SEO for Video

So you made a video and uploaded it to your site. But how do you make sure that people actually watch it? Whether the video cost thousands of dollars to produce, or it was a one-man (you being the man) project that was tackled during your spare time, if it’s important enough to be posted on your site, then it deserves to be watched and enjoyed.

Not all businesses – small businesses at least – have jumped on the online video marketing bandwagon, which means those companies are missing out. Because anyone who can convert oxygen into carbon dioxide knows that people love to watch videos.

Videos are a prominent element of online activity for millions of users every day. They are effective because they can be creative, amusing, informative, and personal. It usually takes more exertion to conceptualize, direct, shoot, and edit footage, so a quality video has the potential to sell itself. You have to do some work, though. Just like web sites need to be strategically optimized for search engines , so do videos.

There is a myriad of standard tricks that will allow your video to stand out from the others like a pre-teen dude at a Bieber concert.

Keywords:
First you need to research keywords. If you’re familiar with SEO, then you should be used to this drill. The Google Adwords Keywords Tool makes this process quite simple.

Descriptions:
Once you have accumulated a handful of trendy terms, you’ll have to plug them into the description for the video. Besides accurately summarizing the purpose and plot of the video, the description needs to include a call to action. The CTA should define what you would like the viewers to do once the video is over. This could be as simple and quick as rating or sharing the video, or even directing your audience to purchase a product or service.

Tags:
Upon uploading a video, you will have the chance to add tags, which is basically a reinforced method of attaching keywords. Tags are most likely to increase rankings when they are relevant to the video.

Ratings:
While this is ultimately in the hands of your viewers, it is your responsibility to encourage ratings and comments. Thank viewers for positive feedback, and be proactive within conversations.

Fresh Content:
Unless it’s a viral video of, say, a news reporter falling off a stage while pressing a vat of grapes, the content on your video is likely to grow stale. It’s your responsibility to keep your audience interested, and that includes uploading fresh content. Even though you may be able to revel in the fruits of your videography project for months, every one else will get sick of that first video.

There are, of course, additional factors that are out of your hands; however, they are not completely out of your control. Encourage your viewers to do the following:

Embed:
When an impressed viewer takes the times to actually embed the video on his or her blog, search engines take notice – and your rankings will increase due to the heightened credibility.

Share:
Word spreads exceptionally fast online, so urge viewers to pass on the link to their friends- or better yet, add inbound links to their personal blogs or sites. Free promotion is priceless, and online, sharing is as simple as clicking a button.

Subscribe:
It’s important to obtain as many subscribers as you can. It’s very likely that people stumbled upon your video by accident. By subscribing to your channel, they won’t risk missing the next one. This act is also a smart validation of your site’s value.

While you’re optimizing the video itself, it’s a good idea to make sure the page displaying the video is equally prepared for discovery. The techniques for optimizing a page are similar to the steps previously mentioned: incorporating the proper tags and maximizing content quality. Informational videos are often followed by a transcription so the viewer can read along or, if the video is lengthy, scan the words to quickly grasp the concept.

The Importance of Video Sitemaps:
Matt Cutts, Principal Engineer and Head of Google’s web spam Team, said when recently interviewed of the importance of video sitemaps, “If you make video, if you are a site owner, or a publisher, please start exploring video sitemaps.” We suggest you heed his advice and make your video sitemap a top priority. While many of the tags are optional, there are several that are required to be present in the video site map. The video below explains what Google needs from you in a video sitemap.

Our final suggestion may seem insignificant, but it actually has more of an impact than you may think. The video thumbnail needs to be interesting. It’s possibly the most influential factor of whether your video is played or simply overlooked. The thumbnail should be dynamic and exciting; whoever sees it should feel compelled to click “play.”

There you have it, folks. Don’t blame us if your video isn’t viral within the first week; we’re not promising you an invitation to be featured on Ellen. But following our suggestions will certainly spread awareness of your video and brand. For more insight, visit our earlier post entitled “Can Youtube Channels Really Improve SEO Rankings?”