Tag Archive | "Snippet"

Google’s new snippet settings give webmasters control over their search listings display

Google adds max-snippet, max-video-preview, max-image-preview and more to the nosnippet snippet controls



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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How to Target Featured Snippet Opportunities — Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Once you’ve identified where the opportunity to nab a featured snippet lies, how do you go about targeting it? Part One of our “Featured Snippet Opportunities” series focused on how to discover places where you may be able to win a snippet, but today we’re focusing on how to actually make changes that’ll help you do that. 

Joining us at MozCon next week? This video is a great lead up to Britney’s talk: Featured Snippets: Essentials to Know & How to Target.

Give a warm, Mozzy welcome to Britney as she shares pro tips and examples of how we’ve been able to snag our own snippets using her methodology.

Target featured snippet opportunities

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Today, we are going over targeting featured snippets, Part 2 of our featured snippets series. Super excited to dive into this.

What’s a featured snippet?

For those of you that need a little brush-up, what’s a featured snippet? Let’s say you do a search for something like, “Are pigs smarter than dogs?” You’re going to see an answer box that says, “Pigs outperform three-year old human children on cognitive tests and are smarter than any domestic animal. Animal experts consider them more trainable than cats or dogs.” How cool is that? But you’ll likely see these answer boxes for all sorts of things. So something to sort of keep an eye on. How do you become a part of that featured snippet box? How do you target those opportunities?

Last time, we talked about finding keywords that you rank on page one for that also have a featured snippet. There are a couple ways to do that. We talk about it in the first video. Something I do want to mention, in doing some of that the last couple weeks, is that Ahrefs can help you discover your featured snippet opportunities. I had no idea that was possible. Really cool, go check them out. If you don’t have Ahrefs and maybe you have Moz or SEMrush, don’t worry, you can do the same sort of thing with a Vlookup.

So I know this looks a little crazy for those of you that aren’t familiar. Super easy. It basically allows you to combine two sets of data to show you where some of those opportunities are. So happy to link to some of those resources down below or make a follow-up video on how to do just that.

1. Identify

All right. So step one is identifying these opportunities. You want to find the keywords that you’re on page one for that also have this answer box. You want to weigh the competitive search volume against qualified traffic. Initially, you might want to just go after search volume. I highly suggest you sort of reconsider and evaluate where might the qualified traffic come from and start to go after those.

2. Understand

From there, you really just want to understand the intent, more so even beyond this table that I have suggested for you. To be totally honest, I’m doing all of this with you. It’s been a struggle, and it’s been fun, but sometimes this isn’t very helpful. Sometimes it is. But a lot of times I’m not even looking at some of this stuff when I’m comparing the current featured snippet page and the page that we currently rank on page one for. I’ll tell you what I mean in a second.

3. Target

So we have an example of how I’ve been able to already steal one. Hopefully, it helps you. How do you target your keywords that have the featured snippet?

  • Simplifying and cleaning up your pages does wonders. Google wants to provide a very simple, cohesive, quick answer for searchers and for voice searches. So definitely try to mold the content in a way that’s easy to consume.
  • Summaries do well. Whether they’re at the top of the page or at the bottom, they tend to do very, very well.
  • Competitive markup, if you see a current featured snippet that is marked up in a particular way, you can do so to be a little bit more competitive.
  • Provide unique info
  • Dig deeper, go that extra mile, provide something else. Provide that value.

How To Target Featured Snippet Examples

What are some examples? So these are just some examples that I personally have been running into and I’ve been working on cleaning up.

