Categories
SEO

How Will Video SEO Help Ranking?

One of my SEO clients, a plastic surgeon who specializes in facial cosmetic surgery, wants to increase traffic to his website with video seo. His site has something that most plastic surgeons and medical aesthetic practitioners have…

Videos. Lots of them.

We all know that visuals are essential in plastic surgery. Images are effective, but videos are more effective and credible. They engage more senses and dimensionalize the experience as opposed to an otherwise static image.

This plastic surgeon has multiple procedure pages with videos. But some pages contain many videos, such as before-and-after clips from hundreds of patients.

He doesn't host any of his videos and has them all up on YouTube. However, he doesn't embed them on his page or link to them directly. Instead, his page has thumbnail images of each video with “play button” overlays. When people click on a thumbnail, the video opens up in a fixed Lightbox popup window.

(Lightbox is a script that opens an image, audio, or video in a popup. It often dims the background and shows controls such as a close button in a corner.)

This is a good practice to a degree. The issue is that most videos in Lightbox popups are hard to use, especially on a mobile device. Texts and video controls are tiny and hard to click. If you accidentally click outside the tap area, you risk closing the popup and having to restart the video from the beginning.

This can become a user experience (UX) issue.

To Host or Not To Host (Videos)?

Lightbox may be helpful on a desktop. But it may not be as helpful on a mobile device. Google is looking at UX as a ranking factor and has recently moved to mobile-only. So if a piece of content is unusable on a mobile device or creates more issues, it may be wise to avoid them.

I told him to embed his videos directly on his pages. However, for a page with many videos, using thumbnails that link to them is a good practice. But using Lightbox (this one in particular as there are many types), for mobile, is not.

So when I told this plastic surgeon to avoid using Lightbox windows and embed videos on the page, he wondered if it would be better to host the videos directly on his server instead of YouTube.

A popular opinion among SEOs is that it's better to host your own videos. That may have been the case before (that self-hosted videos are better for SEO). But I'm uncertain that it is true now. In fact, with many of my clients, I'm seeing that it's becoming less and less true.

It is better to have videos hosted elsewhere.

Even if you hosted your own videos, chances are you're using a content distribution network (CDN), which caches your videos at multiple locations around the world for faster loading. (If you don't use one, you should.) Using a third-party platform to host your videos does not differ from using a CDN.

Entirely hosting and embedding your own videos will hurt your pagespeed. With UX soon becoming a ranking factor, slow loading times will hurt your SEO, too.

Embedding Videos Helps Improve SEO

Hosting your videos on an external platform such as YouTube, Wistia, Vimeo, Vidyard, and so on, and then re-embedding them on your website, is like a CDN. Embedding your videos will also boost your rankings for four reasons:

  1. You engage viewers and therefore increase dwell times, lower bounce rates, and reduce pogosticking (i.e., when users bounce back to Google, which tells Google that your content did not satisfy the user's query, which may affect your ranking for that query in the future).
  2. The video provides additional content and adds context (and vice versa, meaning that the surrounding content gives the video with additional context, too), which will both help SEO indirectly.
  3. Aside from YouTube SEO or video SEO (which is a topic deserving its own article for another time), a properly optimized video will include keywords, brand mentions, and links back to your site in the video's description.
  4. By having backlinks and brand mentions from wherever you host the video, and embedding the same video on your site, it will give you relevancy and an SEO boost to your brand.

Third-Party Platforms Help UX

Also, an added benefit is that external platforms have sensors that can detect a viewer's device, browser (or app), and connection speed, and will autoselect the appropriate video size and quality, thus improving the experience.

However, if you have a page with a lot of videos, embedding them will slow the page loading time, even if they're externally hosted. So it might be best to use thumbnail images, just as my client has done, and link the images to the videos.

On a desktop, Lightbox is fine. But on a mobile device, skip the Lightbox and open the video in it's own window, or have the Lightbox open the video as a fullscreen window. This way, the video is bigger, easier to see and manipulate, and prevents any accidental closures.

But one best practice is to embed just one video on that page and link the rest. Embedding is important for the reasons I expressed earlier. But also, Google only shows one video per page in the SERPs. So choose your best video and embed it on the page, and you can use linked video thumbnails for the rest.

