It’s hard to find an article about Internet marketing that doesn’t insist that you include videos on your website. “You’ll rank better!” “You’ll convert more visitors!” “You’ll outsell your competitors!!!”

All of these assertions may be true, particularly for new websites and for website owners amplifying their Internet marketing efforts in 2013.

But a recent study of existing websites found that video didn’t make any difference in rankings. So if you’re only aim in producing videos is to earn some Google love, consider this:

Most high ranking pages (top 5 spots in Google) contain no video at all, according to an analysis of 500 high ranking web pages.

And many high-ranking pages didn’t include images of any kind, according to the study, released March 6 by

Lisa Parmley, author of the study, said that 100 randomly selected keyword phrases, each between 2 and 6 words, were chosen and typed into Google. Information was collected from the URLs of the first five results that showed up. The study included an analysis of 500 actual pages, each ranking between the number 1 and number 5 spot on Google.

Do Your Own Analysis

The results, though interesting, may not apply to your website. But you could repeat the study with the help of your SEO provider. Type your keywords into Google and examine the sites in the position you wish to have. How many of the pages contained videos?

If all or most of your competitors are using video, it may be wise for you to start producing videos of your own. Even if no one else is using video, you may wish to be the industry leader and distinguish yourself by posting videos on your pages. But, if your findings are similar to those of the BusinessBolts study, you may want to save your marketing dollars.

Price of Producing Videos

A professionally-produced video is not inexpensive. Expect to pay between $500 and $3,000 per minute of completed video, according to InBusiness. Some videos cost a lot more to produce, particularly if they involve complex editing or special effects. If you want to produce a video on the level of Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream,” expect to pay millions. Although the “Scream” director refutes the claim, Guinness says the $7 million production cost for “Scream” is the highest on record.

You can, of course, simply set your laptop or mobile phone to record and produce a video for free. If you want a little help polishing your do-it-yourself video, here are some inexpensive online tools that you may find useful:

Videoscribe: This allows you to make simple animated videos, sometimes called whiteboard animation. Subscriptions to Videoscribe run about $25 a month, but you can try the service for a free 7-day trial.

ScreenFlow: The app helps you make polished tutorials, using screenshots and adding your voice and other elements. You can add motion graphics to your screencast, edit it and publishing it online with ScreenFlow and accessories. The app costs $99, but you can try it out free on a trial basis.

Bravo: Customer testimonials used to be one of the most powerful selling tools an online entrepreneur could use. But so many website owners manufactured or purchased reviews that the value of reviews dropped. Bravo makes it possible for your customers to make video testimonials and upload them to your site. After a free trial, prices run from $24 to $199 per month.

Animoto. Make simple 30-second videos for free. Longer, HD videos require a subscription. Prices range from $30 to $249 annually. With Animoto, you use your own photos or completed videos and package them with music, background and other effects.

Cost-Effectiveness of Video

Whether investing $25 or $25,000 in a video for your website depends on your goals. If you want to test the ability of a video to help you improve your ranking, make a low-cost video, publish it on YouTube and embed it on your site.

If you want to use video to convert visitors to customers, online video provides 400 percent greater engagement than static content, according to Digital Accomplice. The Nielsen Company also says that website visitors are using and spending more time watching video. Usage increased 22 percent between 2009 and 2012 and viewing time increased by almost 80 percent in that period, according to InBusiness.

When considering the ROI of online video, keep in mind that publishing costs are free or nearly so. While you may pay hundreds or millions to place a newspaper ad or buy radio or TV space, you can put videos on your website — and keep them forever — without paying more than the cost of your webhosting service.