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Predictive Search and Video

predictive search

I was interviewed last week for this Search Engine Watch piece by Mike O’Brien focusing on videos and how they might affect predictive search. O’Brien’s article got me thinking about the topic and I wanted to expand on thoughts about how videos do and do not help with search and predictive search in particular.

How Do Videos Help SEO?

First off, videos help SEO (write about optimizing videos for search!) by adding media to your page, which Google likes. Content that contains images and video are seen as being more user friendly and of higher-quality.

Video can also increase site engagement time, which is another SEO plus. As Brian Dean notes, “Google pays very close attention to ‘dwell time’: how long people spend on your page when coming from a Google search. This is also sometimes referred to as ‘long clicks vs short clicks’. If people spend a lot of time on your site, that may be used as a quality signal.”

Also, don’t forget that YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world. If you are hosting your videos there and then embedding them on your site (which you should be doing), so having videos on YouTube goes a long way toward discoverability in search.

Why Would Videos Win in Predictive Search?

predictive search
The nature of video can help it succeed with predictive search.

Predictive search, which are those search suggestions that pop up when you are typing a search request into Google, are based on previous things people have searched for in Google.

As web browsing by voice has become more common, like you might do with Siri, the nature of web searches has begun to change. Due to natural patterns of speech, Google now gets many more searches starting with “what is” or “how do I”. These are queries more related to immediate problem solving.

That is right up video’s alley, as videos are typically built around problem solving by their nature.

Think about when you watch a video online. it is usually for entertainment or for how tos.

You probably wouldn’t watch (or create) a video called “best Chicago auto repair shops”. That would definitely be a typed search – you want to see locations, reviews, etc. You would, however, be more likely to watch a video called “How Do I Change My Car’s Oil?”

Looking in the search results below, you can see that a video lands on the page one results for “How do I change my car’s oil?”

video SERP results

Therefore, the very nature of videos position them perfectly to succeed as we move toward more voice-based searches, positioning video to be a big winner in predictive search in the future.

Winning in Search With Videos

YouTube has a domain authority of 100, so it’s pretty sure that most “how to” Google queries will have at least one video in the page one SERP.

That doesn’t mean, however, that your video will be the lucky winner. If your video covers an oversaturated topic, it will still be hard to rank or get noticed.

Videos that have a unique topic or point of view will have the best chance of getting into page one of a Google search (because only one or two videos are going to make it onto page one). additionally, videos with a unique topic have a much better chance of getting shared and viewed more often, which will help search discoverability as well.

So, videos do help SEO when they are on your site, and videos on YouTube can win in Google searches, especially as voice search becomes more and more prevalent.

You can apply some of these principles to your non-video content as well. Think about crafting more content that answers “how do I” questions so that you have the potential to win in ever-evolving predictive search.

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