I’d like to start this post with a question. (Starting now) If you were to search Google on the topic “How to bake cookies” what result would you click on first?

1. Would you click on the Ad at the top of the page?

Google AdWords is setup to show you advertisements for websites that best feel they can provide you with the right answer to “How to bake cookies”. However, some search users are skeptical regarding advertisements in Google. In this case, the Title of the Ad is exactly “How to Bake Cookies” but in the description we see the following “Bake Up a Delicious Betty Crocker® Cookie Recipe in Minutes!”. Now unless you were specifically searching for Betty Crocker cookie recipes, you will move onto the organic search results and save this Ad from a cost per click.

2. Would you click on the 1st Organic Result of the page?

In this instance, you would click on the result “How to Bake Cookies: 11 Steps (with video) – wikiHow”. Now certainly this result will provide you with the answers you need on how to bake cookies. The result also adds in brackets – with video – adding to the allure of this result so those searching for videos can click on this link as well. But if you didn’t click on this link, maybe you tried another.

3. Would you click on the link that best matched your search?

In this occurrence, what you are searching for may not be the most ideal Title tag to find in the search results. What I mean is if you are searching for “How to bake cookies” are you looking for an answer to have a title tag saying “How to bake cookies” in it? Probably not. You will probably be inclined to click on any results that provide recipes for the most common cookies one can bake, or a definitive response such as “Easy Steps to Bake Cookies for the First Time”.  These results provide an answer to your question. But is this the best option for you and more importantly, is this the link you are going to click on? This brings me to the fourth option and the most likely option in our list.

4. Would you click on a video result?

Reverting back to the screenshot of our results, you can see in the 4th and 5th rank on the page there are two results with thumbnails of the video you can watch which will instruct you on how to bake cookies. These results direct straight to YouTube where you (and most people) will click to watch an instructional video on how to bake your favorite cookies.  Now I’m not saying everyone will click on the video links, but the addition of the video thumbnail next to these results will more than likely result in more clicks than the results ranking at the top of the page.

More specifically, when it comes to the relevance of the search, video results may not be the best option for you to click on, but the addition of the video thumbnails provides users with a more interactive results page and if they are closely related to the search term, the video links will be clicked more often than others.

So for SEO companies who are open to new opportunities, video offers the following benefits:

  1. A chance to increase the volume of traffic driven for specific key-phrases using an engaging thumbnail to increase Click-Through-Rates.
  2. The potential for increased impressions for particular search queries where video is considered relevant and is therefore blended into universal results above other non-video pages.
  3. Increased conversion rates using video on landing pages.

As search engine results pages continue to change and with recent changes to Google with the Panda Update, it is never certain how people will react to the first page of results of their search query. But I strongly believe in most cases where a video thumbnail is available amongst the first five results of the page, this link will have the highest Click-Through-Rate among all other search results on the page. Or maybe that just works for cookies. Either way I’m on my way to learn how to bake cookies, Butterscotch style!