When I started my first business over a decade ago, my main concern was elementary: how to rank on Google? It was an all-consuming obsession. Getting my (incredibly crap) first website to rank. Why? Because I was just starting, I had zero money for marketing or ads, I’d built that website myself (hence it being crap), and I needed clients to start finding and paying me pronto, or I wasn’t going to be able to eat that month.

Melodramatic? Sure. Also entirely truthful. Most businesses start on the proverbial breadline, aided by nothing but the notorious shoestring. Even if a new business owner has startup capital, they must conserve it. Every investment needs to go as far as it possibly can, return as much as it possibly can.

I was fortunate enough to get it all figured out, get my site ranking, get those clients, and build a successful business. I got so good, I pivoted from my original business model (proofreading, editing, and book services) to doing it for other people’s businesses through content creation and SEO.

Yet still, the number one burning question for myself and all my clients remains: how to rank on Google?

Why Care About Ranking?

The Google gods have changed their minds about how best to rank a site innumerable times since I started learning the fine art of SEO. They’re fickle like that. But now, more than ever, your business must have an organic presence that pushes it high up the SERPs. 

PPC just isn’t delivering the results it used to. Facebook is almost entirely dead as a marketing platform for all but a few particular business models. SEO is the long-term, highly effective marketing strategy. 

You’re driving traffic organically rather than paying for every visitor. 

Assets created for SEO purposes – blog posts, sales pages, website content, lead magnets – become more valuable over time. Any other form of marketing the opposite is usually true – the value diminishes over time, and in many cases, ceases entirely once you stop actively paying for it.

Your success with SEO will compound and snowball over time (assuming you maintain your strategy). The longer you work at it, the higher you’ll climb in the SERPs, the more keywords you’ll rank for, the more traffic your website will enjoy. 

Ranking on Google is the path to lasting business growth and success.

But that pesky question lingers: how, exactly, are you supposed to get your website ranking on Google?

The truth is that a lot goes into an effective SEO strategy. There is, however, one thing that (arguably more than anything else) will get you there…

How To Rank On Google: The #1 Key To Lasting Business Success

The #1 Key To Ranking On Google Is Video Content

You’re mistaken if you think the #1 key to ranking on SERPs is keywords. In some ways, you’d be correct. Keywords are vital – they tell search engines what your content is about, allowing them to show it to those looking for that information. But while keywords are a vital element of ensuring your content appears somewhere on the SERPs, they’re not the be-all and end-all of ranking highly.

That’s a whole other kettle of the swimming things.

Google and the other search engine gods rank content based on many factors, most of which relate to content quality and user experience (UX). A massive part of both quality and user-friendly content is presenting information in the most easily digestible format possible while giving people options where the format is concerned.

Here’s a simple fact: if you have a written piece of content on your website and a competitor has a piece of content on the same topic with a video included, they will outrank you.

Even if your copy is better than theirs, if they have a video and you don’t, they will usually outrank you.

They have a video.

They’re presenting options. 

Not only that, they’re offering the format that – for years now – has completely outshone any other form of content. Video content is the most popular way of consuming information online by a landslide.

If there’s the option of reading a 2.5K blog or watching a video with the same information, most people will opt for the video. Why? It’s more convenient, the brain more easily assimilates the information in video form, and you can choose between using your eyes, your ears, or both.

Why is that important? Well, some people really don’t like to read. Others can only fit in the absorption of your content if it’s coupled with another task; they listen while doing the dishes or laundry or that mind-numbing task at work. And, of course, not everyone has the option to read – video content makes your brand more accessible and inclusive for blind and sight-impaired individuals.

That doesn’t mean you don’t still need the written content. You do. Those 2.5K words are how Google knows what you’re talking about and trusts you’re an expert on it. But add a video on top, and you’re giving yourself the best possible chance ranking highly.

That is (currently) the key to ranking your content. 

How To Rank On Google: The #1 Key To Lasting Business Success

To Upload Or Embed

There are two ways of adding video content to your website: directly embedding it in the site or uploading it to another platform like YouTube and then embedding it.

Generally speaking, the latter is the better option. This is largely because uploading the video natively will slow your site down considerably if the video isn’t extremely small (in terms of file size). This alone can damage your SEO ranking. Even if that weren’t the case, having embedded videos can cause other, non-speed-related problems that will tank your ranking.

There are times when it’s not possible to stream the video, and you have to embed it. There are other times when you’re using such a small file size that you can get away with it if needed. The only reason to do it is if your website design calls for it, and the design and useability of the page will be improved by uploading it natively rather than embedding it.

This is the opposite of what happens on social media platforms, so just be aware of it. On social media, you’re always better off uploading your video content natively to every platform you use, rather than sharing a link to another platform. That’s because social media platforms are in competition with each other, and they don’t like sending people off-site, particularly not if it means sending them to a rival social platform.

