So, you’ve sunk thousands of dollars into your business video in the hopes of a marketing boost. You’ve put it up on YouTube and on your website, and sat back to wait for the business to roll in.
But – shock horror: nothing happens!
Why doesn’t my video perform miracles?
It’s not that you shouldn’t expect big things – video can be a great tool for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and for building your brand. However, web video is now a very crowded space, and you need to work hard to make your video stand out.
SEO benefits of video
As a search engine strategy, the impact of video can be huge. The personalised and more interactive nature of video (when compared to text alone) leads to a higher click-through rate, sending traffic to your website and helping to raise your search ranking.
Furthermore, Google is increasingly lending greater weight to websites that contain video content, part of a larger strategy in the trend towards rich media communications. The rules and algorithms determining search engine rankings change every other day, but the importance of video seems here to stay.
Better communication – and that’s the point!
Search engine algorithms aside, having video content is simply a better way to communicate with your target audience. Having video on your website draws the eye and stands out from text, while delivering emotion and body language that is so often lacking from non-personal communication. And, while written content could have been created by anyone, a video message from the CEO of the company cannot be outsourced or faked. The authenticity of video will help elevate your communication efforts from ‘just another website’ to a more personal and immediate sense of connection. But, before that connection can take place, you will need to get your video where people can see it.
Practical hints for video SEO
Metadata is everything. Search engines can’t watch video. When Google spots a website with video content, it trawls the site for text to help give it some context. A blank page with a video in the centre is practically invisible – cook up a text description of the video to use in its metadata, and if on YouTube, add some tags to describe it.
Detailed and specific video titles, and descriptions with unique keywords, will make sure search engines can ‘read’ your video. Filling in tags and longer descriptions will have the same effect; it may be a bit tedious, it’s but very much worth it!
Be clever about how you use keywords, but don’t try to create a ‘shortcut’ by using much-used but irrelevant keywords to create traffic. It’s annoying to users, not good for your brand identity, and Google can increasingly see through such tricks.
If your video is relatively short, it can be a good idea to make a transcription. You can then place this text somewhere out of the way, such as at the bottom of the YouTube description, in your blog metadata, etc. Your audience is unlikely to go through and read all of this, but it’s a good way to give a search engine a snapshot of what your video is.
Don’t miss a link opportunity
Search engines love links, but it’s easy to forget about these SEO goldmines when using video.
If posting videos to YouTube, every video you put out on your channel can and should link back to a relevant page on your website. Use YouTube for its search and discovery capabilities, to introduce new audiences to your content and make it do some work for you as a complementary referring site. It will also make it easy for people who enjoy your videos to find out more about your company or organisation.
Your YouTube page serves as another landing page for your brand and business, so make sure it’s up to scratch. Include a well written introduction with details about your company in the ‘About’ section. Provide lots of contextual links and take advantage of the extra branding features that are available to ‘Brand Channels’, including channel banners with clickable logos and messaging areas lower on the page.
Make it count
The final and most important piece of advice to use video effectively is to make great content. Using all of these tips to increase your SEO ranking will mean precisely zero if nobody wants to watch your video. Having an amateurish or poorly made video will reflect poorly on your business, and end up being counterproductive to your marketing effort. Conversely, if you can put up a great looking video that is relevant to your audience, you’ll be already half way there.
Robert Moorman is creative director at Hunting With Pixels, a strategic online video and social media production company.