Have you checked your dealership website’s organic SEO rankings lately? Google recently released updates to its search algorithms, which affected the organic rankings of many websites. In the auto industry, organic ranking visibility is a top priority as 90% of Google clicks come from organic, unpaid search results.
What changed? While Google keeps the exact nature of its algorithms a secret, we know that Google rewards websites that adhere to its recommended guidelines. These guidelines focus on putting the user experience first and offering fresh, original content. At the same time, Google continues to punish websites that rely on black hat SEO tactics and quick fixes.
Page loading times are also a factor. Users are more likely to abandon websites with slow load times, and this is even more true for mobile users. If the average load time is more than two to three seconds, chances are your SEO rankings have taken a hit.
Where does video factor into all this? The good news is that Google loves video content, so if your website has a lot of video content, your SEO rankings have likely improved. The bad news is that depending on host, having a lot of video content could be slowing down page load times.
To improve your website’s organic SEO rankings using video content, without impacting page load speeds, follow these recommendations.
Use Video Content to Improve SEO Rankings
According to a Search Engine Land survey of 500 site owners, 58% saw a negative impact from the recent Google algorithm updates. Since the updates, these site owners reported that improving the quality of their content has made the most difference in improving their rankings.
It’s also important to let Google know where your videos are located. Make sure that your website provider has created a video sitemap for your website. A video sitemap is an XML file that tells Google where videos can be found and what the video content is about. Make sure your sitemap is hosted on your own domain; e.g. yourwebsite.com/videositemap.xml.
Increase Page Load Speeds with External Video Hosting
The recent Google algorithm updates indicate that page load times have a significant impact on organic SEO rankings, primarily because of how it impacts the user experience.
• 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
• 40% of consumers will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load
Depending on where your videos are hosted, they could be slowing down your website. Let’s review the three video hosting options and how they impact page load speed:
1. Self-Hosted. If you host your own videos, that means your website provider is embedding code for every video onto your site.
As more codes are added to your pages, search engines and ISPs have to scrape and load those snippets of code. This takes time, so the more videos you have embedded into your website, the slower your load time. The less code your website pages have, the faster they will load. For this reason, it’s best to use an external hosting platform for your video content.
2. YouTube. Some dealers like to host their videos on YouTube. However, in addition to the impact on page load speed that embedded YouTube players can have, there are several other reasons why the version of your videos that are on your website should not be hosted on YouTube.
First, you must come to terms with the fact that Google does not give a video preference just because it is hosted by YouTube. Google is going to apply the same ranking factors to all videos, no matter who the host is. The website and/or video host that provides the highest-ranking factors will contribute the most to your site’s overall score.
Next is leakage. YouTube uses their video player to pull traffic off of your website. Every YouTube player contains at least one strategy to pull a video viewer away from your site and onto YouTube, where the viewer is now exposed to a large number of other video content, much of which could be your competitors’. What’s even worse is that YouTube will often display that video content at the end of your video. Could you imagine having your competitors’ videos on your website? Watch your YouTube videos to the end, they just might already be there.
If your videos have music in them they could be subject to being opened up to the entire YouTube Ad Network as many companies thrive by filing copyright claims on any YouTube video with music. It doesn’t matter if you own the music or have a license to use it legally. They file a claim and your video is opened up until you dispute the claim. Oh yeah, YouTube is also the number two most commonly blocked domain in the workplace.
3. Third-Party Video Platform. Hosting videos on an external platform that’s optimized for speed is the best solution if you want to improve page load times. This option does not require any codes to be embedded on your website, and thus doesn’t affect page loading times. Additionally, a reputable video hosting provider will know how to optimize video content and compress video files, which also helps to improve organic SEO rankings.
Look for an external video hosting platform that integrates with your CRM, so that you can leverage predictive analytics to deliver the right video to the right viewer at the right time. You’ll also get reporting and data analytics, so you can better assess which video content is working, and why.
If your dealership’s organic SEO rankings have taken a hit due to Google’s recent search algorithm updates, consider using video content to help recover your rankings. Just be sure your video content is optimized and hosted on an external video hosting platform, so your website page load speeds won’t be affected.
Click here to view more solutions from Tim James and FlickFusion.