This is a question we hear a lot from customers and prospects alike here at Wistia. The short answer? Yes, having videos on your website absolutely can drive more traffic from search.
However, the impact will differ for every business, depending on your size and niche. In this post, we cover how you can discover the impact video is having on your SEO, the ways in which videos can drive more search traffic, and what we’ve learned from running tests on our own website.
The new Google Search Console is the best source of truth for data on how much traffic videos are bringing to your website from search. This tool helps you measure your site’s search performance, fix crawling issues, and upload sitemaps.
Once you’ve got it set up with your site, click into the Performance menu, and then segment the search type by Web, Image, and Video.
This view allows you to see how much traffic you’re getting from video search and which queries are driving the most traffic to your videos, and then compare performance over time.
You can also see which pages are bringing in video search traffic, and compare those numbers over different periods of time as well.
This report is great if you want to get a quick look at which videos are acquiring the most traffic, and the relative difference between impressions and clicks will give you a good indication of whether your title and video thumbnail are appealing to searchers. However, it doesn’t tell the full story of the positive impact video is having on your search performance.
Having a video on the page not only helps you get traffic from video-specific search, but it can also increase your relevancy for certain queries, and therefore increase rankings and visibility in universal search, too.
“Having a video on the page not only helps you get traffic from video-specific search, but it can also increase your relevancy for certain queries, and therefore increase rankings and visibility in universal search, too.”
For example, consider the video results for the query: “How do you record your screen”
Here we see the top ranking result in video search is from Digitaltrends.com.
If we look at the universal search results under the “All” tab, we see that the same page is ranking 2nd, after an answer box and a “people also ask” box, but this time, as a straight webpage result, rather than a link with a video snippet.
It’s a reasonable assumption here that for queries like this, having a video indexed on this page positively impacts the organic rankings for the universal query, even though the video snippet is not displayed — as the surrounding results are all from stronger domains.
Last year, we migrated our blog content over to new a platform and CMS. During this process, we accidentally launched with a bug that prevented Google from crawling our embedded video content, meaning that most of our videos dropped out of the index — let’s call it an “unplanned experiment.”
This was a significant mistake for a company so reliant on using video in our marketing, for sure, but luckily, we were able to move quickly to rectify the error. This fix then gave us an indication of how much traffic our videos were directly accounting for, by comparing the weeks directly before and after the videos were reindexed.
Having our videos indexed accounted for 1,387 direct clicks from video search, but an overall increase of 6,100 clicks from all search.
So, for our website in September of last year, having our videos indexed increased organic search traffic by 10.6%. Obviously, your mileage may vary. Wistia.com is mid-sized SaaS website with a lot of videos and a lot of queries which relate explicitly to video.
“So, for our website in September of last year, having our videos indexed increased organic search traffic by 10.6%.”
Nevertheless, it’s highly likely that you’ll also see a positive impact on traffic by including indexable video content throughout your website. And, thankfully, the new Google Search Console gives you the means by which to test this for yourself.
While video can clearly help drive more traffic to your website — this begs the question, are all videos created equal? Do Wistia videos drive more traffic to than YouTube videos?
The answer? Usually, yes. This is because embedded Wistia videos are indexed for pages on your website, whereas embedded YouTube videos are indexed for youtube.com. But (as with everything in search), this is not a universal truth, and some sites will see different results.
The best thing to do is test it for yourself, and luckily there’s a simple way to do that:
- Sign up for a free Wistia Account
- Swap out a few YouTube embeds for Wistia Embeds
- Patiently wait a few weeks for the traffic to accrue
- Use the Video Search Report under “Performance” in Google Search Console to compare the pages in question before and after changing the embeds
- Check traffic to the same pages via the Web Search Report, too.
- Determine the percentage change in traffic for video and universal search
- If there is a marked difference, this is a clear indicator that moving your website videos to Wistia will result in an increase in organic traffic.
We’ve worked hard to ensure that our embed codes automatically optimize the videos on your site for search engines, as they’re designed exclusively to serve companies using video on their websites. YouTube, on the other hand, is a social media platform designed to serve content creators looking to monetize their videos or promote large-scale advertising campaigns.
Video can be a really valuable tool for driving more traffic to your website, and often small changes to your embeds, such as including structured data, can make a big difference.
Understanding the true impact of video SEO for your business will require some testing, but thankfully the new Google Search Console makes this process fairly straight forward.
Have you seen success with video in your business thus far? Has using video in blog posts or on landing pages improved your organic search performance? Share your questions, successes, and more with us in the comments!
How to Delete Your YouTube Channel
Over the years YouTube has become a massive video platform, and due to some recent changes, a pretty confusing one at that. For first-time creators and brands who want to grow a following, it can be hard to tell what rules apply to you, what “counts” as a video view, how to measure your success, and more. And while the Google-owned platform isn’t going anywhere any time soon, when it comes to building an audience with video, it’s no longer the only option for your business.
