Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps rank and find your video. And with 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every MINUTE, that comes in handy.
A higher ranking also gives you more street cred – or in this case – cyber credibility.
SEO and analytics are the math side of all things and although it might be a bit intimidating especially to the more creative types out there, it’s actually a blessing, because finally we CAN make the point that there is an actual Return on Investment (ROI) when it comes to spending money and time on video marketing! Yay.SEO is about optimizing a set of signals that tell search engines whether a video is sufficiently relevant and important to get a spot in the search ranking. That’s as high-brow as I’ll get here. Going forward, I’m keeping things as action oriented as possible:
The factors that determine how “important” your video is to any given online query are listed below. No one seems to know EXACTLY how the factor-cocktail is being mixed, but we have a pretty good idea what helps with rankings.
Ranking factors in order of importance (more or less):
- KEYWORDS: Need to be in the title of the video
- VIEWS: How many?
- VIEW VELOCITY: This is about viewing volume over time. Has viewing picked up and KEPT its viewership, or is it in a decline, or has it flat lined?
- QUALITY: Are people watching to the end?
- INTERACTION: Do people share, ‘like’, comment, favorite it?
- LOCATION DIVERSITY: The more places a video is embedded the more ‘important’ it must be (the authority of a location is also important. Say: New York Times vs. your friend’s FB stream)
- LOCATION DISTANCE: How far way from the home page is the video embedded?
- YOUTUBE CHANNEL: How important is your channel?
- How fresh is it (i.e. how recently have you posted)?
- How often do you post?
- How many subscribers do you have?
- How often and/or how much do you use annotations and tagging?
- Are your videos part of playlist?
The list above boils down to two basic factors:
- Engagement: Both quantity and quality
- Relevance: Classification and qualification
Relevance you can control, engagement you cannot.
Here the steps you will need to take for your video SEO:
SEO starts with hosting your video. For hosting advice please read How to Decide Where to Host Your Videos. To summarize: the more limited your resources, the more I suggest you use YouTube to host your videos, unless you have major privacy concerns, then look into Vimeo or Wistia.
Key Words & Key Phrases:
Finding the right key phrases and key words for your video title, description, and tagging, is a science in itself and we will be posting a link pack with some great resources next week and I’ll link back to this blog.
What you need to know:
- The Title of Video is your TOPIC, and it should contain your Key Word.
- Your Key Phrase is a bit more specific and is the DESCRIPTION of your video.
- To get to your Key Word and your Key Phrase ask yourself:
- How will your audience search for the answers to their questions?
- What are their questions?
- What terminology are they using?
- Use only 1, at most 2 key words
- Use the audience language
Tagging: Tagging is super important:
- Don’t spam-tag. You might get some backlash from unhappy viewers.
- Keep it real, but go as deep as you can and stay relevant.
- Tags and Keywords build on each other.
For tagging use:
- Key word
- Key phrase
- At least one very general tag
- Get very specific and don’t be shy to use a lot of tags
- Don’t use ‘stop’ words like: And, the, a, or
- Use “mood” tags, like: Funny, sad
- Tag PLURAL rather than singular
Views: don’t buy views – you won’t be able to keep up viewing velocity and you might actually get found out and penalized for it with no or lower rankings.
- Don’t be shy to ask people to share with their friends
- Embed the video in different places
- Share it yourself
Video Title: make clear what a viewer will see
- Be fully descriptive
- Include Key Word
- Make it 68 characters or less (Google truncates after 68)
- Entice to click and share
- Write for benefit, action, and humor
Description: Don’t “stuff” the keyword in it again and again
- Include a Call to Action (CTA). i.e.: “Watch this video and learn…”
- Include a few takeaways: What will they learn
- Give it a thumbs up
Comments: The Quality of the comments do matter for rankings
- It’s an indirect social proof
- Friends and followers might see if someone they know left a comment
- Always answer all comments
- Block bullies, or false advertisers
- Don’t remove criticism – gracefully answer those too
- Don’t feed the trolls
Ratings: Ratings are ranked by quantity AND velocity
- Good or bad ratings do NOT matter – as long as there’s a slight balance towards positive
- Ask for a thumbs up (or just a ‘rating’) in description of your video. i.e.: “Please rate this video below”
- They are still very helpful. Most crawlers are still mostly text based
- Put the video’s transcription on the YouTube page, AND on the embed page on your website
- Use it if people are watching your videos on mobile and not listening to the audio
- Be cautious: automatic captions are not very accurate
- They are time based as they “move with the video”
Annotations: They do not get ranked, but they are very helpful tools because they get people to take ACTIONS.
- Great for Call to Actions
- Great for linking to your website or specific content
- Include one video per page (does not apply to courses, etc)
- Use transcripts
- Have social media sharing buttons on your pages
- Optimize the webpage title tag
- Create a link to the page the video lives on from a prominent page on your site
- If you REALLY need to have all the traffic of viewing video on your own site then don’t host on YouTube: Host on Vimeo and block the video so Google can’t crawl it
- Have a launch plan
- Keep announcements short
- Embed only, don’t upload
- Go to: FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
- Use Google+: even if you have zero friends, Google search favors it
- Monitor feedback and answer: engage
- Help with ranking because they aggregate views from within
- Viewers might watch the entire list
- 2nd chance to optimize for titles and tags
- Users can like and share an entire list
- You can link channels
- You can link them to your website
- Link them to Google+
- Create two welcome videos: One for peeps who are new, and one for returning visitors. It’s like your channel’s trailer
- Log into account, look at chart on top, follow links on left to look through all the info
- Segment your data
- Good reports to look at:
- Total views over time of all videos
- Engagement metrics
- Top traffic sources
- Playback locations: Mobile, YouTube, Website
- Audience retention: are they watching to the end?
Pfew! It’s a long list, but it moves fast, especially once you’re clear on your key words, phrases, and tags. After all you want to make sure that all the hard work that went into producing your videos isn’t in vain. Make sure you get your full ROI, and remember: this was just the top of the iceberg; beginners stuff!
* Source: Lynda.com, Ian Lurie’s class on SEO for Video – beginners course