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Can having video help your rankings? (not just video search)

     
9:44 pm on Nov 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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On multiple occasions, I've seen references from SEO sources saying video helps your with google rankings...is this true and if so how? Are we talking offsite benefits or on-site benefits?

If you add for example a youtube video, and link back to your site...youtube nofollows the link...so that wouldn't help right? In fact most video hosting services will nofollow text links... So I don't see how third party hosting can help.

For onsite benefits, google can't crawl your video for verbiage...so that can't help, right? For all google knows you just displayed a blue screen for 5 minutes. We know google can now spatially map sections of a page and prefers strongly content above the fold...so wouldn't video hurt you because it is taking up valuable real-estate that could be used by content?

There is the 'natural' angle...somebody could really like the video and link to it and that WOULD help. But in reality, most people would link directly to the hosting service like youtube and I don't see how page juice would flow back into your site.

Yet despite all this video is extremely popular in many SEO circles as a tool to help your rankings which I can't understand...
3:29 am on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Videos add value to pages just like links. Some videos are more valuable than the links. Google should reward pages with videos and it does. By how much is debatable.
5:49 am on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have situations where I have a hard time ranking for a particular phrase with a regular SERP, but a picture or video shows up in universal search.
5:18 pm on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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potentialgeek...interesting. I guess it would make sense...if you put the effort to insert a video or images on the site, it does probably mean you're less likely that you're a spam site (spammers are cheap). Do you have any tests or sources to back this up?

netmeg...how competitive are these terms you are ranking for? How many google ads appear on your key phrases? Do you get google news or the map also appearing with your video? One phrase I'm after is pretty competitive for about 100k searches a month, lots of google ads and has a prominent google map in the SERPs. I'm assuming something like this would be too crowded for bonus video material?

Zivush...great questions. I suppose the biggy that so many amateur SEO experts out there are pushing is...get twitter and facebook and link them on your site. I wish some of these clients would ask these SEO guys...how does it help? Certainly it helps facebook and twitter...to have so many people linking to them. But if I'm a car dealership and have a simple website...why do I need a facebook site? How does it help me with SEO to put my unique content that could have helped my site and instead put it onto a site owned by a mega-corporation that will compete with my own site for rankings? If I copy my own content onto facebook, could my main site be ignored/penalized as duplicate content? Facebook nofollows any links you put on their page...so the benefit is? Am I supposed to 'tweet' about my car dealership so people are more likely going to come to my website and make a big purchase? Again...content is on twitter (not my site)...that in reality, nobody reads...and if they were interested in reading, they could have just read this directly off your website. Link off of twitter and get you get a nofollow and probably a 302 from the url shortener.

I don't buy the organic traffic argument for embedding a lot of these third party services. If a user took the time to check out your facebook page then why couldn't they just checkout your website? Most businesses operate under the premise that users will visit their site, then their facebook site, then visit their site again and this will magically increase their revenue or search engine rankings...
6:22 pm on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If a user took the time to check out your Facebook page then why couldn't they just checkout your website?

You remind me old days. actually not so long ago.. Internet is changing.
I don't like it but browsing the web for info on sites is a two way street. A website is not a endpoint but a pathway.
Sometimes readers don't even recognize they are on a certain site. They read in between lines and go elsewhere. A site serve a limited purpose.
That is why a webmaster should spread his content all over. You don't know where your content landed and from where people visit your site.
for example - I have PDFs all around the web..
Some of my articles links where in pop url or delicious popular for some time.
I once got a free link from MSN.com USA homepage for a day.
6:41 pm on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have found video can improve your rankings a little indirectly through keeping visitors engaged. If it's useful and relevant of course. One frustrating aspect of one site I manage that uses video is that the video is all the user needs, yet unless you dose it up with paragraphs of text (which few will actually need) the video itself has little positive effect on Google. I suspect if the videos have relevant commentary, knowing that Google has the technology to index it, that could work but the ones I dealt with didn't.

Consequently, I now view video as a useful tool to give visitors a reason to come back, which has knock-on benefits for SEO obviously. But IMO the "presence" of video has no direct correlation to ranking.
10:27 pm on Nov 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Are we talking offsite benefits or on-site benefits?

I think if the videos are good enough, the benefits are likely to be both offsite and onsite.

At PubCon, in discussing some odd Google results with those who had them to show ;) , I saw some striking indications that time and engagement on a site was a big ranking factor, even for sites you wouldn't otherwise expect to rank. While in the particular results I was checking, video wasn't the attraction, it might well have been.

Embedded videos, if good enough to be engaging, can definitely keep visitors around. If you've produced videos for your site that are good enough to be shared, then they are also potentially a strong social factor.

But IMO the "presence" of video has no direct correlation to ranking.

Very true. I see some corporate sites cranking out some amazingly dull video simply because video is one more thing on the checklist, and that kind of material is not likely to help rankings.