  • Roman numerals. I am trying to target a list result, and the page we currently rank on number one for has Roman numerals. Maybe it’s a big deal, maybe it’s not. I just changed them to numbers to see what’s going to happen. I’ll keep you posted.
  • Fix broken links. But I’m also just going through our page and cleaning it. We have a lot of older content. I’m fixing broken links. I have the Check My Links tool. It’s a Chrome add-on plugin that I just click and it tells me what’s a 404 or what I might need to update.
  • Fixing spelling errors or any grammatical errors that may have slipped through editors’ eyes. I use Grammarly. I have the free version. It works really well, super easy. I’ve even found some super old posts that have the double or triple spacing after a period. It drives me crazy, but cleaning some of that stuff up.
  • Deleting extra markup. You might see some additional breaks, not necessarily like that ampersand. But you know what I mean in WordPress where it’s that weird little thing for that break in the space, you can clean those out. Some extra, empty header markup, feel free to delete those. You’re just cleaning and simplifying and improving your page.

One interesting thing that I’ve come across recently was for the keyword “MozRank.” Our page is beautifully written, perfectly optimized. It has all the things in place to be that featured snippet, but it’s not. That is when I fell back and I started to rely on some of this data. I saw that the current featured snippet page has all these links.

So I started to look into what are some easy backlinks I might be able to grab for that page. I came across Quora that had a question about MozRank, and I noticed that — this is a side tip — you can suggest edits to Quora now, which is amazing. So I suggested a link to our Moz page, and within the notes I said, “Hello, so and so. I found this great resource on MozRank. It completely confirms your wonderful answer. Thank you so much, Britney.”

I don’t know if that’s going to work. I know it’s a nofollow. I hope it can send some qualified traffic. I’ll keep you posted on that. But kind of a fun tip to be aware of.

How we nabbed the “find backlinks” featured snippet

All right. How did I nab the featured snippet “find backlinks”? This surprised me, because I hardly changed much at all, and we were able to steal that featured snippet quite easily. We were currently in the fourth position, and this was the old post that was in the fourth position. These are the updates I made that are now in the featured snippet.

Clean up the title

So we go from the title “How to Find Your Competitor’s Backlinks Next Level” to “How to Find Backlinks.” I’m just simplifying, cleaning it up.

Clean up the H2s

The first H2, “How to Check the Backlinks of a Site.” Clean it up, “How to Find Backlinks?” That’s it. I don’t change step one. These are all in H3s. I leave them in the H3s. I’m just tweaking text a little bit here and there.

Simplify and clarify your explanations/remove redundancies

I changed “Enter your competitor’s domain URL” — it felt a little duplicate — to “Enter your competitor’s URL.” Let’s see. “Export results into CSV,” what kind of results? I changed that to “export backlink data into CSV.” “Compile CSV results from all competitors,” what kind of results? “Compile backlink CSV results from all competitors.”

So you can look through this. All I’m doing is simplifying and adding backlinks to clarify some of it, and we were able to nab that.

So hopefully that example helps. I’m going to continue to sort of drudge through a bunch of these with you. I look forward to any of your comments, any of your efforts down below in the comments. Definitely looking forward to Part 3 and to chatting with you all soon.

Thank you so much for joining me on this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I look forward to seeing you all soon. See you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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Exploring Google’s New Carousel Featured Snippet

Posted by TheMozTeam

Google let it be known earlier this year that snippets were a-changin’. And true to their word, we’ve seen them make two major updates to the feature — all in an attempt to answer more of your questions.

We first took you on a deep dive of double featured snippets, and now we’re taking you for a ride on the carousel snippet. We’ll explore how it behaves in the wild and which of its snippets you can win.

For your safety, please remain seated and keep your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside the vehicle at all times!

What a carousel snippet is an how it works

This particular snippet holds the answers to many different questions and, as the name suggests, employs carousel-like behaviour in order to surface them all.

When you click one of the “IQ-bubbles” that run along the bottom of the snippet, JavaScript takes over and replaces the initial “parent” snippet with one that answers a brand new query. This query is a combination of your original search term and the text of the IQ-bubble.

So, if you searched [savings account rates] and clicked the “capital one” IQ-bubble, you’d be looking at a snippet for “savings account rates capital one.” That said, 72.06 percent of the time, natural language processing will step in here and produce something more sensible, like “capital one savings account rates.”