For example, Facebook will penalise links to YouTube content but prioritise natively uploaded videos. Exactly the same video, but one will get seen and in sharing, boost your overall reach and engagement, while the other will put you in Facebook’s bad books.

This isn’t the case when dealing with video on you website. Google doesn’t particularly care where your video is hosted as long as it’s relevant. They will prioritise any content that provides the best possible answer to search queries for their users. That’s all Google cares about. It’s all the other search engine care about.

Add to this the fact that, if you are uploading video elsewhere and embedding it, the go-to platform is YouTube

How Embedding YouTube Videos Boosts Your Ranking

So, how exactly does adding video to your content give you an SEO boost? Aside from ensuring you have multiple forms of media answering the same search queries, you’re also tapping into the power and credibility of one of the biggest search engines going: YouTube.

By uploading your video content to YouTube, optiising it on the platform for the same keywords as your own content, embedding it into your website, and including a link to the page it’s on in the description of the video on YouTube, you create a positive reinforcement loop.

Google likes the fact you’re offering a written and video version of your content. It loves the fact your content is crosslinked with content on YouTube. It delights in the fact both the written and video content are optimised for the same keyword(s). 

How To Rank On Google: The #1 Key To Lasting Business Success

How To Include Video Content On Your Website

Okay, so video is the name of the game. How exactly are you meant to include it effectively throughout your website? One thing i’ve learned from working what is now hundreds of clients on their websites, is that you say the word ‘video’, and most of them panic.

They don’t want the expense. They don’t want to appear on camera. They don’t have the tech required. They don’t understand the tech required. They don’t really see the point. They don’t have the time. 

Here’s the thing, you can work around any and all of these objections. Low-budget options are available. You don’t have to appear on camera there are many other options. If you have a Smartphone you have the tech needed. The point, I’m fairly sure, I’ve already made: video will give you the best results and the best ROI. 

And that’s not just true of SEO; it holds for social media and most other forms of marketing also.

But let’s get specific, here’s how to include vids:

Explainer Videos

These can be talking head videos (where you appear on camera and explain), animated videos, PowerPoint presentations turned into videos, or images animated into a video. You can use stop-motion clay figures if you want, it really doesn’t matter. Whatever format you use (I’ve used all of the above and lego before now) the point is to convey the value, purpose, and function of your product or service.

Intro Videos

Introduce yourself, your team, walkaround your office or warehouse, or introduce a new product or service. These are usually done as ‘talking head’ videos (where a persona appears on camera), however, they can be very effectively done in any format if you’re not comfortable with that. You may also not have an appropriate person to act as the ‘face’ of things. 

How To Rank On Google: The #1 Key To Lasting Business Success

Behind The Scenes Videos

There’s no avoiding making these ones real-world footage, the whole point is to give a glimpse of real life. There’s an adage I adhere to, and I have no idea who originally said it, but kudos to them because it really is true: record everything; you never know what people will find interesting.

Bear in mind some of the most popular videos on TikTik take the form of:

  • Videos of pimples being popped
  • Videos of ingrown toenails being cut
  • Videos of warts being removed
  • Videos of pulling botfly larvae from various forms of small animals

Whetever you do in your business on a day-to-day basis, film it. If your content discusses an element of work you have behind the scenes footage on, add it in. You can also do it the opposite way around and use the footage you end up with as inspiration for what to write about. They’re easily turned into blog posts, extra sections on sales pages, or FAQs.

Video Banners And Animated Elements

When it comes to website design, the inclusion of video is hugely important. It can also be quite tricky, as adding video can inadvertently affect your site’s performance and ranking. Bit of a conundrum that, isn’t it? You need video to rank highly but adding video can – if you’re not careful about it – harm your ability to rank.

One way of adding videos to your website safely is to embed intro and explainer videos hosted off-site. But if you don’t have these available, working video banners and animated elements into your design is a great way of doing it.


I’ve saved the best for last because this is honestly the most powerful way of working video marketing into your SEO strategy. Create video versions of your blogs in the form of vlogs. Narrate your blogs to the camera. Choose an animated avatar and sync your voice to it, so you don’t need to appear on camera if that’s uncomfortable. 

When I say this is the number one way of ranking on Google I’m not exaggerating. When I started the vlog for this website, I tripled my income in a matter of months. Time and again I have seen results hugely augmented by the addition of video.

How To Rank On Google

Whatever you’re currently achieving with your SEO strategy, adding video to it will greatly increase your results, push you further up the SERPs, and massively boost your ROI. The best advice you can follow if your goal is ranking your site as highly as possible is to follow a consistent content strategy that includes a new blog post, every week, optimised for a high-intent search term (something searched by people at the point of taking your desired action), with a video embedded in the post (but hosted off-site, ideally on YouTube).