Now that businesses can more easily attract viewers with content hosted right on their own sites by embedding Wistia Channels or working with other tools, it might make sense to let that YouTube Channel of yours sail off into the sunset. If you’re considering removing your channel from the old ’Tube, read on to learn why that might be a smart move, how to actually get rid of it for good, and what to do once you’ve moved on.
YouTube is great for some folks and well … not so great for others. If you’re not sure why a business would want to delete their account, here are some reasons to ponder:
- Ads: While the opportunity for monetizing makes YouTube’s ad business model enticing for new creators, the fact is, unless you’re getting tens or hundreds of thousands of views on your content, chances are you won’t really benefit from ads. And unfortunately, for small channels, ads ultimately serve as a distraction that can draw people away from your content
- Autoplaying videos: YouTube’s algorithmically driven “Recommended” feature is designed to help viewers find content they may be interested in, but it also keeps viewers on YouTube longer. Chances are, the video that plays after yours won’t come from your channel, even if the viewer purposefully navigated to your channel to watch your content. Instead, viewers are likely to click into other channels, forgetting why they went to YouTube in the first place. Bummer.
- YouTube-centric design: From white backgrounds and red buttons to videos organized by most popular and date added, YouTube channels are not very customizable. The main ways you can control your branding on YouTube are with a banner on your channel page, a thumbnail profile image, and thumbnails on your videos. Which isn’t awful, but it could be better!
- Regular updates to the algorithm: Remember how we mentioned that YouTube can be confusing before? While changes to the algorithm can be a useful creative constraint, they can also be unpredictable and frustrating, especially if you’re relying on your videos reaching a particular set of people on a regular basis.
As YouTube evolves, it will continue to make decisions that help the company grow more than help their users succeed. If those decisions align with your own creative ambitions and marketing goals, that’s fantastic. Otherwise, it may be time to move on. If that time for you is now, then here’s a quick guide to deleting your YouTube account.
Phew, is it hot in here or is it just us? The first step here is to really make sure you’re ready to delete your channel (not just deactivate it). Wipe that sweat off your forehead and follow these steps to bid your channel farewell. You got this.
Note: Don’t choose “Account settings.”
This choice will permanently remove your video content and video data from YouTube. You won’t be able to retrieve it, so make sure you have saved the original files.
Always have a backup (or two) of all your video files saved on a hard drive or in another safe location. There’s no coming back from deleting your YouTube channel so quadruple-check that you’ve got back up.
5. Click “Delete my content.” You will be asked to enter the email address associated with your YouTube account to confirm.
That’s it! Your channel and all your videos are now deleted from YouTube. Keep in mind that the Google account you used to create the channel (business or personal) will still be active and recognized by YouTube.
If you’re looking for a new home for your videos and want more control over the entire viewing experience, Wistia Channels may be a great option for you. Don’t want to send viewers elsewhere every time you share a new video with the world? Luckily, Wistia Channels live right on your company’s own website and are easily customizable to match your brand. In case you aren’t super familiar with this Advanced Plan addition, here are some of the key features that’ll help you achieve your goals with Wistia Channels:
- No ads: This is an ad-free zone! We’re not taking any cuts here, so no ads will show up on your videos or to your Channel on your site.
- Designed for deep engagement: When viewers are almost done watching a video, our Up Next feature helps keep them watching more by showcasing the beginning of the next video on your Channel. Distracting ads and suggested content from other brands? Not a chance!
- Organized and customized: You can easily organize your content and tailor the layout on your Channel to suit your needs. Customize the design to match your brand by changing the color of the player, video thumbnails, header images, fonts, and more.
- Built-in lead capture: Add calls to action, annotation links, and email capture forms directly to your videos. Tell your viewers where you want them to go next and drive more action from your content!
If this sounds enticing to you, we’d love to show you how it works. You can get in touch with our team to learn more about Channels, pricing, or our other features whenever you’re ready.
For most businesses, simply uploading all of your content to a YouTube Channel and hoping for the best isn’t very strategic. After all, while YouTube is designed to encourage viewers to click around and watch as many videos as possible, that doesn’t mean they’re still watching your content. So, instead of trying to compete for attention on giant social networks, why not build an audience on a site that’s all your own? Start by deleting that old YouTube Channel of yours that’s been sitting around gathering dust and take more control over your content today.
The Social Media Video Checklist
Don’t think you have enough time to make a video for social media? Aren’t really sure where to begin? Pish posh! There’s no reason to let these hesitations stop you from making your social video dreams come true. And while there’s no secret formula for crafting the perfect video, there are some key steps you can follow to ensure your videos are not only well-thought out and impeccably executed, but also engaging and entertaining. So, without further adieu, here’s our comprehensive checklist for creating videos for social media.
