Practical Ecommerce

Do Product Videos Help with Search Engine Optimization?

Having videos of your products will help your ecommerce sales. Visitors to your site will watch the videos, and it will presumably help their buying decisions. But what about the search engines? How will posting a product video on your website help with search engine optimization?

One factor that the search engines may be considering as a part of their search algorithms is the “time on site,” the amount of time that your visitors spend on your website. If you post a video about a product, you can significantly increase the “time on site” factor inasmuch as, well, it takes time to watch your videos. I do not know for certain that the amount of time spent on your website is a search engine ranking factor, but it could be. The search engines are likely trying to determine which websites have higher quality. And if you have one website where the visitors spend several minutes, versus other websites that visitors view for a just few seconds, it is more likely that the search engines will view the former as higher quality.

Product Videos on Other Websites

Once you have created a video of a product, you have the option to post it on your own website (which I recommend), and you can also distribute that video on other websites, such as YouTube. In fact, there are now more keyword searches performed every month on YouTube than are performed on Google. Not only can the distribution of your product video get a lot attention, you can also bring people back to your website to purchase the product. You can include a link to your website in the description of the video when you post it. Consumers will follow the link after they have viewed your product video, and the search engines will notice that link, as well. You can include the actual http web address (YouTube will automatically make it a clickable link), or you can add specific anchor text to the link (by including the specific HTML link code) in your video description.

Four Elements to Include in Distributed Product Videos

I suggest the following elements when posting a video on YouTube or other video-sharing sites.

  • Title. Use targeted keywords in the title of the video.
  • Description. Mention the targeted keywords toward the beginning of the description of the video, mention your company’s name or website name, and include a link to the video towards the beginning of the description. You do not have to include the actual anchor text of the link, the actual http web address should be sufficient in most cases (such as at YouTube).
  • Tags. Include top-level tags, such as “home” or “travel,” as well as more specific sub-category tags, such as “home improvement” or “Dallas hotel.” Add as many tags as appropriate, depending on the topic of your video.
  • Category. Choose the appropriate category for your video.

Distribution Is Key

There are a lot of options for distributing the video across the web. Think of the distribution as similar to link building: Every time your video appears on another website, there will be a link in the video’s description, as I’ve mentioned previously. I always recommend selecting the option that allows others to embed the video on their websites, as the more times your video appears the better it is for search engine optimization. Just like link building, you need to make it easy for others to not only share your link, but to share or embed your video on other websites and with others.

Once you have a product video uploaded to YouTube, for example, the video is assigned a unique URL. That is actually a page where the video resides. Once you have that unique URL, you can take some extra effort to not only tell others about the video, but you can even do “link building” for your video. In fact, you can tweet about it on Twitter.com, and you can also add it to numerous social bookmarking websites, such as Digg.com, Delicious.com, or even Clipmarks.com. If you have a blog, I recommend posting on your blog about the video, embedding it into your blog post (as well as embedding it on your website), and even linking to the actual video URL on YouTube. The more links that you create to the video URL on YouTube and the more times your video is embedded, the more it will ultimately help your website’s search engine optimization.

Summary

As we move from viewing static web pages and images on the Internet and start viewing more videos and interacting with each other on social media websites such as Twitter, remember that the search engines are following our activity. Search engines such as Google are watching what we do online and looking for indicators that show that certain websites are more popular and more related to certain keyword phrases. They’re looking for indicators that one website has more “quality” than another. Taking the time to produce a video about your product will ultimately help your website’s visitors. And anything that engages your website visitors more, whatever will help them stay on your website longer, will ultimately help your search engine optimization.

Bill Hartzer
Bill Hartzer
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Comments ( 9 )

  1. Russ Somers June 29, 2010 Reply

    Great summary, Bill. One other suggestion that we often give our clients at Invodo (full disclosure: yep, I work there): create separate versions of the product video for YouTube vs your own site. There are a couple of benefits there.

    First, the version on your site remains unique content, rather than being considered a duplicate of the YouTube content. Second, you can focus the YouTube version for the YouTube audience: it may be shorter, or even have more of a "cliff-hanger" ending, to encourage viewers to follow the calls to action to visit your retail site.

  2. Mark Thomas June 29, 2010 Reply

    I agree with Russ, content on distributed networks should be unique from the content on your own site. One of the things we do at Buystream.tv (I’ll follow Russ’ lead and say I work there) is create video sitemaps for clients. That sitemap is what the search engines are going to use to index your content.

    If you have duplicate content and meta data on your video across networks, they will compete against each other for traffic. The only place a user can convert on your video content is your own website. For that reason you want the video on your own site to rank high for the most relevant keywords.

  3. Armando Roggio June 29, 2010 Reply

    Nice post. Nice comments. This may be a little off topic but may I also suggest promoted videos on distribution networks like YouTube. The ROI is great.

  4. Bill Hartzer June 29, 2010 Reply

    Armando, I’m confused about your comment. That’s exactly why I say in the article "distribution is key" and that you SHOULD distribute it on sites like YouTube.

  5. HelpDesk June 29, 2010 Reply

    All of the points you stated are so true. We just really need to make the videos as interesting as possible so that viewers would be attached. Sometimes humor works just as long as it is related to out content.

  6. yaniv_at_SundaySky June 29, 2010 Reply

    The benefits of online video are clear with ecommerce companies: they are proven to appear high on Google search, and of course result in increased conversion, better customer engagement and brand visibility. Distributing the videos on other sites is also important, but companies are also having trouble keeping their product videos up to date and scaled across the entire catalog. Another trend to watch is the influx of ecommerce companies embracing next generation video solutions that keep video content current and dynamic.

  7. Thomas Mongan June 30, 2010 Reply

    I’m not sure if putting a different formatted video on your site is such a good idea. Most the time when video results are mixed in with web results they are from YouTube(wonder if Google owning YouTube influences this?). Having a video result show up on a search result page for a product or service usually above the fold is pure marketing gold. Why compromise this? I wrote a short piece on how to get your videos listed on a search results page (go’s along with the theme) here http://www.interactone.com/video-search-engine-optimizationation/ . Great article!

  8. Ben Acheson July 1, 2010 Reply

    Video is just one component of the SEO toolkit. Webmasters also have to be prepared for video content to outrank their key landing pages for target keywords. But as part of a broad and comprehensive search engine optimisation strategy, product and information videos can attract traffic, inbound links and potentially improve your position in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

  9. Mike Darnell July 7, 2010 Reply

    Hi Guys,

    Nice to see all the familiar faces here… ; )

    Video for ecommerce works – plain & simple.

    According to data we (Treepodia) published last month from a study we conducted on our fashion industry clients the conversion rates (i.e. chance to make a purchase) for a site’s visitors who view videos increase by 134% on average when compared to the conversion rates for those visitors who don’t. The full study is over here: http://blog.treepodia.com/2010/06/video-increases-conversions-by-134-for-fashion-industry-retailers-q1-2010

    As far as distribution of videos is concerned, i’d like to add that from a purely SEO perspective it actually makes sense to look for those video site that allow <do-follow> links, otherwise the link from the video site back to your own doesn’t count for page rank purposes.

    If creating hundreds of videos for all your products, optimizing them, uploading them and syndicating them to video sites seems like a tall order you’re more than welcome to check out our automated service – we do all the above & only charge you for videos actually viewed on your site : )

    Cheers all,
    : )
    Mike
    Treepodia – Video for ecommerce
    http://Treepodia.com

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