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Some of the clear – and perhaps obvious – benefits of web video for businesses are:

  • Expressing who you are and what you’re all about
  • Educating viewers about your products, services and brand
  • Boosting your credibility

But did you know that web videos offer tremendous search engine optimization (SEO) benefits as well?

More video = higher page rankings

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You might be surprised to learn that a quality web video hosted on your site makes the page 50 times more likely to be shown on the first page of Google search results. This fact alone makes online web videos one of the most powerful marketing and SEO tools you can have in your arsenal. In a nutshell, web video leads to both higher conversion rates and more organic web traffic to your website – which in turn leads to even more conversions.

Ever since Google purchased YouTube, the likelihood that they will rank these videos favourably in search algorithms has markedly increased. In fact, it is possible to obtain a high ranking on Google practically overnight when web video is effectively used on a page. Google now rates web video even higher than high-quality, keyword-rich articles.

Steps to SEO success

The key to high rankings is proper optimization of the video for SEO purposes. Ideally, videos should have relevant, quality metadata titles and descriptions. Relevant keywords should be used artfully within the video's title. These days, Google tends to present search results that offer a mixture of text-based web page results, images, news items, local results and videos. But of these blended results, video tends to be most likely to be clicked through.

Consider also hosting videos on your own servers for additional advantages. The videos hosted on these sites can sometimes achieve a first-page ranking by merely optimizing the video title with appropriate, relevant keywords. Google algorithms tend to have a bias toward YouTube videos to begin with, so a keyword-rich title usually seals the deal.

Encourage sharing

Another way to increase your video's exposure is through sharing. Videos can be shared via email, on social networking sites, blogs and on other content sites. Videos are the most shared content opportunity on social media -- more-so than article links or pictures.

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Easily embeddable links are provided by most online video hosting platforms. With these tools so easily accessible, the result is a powerful addition to your regular marketing approach. The feature encourages video sharing and makes it easy for viewers to do so.

To maximize your chances of hitting the SEO lottery with video, be sure to add as much relevant information to the video's description page as possible. If hosted on your own site, be sure to optimize the video's URL to be descriptive and keyword-rich as well. Add content around the video such as a high-quality, well-written, keyword-rich article about it, and, of course, related meta-tags.

Of course, SEO is just the icing on the cake. Be sure to start with thoughtful, relevant content and professional-level quality. Too often I come across video representing an otherwise 'polished' brand, but the quality is anything but -- and therefore a detriment to the brand messaging and strategy. Consistency of video content is important too. Regular video content will also greatly assist in your SEO efforts. If in doubt, you can take the guesswork out and hire a professional to do it for you.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Lisa Ostrikoff is a TV journalist and anchor-turned-creator of BizBOXTV, a Canadian online video production, advertising and social media marketing agency. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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