On the new snippet, the IQ-bubbles sit at the top, making room for the “Search for” link at the bottom. The link is the bubble snippet’s query and, when clicked, becomes the search query of a whole new SERP — a bit of fun borrowed from the “People also ask” box.

You can blame the ludicrous “IQ-bubble” name on Google — it’s the class tag they gave on HTML SERP. We have heard them referred to as “refinement” bubbles or “related search” bubbles, but we don’t like either because we’ve seen them do both refine and relate. IQ-bubble it is.

There are now 6 times the number of snippets on a SERP

Back in April, we sifted through every SERP in STAT to see just how large the initial carousel rollout was. Turns out, it made a decent-sized first impression.

Appearing only in America, we discovered 40,977 desktop and mobile SERPs with carousel snippets, which makes up a hair over 9 percent of the US-en market. When we peeked again at the beginning of August, carousel snippets had grown by half but still had yet to reach non-US markets.

Since one IQ-bubble equals one snippet, we deemed it essential to count every single bubble we saw. All told, there were a dizzying 224,508 IQ-bubbles on our SERPs. This means that 41,000 keywords managed to produce over 220,000 extra featured snippets. We’ll give you a minute to pick your jaw up off the floor.

The lowest and most common number of bubbles we saw on a carousel snippet was three, and the highest was 10. The average number of bubbles per carousel snippet was 5.48 — an IQ of five if you round to the nearest whole bubble (they’re not that smart).

Depending on whether you’re a glass-half-full or a glass-half-empty kind of person, this either makes for a lot of opportunity or a lot of competition, right at the top of the SERP.

Most bubble-snippet URLs are nowhere else on the SERP

When we’ve looked at “normal” snippets in the past, we’ve always been able to find the organic results that they’ve been sourced from. This wasn’t the case with carousel snippets — we could only find 10.76 percent of IQ-bubble URLs on the 100-result SERP. This left 89.24 percent unaccounted for, which is a metric heck-tonne of new results to contend with.

Concerned about the potential competitor implications of this, we decided to take a gander at ownership at the domain level.

Turns out things weren’t so bad. 63.05 percent of bubble snippets had come from sites that were already competing on the SERP — Google was just serving more varied content from them. It does mean, though, that there was a brand new competitor jumping onto the SERP 36.95 percent of the time. Which isn’t great.

Just remember: these new pages or competitors aren’t there to answer the original search query. Sometimes you’ll be able to expand your content in order to tackle those new topics and snag a bubble snippet, and sometimes they’ll be beyond your reach.

So, when IQ-bubble snippets do bother to source from the same SERP, what ranks do they prefer? Here we saw another big departure from what we’re used to.

Normally, 97.88 percent of snippets source from the first page, and 29.90 percent typically pull from rank three alone. With bubble snippets, only 36.58 percent of their URLs came from the top 10 ranks. And while the most popular rank position that bubble snippets pulled from was on the first page (also rank three), just under five percent of them did this.

We could apply the always helpful “just rank higher” rule here, but there appears to be plenty of exceptions to it. A top 10 spot just isn’t as essential to landing a bubble snippet as it is for a regular snippet.

We think this is due to relevancy: Because bubble snippet queries only relate to the original search term — they’re not attempting to answer it directly — it makes sense that their organic URLs wouldn’t rank particularly high on the SERP.

Multi-answer ownership is possible

Next we asked ourselves, can you own more than one answer on a carousel snippet? And the answer was a resounding: you most definitely can.

First we discovered that you can own both the parent snippet and a bubble snippet. We saw this occur on 16.71 percent of our carousel snippets.

Then we found that owning multiple bubbles is also a thing that can happen. Just over half (57.37 percent) of our carousel snippets had two or more IQ-bubbles that sourced from the same domain. And as many as 2.62 percent had a domain that owned every bubble present — and most of those were 10-bubble snippets!

Folks, it’s even possible for a single URL to own more than one IQ-bubble snippet, and it’s less rare than we’d have thought — 4.74 percent of bubble snippets in a carousel share a URL with a neighboring bubble.

