There are lots of reasons why businesses are consistently increasing their video marketing budgets every year.  Video is an engaging medium that has a higher retention rate than text (65% v.s. 10%) and a substantially higher viewer sharing rate (video is shared 12x more than text).  In addition to these advantages, video is also a powerful vehicle for search engine optimization (SEO).  Here are some key factors that explain how and why video can boost your SEO:

1. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine behind Google.

In March of 2013, YouTube’s number of unique users per month passed 1 billion, and that figure has been growing since.  That’s more users than Bing, Yahoo and AOL combined. Additionally, since Google owns YouTube, many of its algorithms favor YouTube content above others.  This means that your YouTube content already has an SEO advantage over other content.  (For a more detailed example on algorithms, see this article at Moz)

2. Search results with a video thumbnail get almost double the amount of traffic as text results.

It is not surprising that the result of this study shows that video content is generally more attractive to a user than regular text.  If you were searching for instructions on how to build a birdhouse, would you prefer a text-based instruction or a step by step video?  People prefer videos because they provide more sensory information, sights and sounds, which potentially gives you a better understanding of the subject you are looking for.

3. Visitors have a longer “dwell time” on sites with video.

In 2012 Google added a criteria called “dwell time” to its search algorithm which factors in the amount of time users spend looking at content.  Google assumes that the more time users spend on a resulting page, the more likely it is that the page is relevant to the query.  According to a study at Comscore in 2013, visitors spend two minutes longer on sites with videos than sites with text.  Therefore, sites with videos have an SEO advantage because it influences people to stay.

4. People share videos more than text.

Have you ever heard of a PDF going viral?  Me neither.  These days, it is much harder for someone to be engaged with a page of text than with a video.  And to Google, sharing is one of the most important factors when measuring content value and applying its search ranking.  Here is an interesting study by blogger, Gemma Holloway, which shows video increased her social shares by 200%-300%.

5. Online videos contain more information than text.

When you publish a video on YouTube or other video sites, you are sending a lot more information onto the web than just a video file.  If you are doing it correctly, you are adding keywords, a description with links and more keywords, captions with links, a thumbnail picture file with keywords in its title, closed caption text, a tagged location, and more.  Plus, you have user-engaging elements such as “likes”, shares and subscription buttons that add to the potential SEO value of your video. These are all powerful ingredients that search engines use to value your content and aren’t available on a plain text page.