Publishers spend a huge amount of time and resources covering the stories that audiences care about. But if a tree falls and no one sees it… you know how it goes. It’s critical to make sure these stories are getting in front of target audiences, in the first places that they go to find them. According to a study by Parsely, social media drove 45% of traffic to last year’s biggest news stories – with Facebook accounting for a whopping 40%. However, as the platform’s changing algorithm and “walled garden” nature continue to be a cause for concern, many publishers have started to look for a more tried and true source of traffic: Search.
This shift in focus is exemplified by Time Inc.’s recent hire of SEO veteran Jon Hawkins and the New York Times project to republish almost all of its articles since 1970 in HTML to make content searchable on Google. A significant lift of search traffic in both news and evergreen content of these publishers set a great example of how SEO can leverage content as publishers’ “currency” in the noisy, crowded news space.
Every SEO specialist has long been focused on including keywords in a static, link-driven search page. But as of late, a new SEO technique has been brought into focus… Video. A minute-long video has been said to deliver the same message as 1.8 million words – and has been given a nod of approval by audiences and search engine bots alike. So how do we use video as a driving force for search traffic?
Embed videos on as many pages as possible
Embedding high-quality, relevant videos within an article not only provides audiences with more ways to digest and engage with your content, but also increases your chances of driving traffic to that article in the first place. A page with rich media like video has a much higher SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking than text-only articles. The relevancy of content is the most essential factor of SEO ranking – and the presence of video itself signals the search engine that your page or site contains good quality content. Research also shows that search results with video have a 41% higher CTR than plain text.
Publishing videos on Youtube, Vimeo, and other self-hosting providers is a great way to increase video views and engagement with your brand. However, these providers take users directly to their sites – not your domain! Embedding videos within your article pages will ensure that audiences find your site in their search results, and will give them all the more reason to stick around.
Incorporate keywords into every text aspect of your video
It’s a no-brainer that search engine bots can’t read audio or video…for now. But they can read text files that are synchronized with media and soundtrack in a video file. By providing keyword-rich cues within a video’s metadata, titles, and closed captions, search engines can better understand the video’s content, and will capture these keywords to answer specific search queries.
Keywords can (and should) be included in the tags, descriptions, and annotations – otherwise known as media metadata. When a video contains multiple media assets, it’s important to make sure the keywords included in the metadata send a clear message to search engines by aligning with the rest of your article’s text. The same is the case for video titles. Just like your media metadata, titles are hidden within the HTML code of your video and a good video title that is rich in relevant keywords will increase your chances of ranking high in search results.
Another textual aspect to optimize for SEO is your video’s closed captions. Not only do keyword-rich captions contribute to your ranking in the same way as metadata and titles, but they also contribute to increased engagement. In fact, a captioned video receives 7.32% more views on average than a video without captions. Captioning a video could be very time-consuming. Some video platforms like Kaltura help users transcribe closed captions for existing videos, while Wibbitz automatically adds closed captions to video files during the creation process.
Publish videos as quickly as possible
The amount of traffic that a news story generates depends just as much on the time of publication as it does on the quality of content. Breaking news videos that are published in real-time not only attract a large amount of attention, but also generate “a very high completion rate,” according to Neal Coolong, senior editor of USATODAY Sports Media Groups NFL Wire sites: “When we find the news story right away, and we create a video for it right away, there’s still a huge segment of the market that isn’t aware of what is going on.” Publishing videos for breaking news, on every page, and as quickly as possible is the best way for publishers to rise above the competition – all the way to the top of search results.
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