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Two of the most important metrics for search engine optimization (SEO) are the time users spend on your page or site and the number of backlinks referring back to your domain, and video almost always improves both of these figures. As a result, Google tends to prioritize search results with video above results without video and it is quickly becoming one of the most important forms of content marketing. Its presence could make or break your optimization efforts.

Most experts estimate that Google changes its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times each year. That’s somewhere between once and twice each day! While most of these changes don’t significantly change your SEO strategies, some updates are significant and may change the way we go about optimizing a website. The point is, as we discuss ranking factors for 2022, it may very well be that these factors have already been implemented and will simply be tweaked as time goes on.

Video, Featured Snippets, Voice Search, and User Experience are some of the most important things to pay attention to for your website next year and beyond. Here are some specific insights and techniques for how you can really make your website stand out in 2022.

User Experience

RankBrain, Google’s artificial intelligence algorithm, will be one of the most important factors in deciding a website’s ranking in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

Since Google launched RankBrain, there has been much speculation about the effects of artificial intelligence on SEO strategies. Although not many details have been given about the inner workings of the algorithm, it is believed that user experience is one of the most important factors taken into account. This means that the click through rate and the time users spend on a website will be determining factors in ranking. In the eyes of Google, the higher your ASD (average session duration), the more worthy your website. By placing a video on your webpage – whether it be an explainer video, a demo or even a simple brand animation – you are increasing the chances of people staying on-page longer to watch it. This in turn will raise the average time visitors have spent on your website. One of the best ways to improve a user’s experience and boost your SEO is by adding video content to every page.

Voice Search

The popularity of voice search is continuing to rise. In fact, it’s reported that around 58% of consumers use voice search to find local business information.

We already have Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant that play a crucial role in people’s daily lives. Many people now use a smart speaker in their homes and with the introduction of voice activation in everything from televisions to medical devices, it’s only a matter of time before voice search is the primary form of search.

Long-Form Content

Long-form content continues to rank better than short descriptions. This is because articles longer than 3,000 words tend to be shared more and generate more traffic. To keep readers’ interest, it is important to divide the content into smaller sections using H2 and H3 headings and include bullet points. This makes the content easier to read and understand. When it comes to product descriptions, you can use the short description for those who don’t want to read, but the long description should contain all the information necessary to help someone make a buying decision. Many online sellers make this mistake. Take a look at these two listings for sunglasses and see which ones you think sell more based on the descriptions. The same goes for your products!

Comprehensive description: https://amzn.to/3dWMtpz

Minimal description: https://amzn.to/30lUzEY

Mobile Friendly

When it comes to SEO trends in 2022, it may seem that mobile optimization is old news. Many SEO professionals will know that, as of March 2018, after the rollout of the mobile-first index, it’s been an increasingly important ranking factor. If you have both a desktop and mobile version of your website, then the Google bot will first crawl the mobile version when deciding how to rank your website. Pair this with the fact that 90% of internet users access the internet on mobile phones, then it’s no surprise that mobile optimization continues to be an important SEO strategy.

Featured Snippets

When Google shows a video thumbnail next to a search result, which Brightedge reports that it does for 26% of search results, users are more likely to click that listing. The presence of the thumbnail makes the result a “rich snippet,” and rich snippets tend to have higher click-through rates than standard snippets. A rich snippet shows a text excerpt from the result’s contents, the page title, URL, and an image. Since it takes up more space than the rest of the results, it attracts a large number of impressions and clicks. When you combine that with position zero (the first and most visible result for the user), this becomes a featured snippet.

The first result in a Google Search accounts for about a third of clicks. The second result gathers only 15%, and the third result gathers 10%. By the time we’re at the 5th result, we’re into the single digits. This is why getting that coveted position zero is so important.

While there is no hard and fast way to appear in featured snippets, we do know that Google shows three types of content: 1. Steps, lists and tables, 2. Text, and 3. Videos. If have you ever searched for a recipe on Google then you would have likely noticed that ingredients are presented to you in a clear and concise list form at the beginning of the results. That is a featured snippet.

YouTube is one of the most featured domains in Google. … Regardless of how you create those videos, make sure there’s a meaningful (even search-optimized) voiceover as Google is using that (and the video transcripts) to generate featured snippets. A video’s name is important: 80% of the Featured Clips in a study by Hubspot contained the exact keyword in their title. An important factor in winning the Featured Clip is likely the video name, especially for “How to” searches, such as “How to make party crackers.” The other important factor is the thumbnail image. Here is an example:

Here are a few ways to increase your chances of ranking for position zero:

  1. Focus on long-tail keywords.
  2. Target question-based search terms.
  3. Use a clear page structure with headings and paragraph tags.
  4. Keep your answers to questions around 54-58 words long.

