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This post from Mark Lerner, Senior Director of Content Marketing at EXPO

What are the best SEO strategies? Honestly, in my experience, I have yet to get a straight answer to this question.

It seems that, over the last few years, Google (and other search engines) have made it increasingly harder for website owners, SEO specialists, and content writers to “beat the system.” Google, in particular, makes it a point to constantly update their algorithm; often causing SEO experts to scramble to figure out a new strategy.

In years past, “Black Hat” strategies were heavily employed. However, search engines have caught on, and this practice is now extremely frowned upon, even though it is still widely utilized. Nowadays, most people agree that the best strategy to optimize for search is CONTENT. Creating quality content, on a regular basis, that is focused on relevant topics and include strong keywords (though, they should not be overused in a manner that devalues the content) will maximize the opportunities for your content to be crawled by search engines.

Link building, keyword stuffing, invisible links, doorway passages – these are all black hat strategies that, unfortunately, are still used. However, search engines are constantly updating their crawling methods to counter these practices. In fact, black hat can have a significant negative impact on your search placement.

So how do you get ahead in the search game? Well, new opportunities continue to popup, but one that isn’t employed by many (and definitely should be) is UGC video.

How could UGC video possibly benefit my SEO strategy?

I am glad you asked.

In essence, there are 5 powerful statistics that should convince you that UGC video is of extreme importance when it comes to SEO.

  1. YouTube is the second largest search engine
  2. 33% of shoppers start on Amazon
  3. 54% higher lifetime value
  4. Video is 53x more likely to appear on the first page
  5. Video causes a 30% boost in sales

Let’s look at the numbers in more detail…

YouTube is now the second largest search engine (comScore)

3 billion searches per month; that’s billion with a B – that’s how popular YouTube is for search. What’s the reason for YouTube’s mind-boggling success in the search game, especially since they leave other, more “traditional” search engines like Yahoo and Bing, in the dust? In 2014, the breakdown of explicit core searches looked like this (from comScore):

  1. Google – 12.5 Billion
  2. YouTube – 4 Billion
  3. Bing – 3.5 Billion
  4. Yahoo – 1.5 Billion

Yes, you read that right – YouTube had more than double the amount of searches than Yahoo.

In terms of UGC video, optimizing for search can include capitalizing on a recent event; something that will be widely searched. For example, Mother’s Day is fast approaching, Amanda Nicole, a fantastic YouTube influencer, created an awesome UGC video about creating DIY Mother’s Day gifts. Within the video, Amanda showcased a variety of products. Given the popularity of Mother’s Day, Amanda’s video made its way on the first page on YouTube search for powerful related phrases such as “Mother’s Day gifts.”

[youtube_video] ACnxm424lKs [/youtube_video]

One of the greatest benefits of videos like Amanda’s is the ability to drive viewers to purchase products discussed within the video. In Amanda’s case, you can see that she included links to product pages within the video description. Given the amount of views this video got, this is sure to increase sales.

33% of shoppers begin their research on Amazon (Fuze SEO)

Increasingly, Amazon is becoming the destination of choice for shoppers to find the products they are looking for. What was once dominated by Google, Amazon is now the first destination for 33% of shoppers.

To highlight it’s growth, there was a 73% increase in the people who started their search on Amazon… in a single year!

Given Amazon’s meteoric growth, this number is sure to increase.

Amazon’s search algorithm isn’t as well-studied and understood as search engines like Google. But, what we do know, is that keywords, ratings, popularity, and sales numbers all play a part. In terms of keywords associated with your products, leveraging UGC video through Amazon Video Shorts is quickly becoming a highly effective strategy for Amazon Search Optimization, and, in turn, has a significant impact on sales.

Let’s go back to the example of Amanda Nicole’s Mother’s Day gift video. This video not only had a positive impact on YouTube search, but it was ranked high on Amazon for relevant keywords as well.

The benefit of this how-to Amazon Video Short is that the products showcased within it are listed in the “related items section” making it simple for viewers to easily purchase. Amazon Video Shorts are becoming more and more popular and we see the leveraging of them UGC growing significantly in the near future – so keep an eye out!

Video is 53 times more likely to appear on page one (Forrester)

Research shows that roughly 71% of results on page one of a search get clicked on at least once, whereas the next two pages only get a mere 5.6%. Clearly, getting your content on page one of a search is highly beneficial to the bottom line, which is why having video, especially UGC video, is so important.

This statistic is important because research suggests that a website with embedded video is 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of a search.

So, why UGC video?

Because, nowadays, trust is the number one factor that influences consumers in their purchasing decision. And UGC instills more trust than any other form of content.

In fact, consumers trust UGC 50% more than traditional media.

So the trust factor of UGC, coupled with the SEO power video has, makes investing in UGC video an obvious choice.

One of the conclusions that could be made when looking at the SEO power of video is that a brand needs to include UGC video on their own domain, not only retail sites.

Customer lifetime value is 54% higher from search (Search Engine Watch)

A one-time customer is great, but a customer that keeps coming back is infinitely better. Increasing the lifetime value of a customer is, in the long run, the most effective way to increase overall sales of your products. Proving SEO’s value, customers that find your product via search have a 54% higher lifetime value than those that do not.

Video on product pages causes 30% lift in sales (Reckitt Benckiser)

Let’s take a few of the previously mentioned statistics, along with statistics we highlighted in previous posts, namely that a video placed on a product page will cause a 30% incremental lift in sales.

When all the statistics I highlighted in this post are looked at together, a very clear picture emerges – UGC video is the key to maximizing the benefits of video for SEO. Why? Because we are all concerned about one thing – sales.

So remember:

  1. Video appears on page one
  2. Shoppers who find you on search buy more
  3. Consumers trust UGC more
  4. 30% lift in sales from video placed on product pages

All adds up to the fact that UGC video cannot be ignored as a necessary part of your overall SEO strategy.

Mark Lerner is the Senior Director of Content Marketing at EXPO. You can find him on Twitter at @LernerMark or connect on LinkedIn Check out other informative posts from EXPO here.

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