Incorporate Additional SEO Signals

Add a video transcript to the page. Not only does it provide an additional modality for those who prefer to read, but also it creates additional content, context for the video, and keywords that may rank for more queries.

Also, add links within the transcript to other pages on your site.

Transcripts provide an opportunity to increase Internal linking and SEO signals. When linking, choose anchor texts that connect with their related pages. This will create topical relationships and pass on equity to those pages.

Speaking of transcripts, to increase your videos' visibility and help Google better understand them, add video schema markup to your page's HTML. It's a snippet of code that will contain all the important data about your videos, including the titles, descriptions, and transcripts, as well as URLs:

  • The embed URL (the externally hosted video such as YouTube);
  • The content URL (the locally hosted video file, such as an MP4);
  • The thumbnail URL (the image, whether or not you host locally).

Create a Map To Your Videos, Too

Finally, create an XML sitemap file to all your videos.

Just like a typical sitemap file that lists all the URLs of all your pages (with WordPress, most SEO plugins will create one for you automatically), create a sitemap of all your videos. This will help Google find your videos faster.

Coincidentally, last week Google has just clarified their position about videos: “Videos embedded from other sources have the same SEO value as videos natively hosted on a website,” according to Google’s John Mueller.

So if you were wondering if hosting your own videos may provide some SEO benefit, now you know it doesn't matter. I would add that the added UX benefits and SEO signals you get from hosting them elsewhere (e.g., more engagement, lower bounces, less pogosticking, etc) will more than likely help your SEO.

Categories
SEO

Visual Content Marketing Starts With SEO

When it comes to creating content about plastic surgery, writing blog posts (i.e., articles) is the easiest way. But visual content is just as important, if not more so. In addition to written content marketing, visual content marketing is a critical component to a medical aesthetic professional's online success.

Any content is important. As a plastic surgeon, you're an expert in your field, and prospective patients want to make an informed decision. When it comes to SEO, as it should be with the content itself, the fundamental goal of written content is to help the people you're targeting.

However, most plastic surgeons or their staff create visual content, such as videos, photos, and graphics. And they should. Most of them post these on visual channels (like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc.) instead of their own blogs.

So how do can you do SEO when your content is not text-based and it's published outside your blog or website?

1. Metadata is Your Friend

Every piece of non-textual content you create (or better said, capture) has metadata attached to it, such as time, date, location, equipment used, etc. Most digital recording devices nowadays automatically add metadata to your captures, whether it's a $3,000 camera or a $500 smartphone.

But many recordings today can have additional metadata added. Most of the time, it's done when the recordings are added to another medium — such as when it's uploaded to Google Photos or YouTube, for example.

Incidentally, if you turned off metadata (such as location) for privacy purposes, you should turn it back on. Some people hate being tracked, and I understand that. But this information is ideal for SEO.

For example, when uploading it to Google My Business or Facebook (Business), it adds more pseudo-content for local SEO purposes. When people type “plastic surgeon near me” into Google, your photos may appear (or your listing with a lot of geotagged photos may appear) more often as a result.

Nevertheless, you can add more metadata. On a blog, those things include alternate text (called “alt-tags”), titles (or “title tags”), captions, and even the filename itself. For instance, when adding content to a website, rather than uploading it directly, save it, rename it, and upload it with its new filename.

It's not about stuffing keywords in either the metatags or filenames. It's about including descriptive information for accessibility so that search engines know what the file is all about. So include keywords in the graphic, photo, or video, both in their filenames and tag data.

But don't force them. Just be descriptive. Be helpful, not robotic.

Like all forms of SEO, metadata comes down to helping your audience and giving them what they're looking for. You want to describe your visuals in order to help — not outsmart the search engines.

Remember, metadata is about the user and aims to make the visuals better understood by users. Yes, they're for search engines, too. But search engines aim to help users (your users) by giving them better information — and therefore, a better experience. Stuffed text will only work against you.

2. Channel-Based SEO

The second-largest search engine in the world is YouTube. Just like Google, YouTube has its own search queries, topics, keywords, rankings, velocity (i.e, based on how much traffic, engagements, and likes a video gets), and of course, audiences. So it needs its own SEO, too.