A take-away from PubCon that's been making the rounds, originally tweeted by Dana Lookadoo, is... [api.twitter.com...]

Optimized video is 53 times more likely to show up on page 1 of Google than a standard HTML page.

This doesn't tell us, of course, how much this might apply to your video and your search terms vs how much Lady Gaga might be distorting the stats, but it's a striking statistic that's worth exploring. I don't remember which speaker originally mentioned it... but it was on the first day... and it helped set the tone which ran throughout PubCon, that SEO is no longer just links and keyword repetition, titles, and headings.

This also takes us back to the original question, of how much of the traffic to the video hub sites ultimately rubs off on your own site. I'm viewing video as a social strategy that can both drive traffic (and links) to your site and provide onsite content and longterm onsite benefits. Engagement, I feel, is a major consideration.

Social video may not be applicable to all niches, but it's definitely a strategy to be looked at.

There's some discussion, in this thread from a year ago, about some of the factors involved in transferring traffic and benefits from offsite videos to your own site ...

Getting my YouTube videos to appear and rank in SERPs
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4156318.htm [webmasterworld.com]
4:23 pm on Nov 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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"Optimized video is 53 times more likely to show up on page 1 of Google than a standard HTML page."


Yes, that was an amazing stat provided by Arnie Kuenn, who said he found that stat by Forrester. (Thanks for the mention, Bob. You brought me out of "WebmasterWorld silence.">

Of course, Bob's point about how much of the traffic "ultimately rubs off on your own site" is another consideration. How do we measure the aspect of comprehension, memory and branding video has on the viewer? Like the Geico Insurance's use of video with the gecko, many of their commercial videos may not have produced immediate traffic, but the secondary effect is surely huge.

Whether the goal is ranking or branding, video definitely helps companies capture more SERPs.
5:11 pm on Nov 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld danalookadoo

I've found that video does help with traffic, although, a word of caution, make sure the video is suitable for the use you intend it.

I've had one stupid video posted by a client and it ranked well. Eventually, they deleted it and it dropped out of the serps.
5:44 pm on Nov 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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For Google, it's all about a rich user experience. If Rich Media such as Videos help your user, then theoretically, it will help you in rankings. Google owns you tube so again..theoretically, using that service might influence rankings.
Google has begun "reading" videos for some of the major players and gov's and edu's but as far as I know have not implemented it for us little guys.
as for my personal experience, I am with engine, I HAVE seen non-dramatic improvements after placing useful videos on the page.
6:49 pm on Nov 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I have a YouTube channel with the same name as my hobby site domain name, the videos average around 2500 views a day. They also get embedded in all sorts of pages around the web and there's a little caption banner for my website in every video so the domain name gets splashed around the web a lot for that reason, which I suppose is a form of branding.

The YouTube channel page lets you add your website (a followed link) and you can add a link to each video description (NOFOLLOWED) to a relevant page. Since this is my site that recovered from Panda and took off from there, I've wondered whether the videos might be helping in different ways. Most of the videos are also embedded in illustrated procedures on the site's pages, mix of text, photos and videos.
8:41 am on Mar 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The YouTube channel page lets you add your website (a followed link)


YouTube recently changed to a new profile page format and the do-follow link has been replaced by a no-follow. For awhile, I could choose to use the old format, then the do-follow link was back. But now I seem forced to use the new format and I can't find any do-follow link anywhere anymore. Am I missing something?
9:11 am on Mar 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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do-follow link has been replaced by a no-follow

I have a 'speculation' that a no-follow link from a respectful source (for example: Facebook notes, Wikipedia and Youtube) counts!
There are some good SEO guys that say that Google takes this link into account. I buy this. Why shouldn't they?
As for embedded videos from Youtube, I treat them as an investment on the future. The daily views increase every day. One day, it will become a good traffic source - in addition to many other benefits such as time on site, BR and eventually IF Google works right SERPs.
10:14 am on Mar 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I find that pages with self-hosted videos do rather well and often have a special snippet in serps. That being said you're eating the full bandwidth and its inherent minor slowdown on your site every time it's loaded and it won't be long before your video finds its way onto other sites via scraping.

Make sure you write your domain name in text within the video as well as say the domain name for Google to run their text-to-speech/speech-to-text tools against else you risk not being regarded its author if a more trusted site grabs the vid.
2:24 pm on Mar 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have a 'speculation' that a no-follow link from a respectful source (for example: Facebook notes, Wikipedia and Youtube) counts!

Maybe in some way -- but not for PageRank or anchor text influence as far as I can see.
8:47 pm on Mar 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I run many Youtube videos on my sites and as far I can see they have have no effect on the paegs's position in the SERPS.

Google have no idea how good or bad the video is, it has few reliable signals to judge the video by.

Agreed, a good video may keep visitors on the site longer and tha's a benefit.