Before jumping into the production of any video, it’s important to remember why you’re making the video in the first place and what you want it to accomplish. Do you want to increase engagement with your followers, share a glimpse into your company culture, or even promote another bigger piece of content? Ask yourself these types of questions before you shoot and you’ll have an easier time understanding what success looks like once it’s out in the world. Without a clear goal in mind from the start, it’ll be difficult to know which metrics matter most once its seen by all your followers.
This is a big one! Thinking outside the box is always encouraged, and especially by us (creativity is one of our company values, after all). But, it’s important to stay realistic here and make sure you’re not over-scoping your video. If your first idea is to shoot your video in a rainforest, maybe see if you can achieve a similar look by shooting in a park close to your office instead.
As for props, look around and see what you already have in your office before you buy anything new. It would be a real bummer to go out and buy a new top-hat only to realize you had one kicking around from a previous shoot. And speaking of using what you have, when it comes to building your set, you can usually work with a set up you already have in your office! Move things around, take a few test shots, and get creative. What may look “off” in one corner could look great in another.
This is also a good time to figure out if you’ll need any additional help from other folks on your team. Can you film this by yourself? Will there be scenes where you need some teammates to step in as extras? Before scripting, make sure you understand what resources you have available to you.
Even if you don’t have dialogue in your video, it’s important to have a concept and an idea of what each shot will look like. In the world of social video, nothing feels worse than getting to the editing stages and realizing you didn’t get the shots needed to get your point across. Take, for example, this educational video we made for social:
As you can see, there’s no dialogue or people present in this video, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t still need to write a script first to make sure we incorporated all the must-have information. We can’t say it enough — script, script, script!
Just because social media videos are typically short, doesn’t mean you should only book off an hour to get all the shots you need. It’s really easy to think, “Oh, a video for social media? That won’t take that long!” or “I’ll be able to get that shot later,” but if you don’t have a specific time set aside for filming, you run the risk of getting caught up in other things and not getting the shots you need. This is especially important if you’re working with other people — you always want to make sure you’re making the most of everyone’s time!
Shooting for the edit is a pretty simple concept — all it means is that you should keep in mind how you’re going to edit your footage in the near future while you shoot. Before pressing that sweet, sweet record button, make sure your actors have rehearsed their lines, the shot is in focus and well-lit, and double check that the camera is stabilized. Keeping these things in check will cut down on the amount of footage you need to sift through later on.
And as always, be sure to shoot some b-roll. You might not think you’ll need it, but a lot of the time b-roll is what supplements the story and drives the piece visually. So once you think you’ve got the shot, keep rolling for about 10 seconds. That’s usually when the good laughs and candid moments happen. Having those gems will help diversify your shots and make your editing process much easier!
“You might not think you’ll need it, but a lot of the time b-roll is what supplements the story and drives the piece visually.”
Social media is a superhighway of information. Viewers are constantly running into new content everywhere they turn. So, start with some action and eye-catching footage right away to capture your viewer’s attention. In this case, “action” doesn’t have to mean a car chase or something super outlandish. Take this post from Glossier for example:
In this video, Glossier is promoting its latest product, Bubblewrap, an under eye cream. It starts with the subject somewhat humorously drinking a cup of tea, which is a nice, subtle hook. It then quickly jumps into him using the product and explaining the benefits succinctly. The video only lasts about 20 seconds, but by the end of it, we know exactly how to use Bubblewrap and what it does. ~Chef’s kiss~ You only have your viewers attention for so long, so take a page from Glossier’s book and don’t waste any time!
This step mainly applies to Instagram, since the other platforms display auto-playing videos on their feeds. On Instagram, your video will live on your profile’s grid, so it’s important to make sure the video thumbnail is click-worthy. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, but always be sure to stay away from blurry shots or drab colors when choosing your thumbnail.
Makings of a good thumbnail include, but are not limited to:
- Smiling faces
- Cute animals
- Bright colors
- Text overlays
- Crisp images
Here’s an example of one of our favorite, click-worthy thumbnails:
Our office dog Lenny sitting at a computer? Faris looking perplexed and surprised? Don’t know about you, but we’d definitely press play on this product update video.
Whether you leave a CTA in your company’s bio or actually write it into your script at the end of your video, you always want to tell your viewers where they should go next. Of course, some videos for social don’t require a call to action, so don’t add one in if it doesn’t make sense. Here’s an example of a video we shared of our team painting a mural in our office that didn’t require a call to action:
This video is an example of a brand touch video that often doesn’t require the viewer to take action afterward. When we wanted to promote our latest blog post, however, we gave viewers direction around where to go after watching if they wanted to get more intel:
Whatever the case may be, when crafting a CTA to support your social video, you want to make sure you are persuasive, but not too pushy. Adding something as simple as “Click the link in bio for more!” to your caption or including “Check out our new post!” at the end of your video can help get the job done. If a viewer loved your video and wants more, you should strive to make it as easy as possible for them to take the next step.
