Andrew Williams, Digital Marketing Manager at MoneyWeek fills us in on the video SEO tactics the team used to grow websites visits by 136%…
That line you’re looking at? That’s the increase in organic video visits we’ve seen at MoneyWeek in the past 5 months.
And that’s not all. We’ve also been enjoying a surge in overall visits, increased time on site AND an ever growing number of newsletter subscriptions.
How have we done it? By following a few video SEO best practices.
But, before I dive into all that. First, a little context (it’ll come in handy later). What is Moneyweek?
MoneyWeek is the UK’s biggest financial magazine. Our ultimate aim is to build a large audience of highly engaged readers. To that end, we produce informational videos on the hot financial topics of the day as a way of encouraging people to sign up to our biweekly newsletters.
Ok, back to the matter in hand. When I first set foot in the world of video SEO I read over and over again how video search results see higher click through rates than plain text ones.
“Yes,” I thought. “But how do you get your videos into those search results in the first place?”
After all, you have to be in to win it, right. And therein lies the challenge.
So I’ve put together this been-there-done-it guide to video SEO to fill you in on what worked for us:
Step 1: Create a video sitemap
For Google to display a video search result linking to your site it needs to know two things.
1. What the video is about
2. Where the video lives
Once it has that information it can determine whether to return your video as a result for a given search query. As so:
That’s precisely what a video sitemap is for. It looks something like this:
To build our video sitemap I use vzaar. It just makes it quicker all the fields are laid out for me, I just fill them in and vzaar produces the code.
Trust me. When you’ve got more than a few videos in your catalogue you don’t want to deal with creating the sitemap from scratch yourself.
The really neat thing is that if I miss something (hey nobody’s perfect!) rather than submitting an incomplete video sitemap, which can actually be damaging for your SEO, vzaar automatically excludes it. Then I just go in and fix whatever’s wrong, without needing to search through the sitemap and find the error myself – again a really nice timesaver.
Once you have your video sitemap you just need to paste the code into your site’s robots.txt file. And then it’s a bit of a waiting game. You’ve done your bit. Now Google needs to index your videos. For us, Google started to index our videos pretty much instantly.
Step 2: Video Transcripts
A quick video SEO win for us has been incorporating video transcripts underneath our videos.
We use Speechpad to create transcripts of our videos. At $1 per minute of video it’s a pretty inexpensive way for us to get a lot of keyword rich copy for the page.
Step 3: Improved Video Page Template
Once people actually click on the result – guess what they’re expecting to see…. a video! It may seem like a no brainer but for a time our videos were fairly hidden on the page.
That way leads to madness – low engagement and high bounce rates.
This is bad for your SEO efforts. If Google sees lots of people bouncing when they hit your page they’ll come to the conclusion that your page isn’t a good result for that given query. Rankings will plummet.
To rectify this we have made our videos much more prominent on the page.
And we’ve reaped the rewards.
Average time on page is up by 40% in the 3 months since we updated to the new video page template.
The YouTube Conundrum
MoneyWeek videos started life on YouTube. Which was fine, to begin with.
In the early days it was great to be reporting how many video views we were getting. We were really pleased we’d seen some take up.
But, as we became more experienced with online video marketing we noticed a problem.
The trouble is a lot of those views go to waste. After watching our videos a huge chunk of people head off into the rest of YouTube. As our viewing figures mounted we weren’t seeing a difference in our bottom line.
We have been hesitant to completely cut YouTube from our video marketing mix, it is the 2nd biggest search engine after all. But, what we have done is become more intelligent in how we use it.
After a fair amount of head scratching we’ve landed on a solution that works for us:
We still post a lot of our videos to YouTube. But we annotate those videos, advertising one exclusive video on MoneyWeek each week.
Because we have a secure video hosting platform (vzaar), we ensure that the videos we embed on our site cannot be made available anywhere else. This provides an incentive for YouTube viewers to head onto our site. And that’s where we want ‘em.
To grow traffic to our videos we’ve done 4 things:
1. Build video sitemaps with vzaar
2. Created video transcripts with Speechpad
3. Redesigned our webpages to make video more prominent
4. Post exclusive content to Moneyweek to drive audience away from the distractions of YouTube.
And we’re seeing some pretty exciting numbers:
1. Organic visits to our videos up 136%
2. Time on page up 40%
3. Overall visits to videos up 160%
So has this helped us achieve our business goals?
Remember earlier I said:
“Our ultimate aim is to build a large audience of highly engaged readers. To that end, we produce informational videos on the hot financial topics of the day as a way of encouraging people to sign up to our biweekly newsletters.”
Have all our video SEO efforts paid off?
Let me answer that question with a statistic: 82%
That’s how much our email subscriptions have grown since we started.
I rest my case.
Video SEO: it’s where it’s at.