This begs the same obvious question that finding two snippets on the SERP did: Is your content ready to pull multi-snippet duty?

“Search for” links don’t tend to surface the same snippet on the new SERP

Since bubble snippets are technically providing answers to questions different from the original search term, we looked into what shows up when the bubble query is the keyword being searched.

Specifically, we wanted to see if, when we click the “Search for” link in a bubble snippet, the subsequent SERP 1) had a featured snippet and 2) had a featured snippet that matched the bubble snippet from whence it came.

To do this, we re-tracked our 40,977 SERPs and then tracked their 224,508 bubble “Search for” terms to ensure everything was happening at the same time.

The answers to our two pressing questions were thus:

  1. Strange, but true, even though the bubble query was snippet-worthy on the first, related SERP, it wasn’t always snippet-worthy on its own SERP. 18.72 percent of “Search for” links didn’t produce a featured snippet on the new SERP.
  2. Stranger still, 78.11 percent of the time, the bubble snippet and its snippet on the subsequent SERP weren’t a match — Google surfaced two different answers for the same question. In fact, the bubble URL only showed up in the top 20 results on the new SERP 31.68 percent of the time.

If we’re being honest, we’re not exactly sure what to make of all this. If you own the bubble snippet but not the snippet on the subsequent SERP, you’re clearly on Google’s radar for that keyword — but does that mean you’re next in line for full snippet status?

And if the roles are reversed, you own the snippet for the keyword outright but not when it’s in a bubble, is your snippet in jeopardy? Let us know what you think!

Paragraph and list formatting reign supreme (still!)

Last, and somewhat least, we took a look at the shape all these snippets were turning up in.

When it comes to the parent snippet, Heavens to Betsy if we weren’t surprised. For the first time ever, we saw an almost even split between paragraph and list formatting. Bubble snippets, on the other hand, went on to match the trend we’re used to seeing in regular ol’ snippets:

We also discovered that bubble snippets aren’t beholden to one type of formatting even in their carousel. 32.21 percent of our carousel snippets did return bubbles with one format, but 59.71 percent had two and 8.09 percent had all three. This tells us that it’s best to pick the most natural format for your content.

Get cracking with carousel snippet tracking

If you can’t wait to get your mittens on carousel snippets, we track them in STAT, so you’ll know every keyword they appear for and have every URL housed within.

If you’d like to learn more about SERP feature tracking and strategizing, say hello and request a demo!


This article was originally published on the STAT blog on September 13, 2018.

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How to Target Featured Snippet Opportunities – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Once you’ve identified where the opportunity to nab a featured snippet lies, how do you go about targeting it? Part One of our “Featured Snippet Opportunities” series focused on how to discover places where you may be able to win a snippet, but today we’re focusing on how to actually make changes that’ll help you do that. Give a warm, Mozzy welcome to Britney as she shares pro tips and examples of how we’ve been able to snag our own snippets using her methodology.

Target featured snippet opportunities

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!


Video Transcription

Today, we are going over targeting featured snippets, Part 2 of our featured snippets series. Super excited to dive into this.

What’s a featured snippet?

For those of you that need a little brush-up, what’s a featured snippet? Let’s say you do a search for something like, “Are pigs smarter than dogs?” You’re going to see an answer box that says, “Pigs outperform three-year old human children on cognitive tests and are smarter than any domestic animal. Animal experts consider them more trainable than cats or dogs.” How cool is that? But you’ll likely see these answer boxes for all sorts of things. So something to sort of keep an eye on. How do you become a part of that featured snippet box? How do you target those opportunities?

Last time, we talked about finding keywords that you rank on page one for that also have a featured snippet. There are a couple ways to do that. We talk about it in the first video. Something I do want to mention, in doing some of that the last couple weeks, is that Ahrefs actually has some of the capabilities to do that all for you. I had no idea that was possible. Really cool, go check them out. If you don’t have Ahrefs and maybe you have Moz or SEMrush, don’t worry, you can do the same sort of thing with a Vlookup.

