Video Marketing: Optimize for Customers^* not Search

Video Marketing: Optimize for Customers^* not Search
August 8, 2012

While SEO is important, organizations should never lose sight of who they’re really marketing to.

Late last month, the folks at ReelSEO posted a great interview with Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing that I feel compelled to share. Lee is an extremely well-respected voice in the online marketing world, and having spoken to him personally in the past, I can tell you that he’s the real deal.

The interview covers some of the new approaches organizations should take when it comes to video marketing and content creation, particularly with regards to search engine optimization practices. While Lee’s written an entire book on what the term “optimize” really means today, I think the following quote from his interview sums it up best:

At the end of the day my goal is not to get a site to rank well; my goal is to get people to buy stuff.”

That’s really what it all comes down to, isn’t it? And for that reason, the companies that keep their eyes on the prize and care more about engagement than rankings will likely end up with the most successful strategies.

Video SEO is important – just not THAT important

Obviously, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that SEO doesn’t matter anymore. After all, I’ve written about video SEO ideas many times in the past, and it’s still a necessary facet of effective content marketing. But while the best practices should always be followed, it’s important for companies to not get too bogged down in the race for high Google rankings in a way that trumps their true goal – growing their business.

While Lee explains this much more eloquently in his interview, here are two things that companies should never, ever lose sight of when it comes to online video marketing:

#1. Rankings alone don’t mean much. With video and other content types, everyone wants to be listed on page one in Google, and some companies will do whatever it takes to get there. But it’s not about where you rank, it’s about the impact of those rankings.

In other words, putting too much emphasis on SEO to the detriment of the content itself might still get you a high ranking here and there, but it won’t do much else for you. After all, what’s the point of getting lots of clicks if your content is no good, doesn’t inform the audience, or fails to move viewers forward through the sales funnel? Not only does this reflect poorly on your business, but it creates a missed opportunity to generate new leads and potential buyers, making your high ranking all but worthless.

Quality over quantity might be a beaten-down cliché at this point, but it really matters with content marketing. When it comes to video, always focus on understanding your audience and creating something of value first; everything else should come second.

#2. Avoid OVER-optimization. At least from a search perspective, that is. As Lee points out, Google’s Panda and (more recently) Penguin updates are all geared around one thing: weeding out the crap content and delivering higher quality results in search. One way Google does this is by identifying sites and pages that churn out un-unique, low quality content and over-optimized posts (too many keywords, too many unnatural links, etc.).

While these tricks of the trade might have worked in the past, those days are quickly coming to an end. You’re much better off combining more simple SEO best practices with quality content that will be shared and linked to naturally over time. There are really no more shortcuts to video SEO anymore.

Essentially, always remember WHO you are creating content for, because a search engine is unlikely to ever buy anything from you. The best video content tells a compelling story (I like Lee’s quote of “facts tell, stories sell”), reflects well on your business and inspires (or at least encourages) viewers to learn more about your products or services. By asking yourself A) “what will people be looking for when they come across this video” and B) “am I doing a good job of giving them that information,” you’ll likely achieve better results than any search ranking alone can give you.