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Actionable Video SEO for Marketers

Jan 30, 2012 / by Ash Buckles

Online video and YouTube have become synonymous for both producers and viewers. As we stop to think about other videos sites we remember all the others (Facebook, Bing, Vevo, Hulu, Ustream.tv, Daily Motion, Break.com, ESPN, Vimeo, etc. and so on) that serve up millions of videos daily.

That's a lot of time spent watching moving pictures! YouTube currently receives 48 hours of video uploaded every minute and serves 3 billion videos per day.

Google+ Hangouts are changing who is producing videos and how they're being used. Once Google lifts the restrictions on how many can join a hangout, which I suspect is coming with business pages, we'll see more video content being created. More than just pranks and idiots filming evidence for their next arrest.

There are several things that can help your videos attain more visibility. First think about where visibility happens: on the search engine results pages (Universal Search), YouTube (or wherever you've uploaded your video), blog embeds, etc. To get a wide range interest you need to consider a ton of factors.

Video SEO Ranking Factors

  • Keywords in title
  • Number of views
  • Number of comments
  • Category & Tags
  • +1/Shares/Tweets/Embeds
  • Favorites
  • Ratings
  • Sentiment (Like/Dislike ratio)
  • Channel views
  • Number of subscribers
  • Links
  • Embeds
  • Video Sitemap
  • Channel login activity
  • Speed & consistency of interest
  • Quality description (click-thru factor)
  • Flags (negative)
Lets review some of these in more detail.

Keywords in Title

This example shows that a lot has been left on the table in terms of what other words should have been used to describe this video based on terms people would use to find the video. For example: theory, statistics, analysis, etc.

Category & Tags

The category here is probably misplaced since most people don't find trend and variation as entertaining. For us nerds, maybe it's properly categorized. However, the tags here do a better job at targeting words that users will be searching.

Pro tip: I always recommend multiple variations on spelling. For example: statistics & stats

Views, Ratings, Comments & Favorites

You'll see there are over 34,000 video views so there's some obvious interest by the public. This is important to show that it could become wildly popular vs. a similar video with 100 views.

Ratings are favorable with a few dislikes so the sentiment could be described as positive. Having a positive sentiment is not always the strongest indicator for rankings but generally the more people like a video, the better chance it has in obtaining each of the important ranking factors.

Comments are marginally active. With 34,000 views, many videos would demand a few thousand comments but this varies considerably.

Favorites are pretty good with 148. Much like comments, not everybody interacts the same way with video. Since there are more than a handful, it's easy to see there is interest in sharing or saving this video for later reference.

Significant Discovery Events

Notice here that Event A and Event B created a large spike in views, comments, and favorites in the above chart? This is critical to understand who is going to help you get noticed and will naturally increase rankings as a result of video views, ratings, comments, favorites, etc.

Don't be afraid to lookup what publishers are embedding videos and reach out to them to either (a) ask what videos they need for upcoming stories or (b) what types of characteristics they like to see in videos they're planning to embed. Create a relationship and provide great video content to writers on a deadline.

Types of Videos to Produce

  • Identify which keywords return video results in the universal results pages of the search engines
  • Product videos
  • Events
  • Interviews
  • Journalistic storytelling
  • Screenshot (demo) videos
  • Tutorials
  • Production lines
  • How things are made
  • Announcements

Zappos product videos help consumers get a better description of the products they're interested in buying. Along with images, there's a very quick video where you can see products from every angle, as though you're standing in the room having a discussion with a personal shopper. This comes as part of a Zappos strategy to launch 50,000 product videos in 2010.

Keyword Research for Video

  • Standard keyword research using Google Adwords Keyword Tool
  • Related searches (both search engines and video sites)
  • Suggest/Auto-Complete Terms (the terms that drop down as you're typing a search query)
  • YouTube Searches & Related
  • Keywords from your social media friends
  • Industry terms

Video XML Sitemaps

Customizing your video XML sitemap is going to require a little technical knowledge. Don't be intimidated out of taking this important step. Hire help if you must. Research the basics, test and tweak as you go. Make sure you submit your video sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools.

Ok. That's all pretty heavy so lets recap:
  1. Determine what your audience likes to watch
  2. Produce something that people will want to watch
  3. Submit your video to YouTube and other video sites where your audience views videos
  4. Research your keywords, categorize and tag your video properly
  5. Submit your video XML sitemap
  6. Have your social media friends get involved to launch the video
  7. Stay active with the community and comments
  8. Focus on getting interest from outside your circle of influence (reach out to bloggers/journalists)
  9. Nurture the content you produce by updating people about significant events over its media life
  10. Don't abuse your lists/friends/connections in trying to get views to every video from every friend
  11. Rinse and repeat
Check out my Actionable Video SEO slides for more examples.

Topics: Blog Video Marketing

Ash Buckles

Written by Ash Buckles

For 15 years, Ash Buckles has worked at the forefront of branding through search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, blog marketing, social media, and ColdFusion development. As a recognized industry thought leader, he regularly speaks at search marketing events put on by organizations such as the American Marketing Association, SLCSEM, and Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum. His experience includes online marketing consulting with hundreds of enterprise clients as well as small businesses.

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