Can Video Drive More Search Traffic to Your Site?

April 18, 2019

Topic tags

Phil Nottingham

Marketing


This is a question we hear a lot from customers and prospects alike here at Wistia. The short answer? Yes, having videos on your website absolutely can drive more traffic from search.

However, the impact will differ for every business, depending on your size and niche. In this post, we cover how you can discover the impact video is having on your SEO, the ways in which videos can drive more search traffic, and what we’ve learned from running tests on our own website.

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Benchmarking your video SEO

The new Google Search Console is the best source of truth for data on how much traffic videos are bringing to your website from search. This tool helps you measure your site’s search performance, fix crawling issues, and upload sitemaps.

Once you’ve got it set up with your site, click into the Performance menu, and then segment the search type by Web, Image, and Video.

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This view allows you to see how much traffic you’re getting from video search and which queries are driving the most traffic to your videos, and then compare performance over time.

You can also see which pages are bringing in video search traffic, and compare those numbers over different periods of time as well.

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This report is great if you want to get a quick look at which videos are acquiring the most traffic, and the relative difference between impressions and clicks will give you a good indication of whether your title and video thumbnail are appealing to searchers. However, it doesn’t tell the full story of the positive impact video is having on your search performance.

Having a video on the page not only helps you get traffic from video-specific search, but it can also increase your relevancy for certain queries, and therefore increase rankings and visibility in universal search, too.

“Having a video on the page not only helps you get traffic from video-specific search, but it can also increase your relevancy for certain queries, and therefore increase rankings and visibility in universal search, too.”

For example, consider the video results for the query: “How do you record your screen”

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Here we see the top ranking result in video search is from Digitaltrends.com.

If we look at the universal search results under the “All” tab, we see that the same page is ranking 2nd, after an answer box and a “people also ask” box, but this time, as a straight webpage result, rather than a link with a video snippet.

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It’s a reasonable assumption here that for queries like this, having a video indexed on this page positively impacts the organic rankings for the universal query, even though the video snippet is not displayed — as the surrounding results are all from stronger domains.

The proof is in the pudding

Last year, we migrated our blog content over to new a platform and CMS. During this process, we accidentally launched with a bug that prevented Google from crawling our embedded video content, meaning that most of our videos dropped out of the index — let’s call it an “unplanned experiment."

This was a significant mistake for a company so reliant on using video in our marketing, for sure, but luckily, we were able to move quickly to rectify the error. This fix then gave us an indication of how much traffic our videos were directly accounting for, by comparing the weeks directly before and after the videos were reindexed.

Video Search Traffic

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Overall Search Traffic

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Having our videos indexed accounted for 1,387 direct clicks from video search, but an overall increase of 6,100 clicks from all search.

So, for our website in September of last year, having our videos indexed increased organic search traffic by 10.6%. Obviously, your mileage may vary. Wistia.com is mid-sized SaaS website with a lot of videos and a lot of queries which relate explicitly to video.

“So, for our website in September of last year, having our videos indexed increased organic search traffic by 10.6%.”

Nevertheless, it’s highly likely that you’ll also see a positive impact on traffic by including indexable video content throughout your website. And, thankfully, the new Google Search Console gives you the means by which to test this for yourself.

Comparing Wistia videos to YouTube videos

While video can clearly help drive more traffic to your website — this begs the question, are all videos created equal? Do Wistia videos drive more traffic to than YouTube videos?

The answer? Usually, yes. This is because embedded Wistia videos are indexed for pages on your website, whereas embedded YouTube videos are indexed for youtube.com. But (as with everything in search), this is not a universal truth, and some sites will see different results.

The best thing to do is test it for yourself, and luckily there’s a simple way to do that:

  1. Sign up for a free Wistia Account
  2. Swap out a few YouTube embeds for Wistia Embeds
  3. Patiently wait a few weeks for the traffic to accrue
  4. Use the Video Search Report under “Performance” in Google Search Console to compare the pages in question before and after changing the embeds
  5. Check traffic to the same pages via the Web Search Report, too.
  6. Determine the percentage change in traffic for video and universal search
  7. If there is a marked difference, this is a clear indicator that moving your website videos to Wistia will result in an increase in organic traffic.
Pro-Tip
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between Wistia Channels, our newest feature, and YouTube Channels, check out this post!

We’ve worked hard to ensure that our embed codes automatically optimize the videos on your site for search engines, as they’re designed exclusively to serve companies using video on their websites. YouTube, on the other hand, is a social media platform designed to serve content creators looking to monetize their videos or promote large-scale advertising campaigns.

Using video to drive more search traffic

Video can be a really valuable tool for driving more traffic to your website, and often small changes to your embeds, such as including structured data, can make a big difference.

Understanding the true impact of video SEO for your business will require some testing, but thankfully the new Google Search Console makes this process fairly straight forward.

Have you seen success with video in your business thus far? Has using video in blog posts or on landing pages improved your organic search performance? Share your questions, successes, and more with us in the comments!

April 18, 2019

Topic tags

Phil Nottingham

Marketing

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