Google+ Hangouts and How to Use Them for SEO

google-plus-hangoutAs you hear more about Google+ Hangouts from Google’s advertising campaigns you may be wondering to yourself, what exactly are Google+ Hangouts and do they have any practical SEO benefits? Here, I’ll dive into these topics and also explain some interesting testing I have done that can help you take up more real estate in Google’s search results usingĀ G+ Hangouts.

What Are Google+ Hangouts?

Google+ hangouts are a service offered by Google+ where you can conduct a group video chat with up to ten people at once. When you do one of these, Google calls it a “Hangout”. Unlike the video alternatives out there like Skype, Google+ Hangouts is free for group video chat and only requires 1mbps/ 2mbps of your bandwidth for a group video chat and 1mbps/ 1mpbs upload and download to broadcast yourself. One of the main advantages of this outside the ability to do a live video chat is the fact that you can actually broadcast this video live to YouTube and reach a wide audience. Once its finished it becomes a regular YouTube video where you can play back the video, edit the video, and more. Another benefit is that you can do screen shares to create presentations and show a live feed of what you are doing on your screen to your hangout participants.

Are There Any Downsides?

Every product on the market seems to have a downside. My biggest complaint with Google+ Hangouts is the lag. Google always pushes for the best user experience (or so they say) and yet these videos have some bad lag. I recently created a video and had much more bandwidth than was required to stream the video, but when it was complete the video skipped many of my words. This is a problem because when I’m trying to create good content it’s important that people can understand what I’m saying. This becomes more of a priority since their indexation rate appears to be much faster than a traditional YouTube Upload.

Do Hangouts Help With Website Rankings? A Simple Test

Recently I conducted a series of video tests where I streamed some videos through Google+ Hangouts and also uploaded some of them manually to test the difference. I started with the intention of seeing how link juice is passed through videos (which will be another post). I decided to use a low competition Keyword which included my name. My keyword was Casey Meraz is Awesome which had basically zero competition with 1.5 million results in the SERPS. My website was number one before I started this test and there were NO video results on the first page. I did the broadcast option on Google+ Hangouts and named the title of the video my Keyword “Casey Meraz is Awesome”. After the video was complete I wrote a quick description and conducted a search for my keyword setting the location to “United States” to prevent localized result influence. Within one minute I was indexed and on the first page in the #9 position for my keyword. Twenty four hours later my video was in the number one position with no link building. It’s important to note that this particular keyword had no exact matches, mainly because people must not think I’m awesome.

A simple test for Google Plus Hangouts

The YouTube Effect

Once I was ranked for this keyword I went to YouTube to see where my ranking stood on their search engine. I was number one of course since there was no competition. A quick further analysis showed that the video rich snippets and videos that showed in Google’s SERPS are also ranked #1 in YouTube. Therefore I wanted to try another test with a keyword that had a tad more competition and already had a video rich snippet on the first page of Google.

Note: I noticed that YouTube Videos that were not Google+ Hangout’s that I uploaded took significantly longer to be indexed and show up in the SERPs.

My Rankings in YouTube

The Second Test

The next test I chose the keyword ‘2013 top seo tips’ which also referred to an article that is still a work in progress for me. This particular keyword had my website ranking in the #3 position and a video that someone else made in the #8 position with 176,000,000 results. This was the one I wanted to overtake. I created another Google+ Hangout video and named it Top SEO Tips for 2013. Immediately after finishing the video I conducted my keyword search and found that the other video was still in the #8 position and I did not overcome it. Next I went over to YouTube and searched for my keyword and found that I was ranked in the #2 position and the #1 position was the video that was ranked on the first page of Google. Using some YouTube optimization techniques I optimized my video further and within an hour I was the number one video in YouTube for my keyword 2013 top seo tips. After this, I rechecked Google’s SERP’s and did not see any changes. 24 hours later I checked again and like clockwork my video had replaced the video that was previously on the first page with no link building.

My video achieved a number 8 ranking

Takeaways and an Actual Strategy

Videos have always been powerful and are starting to gain even more traction. I mean, who is actually going to read this post? I may as well make a video! Joking aside, now that we know that we can get our videos ranked this easily we should all work on taking up another spot on the SERPS for our keywords. Since I’m a big fan of practicality, here is a quick strategy you can implement. First off, please don’t spam the web. If your videos suck (like mine thanks to Google Hangout’s lag), then re-record them.

  1. Do keyword research to see what you want to rank for. Find the low hanging fruit otherwise you will have to do a lot more work.
  2. Start a Google Hangout with that keyword as the title name and do the Broadcast option so it streams to YouTube
  3. Save it and do some searches. If it’s indexed on the first page you know that Google will show the video results for it (you should know in minutes)
  4. If not, move on to anther one
  5. If it did work you now know what videos you want to re-create!
  6. Create a high quality video for that same keyword that provides the best user experience
  7. Delete your old video
  8. Bam! You have a strategy that will help maximize your efforts with little time

I hope you found this post useful! If so please support me by donating a tweet, +1, Inbound Up Vote, or whatever you feel inclined to do. I also welcome your feedback and questions.