On-Site Video Boosts Response and Organic Search Placement

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Optimizing video content is by far the easiest way to get a first-page organic ranking on Google, according to Forrester Research analyst Nate Elliott.  In fact, Forrester conducted an experiment and found that any given video in the index is about 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of search results than any given text page in the index.

Small businesses are taking note.  The Q3 2010 WebVisible report, which analyzes data from more than 12,000 individual advertisers, found that nearly 30 percent of SMB advertisers included video on their landing pages in Q3 2010, more than double the number of advertisers using video a year ago.

The report confirms that on-site video is effective beyond boosting search results: “viewing video” was the second-most popular conversion action taken by consumers, after clicking through to the advertiser’s website.

The key is first to create a video that is attractive, informative and interesting to the consumers doing the searching, then making sure your video can easily be found and showcased by search engines.

Here are some tips:

1.  Produce content that is helpful. Videos don’t have to be funny to be effective.  In fact, funny is often beside the point.  What you want is something that will instruct potential customers and/or showcase your expertise in a way that ultimately inspires website visitors to buy from or hire you.  According to Pew Internet, 59 percent of Internet users look for how-to, do-it-yourself or repair information online.

So, an auto repair shop might demonstrate some of the more basic maintenance activities, like checking the oil or tire pressure.  If you’re a makeup artist, demonstrate how to apply the hottest eye shadows of the season.  An interior designer can give tips on how to check the quality or authenticity of antiques (think “Antiques Roadshow”).  Event planners might think about taping “A Day in the Life” segment to show how many things you have to juggle to pull off a great party – demonstrating why busy people should hire a professional instead of trying to do it all themselves.

2.  Budget to shoot a high-quality, professional video.  The shaky, hand-held camera with bad lighting is going to give your viewers a headache – a quick way to ensure they never watch another one of your videos again.  If you don’t have the funds to hire a professional, try bartering your services instead.  There are several online barter sites, like SwapAce.com , or just use your professional network to get referrals.

3.  Optimize your videos so they show up higher in search results. Use relevant, specific keywords in your title, subtitle and tags.  Continuing the makeup artist example from above, you may want to title your video, “Makeup Tips – How to Apply Eye Shadow for A Night Out Using X’s Technique.” Consider tags such as:  how to, makeup tips, makeup secrets, eye shadow, makeup tutorial, etc.  Also transcribe the video and provide links to the text, so search engines can more easily determine the content.

Finally, use a thumbnail that is a good representation of your video as a whole, so anyone who finds the small visual in search results will be intrigued enough to click through.

4.  Include a call-to-action at the end of your video, and offer as many ways to contact you as possible – phone, email, Facebook, etc.  Consider offering a promotion, like a discount, 2-for-1, or refer-a-friend offer.  And ask the viewer to pass the video on to a friend.

5.  Cross promote on all mediums. Upload your videos on your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages to drive more traffic.  Your friends are likely to share the content if they know it exists – and if you’ve followed the steps above to make your videos interesting.

Video is not just for YouTube anymore.  Hosting video on your own website and landing pages can be a powerful tool for driving more business and an effective way to showcase your expertise.

About the Author

Carla Fitzgerald is VP of marketing for WebVisible (www.WebVisible.com). She has more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry holding a wide range of technical, sales and marketing positions, and has provided strategic consulting to a variety of start-up companies in enterprise software, mobile and retail markets.

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