Whether you’re an avid YouTube viewer or remain unconvinced about the power of video marketing, optimization of your video files can have a seriously powerful impact on your search visibility and ranking positions. With online video also proven to be an extremely effective way of encouraging purchase intent and brand recall, few companies can afford to overlook the potential of the medium.
Having acquired the equipment, learnt the basics of shooting a video and edited together the raw footage, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the hard work was over. In actual fact, it’s just beginning and the task now is to turn the video into a powerful piece of online content and ensure it pulls its weight from a rankings perspective.
For those unused to working with multimedia files, optimizing online videos can present a daunting learning curve. The challenge is to keep in mind the basics of search engine optimization, think like your target market, work around the pitfalls, channel the unique opportunities video presents and understand the limitations of search engine spiders when faced with something that isn’t a straightforward chunk of code.
1. Consider how the video is added to your site
Making the absolute most of your new online video is of the utmost importance if it is truly to pull its weight from an SEO perspective. Central to that is making it easy to find on the website and well promoted from the home page and other key landing pages. There’s no point for example adding the video to a News page and not promoting it on the home page as a new addition for the simple reason that not all customers considering buying will always check your media centre but most will visit the home page. Consider how you funnel traffic through your site and include the video or a promo of the video along that user journey.
Making the video a prominent part of your site means that traffic is most likely to click to view, allowing the potential of online video as a medium to be unleashed. It also makes it more likely that viewers will link back to the page, share on their Facebook profiles, discuss on their blog, Google+ or add to their social media activity in some way – all essential to improved keyword rankings.
2. Add a transcript
It’s always a smart move to prepare a transcript of the video before it is uploaded to your site. Many make the mistake of leaving the transcript for a later date, thinking the video itself is work enough. As search engines can’t crawl the video content, the page is little more than empty space, negating all of the effort put in to reach that point. Preparing a transcript should be quick and easy as it’s no more than simply writing down in text the words that are being spoken on the video. You can also add descriptions in square brackets to set the scene and increase the opportunity to use important keywords.
3. Add a description
It’s not enough to simply embed the video on your page, you also need to add a description. Consider how a news anchor introduces a story on the local news broadcast. They don’t simply play the footage, they describe the story first, it’s points of interest and where the report is coming from. Adopt this same approach with your video and use your description as a call to action, encouraging those who have landed on the page to take the next step and actually click ‘play’. The description is once again a chance to add optimized text to the page so don’t be afraid to add other SEO elements such as internal links and sections of bold text to emphasize important points.
A shortened version of that same description can also be used to populate the description field when the video is uploaded to YouTube and other video sharing sites, so this will ease the workload later on.
4. Don’t Neglect the Title
Just because the content of your video may be compelling, there’s no excuse to neglect the title. Getting creative with the page title can do your video justice and will play a role in how well indexed the page is. As always, the rule of thumb is not to go over 60 characters, not to overload with keywords, not to duplicate a title tag from another page and to be as descriptive as possible.
If you feel you have too much to say about the title or are feeling especially creative, save the longer description for a H1 tag in the body of the page.
Putting together the ideas from Part 1 and Part 2 of this discussion of adding video marketing to your online strategy with the concrete optimization tips in this final Part 3, you should be ready to begin an actual project on your website. As you do so, we’d love to hear any additional tips you come across in the process.