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How to Optimize Video: Step by Step Instructions

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On Day 1 at SES San Jose, the Video Search Engine Optimization session was jam packed with people standing around the perimeter.

It’s no surprise when you consider the speakers line up:Greg Jarboe, President & Co-founder, SEO-PR; Chase Norlin, CEO, Pixsy Corporation ; Steve Espinosa, Director of Product Development & Management, eLocal Listing, LLC; Matthew Scheybeler, CTO, blinkx and Gregory Markel, Founder/President, Infuse Creative, LLC. All this moderated by Joseph Morin, Partner, Boost Search Marketing & CEO, Storybids, Inc.

While everyone agreed on the basics there is clearly a lot of opportunity to break new ground in Video Optimization.

Top 10 Basics to Optimize your Video. Do these if you do nothing else:

1) Do keyword research to determine the best tags for your video.

  • Forget common sense, tag based on how people are searching (Chase Nolan).
  • But don’t keyword stuff – the video search engines look for that and will mark you down for it (Matthew Scheybeler).
  • And don’t tag with popular yet irrelevant search terms (Gregory Markel)

2) Build a page on your site for each video that you produce and make sure you tag it with meta data appropriately. (Steve Espinosa)

3) Add rich metadata to the video as well. Most video search today is still based on metadata (Chase Nolan).

4) Make sure that you are consistent with how you tag it across the various video sharing sites. (Steve Espinosa)

5) Utilize Thumbnails – YouTube takes the frame from the 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 mark and let’s you pick which one to use as your thumbnail(Steve Espinosa).

6) Show your call to action (ie.your phone number) in your thumbnail so when your YouTube video shows up in the Google Search Results the call to action will be front and center (Steve Espinosa).

7) Do not use active X controls as there is no active x control in YouTube (Steve Espinosa).

8) Avoid flash only and entirely dynamic video (Gregory Markel).

9) Video Length- people don’t want to watch a 4 min video. Look at your analytics. If your video is 2 minutes long and people are leaving the page at 30 seconds then you know your video’s too long (Matthew Scheybeler).

10) Don’t forget to incorporate a call to action at the end of the video (Matthew Scheybeler).

Additional Killer Tips for more Advanced Optimization:

Greg Jaraboe

  • YouTube is a video search engine but its primary benefit is that it’s a video sharing site. So optimizing is important but video sharing strategy is more important.
  • If you look at your metrics you will see that a HUGE proportion of your views come from Related Videos not from YouTube search results. In other words, people don’t just watch one video at a time, they watch videos. And they are using the related videos feature in YouTube to find additional content.
  • 71% of views from embedded player, 7.4% form YouTube Search – Customize your video player for people to upload to their blogs.

Chase Norlin

  • Push out RSS/MRSS and update frequently. Video search crawling has not been automated. It’s important to push it out regularly
  • Contact and submit to video search engines. If you email them you will get into their crawl queue. You will become a source that’s regularly crawled.
  • Running a video search engine on your site can help you get more searches and page views which will help your site get more page views, ad revenue etc. Plus it gives the traditional search engines more content to crawl.

Stephen Espinosa

  • Use A/B testing to determine which videos get the best response. Link to these videos from your home page.
  • Use Google Local + Video – people are 3.3 more likely to click. This is similar to the studies that show that sponsored search + organic increases CTR beyond just appearing for one result alone.

Gregory Markel

  • Promote your video at Social Bookmarking and tagging sites. i.e. Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.
  • Use content targeting through Google Adwords to promote your video within YouTube. Adwords is a fraction of the cost of what you would pay to YouTube.
  • Use your keywords to see how the top viewed videos are searched. Look at how many comments, honors, and links they’re got. This gives you insight into what your video needs to achieve to rank well for these keywords as well.
  • Find videos with a lot of views and create a video response video. This will enable you to piggyback on the popularity of the other video. Make sure that your title and description are similar to the popular video.

Optimizing video using SEO best practices is just a start. By combining good optimization with Social Media promotional tactics, you can greatly increase the popularity of your video.

Jennifer Osborne is VP Business Development for Search Engine People a Toronto SEO Company

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3 Comments

  1. Kevin Polley on August 21, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Hi Jennifer

    Thanks for the breakdown of the who’s and why’s. For those of us who couldn’t get to the SES in person this is really useful info. I really hadn’t considered A/B splits for video.

    Video marketing and VSEO is something we are all going to need to understand better. Keep it coming please.

  2. Billy Colonna on October 24, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    I am interning in the marketing department of a healthcare system in Virginia. One of my projects was to create and maintain a YouTube channel. My name is a hyper link to the channel.
    One of the most interesting YouTube features is the ‘insight’ function. With insight, you can see the demographics of people, who are viewing your videos, how they got to your video, and the search terms they used to find the video.
    I know that we had a company help us pick keywords for our website, but I think this ‘discovery’ part of YouTube could be helpful for companies, who may not have the budget for doing an SEO analysis through a company.

  3. Daniel Caliguire on April 30, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Great Info. I have done a lot of work within video marketing/seo and have mastered the ability to get first page organic rankings within 24 hours, using most of what you discussed. Well done.

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