In fact, almost every content sharing platform is a search engine itself. So whether you're uploading photos, videos, clips, graphics, or stories (like Reels, LinkedIn Stories, Twitter Fleets, TikTok, or any visual asset you upload to the web), you will also need to optimize those, too.

Optimize their descriptions, tags, labels, comments, and more. So be descriptive, add keywords, insert links, use hashtags, and so on.

Every channel needs its own form of SEO, from Twitter to Google My Business. Pay attention to the content you add, from the bio of your channel's profile to each asset you upload. Include keywords and links (especially links back to the website) to double your amplification (I'll come back to this).

Create new content with SEO in mind, whether it's the title, the description, the filename, or the surrounding content (including headers, copy, links, additional keywords, etc). In fact, there are three things to keep in mind:

  1. Keywords don't have to be broad or popular with high search volumes. They can be long-tail, indirectly related, or ultra-specific keywords.
  2. Focus on the user, not the search engines. Don't stuff your content with keywords. Focus on topics and what users want, and describe it to them.
  3. Include your name and brand names (such as proprietary names of your services, products, or processes, which is my number-one SEO tip).

Incidentally, content in proximity is just as important as metadata or descriptive data. For example, when uploading content to a visual platform, remember that you have the ability to add descriptions, comments, even tags and related content — such as linking suggested videos or other related posts.

This information also helps to expand your visibility, too.

On YouTube, your videos will show up as related videos on other people's videos. On Instagram, it will be recommended as part of the “Explore” page. On Google, your Web Stories will be suggested in “Discover” (i.e., the personalized content feed on Android devices, Google pages, and Google apps).

For videos, one tool I recommend is TubeBuddy, which allows you to do keyword and tag research, on the fly, as you upload your videos. On Instagram, make sure your photos are properly described, tagged, and captioned with keywords — and don't forget the advanced settings (hidden alt text), too.

3. Bring it Back Home

Finally, remember that your goal is to get people back to your website (or at least to come forward and book an appointment with you). But for SEO purposes, it's to attract qualified patients to your practice or clinic.

While your goal is to use other platforms as a way to share and amplify content from your website in order to increase signals back to your website (and hopefully earn authoritative backlinks), you can also do the converse — i.e., amplify your third-party platform content through your website.

In other words, you can bring content back to your website. You don't need to duplicate everything. Many of these websites allow you to embed their content, which allows you to add a piece of code and incorporate content from their platform back on your website.

However, some may offer you the ability to embed carousels or galleries. That's not what I mean. Embed either one or a few select pieces on a blog post, but add surrounding, descriptive content. Offer deeper, richer content — perhaps a story behind the visuals. Above all, include links to other pages.

For example, one plastic surgeon often posts on Instagram. He uploads videos that are either before-and-after clips, patient testimonials, or videos of actual surgical procedures. He then takes a video from IG, embeds it on his website, and describes the procedure in depth with additional content around it.

He turns it into a case study to describe that specific patient's situation (e.g., what was their issue, what makes them a candidate, what results to expect, etc). He also links anchor texts back to his main service page — the one that describes the procedure (like “breast augmentation,” for example).

This process creates strategic internal links, signals to his key procedure pages, and topical clusters, which all help SEO — including the social media signals.

If you do this with videos, transcribe your videos (using a tool like Descript, Otter, or Screechpad), which will then fill your blog post (and therefore, your website) with keyword-rich and/or topic-focused content that will add SEO as well as bring more context to the visuals (and vice versa).

Ultimately, these are some ideas that will help use non-text-based content and third-party content for SEO purposes that will enhance your visibility, drive traffic, and increase traction with ideal patients.

So with visuals and third-party platforms, don't forget metadata, keywords, and links to each other for bilateral amplification and stronger SEO signals.

Categories
SEO

My Favorite SEO Experts (2021)

There are some people I follow religiously in the SEO space. These SEO experts are quite active on Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. There are too many to mention, so I'll list some now and I might add more later.

Keep in mind that some of them have email newsletters and podcasts, too. I tend to be subscribed to all of them. I recommend you visit their websites, and subscribe to their blogs, podcasts, or email newsletters, too.

