Maximizing the Benefits of Online Video Through SEO

    August 18, 2011

For publishers, incorporating video into your website can help build visibility, engage audiences and increase page views. For marketers, video drives brand awareness and, when done correctly, it creates a unique opportunity to tell a product’s story. With YouTube as the second largest search engine in terms of total search queries, user adoption has really underscored the value of video.

Why Incorporating Video Is Beneficial To Brands

Video attracts new, relevant search traffic

“Blended search,” the practice in which search engines display videos, images, news stories, maps, and other types of results alongside their standard search results, has become increasingly common on major search engines. Optimizing video content to take advantage of blended search is by far the easiest way to get a first-page organic ranking on Google.

Video assets can be easily syndicated

Online video is usually channel agnostic. By syndicating video properties to multiple sites, businesses can extend their reach to new eyeballs.

Video is inherently interactive

Videos are far more likely to be shared than text-based pages. Additionally, a video thumbnail on a social media platform — Facebook, for example — grabs more attention than static text and often results in more comments, more “Likes,” and more traffic to the brand’s website. According to YouBrand, pictures and video within Facebook are engaged with and clicked more often than just text and questions.

Video engages site visitors

Video provides a familiar user interface for site visitors. When videos are properly produced, they captivate the user. For users, rather than navigating, scrolling and clicking to access information, video becomes a one-stop resource.

Video has a longer term impact

Video can give customers an in-depth view or demonstration of a product, helping consumers quickly understand what a company has to offer and determine if its beneficial to them before taking the next step. Videos can also build trust and credibility for a brand or company.

Now that I’ve incorporated video, how do I optimize it for search?

Connecting with audiences doesn’t stop with the video; it begins with SEO optimization so audiences find your video in the first place. Though SEO tends to give the highest return on investment, it’s still under-invested from a marketing budget perspective. According to Nate Elliot at Forrester, less than 20% of marketers report inserting keywords and even fewer use more advanced tactics like writing keyword-rich captions and annotations or creating online video libraries.

Nate also states that videos on your site are 50 TIMES MORE LIKELY of being shown on the first page results than your text pages and best of all, so few interactive marketers focus on video optimization that most of the videos in Google’s index aren’t very well optimized.

Maximizing SEO for Video:

Increase blended search results

Create a sitemap and semantically mark up your video pages. A video sitemap is a detailed list of all your video content provided in an XML file. When submitted, XML sitemaps route search engines to your video content with the information necessary to display results as a video object. Semantically marking the page provides a similar set of information about each video, but instead of including the data in a separate file, the information lives with the content on the page itself. As such, when a bot indexes the page, it finds what it needs upon arrival.

Increase the perceived value of individual videos

Linking to individual videos from outside sources such as websites, blogs and social media sites help increase organic rankings. Additionally, encouraging ratings and comments also benefit the likelihood of recommendations as users are more likely to view and share videos that are perceived valuable by others.

Help search engine robots easily read and index your video

When your video is published, make sure to add text transcripts and captions with links and other relevant information on the page with the video. Metadata descriptions are still very important and should include a description of the video using multiple keywords. Keywords should be used in the title of your video to make it easier to search. Optimize your video’s URL to contain information about the video and your relevant keywords. The best way to add text content around your video (in combination with the above) is to create an article post about the video, or vice versa, whereby the video complements a stand-alone article post. This makes video an integral part of content creation for your site and helps create a more valuable page (in terms of SEO rank and engagement) than a page without video.

Calibrate efforts by analyzing data

Be proactive by checking your video’s effectiveness by analyzing the data you are tracking. Google Analytics is helpful in tracking clicks and views as well as visitor source data.

Give viewers the tools to help increase your video views

Make it easy for users to bookmark, share and link to your video.

Video drives engagement. With the hyper growth of video distribution and consumption, it only makes sense to maximize the value video can bring by employing SEO best practices. In places where text and pictures previously served as the only media to engage users, promoting video means new audience reach and, maximizing the benefits of SEO for video can put you or your brand ahead of the crowd.