There you have it! From setting your goals and scripting your video, to adding captions and making snappy edits, you now know what it takes to make a successful video for social media. Keep this checklist with you and remember to take it one step at a time (and have fun with it!). So what you are you waiting for? Grab a camera or pick up your phone and get going!
How to Name Your Wistia Channel
With Wistia Channels, the name-picking power is in your hands. And believe it or not, the name you pick may ultimately influence the number of clicks, views, and video engagement you get on that Channel. But how are you supposed to pick just one name that encompasses all of your videos, while still bringing all the views, clicks, and engagement you want? Don’t worry. We’ve got some tips that’ll simplify the process and make you believe in the power of name-picking in no time.
For businesses using video for marketing, a Wistia Channel turns your collection of videos into a destination where people can explore certain topics in depth and get to know your brand. Because this is a singular destination, it’s important to come up with a cohesive name that accurately describes the Channel. To do that, you need to think beyond your individual videos.
When you think about your Channel on a more holistic level, you should consider the following factors:
- Branding — the “identity” factor: The name you pick will be very public, so it needs to accurately reflect your videos and your brand.
- Discoverability — the “index” factor: The Channel name comes up in search, so you want people searching for a relevant topic to find your video content fast — and first.
- Shareability — the “click” factor: Your audience watches a lot of stuff online. A catchy name for your Channel will make it easy for people to remember. That means when it comes time to share your videos, they’ll be able to pull up your Channel and link to it instantly.
Considering these factors as you set up your video Channel will help you grow your audience and your brand over time. To dig a little deeper, let’s break down the three factors we mentioned above: branding, discoverability, and sharing. Shall we? We shall!
“Considering these factors as you set up your video Channel will help you grow your audience and your brand over time.”
When you’re thinking about your Channel, remember that it should support your company’s brand but also have its own identity. Plus, the name you pick should align with your marketing strategy, whether that’s connecting with a particular audience, highlighting your product, or educating your viewers. To get just the right fit, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Regardless of your industry, it’s important to narrow in on a niche. Let’s take a look at the topic of real estate as an example. Real estate is far too broad of a term to use on its own for your Channel name. Instead, you’ll want to pick a more narrowly defined niche, like “The Smart Real Estate Investor” or “Architects Eating Lunch.” This will help you build an audience faster because you know it relates to the overarching subject, but there’s something specific your viewers can latch onto.
In addition to knowing your topics, you should have a good idea of who will be watching your videos. If you want to appeal to a certain type of viewer, then be sure to include terms they resonate with in the name! To keep up with the real estate theme, you could add words like agent, investor, or homeowner right in the name of your Channel.
Some people rely on the strength of their company names alone to build up a brand. But unless your company’s brand as a whole is the purpose behind your Channel, this can be both too general and too limiting for your business over time. Not only that, but you also run the risk of your brand changing. Brands evolve, and if there’s any chance that your company will pivot, or the focus of the Channel will change, we recommend trying to avoid using just your company name.
Something else to keep in mind is how your Channel shows up in search. Whether people are searching for your Channel by name, or for individual videos, you’ll want your Channel to appear in the results. If you align your name with commonly searched terms, then you’ll create more visibility for your content and have a better chance at boosting your rankings online.
For example, Brian Cox, aka The Travel Vlogger, has nearly 16K subscribers on YouTube, but the Channel itself ranks at the number two position on the Google results for “travel vlog.” His smart SEO strategy will help him continue to grow his channel organically, with little extra effort on his part.
This is a pretty straightforward strategy, but SEO (especially as it relates to video) can get complicated really quickly. With that in mind, here are a few SEO tips to remember when it comes to naming your business Channel.
Plug your potential Channel names into tools like Ahrefs or Keywords Everywhere to see what the keyword volumes are, as well as the competition score. That way, you can see exactly how many people are searching on Google for your terms and how hard it will be to land on page one of the results.
Do research to make sure that your name isn’t already in use on YouTube and beyond. Also, check for similar video Channels in your category. Less competition = more search traffic for your Channel.
When you create lots of high-quality content around a certain topic, Google’s algorithm will start to recognize your Channel as an authority on that topic. So, if you’re tying your Channel name to an SEO term (the wheel), make sure that the individual titles of videos are related terms (spokes). You can find related terms in your keywords tool. This will show Google that you’re continuing to contribute valuable and expert information through your videos.
SEO takes a bit of time to work (you have to prove your trustworthiness to Google). So, be patient if you aren’t instantly ranking where you’d like. Even a little bit of effort and research can go a long way in helping your results.
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