The answer to the question you are addressing is not the only content on the page, as the page should be long-form content, but the featured snippet answer should be clear and concise, displayed as a formatted list.

Ethical Link Building

Google now penalizes strategies like reciprocal link exchanges, paid links, and other non-organic link building techniques. Even large-scale guest posting campaigns are considered a bad practice (although getting an guest-post article published on a major site shows significant authority, so occasional guest posts can be a good thing). If your business wants to rank higher on Google’s search results page then it’s time to focus on more ethical means of getting quality backlinks. The best way to do this is by producing useful content which will attract links organically. Links from YouTube videos are a great way to create quality backlinks, as are links from other social media posts.

Speed

The largest element on your web page should load in less than 2.5 seconds, which means that images should be optimized before uploading them to your website. Videos that are hosted on your site can take a long time to load, so embedding them from YouTube is a better choice in many instances.

Video

Since Google owns YouTube, it prioritizes video in search engine results, often putting YouTube results at the top or near the top. Integrating video can give you a significant boost in your reach compared to competitors who aren’t prioritizing video. Forrester recently found that videos are 53 times more likely to generate first-page rankings than other traditional SEO techniques.

Here’s the thing: Adding a new video to your page makes it look much much better. But, it actually adds so much more than that. Behind the scenes, your video is adding a quality to your website that will help bring in bigger, better crowds and help take you to the top. This is one of the reasons that it’s popularity as a marketing strategy has skyrocketed in recent years, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. In fact, Cisco predicts that online video will account for a whopping 82% of all online traffic in 2022.

Facebook of course sees the importance of video as well. “Live” videos, whether on Facebook or YouTube boost your visibility and authenticity. This is because live streaming entails a key interactive element that most content lacks. Since September, Facebook (er, Meta) has been promoting “reels” on both Facebook and Instagram. Reels are fun and inspiring short videos consisting of music, audio, AR effects, and text overlays. The Facebook mobile app lets you create reels from the dedicated reels section of the news feed. Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/creators/reels-for-facebook.

As we plan for 2022, you should consider choosing a video-first approach to content creation. Google is now making video be a key indicator for SEO going forward: pages with video content are 50x more likely to rank than posts with only static content and have a 41% higher click through rate. But it’s effect on search is not the main reason why you should be using a video-first approach on your website. The main reason is that video helps to boost sales. In fact, research from Hubspot has shown that 84% of people have been convinced to purchase a product or service because of a video. 84%! That staggering fact alone should be enough to convince anyone of adding video to your marketing strategy.

Here are some types of videos you can use for your online store:
  • Product introduction: Showcase your product with this video. Create, download, and share on social media, as an ad, or to attract buyers to your store.
  • New product arrivals: Introduce your customers to new products. Create, download, and share on social media as an ad, or on your site.
  • Highlight a special sale: Planning a special discount for your product? Create, download, and share on social media as an ad, or on your storefront
  • Product Testimonial: Share product reviews to increase sales. Create, download, and share on social media as an ad, or on your site.

Some tips to consider for a video content strategy:

1. Most people watch videos with no sound. A whopping 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. In fact, 80% of consumers report that they have a negative reaction when an ad plays a loud sound unexpectedly. People are watching videos on their smartphones everywhere they go — in crowded waiting rooms, on public transportation, in classrooms, and even in meetings (let’s be honest). This means that if you want people to stick around and watch your content, you need to optimize it for silent viewing. The good news is that most of the time, all it takes is the addition of closed captions to keep people engaged.

2. Have customers make videos for you. Consumers overwhelmingly trust user-generated content more than branded content. In fact, 85% think UGC is more trustworthy and nearly 70% find it more authentic and appealing. Rather than fight against the trend, you can partner with satisfied customers to have them act as brand advocates. Customers can generate video content on their own social channels and you can reshare it to give it more visibility. Over time, this user-generated content builds consumer trust and influences purchase decisions.

3. Create custom thumbnails for your YouTube videos. These should have a resoluton of 1280×720 pixels. The thumbnail image is often one of the main reasons someone clicks on a video they might want to watch. So, make your thumbnails compelling and a reason for viewing your video – it is the primary sales piece that sells your video.

4. Videos today are expected to be high quality if you want them to rank on Google. Consider using professional clips mixed with your own product content to give your videos a polished look. For example sites like https://shutterstock.7eer.net/6QXKm provide clips that can be included in your videos.

Conclusion

Video content has become a critical component to making your website perform better and generate more sales. It doesn’t matter if you are selling something as simple as a pair of sunglasses (as we saw above), if you are selling a highly complex piece of equipment like a concrete pump, or if you are selling a business. The simple fact is that quality video content is more important now than ever. As a result, we will be following our own advice and implementing a video-first content strategy for 2022.

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