First off, if you want to see who I follow in one fell swoop, here's my Twitter list of SEO experts and SEO organizations. There's about 300 in total. So let me just point out some of my favorites to follow in 2021.


Updated December 22, 2020.

Marie Haynes

I've known about Marie for a few years, and I've also known that she lives and works just minutes from me (in Ottawa, Canada). But I recently subscribed to her paid newsletter and podcast (there's a free one, too), which offers truly the most usable “search news you can use.” Aptly titled.

Lily Ray

A drummer like yours truly and a DJ, too, Lily Ray is a big proponent of EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness), which I appreciate. I've been shouting for ages that EAT is a fundamental component of SEO for medical professionals. Lily not only an expert but an SEO nerd when it comes to data.

Glenn Gabe

Glenn is another SEO nerd who knows Google updates like the back of his hand — or knows how to decipher them. His blog is always chock full of deep insights and analysis, and I learn so much from them. It's like having someone on the inside at Google within being on the inside.

Aleyda Solis

Creator of the SEOFOMO newsletter, Aleyda Solis is the creator of one of my favorite YouTube shows called “Crawling Mondays.” It's a weekly show where Aleyda and her SEO guests discuss the latest and greatest tools, strategies, and trends in the world of search marketing.

Kevin Indig

A seasoned SEO specialist who has worked with some of the biggest SaaS companies in the world (and is now the new SEO director over at Shopify), Kevin Indig has an informative newsletter that offers some great insights combining technical SEO and content-driven SEO.

Brodie Clark

An award-winning SEO expert, Brodie Clark is someone who understands aspects of SEO that many people overlook, such as user experience (UX), web stories, featured snippets, Google Discover, and more. Like many of the experts here, Brodie is a frequent contributor to several industry newsletters.

Cyrus Shepard

Cyrus Shepard doesn't publish often, but when he does the SEO world rumbles. His Google ranking factors post is probably his best work and one I often turn to when I need to stay on top of things. He's also a popular and prolific contributor and guest on SEO podcasts, newsletters, and websites.

Traffic Think Tank

One of my recent mastermind groups, Traffic Think Tank, put together by SEO heavyweights Ian Howells, Nick Eubanks, and Matthew Howells-Barby (who's also the VP of Marketing at HubSpot), is a mind-blowing repertoire of SEO articles, tutorials, videos, and networking opportunities.


Updated November 20, 2020.

Ryan Stewart

I've been a fan and follower of Ryan for years. Check out his blog, too. His content never ceases to impress, and his SEO Blueprint Training is probably the de facto training in the world of SEO. With his successful agency, Webris, his specialty is in more advanced SEO, like using BigQuery.

Barry Schwartz

Back when I mostly did copywriting, I have always stayed on top of SEO. Barry was someone I followed since then. He's a major staple in the SEO community, and his YouTube channel is a must-subscribe when it comes to SEO news — from Google updates, news, and interviews with other SEO experts.

Ruan Marinho

If there's anyone I listen to who can say it like it is, with no fluff or sugarcoating, even if it's controversial, it's Ruan. I consider him to be one of the best experts on local SEO, and his videos always seem to teach me something new — and I've been at this for a couple of decades, now, so it's saying something.

Brian Dean

Brian is my favorite YouTuber. The reason is simple: he knows how to capture my attention, make his point, and move me to action. Owner of Backlinko, which is an SEO newsletter I highly recommend, Brian provides some of the best, step-by-step SEO tutorials I've ever seen. A must-subscribe.

Nathan Gotch

Nathan is another SEO channel I enjoy. Although he doesn't post as frequently, his videos are still filled with front-to-back advice. His approach, much like what I try to do, is to tackle something as complex as SEO and distill it into clear, simple language. His SEO checklists are also amazing, too.

Kristina Azarenko

I need to shout out to my fellow Canadian experts, too. Kristina is someone I've followed for a while — both on her site, MarketingSyrup.com, and on LinkedIn. If her new YouTube channel, SEO Follow, is anything like the content she puts out on her blog or LinkedIn, then it's going to be a must-watch.

John Lincoln

John owns an agency called Ignite Visibility. Every week he does a video roundup of all the latest digital marketing news, including SEO. John is the guy I listen to when I want to keep my finger on the pulse of what's going on. I know a lot, but if there's something I may have missed, John will let me know.

