Product Video SEO is Key to E-Commerce Success & Zappos Dominates

Product Video SEO is Key to E-Commerce Success & Zappos Dominates

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Sunday Sky, an e-commerce video solutions provider recently released a report called “The State Of Video In E-Commerce – Q1 2011”, which attempts to summarize and provide an update for the latest trends in online retailers’ use of video. The company found that e-retailers are adopting video in huge numbers, with Zappos serving as a featured “case study” for the report.

You can view our review of previous versions of the SundaySky report here:

Mass-Scaled E-Commerce Product Video Adoption

The number of retailers who use mass-scaled product videos is on the rise, to the tune of 50%. But while there is more adoption of mass-scaled videos, there are still 68% of online retailers not taking part in the benefits.

Which online retailers have the most video presence? See for yourself below, but don’t be surprised if you’re not surprised by the leading names:

But those are just the top brands… the ones with the most video. It doesn’t give us a good picture of the overall e-commerce adoption rate.

Zappos = Product Videos Galore:

As noted above, this does not include Zappos.  Being that I’m (Mark Robertson) a consultant working with Zappos on video SEO, we have a bit more insight into numbers for Zappos.  If this chart were to include Zappos, Zappos would rank #3 with more than 60K product videos produced (though they’re not automated videos and are custom produced in-house).  They produced almost 60K product videos in house last year alone and plan to increase that to more than 100K videos this year.

So how many videos does the average online retailer have on site?

That graph should surprise you a little bit. That means 32% of all online retailers have 1,000 or more videos on their site. That’s astounding. I wouldn’t have guessed it was anywhere near that high yet. Obviously, I would have been wrong.

E-Commerce Video Search Indexing & Video Search Presence

But forget the total video count. What good does video do you if it’s not getting indexed? So then, let’s adjust the graph for indexing and see who comes out on top:

So you can see how dramatically the ranks change when filtered by indexed videos. And we should stick to generalities, but I think we can say this chart represents the online retailers who are doing better with video SEO (whether on accident or on purpose).

In other indexing news, Bing has jumped over Google in terms of the number of sites with 10+ videos that are being indexed, which is quite a surprise for us given the difficulty and lack of transparency as to how to get videos into Bing.  Perhaps they’ve enhanced their crawler to detect videos without publisher input. Check it out:

E-Commerce YouTube Presence & Performance

Sunday Sky also looked at the online retailers with the most action on YouTube–specifically the number of overall videos posted and the total number of views. take a look at how well Nike’s 1096 videos do on the view count meter compared to HSN’s 79,034 videos–clearly HSN is all about quantity, which isn’t as much of an insult as it might sound like.

Retailers across the board are increasing their overall video count totals on YouTube, with 48% of them posting 100 videos or more in the first quarter of 2011:

E-Commerce Retailers and Product Video SEO

Sunday Sky took 34,000 of the “top keywords” (taken from’s top searches) and found that 18% of them returned a video result. I think you and I both know that number is going to go up dramatically moving forward.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of videos found in the search results were YouTube videos. I know… shocking.

Here’s a very, very interesting statement that is not particularly highlighted in the report but clearly aligns with their service offering of mass-scaled product videos.

“The online retailers whose videos ranked high in search result pages have all mass-scaled their website inventory to thousands of product videos.”

The implication, obviously, is that if you don’t mass-scale video on your e-commerce site, you’ll never catch the big boys in the race to the top of the Google results for multiple keyword phrases.  While this may be the case, there are other factors that should be considered and may not have been but overall, we would agree.  Clearly product videos indexed within search would lead searchers back to the product pages in particular which, from a conversion standpoint, and clearly that’s the most important goal for retailers, this strategy would be the most effective.

Zappos Case Study = Zappos Dominates Video SEO

The report finishes off with a case study of Zappos, an e-retailer who, amongst other products, sells shoes online. Zappos should be familiar to you if you run in SEO circles, because they’re one of the earliest public case studies for how SEO can improve your ranking and drive sales. So it should be no surprise to see them out at the forefront again, this time with video.  Zappos has mass-scaled their online videos, which has provided them with tens of thousands of videos for indexing. A note of clarification – the information presented about Zappos in the SundaySky report is based off extrapolation and educated calculations but is NOT a direct case study with input or actual numbers provided by Zappos.

For the Sunday Sky case study, 21,000 shoe-related keywords were studied (as before, the keywords were taken from’s top searches for shoe products.  Also keep in mind that Zappos does offer many more products than shoes so this is really just a partial study). What did they find?

  • A full 8.1% of the keywords they tested returned a Zappos video. That’s pretty good dominance if you ask me.
  • A whopping 77,316 website visits each month are attributed to Zappos’ video listings in search engines.
  • If you want to translate those increased website visits into dollars–in terms of the value of the traffic compared against search ads or other ads–it calculates to a $551,731 increase in revenues due to its video SEO efforts. Yikes.

How’s this for dominance? – #1,2,3,4 in Google web search?

Because I am a consultant working with Zappos to get their videos optimized and indexed in Google, I have some insights that I can provide and plan to cover in more depth in the coming months with their permission.  As of right now, there are almost 30K Zappos videos indexed in Google.  This number tends to fluctuate quite a bit due to changes at Google Videos but we’ve seen it fluctuate between 15K and 35K product videos indexed and we plan to increase that this year to more than 50K.

Stay tuned for more inside information and insights on Zappos and their success with product videos in the coming months.


If you don’t have video, you’re going to be left behind in the search results–if you haven’t been already. The consumer wants video, and spends more money with e-retailers when video is part of the picture. In short, the Sunday Sky findings suggest that video can get you better rankings, which can bring you much more traffic, which can then be turned into increased sales. It’s one thing for us to say that all the time when it’s just talk, but it’s quite another to see these kind of numbers stacked up in defense of that argument. E-commerce sites: embrace video, and do it in a hurry, lest you be left behind.

You can download the full report directly from Sunday Sky here.


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