Tuesday Dec 18, 2012

YouTube SEO: Video Optimization

SEO optimization is still regarded as one of the primary tools in the digital marketing kit. However and wherever a potential customer is conducting a search, brands want their content to surface in the top results. Makes sense.

But without a regular flow of good, relevant content, your SEO opportunities run shallow. We know from several studies video is one of the most engaging forms of content, so why not make sure that in addition to being cool, your videos are helping you win the SEO game?

Keywords:
-Decide what search phrases make the most sense for your video. Don’t dare use phrases that have nothing to do with the content. You’ll make people mad.
-Research those keywords to see how competitive they are. Adjust them so there are still lots of people searching for it, but there are not as many links showing up for it.
-Search your potential keywords and phrases to see what comes up. It’s amazing how many people forget to do that.

Video Title:
-Try to start and/or end with your keyword.
-When you search on YouTube, visual action words tend to come up as suggested searches. So try to use action words.

Video Description:
-Lead with a link to your site (include http://).
-Don’t stuff this with your keyword. It leads to bad writing and it won’t work anyway. This is where you convince people to watch, so write for humans. Use some showmanship.
-At the end, do a call to action (subscribe, see the whole playlist, visit our social channels, etc.)

Video Tags:
-Don’t over-tag. 5-10 tags per video is plenty.
-If you’re compelled to have more than 10, that means you should probably make more videos specifically targeting all those keywords.

Find Linking Pals:
-45% of videos are discovered on video sites. But 44% are found through links on blogs and sites.
-Write a blog about your video’s content, then link to the video in it.
-A good site for finding places to guest blog is myblogguest.com
-Once you find good linking partners, they’ll link to your future videos (as long as they’re good and you’re returning the favor).

Tap the Power of Similar Videos:
-Use Video Reply to associate your video with other topic-related videos. That’s when you make a video responding to or referencing a video made by someone else.

Content:
-Again, build up a portfolio of videos, not just one that goes after 30 keywords.
-Create shorter, sequential videos that pull them deeper into the content and closer to a desired final action.
-Organize your video topics separately using Playlists. Playlists show up as a whole in search results like individual videos, so optimize playlists the same as you would for a video.

Meta Data:
-Too much importance is placed on it. It accounts for only 15% of search success.
-YouTube reads Captions or Transcripts to determine what a video is about. If you’re not using them, you’re missing out.
-You get the SEO benefit of captions and transcripts whether the viewers has them toggled on or not.

Promotion:
-This accounts for 25% of search success.
-Promote the daylights out of your videos using your social channels and digital assets. Don’t assume it’s going to magically get discovered.
-You can pay to promote your video. This could surface it on the YouTube home page, YouTube search results, YouTube related videos, and across the Google content network.

Community:
-Accounts for 10% of search success.
-Make sure your YouTube home page is a fun place to spend time. Carefully pick your featured video, and make sure your Playlists are featured.
-Participate in discussions so users will see you’re present. The volume of ratings/comments is as important as the number of views when it comes to where you surface on search.

Video Sitemaps:
-As with a web site, a video sitemap helps Google quickly index your video.
-Google wants to know title, description, play page URL, the URL of the thumbnail image you want, and raw video file location.
-Sitemaps are xml files you host or dynamically generate on your site. Once you’ve made your sitemap, sign in and submit it using Google webmaster tools.

Just as with the broadcast and cable TV channels, putting a video out there is only step one. You also have to make sure everybody knows it’s there so the largest audience possible can see it. Here’s hoping you get great ratings.

@mikestiles

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