Sam Oh

The YouTube face of Ahrefs, one of my favorite SEO tools that has a blog too, Sam's videos are always full of great SEO tips and tutorials. Some of them are essentially meant to help you use their tool, but even so, his videos are filled with usable information and insights about SEO.

Chase Reiner

Another Local SEO expert YouTuber, Chase has a ton of how-to videos, including several paid courses. What I like the most with Chase is that sometimes he does SEO work, live on camera, and explains what and why he does it, as he does it. His blog is also filled with great content.

Craig Campbell

This Scotsman is always full of surprises. He does provide a lot of tips for SEO, and some of them are envelope-pushing. I don't ascribe to some of what he says, but I love his no-BS style, which is refreshing and insightful. He also does a lot of presentations with SEMrush, one of my favorite SEO Tools.

Andy Crestodina

The owner and founder of another successful digital marketing agency, Orbit Media, offers a newsletter, blog, and YouTube channel with tons of ideas on all things digital marketing. His SEO videos offer best practices and insights in a way that's easy to understand and implement.

Bruce Clay

Here's another expert whom I've been a follower of for many years. Bruce Clay, often known as the grandfather of SEO, publishes some of the best, easy-to-understand content in the world of SEO. More importantly, his articles often address “what to do when” questions, which I love.

Chris Dreyer

If there's anyone who's a perfect example of power positioning by dominating a niche, it's Chris. He's an SEO expert that specializes in personal injury lawyers. His YouTube channel offers great information that any professional can apply. His Rankings Podcast (one the same channel) is one I listen to as well.

Google Search Central

Of course, there's Google Search (formerly Webmaster) Central. John Mueller, the spokesperson for SEO over at Google, offers a ton of videos on SEO. But the interesting part is that many of his videos are Q&A sessions with a lot of SEO experts, some of who I've mentioned here.

Search Engine Land

This newsletter is a must-subscribe if you're an SEO expert or someone who wants to be on top of all things SEO. If there's any news, changes, or predictions in the world of SEO, this daily newsletter will let me know. It's one of the many newsletters I never skip on.

Search Engine Journal

If there are any must-have newsletters in the SEO world, Search Engine Journal is the biggest one. And by “biggest,” I mean by the amount of content they put out. They publish a lot of how-to tutorials, tips, and strategies that I often bookmark because they're so good.

SEMrush Live

I already mentioned the Ahrefs blog and YouTube channel. Similarly, SEMrush is another that has a blog as well as a YouTube channel. But their channel is often for livestreams, such as their recent “5 Hours of Technical SEO,” that feature many of the experts I already mentioned here.

The Moz Blog

Originally created by Rand Fishkin, one of the earliest experts in the world of SEO, Moz is an SEO tool much like its competitors SEMrush and Ahrefs. But Rand used to do his “Whiteboard Fridays,” which are now done by SEO guest experts since Rand left to focus on his new startup SparkToro.

Categories
Marketing

Add Breadth And Depth To Your Marketing

Back from a short vacation. It was a beautiful week at a cottage by the lake. Most days were hovering around a warm 22° Celsius (72° Fahrenheit), but with a couple of frosty mornings that caused a dense fog to cover the entire lake.

It was absolutely gorgeous.

Before I left, I appeared as a guest on my client Ed Rush’s weekly video-based podcast. If you missed it, I’ve posted the recording and transcript.

Ed uses StreamYard, a service that allows him to livestream simultaneously on multiple platforms, and to pull in comments, questions, and guests in real-time. There’s also Restream.io, which some of my other clients use.

Ed streams his podcast on YouTube, Facebook, and Periscope. But you can also restream on LinkedIn, Twitch, Twitter, Discord, Facebook Groups, and more.

Restreaming aside, there’s a reason why you might want to consider video as part of your inbound marketing and overall marketing strategy.

First, content marketing is one of the most effective marketing practices available. If you want to increase your visibility and grow your practice, you need to produce content. You don’t have to write it from scratch if you don’t have time. You can co-create, curate, or compile content.

Content marketing has many benefits.

Its value goes beyond simply communicating your expertise, which is the number one reason most professionals do it. It also improves your SEO, generates traffic, prequalifies your audience, promotes awareness, amplifies your brand, and much more.

