms of search, is definitely in its infancy. As bandwidth becomes cheaper and computers become faster, video will play a more prominent role in EVERYTHING we do on the web. Great read, Mark

  • Lee Colbran

    The comments about video specifically are missing the point. Bruce talks about engagement factors, video content is one entity of engagement.

    I agree with Bruce, it is high time site owners offered more than a product catalogue. I much prefer sites that do look to interact with its audience and I agree sites that are looking to offer visitors a rich experience will potentially domimate SERPS in the future.

    • reelseo

      Lee, I agree wholeheartedly. Though Bruce does regard video as a key engagement object, there's no single silver bullet to online marketing success. Interactivity and engagement are crucial moving forward. That means polls, videos, social media, podcasting, etc... Thanks Lee

  • Mike

    Hi Mark

    I agree with Bruce Clay assessment and prediction. Its about looking forward and having the vision to predict potential trends and apps. Video will become a key engaging tool as part of an overall marketing mix. The relevance and importance of video will become more and more important and in a year's time visitors will expect video content on a website to be the norm as they will social media integration.


    • Mark R Robertson

      Yipee. I was hoping someone would ;-)

  • Robin

    I agree with reader it is not about having a video, there are many elements to being found on a Google search, video is a new element that helps. It needs to be understood that it takes time & effort to rank, even if you use a video and it is not done right it will not matter. I have been marketing for over 13 years and marketing changes constantly, so video may play a larger part in the future along with all the other keys to SEO recgonition.

  • Reader

    Thats a BS peice, if you need video to rank in Google why are there so many sites without video on the first page of the SERPs?

    • Mark Robertson

      Hi Reader, who clearly doesnt read - watch the video or read the post. It is a catchy title, yes - QUOTE - "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.”