Using Video to Rank Higher in Google Search

The goal of SEO is to get your links on the first page of search results. With billions of links competing for a dozen or so spots, competition has never been more fierce in the race to the top. One way to beat out competitors is using video to rank higher in Google search results.

Your business and your clients’ businesses are probably not media-oriented companies, so using videos to get more eyes on your online real estate where customers are spending their time might seem way outside your wheelhouse. But now is the time to consider the huge advantages of using videos of products and services for higher visibility.

Video Has Changed the Online Landscape

Since 2006, when Google acquired YouTube (now the world’s second-largest search engine), there’s been a shift where Google prioritizes websites with video content.

Video content is easy to consume and engages your audience for longer periods of time - giving more information than text and images. Because you can explain concepts easily and convey emotion in videos, they have higher click-through rates and conversion rates than plain text.

All together, that means that people are spending more time on the content you produce, and you can expect a much higher ROI when using video in your marketing.

Clearly, video has changed the online landscape, but don’t just take my word for it. Leaders in marketing and research are consistent in marking the growth of video:

  • YouTube has over a billion users - almost one-third of total internet users. (Wordstream)
  • 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. (Wordstream)
  • More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day. (Buffer)
  • More video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years. (Insivia)
  • 72 Hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds. (Insivia)
  • 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. (Insivia)
  • Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more. (Adelie Studios)
  • Companies using video enjoy 41% more web traffic from search than non-users. (Aberdeen)
  • Businesses using video grow company revenue 49% faster year-over-year than organizations without video. (Aberdeen)
  • 70% of marketers claim video produces more conversions than any other content. (Vidyard)
  • Video drives a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines. (Brightcove)

SEO - Using Video to Rank Higher In Google Search

Here is how including videos specifically helps with SEO’ing your website:

  1. Increases click-through rates - showing a 157% increase in organic traffic from search engine results pages.
  2. Lowers bounce rate - as people spend over twice as long on a page with video than without.
  3. Creates quality backlinks - when your high-quality videos are linked to from other websites.
  4. Gives your website more opportunities to gain high ranking links in different areas of search results.

Google search has a couple of video-related features, making search very video-friendly, including video results on page one of SERPs, suggested clips, and the video tab for video only search results.

Using Video to Rank In Google Search

How Videos Show Up in Google Search Engine Results

Videos in Google search results appear in both the “all” or combined search results on the main page, and the video search results under the “video” tab, so videos that rank high are getting even more exposure.

Whether or not your video shows up in search depends on how much information you provide. When Google crawls your website, it extracts a thumbnail and preview and may get some limited information from the audio and video of the file. It also gets information on your video from the page hosting the video, including the page text and meta tags, and the structured data (such as VideoObject or video sitemap) associated with the video. The more information you provide, the better.

Google provides two basic levels to appear in search:

Basic: When you provide the absolute minimum information, your video can appear in combined search results and video search results with a thumbnail image and a link.

video in combined Google search results

Example basic video result (image source Google)

Enhanced: When you provide more information, more features are available for your videos, such as video preview, video length, video date, provider information, the ability to restrict search results based on the user's country or search device, and more.

video enhanced Google search results

Example enhanced desktop video result (image source Google)


video mobile Google search results

Example enhanced mobile video result (image source Google)

As of September 2019, Google is testing an “in this video” feature that will give you a timeline that shows what sections of the video talks about subtopics. This is an enhancement to the suggested clips feature, which jumps search users to the portion of the video related to the specific search query.

Let’s Get Technical - Getting Videos to Show in Search

♦ If you’re a pro-level SEO type who understands coding, then this section is for you… if not you can skip to the next section for tips on less technical ways to rank higher in Google search with videos. ♦

Google can enable certain features on your web page in search results if you explicitly provide additional information in the page code using structured data.

You can mark up your video content with structured data to make Google Search an entry point for discovering and watching your videos. When you structure your content the way suggested below, your content may automatically enable a video badge in mobile image search results so even when people are looking under the images tab they will see your relevant videos:

  1. Provide details such as the description, thumbnail URL, upload date, and duration by marking up your video with “VideoObject”.
  2. Add additional structured data to your “VideoObject” to enable the following video enhancements:
  • Video Carousel: Mark up video gallery pages (a page with a list of videos) using ItemList structured data.
  • Video Segments: Mark important segments in your video with Clip structured data, which enables users to quickly navigate to specific points in a video.

Another option is if your website streams live videos then add Livestream structured data or

if you have step-by-step videos, embed your video content within How-to structured data.

How to Get Your Video to Rank High in SERP’s

The first thing to remember is that Google loves YouTube - that’s why they bought it - and they trust their in-house video hosting over others. So, hosting your videos on YouTube is the easiest way to get your content in search results.

Note that getting found on YouTube through its own search and earning traffic to your video does not transfer over to Google rankings because people aren’t watching the videos from your website. It’s a great way to build awareness and grow your audience, but you need a webpage on your website showing the video for that webpage and your website to rank in search results.

Best Practices to Get Your Videos Ranked Higher in Search:

  • Create compelling and useful content that answers the questions people are using search to find.
  • Create video content, so good people want to click around looking for more content.
  • Use simpler video formats like animation or picture montages when you don’t have a product or process to video record.
  • Aim for 1 to 3-minute videos - longer than that, and you start losing viewership.
  • Create playlists or galleries to guide people’s video viewing. Don’t be afraid to include videos from other sources; remember you are trying to be as helpful as possible.
  • Embed videos on your own website, optimize meta, tags, and descriptions, and add video details and transcription in the page text.
  • Create high-quality, topical thumbnails that are eye-catching and demonstrate what people should expect.
  • Promote videos through social, email, and paid campaigns when possible to increase clicks and viewing time.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, videos are speaking even louder. As video continues to grow in popularity, take a look at how you use video to rank higher in Google search results and market your business to a wider audience.


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