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

Tuesday Oct 23, 2012

4 Ways Your Brand Can Jump From the Edge of Space

jumperCan your brand’s social media content captivate the world and make it hold its collective breath? Can you put something on the screen that’s so compelling that your audience can’t look away? Will they want to make sure their friends see it so they can talk about it?

If not, you’re probably not with Red Bull. I was impressed with Red Bull’s approach to social content even before Felix Baumgartner’s stunning skydive from the edge of space. And then they did this.

According to Visible Measures, videos of the jump scored 50 million views in 4 days. 1,700 clips were generated from both official and organic sources. The live stream was the most watched YouTube Stream of all time (8 million concurrent viewers). The 2nd most watched live stream was…Felix’ first attempt Oct. 9.

Are you ready to compete with that?

I ask that question because some brands are still out there tying themselves up in knots about whether or not they should tweet. The public’s time and attention are scarce commodities, commodities they value greatly. The competition amongst brands for that time and attention is intense and going up like Felix’s capsule. If you still view your press releases as “content,” you won’t even be counted as being among the competition.

Here are 5 lessons learned from Red Bull’s big leap:

1. They have a total understanding of their target market and audience. Not only do they have an understanding of it, they do something about it. They act on it. They fill the majority of their thoughts with what the audience wants. They hunger for wild applause from that audience. They want to do things that embrace the audience’s lifestyle and immerse in it so the target will identify the brand as “one of them.” Takeaway: BE your target market.

2. They deliver content that strikes the audience right where they emotionally live. If you want your content to have impact, you have to make your audience’s heart race, or make them tear up, or make them laugh. Label them “data points” all you want, but humans are emotional creatures. No message connects that’s not carried in on an emotion. Takeaway: You’re on the inside. If your content doesn’t make you say “wow,” it’s unlikely it will register with fans.

3. They put aside old school marketing and don’t let their content be degraded into a commercial. Their execs seem to understand the value in keeping a lid on the hard sell. So many brands just can’t bring themselves to disconnect advertising and social content. The result is, otherwise decent content gets contaminated with a desperation the viewer can smell a mile away. Think the Baumgartner skydive didn’t do Red Bull any good since he wasn’t drinking one on the way down while singing a jingle? Analysis company Taykey discovered that at the peak of the skydive buzz, about 1% of all online conversation was about the jump. Mentions of Red Bull constituted 1/3 of 1% of all Internet activity. Views of other Red Bull videos also shot up. Takeaway: Chill out with the ads. Your brand will get full credit for entertaining/informing fans in a relevant way, provided you do it.

4. They don’t hesitate to ask, “What can we do next”? Most corporate cultures are a virtual training facility for “we can’t do that.” Few are encouraged to innovate or think big, if think at all. Thinking big involves faith, and work. It means freedom and letting employees run a little wild with their ideas. There will always be the opportunity to let fear of everything that moves creep in and kill grand visions dead in their tracks. Experimenting must be allowed. Failure must be allowed. Red Bull didn’t think big. They thought mega. They tried to outdo themselves. Felix could have gone ahead and jumped halfway up, thinking, “This is still relatively high up. Good enough.” But that wouldn’t have left us breathless. Takeaway: Go for it. Jump.

In putting up social properties and gathering fans of your brand, you’ve basically invited people to a party. A good host doesn’t just set out warm beer and stale chips because that’s inexpensive and easy. Be on the lookout for ways to make your guests walk away saying, “That was epic.”

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