Tapping Into Video SEO: A Guest Blog Post

Tapping Into Video SEO: A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Story
By Yaniv Axen, Co-founder and CTO of SundaySky

Remember those old choose-your-own-adventure books? They were great. You got at least two choices for how the story would end, and if you finished the book and didn’t like the outcome, well, you could just go back, re-read it, follow a different path and reach a different conclusion.

Here’s a choose-your-own-adventure tale for the e-commerce set. The protagonists are two respected e-businesses that deployed video on their websites. One did it with SEO in mind and reaped the rewards in Google rankings and resulting page visits and sales. The other took an enormous cache of video content, uploaded it onto a website and left it there – unoptimized, untagged and unprofitable.

Video Optimization Adventure #1: QVC
QVC is a company that clearly understands how to make compelling video. The cable shopping network broadcasts live 24 hours a day, 364 days a year. It has a massive store of multimedia and it has loaded tens of thousands of videos onto its website. But one would never know it by the number of QVC videos indexed on the major search engines. Google has one. There are two others on Bing and four on Yahoo!. That’s a total of seven indexed videos for a company that is #11 on the Internet Retailer 500. QVC’s wasted resources are a reminder that the number of videos a business offers on its site isn’t as important as what it does to properly deploy them.

Video Optimization Adventure #2: Overstock.com
Overstock.com sells everything from crib sheets to faucets and jewelry at discount prices and rivals QVC in the number of videos on its site. But those multimedia assets are working much harder for Overstock.com, since the retailer took the extra step of optimizing its videos to increase search engine rankings and drive traffic. There are more than 56,000 Overstock.com videos indexed on Google, and the revenue implications of that fact are clear. Here is just one of many examples; if you do a standard Google search for “Strada ceiling fan,” you’ll see Overstock.com as the number one result, with a video thumbnail accompanying the text link.

Both companies understand video creation. Both took the time and effort to populate their websites with video assets. And yet, the end of their e-commerce stories are quite different, all because one completed the steps required to achieve higher SEO ranking with video and the other did not. Simple adjustments — such as text and markup in the page surrounding the video, site-wide descriptive formats, video site maps and proper video embedding — could easily have led both of these companies to similarly happy SEO endings.

The outcomes, perhaps, are too predictable to make for riveting fiction. As non-fiction, though, these two stories are instructive for any company. Almost any business moving to the Web understands at some level that search engines drive traffic. The 100 best companies in Internet Retailer’s Top Retailers Guide report an average of 30 percent of their traffic is search-engine delivered. And by now, most e-businesses realize the importance of deploying video as a means to increase website visits. It is with this knowledge in mind that retailers such as Zappos, Overstock.com and Newegg have deployed thousands of videos across their websites.

Given the apparently widespread awareness of the power of video online, it is amazing to see that many large retailers are investing in multimedia without taking the steps to put those elements to work for search engine optimization. In fact, 80 percent of online retailers fail to optimize their website videos.

Of course, before a business thinks about optimization of video, it must create those multimedia resources in the first place and do so across its entire product catalogue. It is not enough to simply post a few videos on the homepage and other main pages. For instance, eBags.com manually produces videos that are indexed on Google, but because it is so expensive to produce each video for its entire (large) catalogue, the company can only have a limited number of videos. This results in limited video SEO when users search for products, and other sites with video will pop to the top of the results page, no matter what type of optimization eBags.com completes for its modest video library.

We’ve learned from SundaySky customers like Sawbuck Realty, which has more than 400,000 compelling real estate videos on its site that a combination of sound SEO strategy and sitewide video usage leads to superior search engine rankings. Targeted verticals like Sawbuck (real estate), as well as larger businesses like Overstock.com, can attest to the payoff that optimized, widespread video delivers.

SEO benefits are not the only result of optimized video. Companies offering quality video experiences also report increased engagement and appreciable conversion lifts. These results have been experienced by so many businesses in so many industries; the conclusions are no longer surprising.

Spoiler Alert
E-businesses with sitewide, high-quality, optimized video do better in search rankings, engagement and conversions than those that merely post a handful of untagged media files on their sites. There’s no need to flip to the back of the book to sneak a peak at how any particular e-business video adventure ends when the correlation between video SEO and e-business success is so clear.

Read More Research about the State of Video in E-commerce here: http://www.sundaysky.com/resources/download-q210-report.html

Yaniv Axen, co-founder and chief technology officer of SundaySky