So I know this looks a little crazy for those of you that aren’t familiar. Super easy. It basically allows you to combine two sets of data to show you where some of those opportunities are. So happy to link to some of those resources down below or make a follow-up video on how to do just that.

I. Identify

All right. So step one is identifying these opportunities. You want to find the keywords that you’re on page one for that also have this answer box. You want to weigh the competitive search volume against qualified traffic. Initially, you might want to just go after search volume. I highly suggest you sort of reconsider and evaluate where might the qualified traffic come from and start to go after those.

II. Understand

From there, you really just want to understand the intent, more so even beyond this table that I have suggested for you. To be totally honest, I’m doing all of this with you. It’s been a struggle, and it’s been fun, but sometimes this isn’t very helpful. Sometimes it is. But a lot of times I’m not even looking at some of this stuff when I’m comparing the current featured snippet page and the page that we currently rank on page one for. I’ll tell you what I mean in a second.

III. Target

So we have an example of how I’ve been able to already steal one. Hopefully it helps you. How do you target your keywords that have the featured snippet?

  • Simplifying and cleaning up your pages does wonders. Google wants to provide a very simple, cohesive, quick answer for searchers and for voice searches. So definitely try to mold the content in a way that’s easy to consume.
  • Summaries do well. Whether they’re at the top of the page or at the bottom, they tend to do very, very well.
  • Competitive markup, if you see a current featured snippet that is marked up in a particular way, you can do so to be a little bit more competitive.
  • Provide unique info
  • Dig deeper, go that extra mile, provide something else. Provide that value.

Examples

What are some examples? So these are just some examples that I personally have been running into and I’ve been working on cleaning up.

  • Roman numerals. I am trying to target a list result, and the page we currently rank on number one for has Roman numerals. Maybe it’s a big deal, maybe it’s not. I just changed them to numbers to see what’s going to happen. I’ll keep you posted.
  • Fix broken links. But I’m also just going through our page and cleaning it. We have a lot of older content. I’m fixing broken links. I have the Check My Links tool. It’s a Chrome add-on plugin that I just click and it tells me what’s a 404 or what I might need to update.
  • Fixing spelling errors or any grammatical errors that may have slipped through editors’ eyes. I use Grammarly. I have the free version. It works really well, super easy. I’ve even found some super old posts that have the double or triple spacing after a period. It drives me crazy, but cleaning some of that stuff up.
  • Deleting extra markup. You might see some additional breaks, not necessarily like that ampersand. But you know what I mean in WordPress where it’s that weird little thing for that break in the space, you can clean those out. Some extra, empty header markup, feel free to delete those. You’re just cleaning and simplifying and improving your page.

One interesting thing that I’ve come across recently was for the keyword “MozRank.” Our page is beautifully written, perfectly optimized. It has all the things in place to be that featured snippet, but it’s not. That is when I fell back and I started to rely on some of this data. I saw that the current featured snippet page has all these links.

So I started to look into what are some easy backlinks I might be able to grab for that page. I came across Quora that had a question about MozRank, and I noticed that — this is a side tip — you can suggest edits to Quora now, which is amazing. So I suggested a link to our Moz page, and within the notes I said, “Hello, so and so. I found this great resource on MozRank. It completely confirms your wonderful answer. Thank you so much, Britney.”

I don’t know if that’s going to work. I know it’s a nofollow. I hope it can send some qualified traffic. I’ll keep you posted on that. But kind of a fun tip to be aware of.

How we nabbed the “find backlinks” featured snippet

All right. How did I nab the featured snippet “find backlinks”? This surprised me, because I hardly changed much at all, and we were able to steal that featured snippet quite easily. We were currently in the fourth position, and this was the old post that was in the fourth position. These are the updates I made that are now in the featured snippet.

Clean up the title

So we go from the title “How to Find Your Competitor’s Backlinks Next Level” to “How to Find Backlinks.” I’m just simplifying, cleaning it up.

