According to comScore, 123 million Americans consume videos online. What are you doing to capture this market? Whether you are already running a video search marketing campaign or are thinking of starting one, here are a few tips on how to get the most bang for your buck.
On Your Site:
1. Surround your video with HTML. When publishing a video on your website, make sure to surround it with some HTML content. The information search engines can get from the video file itself is fairly limited so, besides other things, crawlers will rely on your HTML to get a better idea of what the page (and the video) is all about.
2. Use keywords in the filename, title, description. This applies to both your site and the sites like YouTube and MySpace. Your keywords or your filename along won’t get you far but you will never rank well without these basic elements.
3. Encode the right meta data. Don’t forget to encode the keywords you are targeting into your video.
4. Use the word “video” as much as possible. Video page can rank fairly well in SERPs. As Eric Papczun pointed out at the SES in NY this April, a lot of people add the word “video” to their search query. That means that you would want to make sure the word “video” is in your title, description, etc.
5. For video, it’s still all about links. Crawlers rely heavily on the link text to figure out what the video is all about. So just like for any other page you want to optimize, get as many backlinks as possible (using the right keywords, of course). It doesn’t make a different if you are optimizing your own page or a YouTube page, same steps apply.
6. Create video sitemap/RSS feed. If you have a lot of videos on your site, create a separate sitemap just for your videos. You can also create a separate RSS feed for your videos. Your goal is to make crawlers’ work as easy as possible.
7. Keep your video files in one directory. Same logic as for #6. Keep your videos organized. Move them into a separate folder and make sure to upload all your videos to one place.
8. Stay away from flash video players. Search engines have a hard time crawling video content inside flash players so stay away from them.
9. Optimize your URLs. You’ve already applied mod_rewrite to your shopping cart URLs and you are using permalink structure on your WordPress blog. So why not use the same approach for your video pages?
On Search Engines:
10. Make good use of the thumbnails, first and the last frames. A video thumbnail is crucial when it comes to deciding which video 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. Take a look at the following examples and consider, which one would you rather click on?
Also, 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.
Steps 2, 3, 4 and 5 also apply when submitting your video to websites like YouTube and MySpace.
Of course, these steps do not guarantee success. Video marketing is viral and relies heavily on community submissions and social taqging. If you think that shooting a commercial is enough to rank well and create a buzz, think again. Besides being optimized, your video also has to be creative and unique so that people would be willing to share it with others. In fact, it’s not much different from linkbaiting.