There's written content, of course. But there are podcasts, too. If you're an entrepreneurial professional who wishes to grow her practice with the least amount of investment, you should consider doing one.

However, visual marketing is increasingly popular. In fact, statistics show that the highest performing types of content are those with visuals.

For example, accompany posts with featured images, as they create eye gravity and increase readership of the written content. You can also post photo-stories and social graphics with text art, where the image is the content.

Also, infographics, slides, and carousels help to convey longer forms of visual content if necessary — which increases both readership and engagement.

Above all, there’s video.

Short videos are easy to produce, and you can use them to showcase a product or service, a quote, an idea, a tip, a newsworthy item, a mini-tutorial, a demo, a tour, or a question.

You can (and should) dissect your longer videos, and pull out and edit them into bite-sized clips, which you can use to promote your website, your email list, your social platforms, or the rest of the longer video from which it came.

While it can be costly to have a video professionally produced, recording yourself while doing your podcasts can add an extra form of content you can use without much effort.

Some professionals I know simply read their written content on camera. Some will offer an accompanying slide presentation. Others will pause once in a while to add commentary, offer related resources, or answer questions about it.

Bottom line, visuals engage more senses.

By engaging more senses, you increase traction.

Studies show that visuals used in your marketing efforts increase:

  • Attention and engagement;
  • Retention and recall scores;
  • Reshares and comments;
  • Credibility and reliability;
  • Connection with audiences;
  • Comprehension levels;
  • Traffic quantity and quality;
  • Brand awareness and loyalty;
  • Response and purchases;
  • And so much more.

You don't have to create professionally produced videos. Simply record yourself reading a script. Or add an opinion or analysis about something you've read, or share a recent news item that's important to your audience.

You can stream it live and record the livestream for future publication.

You can also do the converse.

You can pre-record your video, edit it, and stream the recording at a later time. Some professionals I know restream a previously recorded video, and answer comments and chat questions live as the recording streams.

If you struggle doing live presentations, then follow a prompt, use slides, share your desktop, interview a guest, or have someone interview you.

Don't worry too much about the quality of your presentation. While you want to avoid making errors, with live events your audience will be more forgiving than some professionally produced video.

After all, it's live and no different than lecturing in front of a room of people.

It humanizes your content and shows authenticity, too.

Just offer valuable content your audience will love. The quality of the content is more important than the quality of the production.

Make sure every video you produce has a call to action, preferably your website address or email list, which should appear at the bottom of your video.

You should also include your brand, such as your logo or at least your name. If you prefer to be less overt, simply add a watermark tucked away in a corner, and you can include your website address in bumper cards (i.e., the before and after video thumbnails).

Then, distribute the video recoding through every channel, social media network, and video hosting site that your audience frequents. You don’t need to be everywhere, just be where your market happens to be.

Finally, the best forms of video content are webinars.

Webinars and online classes have grown considerably, particularly in light of the COVID lockdown. Use this to your advantage. Showcase your services by sharing your expertise. Host a class, live event, or how-to presentation.

Webinars help to promote your practice and attract potential clients. There are many web conferencing platforms, Zoom being the most popular one. You can also manage attendance using a variety of online tools — such as Facebook events and Eventbrite, among others.

Promote your webinar to increase attendance. Use your promotion as an opportunity to gather questions and content ideas. The incentive to join the class might be that you will answer a select number of attendee questions live.

After the presentation, upload the recording to your blog. Include a transcript too, since some prefer to read (or to read as they watch). In fact, you should include captions and subtitles, as statistics show that over 80% of people watch videos with the volume turned off.

Then promote and amplify it as you do any article.

Just remember, Google is the largest search engine in the world.

But the second largest is YouTube.

Back in 2004, I wrote a manifesto about the death of the long-scrolling, text-only web salesletters. I predicted they would become more dynamic, personalized, and visual — including the rise of videos in marketing.

And this was before YouTube came out in 2005.

Today, videos have become an integral part of any marketing program. So include video content somewhere in your marketing repertoire.

Video may add dimension to an otherwise static piece of content. But the best part is that it allows you to create derivative content, reach more people, and multiply your results, all with the same effort.