Video SEO Guide – How to get your videos found, viewed and working for you…

Video SEO Guide

It is a well known fact that video is very powerful for your SEO and online marketing tool box. There are many places and ways to publish, distribute and drive traffic to your video content online. I have put together a guide here to the main areas that will help you to get started and make an impact:

How to optimize video hosted on your website:

  • HTML surrounding video: When you publish a video on a website, you will want to make certain that it is surrounded with HTML content. This way the search engines can get additional information from the surrounding page as the information contained within a video file can be limited.
  • Filename, title, description: These elements are not be enough to allow your video to rank well on its own but it is a necessary step and without this information, your video will definitively NOT rank well.
  • Video Files Metadata Optimization: Make sure to encode the keywords into your video’s meta data. Tag videos with specific keywords, even if it means tagging each scene.
  • Keyword “video”: Eric Papczun pointed out at the Search Engine Strategies conference in NY this past April, that a lot of people add the word “video” to their search query keyword phrase. As a result, make sure that you add the word “video” to your title, description, meta data, etc.
  • Links and Backlinks: Just as with SEO for regular webpages, you will want to get as many backlinks as possible with the relevant keywords and phrases as the anchor text for these links. Whether this is your own page, or merely a page on a video sharing site that you want to have rank, you will need backlinks. In addition, it is a good idea to crosslink to videos using keywords in anchor text.
  • Video sitemaps / MRSS / RSS: In order for crawlers to easily find all of your online video content, you will want to create a sitemap, RSS, or media RSS (MRSS) file to help engines identify where to locate and index your videos.
  • One Video Directory: Keeping your video content at one place of the root directory helps in providing easy access to search engine crawlers. Move all of your videos into one folder and make sure to upload all your future videos to this same folder.
  • No to Flash Video Players: Search engines have a hard time crawling video content inside flash players so stay away from them if you are hosting videos on your own site.
  • Optimize your URLs: In the same way that you do this for other web pages, you will want to optimize your URLs so that they too contain information about the video. Also, make sure you only have one video per URL.
  • Submissions:

Upload Optimization – These type of video search engines require that you upload your video search files.

RSS Optimization – Submit your video to search engines that accept either RSS and/or MRSS.

Social Media Optimization – Add a social flair by getting your “friends” to submit or vote for you on the social media sites.

How to optimize video hosted on video search engines and video sharing sites (see more detailed You Tube information in chapter below):

  • Filename, title, description.- Same as above
  • Video Files Metadata Same as above
  • Keyword “video” Same as above
  • Links and Backlinks Same as above
  • Make good thumbnails, first and the last frames.

A video thumbnail is what users view when they are deciding between which videos to watch. Different video search engines will grab thumbnails differently. Some will use the first frame while others will take a frame from somewhere in the middle. You will need to experiment with each site to make sure they are displaying the right thumbnail for your video.

  • Branding – The first and the last frames are perfect for branding. Place your logo there, as well as your URL and any other information you think is applicable.
  • Uniqueness – More than anything, make sure as well that your video is creative and unique. This is the best way to attract backlinks from people who want to share your video.

You Tube Optimization Checklist:

Before we begin – research, research, research!…..

Research the main keyword that you want to rank for on You Tube. Use Google Keyword tool for this and also research You Tube itself – what is currently ranking for your desired keyword – how much competition is there?

Think about using Long tail keyword phrases – you will get more targeted and a better quality of traffic.

For example, if you are a debt advice company in Manchester, you are better to rank for ‘debt advice manchester’ than ‘debt advice’. Why? Because ‘debt advice’ you will have people from all over finding you and not necessarily people who will be your prospects locally. The people searching for ‘debt advice manchester’ are more likely to be your prospects than just ‘debt advice’ and so your traffic will be of better quality. Of course if you do have a national or even international marketplace, then you will want to do more thorough key word research as to what long tail keyword phrases will get your prospects and target audience finding you. Once you have decided on your main key word phrase for your video you can begin the uploading process:

Uploading and View Getting Process:

  1. Name your file that you are uploading, the same as your keyword
  2. Put your keyword in the title, more than once if possible. The best equation is to use: keyword + wow factor + keyword again.
  3. In the description field you should include:
    1. A Call to Action – critical!
    2. URL link – again critical!
  4. Make your description like a mini article – make it interesting, make sure it includes your keywords.
  5. A good tip is to find an ezine article that ranks highest for your keyword, obviously include the authors name and paste that or link to it in your description.
  6. Alternatively you could use a blog post or transcription of your video in the description field
  7. Category – If you have more than one video on your channel, try to be consistent with the categories that your videos are filed under – You Tube ranks your channel better if your categories are consistent.
  8. Tags – Put quotations around the main keyword tag only. Find related keywords and include these. – a good idea is to see what Google suggests (when you type your keyword into the search box on Google what does it suggest) Use as many keywords as you can.
  9. Pick your thumbnail – if you are on a standard account, you can choose from 3 thumbnails that You Tube gives you – so choose the one that you think is the most interesting.

If you have an advanced account, you have greater options here, but this is only for people who have huge amount of channel views.

Additional tricks:

Add Annotations

  • If you go into ‘Edit Info’ and click on the annotations tab, you can include annotations at different points of your video and direct viewers to look at particular things, point out information, draw their attention to specific points and provide additional call to actions.

Video responses

  • If you can get video responses on your videos from other accounts it will help your ranking massively.
  • You can do this by setting up other accounts yourself or you could just ask clients, contacts, friends and colleagues to do them for you. They don’t have to be professional – they can be recorded on a webcam or iphone and just be 20 seconds saying how great your video is or giving a testimonial etc.
  • If you have video testimonials already for your product or service create another You Tube channel account and post these testimonials as responses to your videos.
  • Interact with other channels on You Tube – ‘like’ their videos, leave comments and post video responses for other videos that are complimentary and in your field (i.e. not competitors) and then once they are approved and showing ask the channel creator if they would be kind enough to do the same for you.
  • You Tube is a social network, and people like to interact – so build relationships with complimentary channels and video creators.
  • Don’t forget to optimise the video responses for your keyword!

Add your transcription / Captions and subtitles

  • You can do this under ‘edit video info’

Getting more views:

  • Share the link on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.
  • Email your list / send out an eshot
  • Post link as information on your Linked In groups.
  • Create Press releases and submit to article and PR websites
  • Social bookmark each video – is a good one
  • Search for other peoples blogs in complimentary fields to your own and post comments on their blog, including links to your video.
  • Ask if you can be a guest blogger on related sites in your industry / target marketplace and embed your video as your guest blog.
  • Promote your video, on You Tube, using ‘promoted videos’ (paid for but minimal and will help you to show up more)

I hope this has been a useful insight into some tips and techniques you can use to get the most our of your videos. The most important thing to remember is not to just create one video and then expect a million views. If you are going to use video effectively to drive traffic and raise your profile and credibility online then you need to be doing it regularly. Video is a content rich medium and the more you have out there working for you, the more success you will have.

So get creating, get publishing, get optimizing… and get doing more business!! Good luck!