Video search engine optimization (SEO) may be a little less familiar to many of our readers than regular SEO, but it's certainly no less important. In fact, ever since Google acquired YouTube in 2006, it has invested considerable resources in integrating video results into search results. You've probably experienced the results of this investment yourself after conducting a Google search like this one:
It's for this reason that small businesses that find it difficult to rank for important keywords may want to experiment with adding video to their digital marketing strategy. Longer-tail keywords that were once thought of as unattainable may be much easier to rank for simply by creating an SEO-friendly videos. Remember, Google wants to include video results on results pages, so video search marketing is certainly a strategy worth pursuing for such businesses.
In addition to its value in search marketing, video marketing is also a great branding tool, and its importance in social media marketing (particularly in Facebook marketing) is staggering: Facebook itself indicates that posts that contain a video get twice as much engagement on average that posts that do not.
Is my business a good fit for video marketing?
I personally think almost any company should take advantage of video marketing in some capacity, but their are a few types of businesses I believe should most strongly consider doing so.
Companies that provide professional services need to sell prospects on their expertise and charisma, so accounting, law, architecture/engineering/construction and consulting firms all have plenty to gain from getting decision-makers in front of a camera.
Companies with visual products like restaurants, clothiers and travel agencies are also a natural fit.
If the product or service your business is selling is complicated, a video explanation can do wonders for branding and prospect conversion.
What are my video marketing options?
The easiest and cheapest way to get started with video marketing is by using YouTube. However, the goal of most digital marketing campaigns is to convert prospects to leads by getting them onto a website, and videos hosted on YouTube won't automatically help you do this. I'll spend a good chunk of this post outlining a few ways to get around this inconvenience, but first I'll give you a few alternatives.
There are at least a few software platforms that allow you to host videos on your own site. This allows you to capture all views within your site and integrate your video analytics with your web analytics. Wistia is probably the industry leader in video hosting solutions, but it can be pricey.
That aside, I suspect most businesses that pursue video as a marketing channel do so by way of YouTube, so here are four basic video SEO best practices to help you get started with YouTube marketing.
1. Write an SEO-friendly title
Just as you would for a blog post or internal web page, make sure to write a title that matches what someone might type into a search field. This means placing your main keyword or keyword phrase towards the beginning of the title, crafting titles that start with "how to," and placing local keywords (your business' city or state) in the title if your target audience is local.
Thankfully, YouTube has a free keyword tool that can help you choose between similar keywords. You can also start typing in a keyword to see what YouTube Suggest displays as suggestions for completing it (see photo above) to get a better grasp on the demographics of the folks who might find your video.
2. Write a description that's helpful for search engines and people
Placing keywords and keyword phrases in your description will certainly help your video rank for more searches, but don't go overboard, as modern search algorithms have been programmed to penalize videos that simply stuff keywords into their descriptions. The best way to avoid doing this is to, you know, actually write a description. Simply tell the viewers what they're going to see and weave your keywords in.
YouTube only displays 20-25 words on its query page, so you'll want to fit your most important keyword in the beginning and include a call-to-action that links back to a landing page on your site there as well, if possible.
One other neat trick: if your video is long, you can create a brief outline in the description and include times when different points are made. When you type in a time like 0:43 or 5:24, YouTube automatically creates a link to that time in your video, so viewers can skip around at their will.
3. Choose the proper category and tags and create a video transcript for additional visibility
Choosing the right category for your video is easy enough, but don't forget about tags. Again, YouTube's insights tools can help here and again, don't use too many; five or six is about as many as you should ever need.
You'll also want to create a transcript for your video to further help search engines know what your video is about. This also helps deaf people, who can follow along with it while watching their video. I know this can be tedious work, but it helps, and you're going to want to do it when you embed the video on your website anyway.
4. Embed the video on your website
Embedding the video on your website creates a backlink, which sends a signal to search engines that your video might be important. If you don't have a place for it on your site, just upload it as a video blog. Paste your transcript along with it to give the post some meat.
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