Clean up the H2s

The first H2, “How to Check the Backlinks of a Site.” Clean it up, “How to Find Backlinks?” That’s it. I don’t change step one. These are all in H3s. I leave them in the H3s. I’m just tweaking text a little bit here and there.

Simplify and clarify your explanations/remove redundancies

I changed “Enter your competitor’s domain URL” — it felt a little duplicate — to “Enter your competitor’s URL.” Let’s see. “Export results into CSV,” what kind of results? I changed that to “export backlink data into CSV.” “Compile CSV results from all competitors,” what kind of results? “Compile backlink CSV results from all competitors.”

So you can look through this. All I’m doing is simplifying and adding backlinks to clarify some of it, and we were able to nab that.

So hopefully that example helps. I’m going to continue to sort of drudge through a bunch of these with you. I look forward to any of your comments, any of your efforts down below in the comments. Definitely looking forward to Part 3 and to chatting with you all soon.

Thank you so much for joining me on this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I look forward to seeing you all soon. See you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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SearchCap: ASCI rankings, featured snippet quiz & consumer behavior

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: ASCI rankings, featured snippet quiz & consumer behavior appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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Google Featured Snippet Results Image Spam

Go to Google and search for [school holidays] and at the top you will see a featured snippet, which now includes both the textual answer and an image. If you see what I do…


Search Engine Roundtable

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Google Drops The Knowledge Graph Snippet Overlay

It looks like the feature where you can see a miniature knowledge graph overall for individual snippets is gone from Google…


Search Engine Roundtable

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Video SEO in a Post-Rich Snippet World

Posted by PhilNottingham

This post can be considered a sequel to
this post from 2012.

Back in July, Google rolled out a bunch of changes in the way they treat rich snippets in the search results (check out
this fantastic post from AJ Kohn for the details).

One of these shifts was to dramatically scale back the prevalence of video snippets in universal search results, restricting them exclusively to domains where video is the core offering of the site.

A list of domains receiving rich snippets as of August 2014,
courtesy of Casey Henry.

For me, this sparked three questions. Why has Google done this? Will it stay like this? Does this affect my video marketing strategy?

Why did Google do this? Some theories…

  1. Making YouTube the source of the overwhelming majority of video results in Google search will send more traffic to YouTube, get more companies to put all their videos on YouTube and thereby sell more and more ads. (I’d like to believe this isn’t a primary motivator, but frankly it’s absurd that this query receives a video result.)
  2. Video snippets were far too easy to spam, and you could get video results for almost any page just by implementing the correct mark-up. This was having a negative impact on user experience and therefore it made sense to strip the videos back to just pages and domains where video was clearly the core offering. (This is almost certainly part of the reason). You could even get video snippets without having a video on the page.
  3. Video results were rendering awkwardly on mobile devices, and with mobile search becoming more and more important, it made sense to strip them back
  4. Google is keen to get people using the tabbed search features more, and removing a lot of videos from universal search forces users to be more explicit when they want a video (note that any domains can still rank in the videos tab with full rich snippets).

Will it stay like this?

We don’t know, but we should behave as if this is the new paradigm for video SEO. My expectation is that video snippets should come back in for more and more domains over time, as Google get better at working out when video is the explicit focus of a page and domain; but even as this expands, the majority of sites doing video will not be able to secure video snippets for their own domain (this mirrors trends in
other types of snippets too).

Does this affect my video marketing strategy?


Yes it does.

Rich snippets have always been a huge part of video SEO. Whitelisting all YouTube videos while removing snippets from most other sites has a profound impact. Practically speaking, it means that hosting through YouTube is now the only way the majority of businesses will get a video snippet ranking in universal search, albeit always pointing to the youtube.com instance of a video, rather than their own site.

This means that YouTube’s importance and value as a marketing channel, particularly where SEO is concerned, has expanded considerably. Google’s favouritism towards their own platform, alongside the continued focus on domain diversity within SERPs means YouTube can now be considered a scalable and easy way to get content ranking for some competitive terms, securing an eye-catching snippet in the process.
In terms of owning Google SERP real estate, YouTube has just become one of the most powerful tools in any SEOs arsenal.

