Go beyond traditional search engine optimization by incorporating video into your Web strategy
In their never-ending quest to figure out the best ways to get search engine attention for their Web sites, inventive marketers stumbled upon a virtual goldmine: search engines like Google frequently rank videos very high on the first page of a search’s results. Key the words “Shamwow demo” into the search engine and the first result that comes up is a link to an online AOL video, followed by two more blogTV links that put the product to the test.
When it comes to search engine rankings, there’s literally no end to the number of tricks a company will try to gain the best possible spot on the page. That’s because most Web surfers stop after seeing their favorite search engine’s top 10 choices. Those companies fortunate enough to land on the first page of a keyword search – and preferably as high up on the page on possible – are the ones that will walk away with the business.
Video can help you get there. According to a recent Forrester blog, companies can improve their chances, by 50 times, of showing up at the top of the Google search results by using videos. Forrester says a video has an “11,000-to-1 chance of making it onto the first page of results.” If you compare that to web pages for the same keyword set, you only have a “500,000-to-1 chance” of getting on the first page.
For example, for keywords that show video results in Google, you have a “50 times better chance of appearing on the first page of results than any given text page in the index,” reports Forrester, which provides these tips for getting search engines to recognize and incorporate your videos into their searches:
- Insert keywords into your video filenames
- Host your videos on YouTube, and embed those YouTube videos into your own site. Google says its algorithms consider how many times a video is viewed, and any views embedded videos receive on your own site get added to the ‘views’ tally on YouTube
- Optimize your YouTube videos by writing keywords into your videos’ titles, descriptions and tags
- Embed videos into relevant text pages on your site. The context provided by the text on those pages (which is hopefully already optimized for search as well) will help the search engines figure out what your videos are about
- Create a video library on your site so that Google knows where to find your video content. Then, write keyword-rich annotations for each video in the librar
The concept of using online video to boost search rankings is fairly new, but companies and individuals both are catching onto this new avenue. Key the words “Rock Climbing” into Google, for example, and the fourth link will whisk you off to one of two different videos of rock climbers in action. Click on the “video” link just above the search boxand entire page of action videos will be right at your fingertips.
“These days, it’s not unusual to see a search engine like Google pull up a YouTube video in its top 10 results,” says Linda Girard, co-founder of online marketing consulting firm Pure Visibility in Ann Arbor, Mich. “The best way to maximize this trend is by uploading your video to various sites and attach good, searchable terms to the clips in order to get those high rankings.”
Does this mean you can forgo the pay-per-click strategy in favor of a video-only online advertising model? Hardly. In fact, a company’s Web strategy should always incorporate a mix of pay-per-click keyword searches (where you “buy” the most relevant keywords to ensure that your site attains a high ranking) and search engine optimization (SEO), a way of attaining a high ranking in search engines and directories via changes to your site code that make it more search engine compatible.
Keeping title tag keywords relevant and updated is as important with video as it is with Web sites, says Girard, who advises firms to review the product and/or service descriptions regularly, keeping in mind that they must make sense to both the search engines and the users. “Look at whether the key phrases are really telling your company’s story to the user. If they’re not, then change them to better reflect your message and mission.”
Companies that diversify across as many video and social networking sites as possible are the ones that will get the best results from their marketing approach, says Donna Johnson, CEO at media services provider Indie Business Media in Charlotte, N.C. “Don’t rely on any particular Web site – such as YouTube, Hulu, Twitter or FaceBook – to cover the bases for you,” Johnson says. “Put your video out there in different areas of the Web and you’ll increase your search engine rankings organically by simply being ubiquitous.”