Video has come a long way from the grainy, halting and slow clips that used to be common on websites more than 5 years ago. Increased access to broadband internet, better video encoding technology and the proliferation of extremely capable multimedia friendly mobile devices like smart phones and tablets are all factors that have enormously contributed to making online video much bigger than it’s ever been. Best of all, this trend is only growing upwards.
As of the end of 2012, video use has become more popular than ever and in just the last quarter of this closing year, according to the Neilson Company, online video consumption and use grew by 52%! This number represents just a single fraction of the latest year but as an indicator of obvious trends it’s deeply significant. Image source: Flickr
For a very large percentage of internet users, film represents the best, most absorbing and most entertaining way to inform themselves, so it’s no wonder then that with the above-mentioned technological advancements it’s getting to be so popular.
However, the whole issue of incorporating video into your own website so that you can take maximal advantage of the trend curve isn’t just as simple as slapping film clips into place. There are a few things to keep in mind and we need to go over those now.
A Few other Important Trends
The growth of video isn’t just about the technology that made it easier to stream or host high quality film. Other important factors are also at work and they need to be kept in mind at all times if you’re going to be a growth conscious webmaster.
For one thing, video is very share friendly through the massive social media networks that now make up a major percentage of web use. Since lots of people prefer to view small video clips for maximum impact and entertainment factor, sharing them across the 1 billion strong user base of Facebook and among the hundreds of millions more users that exist on other social networks like Twitter is really becoming popular, more-so for many people, especially the young, than sharing written content. Thus, if you’ve got a site that’s been turned into a full optimized video machine, you’re also making yourself more share friendly; especially if your video content is surrounded by the right social media buttons. Image credit: 123rf – social network structure
Secondly, the growth of the mobile web is going on so fast that several hundred million people worldwide already access most of their online content through their smart phones or tablets instead of stationary PCs and laptops. Thanks to the mobile nature of these media and their smaller screens, they’re very video friendly and the effect is becoming noticeable on the mobile device web. This means that if you want to boost your appeal to the constantly growing list of several hundred to a billion mobile web using viewers, video gives you a certain edge over some of your text based competitors.
How to Implement Video Effectively
Like we mentioned above, taking advantage of video on your site pages isn’t as simple as just slapping it up there and waiting for results. Instead, you need to do some tweaking beforehand.
Generally, there are two way to include a video on your pages: videos can be stored directly on your page as downloadable files or for direct viewing through some sort of media player. The other and much more common way to present videos involves embedding a code snippet that links to where they’re stored on a third party web platform like YouTube.
While directly hosting videos gives you complete control over their length, content and all sorts of other factors, you also need to worry about decreased SEO friendliness and much higher bandwidth costs from your webhost if your videos become popular. Embedding, on the other hand, is much simpler more search engine friendly and won’t cost you the carrying costs of directly holding your film clips on your own servers.
However you implement videos into your website, make sure you optimize them as effectively as possible. Search index bots can’t directly analyze video elements and depend on their text descriptions to index these film clips. This means that you need to give each and every video on your pages a nice optimized description that tells both the search engines and your viewers what a given film is about in simply keyword peppered descriptions.
If you’re using a hosting service like YouTube to actually store your clips, remember that they will also appear at that address in the Google Search results as well as YouTube’s own internal search results. Thus, make sure that you’ve taken full advantage of the description and tagging features right there on YouTube’s page to give your video an added SEO edge. Also, in case people find your YouTube embedded videos directly, be sure to link them to your actual website, either via embedded links in the video or inside the text descriptions below it.
Finally, don’t forget about aesthetics and viewer appeal. Don’t ever host videos that auto-play as soon as your website loads; this will just cause annoyed visitors who didn’t want sound forced on them to leave the page instead of hunting for the pause button.
Additionally, post your videos so that they form a neatly and fluidly integrated part of your website flow. They and their content should follow naturally from other content (such as text) that leads up to whatever your film content is trying to demonstrate.
How Can Well Implemented Video Benefit your Website?
Assuming you’ve taken care of the above considerations and started using video strategically on your web pages, these efforts should give you a decent bunch of tangible benefits:
For one thing, they make your content more social media friendly, mobile device friendly and much more convenient for social media sharing among your your base of visitors and fans.
More generally, however, integrating video into your website will make all of the following much more robust or at least likely:
- More dynamic, effective communication with visitors, making them identify with you more than they would if you were presenting written ideas
- Better interface for teaching and instructing your visitors on how to use your products,
Services or how to understand something you’re talking about.
- Clearer presentation of ideas that is more appealing to more people
- A more interesting browsing experience, leading to repeat customer visits in the future.