For any popular search topic where you’re trying to cement your brand as a key player, you should be using YouTube as part of your marketing mix. Additionally, for competitive queries, you should be considering YouTube as a way to optimise secondary pages which can take up additional spots alongside pages from your own website, thereby expanding your own presence in the search results and lessening the exposure your competitors get.

A word of warning though: This tactic should be carefully tested on a site-by-site basis before rolling out at scale, as sometimes having a YouTube video ranking as well as a page on your own site can cannibalise your organic traffic. YouTube usually won’t refer a huge amount of traffic to your site (rarely more than 1% of views), so the approach can prove counter-productive on occasion.

As of now, If you have an SEO strategy that doesn’t include YouTube, you’re doing it wrong.

- Phil Nottingham, July 2014
(Tweet this quote)

However, while YouTube’s importance and value has increased, the nature of the platform hasn’t fundamentally changed. In order to get a video ranking highly in Google and YouTube search, you need to generate engagement. Shares, subscriptions and engaged views are still the metrics which will ultimately result in better rankings and to do this organically, you need to create content which appeals to audiences who find your content via YouTube search, YouTube recommended links and Google search; rather than just the audience who watch videos via embeds on your site.

This means you have to create content with the “YouTube context” in mind (i.e. ensuring the videos you make are relevant and valuable for audiences when viewed in isolation), and not assuming that because a video gets good engagement when embedded on a page on your site, this will necessarily translate to engagement on YouTube. It’s not true that all of your videos should live on YouTube by default. For content where retaining engagement on-site is more important than just getting more eyeballs (i.e. when you’re trying to build a community, build links, generate email sign-ups etc.) securely hosting your videos and driving traffic exclusively to the canonical version on your site is usually still the best option.

So, what sort of content should you be creating for YouTube? I have put together a “non-whiteboard Monday” to explain…

[Editor's note: "Non-whiteboard Monday" isn't actually a new series... at least not yet. Phil is just remarkably (and often hilariously) creative. =) ]

FAQs

I’m confused… where should I host my videos?

These changes to Google’s algorithm shouldn’t fundamentally change your decisions about hosting, and the core reasons for using YouTube vs securely hosting remain. If you want as many people to see your video as possible, you should be using YouTube. If you want to retain control of the traffic on your own site, you should be self hosting, or using a third-party platform like Wistia (I explicitly mention Wistia throughout this section as it’s the best platform on the market right now, but there are other good options).

For most businesses, you should be doing some mixture of the two, with content created specifically to take advantage of the benefits of each platform.

Core advantages of different hosting options:


YouTube

Secure Third-Party Solution (e.g. Wistia)
  • Better visibility in organic search
  • Visible across the YouTube platform
  • Integration with Google+, Facebook and Twitter by default.
  • Better analytics, tracking and integration with marketing software e.g. Hubspot, Marketo.
  • More customisable video players and CTAs
  • Ensure links and social shares point back to your site to drive traffic and improve overall site SEO.

Ostensibly, you need to start with what type of content you’re creating and what you’re trying to achieve with it.

I think there are broadly three different marketing goal buckets which you might create video to support: Brand awareness, consideration and advocacy and conversion.

Under this framework, your video hosting plan should be as follows:

Conversion (towards the end of the funnel)

Here, I am talking about video to support a context towards the latter part of the purchasing funnel. While, in some sense, all content is designed to improve conversion, I explicitly mean “a video designed to improve the conversion rates on a specific page”. Examples might be videos for product pages, a home-page explainer video or a video encouraging subscriptions to a mailing list.

Inherently, video created to support a specific page will only really make full sense when watched while on that page—meaning the content should be secured to retain control of the user experience. Additionally, for this kind of content, gaining a clear picture of how users are behaving after watching the video becomes incredibly valuable—which is why a secure, paid platform such as Wistia is the right way to go.

Brand Awareness (at the start of the funnel)

Much like with conversion video, this one is relatively clear cut. If you’re goal is exposure and getting your name out there, you want to host with the platform that will maximise visibility across search and social, which is YouTube.

Video to improve brand awareness typically takes the form of creative stories—videos designed to be sharable and to promote a core message that reinforces positive association.

Consideration and Advocacy (the middle of the funnel)

Here I refer to videos created to move your target audience from initial awareness of your business to point of considering becoming a customer or brand advocate. Videos for consideration might take the form of tutorials, how-to’s or bits of thought leadership—often informational content designed to acquire links, shares and stimulate conversation. Some more promotional pieces also fit into this model, such as trailers.

For this kind of video, the choice is much more complex. Often the style of video will work well for an audience on YouTube, but it can be much more valuable for you if users engage with the content on your site rather than on YouTube.com. Fundamentally here, you need to make a choice regarding what’s more important to your business — If it’s more critical to retarget users and bring them into an owned ecosystem (your website), using Wistia (or similar) will be a better option for you. Similarly, if your domain isn’t as strong as it could be, securing content and ensuring all views on your site will mean you can retain the equity from links and shares. However, if you have a strong site but lack core awareness of your brand—then you may decide hosting exclusively with YouTube and embedding the YouTube versions of your video is a better bet—so that you’re fully optimising for your presence on YouTube. In many senses, it’s the same kind of choice as guest authoring an article on a popular blog vs publishing the article on your own site. Each option has its benefits, and the nuances of the content and your target audience will determine the most sensible approach.

You can also choose to embed content using Wistia (or similar), but then put the content on YouTube as well. While such an approach may have some strategic value (e.g. allow integration with Google plus, while allowing you to ensure the version on your site gets most of the shares), it does have some drawbacks… Fundamentally, it’ll mean that you’re poorly optimised for YouTube. In order to maximise the benefit YouTube will give you as a platform for seeding content, you want to ensure you get as many views, shares and embed as possible of the YouTube version of your video; which won’t happen if you choose to embed securely and then add the video to YouTube after the fact. Additionally, if you have a reasonably weak or young domain, you can find instances where YouTube.com will end up out-ranking your site and the YouTube version of your video becoming the de facto canonical—acquiring the majority of links, shares and traffic from search.

As previously mentioned, to make strategic decision about video hosting, you ultimately have to start with the goal. If you’ve created video without really knowing what you want to achieve with it, then your best bet is to experiment liberally to work out whether your audience find the content valuable and determine in what context it’s of most use to them.

Nevertheless, if you have an existing library of content and can’t work out where to host it, the following flow diagram may be of use to you.
Note: this is designed to be relevant for businesses doing video marketing to promote a product or service. If you are a publisher or content creator looking to monetize your content, you should likely use Brightcove to host all on-site video, while syndicating some relevant content to YouTube.)

Can I not just use YouTube across the board and mark my videos as unlisted when I don’t want them to appear in organic search?

You can, but then you’re missing out on the better analytics and marketing tools you can get from a secure third-party platform.

Should I use Vimeo to host any of my videos?

No. Vimeo is a great platform and community for creatives, but holds little value for businesses. Vimeo Plus and Pro can be considered cheap secure hosting solutions, but the toolset and analytics features are subpar. Wistia’s free plan is both better… and free.

Should I allow advertising on my YouTube channel?

No. If you’re a business trying to sell a product or service (and not just monetize your content), doing this just means that your customers will be distracted by ads from other organisations – and it also means your competitors can advertise on your videos if they wish.
Side note: if your competitors are allowing advertising on their own YouTube channels, don’t waste that opportunity….

My competitor is ranking above me with a YouTube video, what should I do?

Make a better one. If you’re dealing with a search query that only returns one YouTube video, the likelihood is, you can either get a second one ranking or switch out the existing result for a video which is more authoritative and better targeted. Source some user feedback on your competitor’s video to determine how it could be improved, build a better version and then get as many quality views, shares and embeds as you can.

I hope you found this post useful! Please hit me up in the comments with any questions and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.

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