SEO Ideas for Video Marketing

February 14, 2012 | Brendan Cournoyer
SEO Ideas for Video Marketing

Search engine optimization (SEO) for video content is not without its share of challenges. After all, Google can’t exactly read the lips of speakers on a video when crawling for keywords, and even if it could (which would be awesome), many presentations use audio voice-overs with no lips to be found.

The result has led some to falsely believe that SEO for video is a waste of time. But video can also present certain opportunities for optimization that should not be overlooked, most notably sharability. As Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz points out in this short video, “Video is a medium that earns a lot of links, and a lot of link juice.” With search engines placing more emphasis on external backlinks and social media sharing, video marketing is easily a check worth cashing.

But before people can share your content, they have to find it. Here are a few simple SEO ideas for increasing the inbound traffic to your best video content.

#1. SEO for Video: What’s in a title?

In a word – everything. Say you’ve created a new Brainshark presentation to embed on a corporate blog post. The usual tricks of the SEO trade still apply, but since the body of the post is likely to be short on keyword-rich text, the quality of your title is more important than ever.

Here are some basic tips:

-          Understand what your target keyword phrase is. Some people use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool or something similar for keyword discovery. Others simply rely on the search engine’s auto-fill for longtail phrase ideas. But no matter what you do, it’s important to identify the target phrase that is most likely to drive your audience to the content on your site and include it in the title.

-          Keep your keywords close to the front of your title. While it won’t necessarily kill your search position if your keywords are loaded near the back, most folks will tell you that the titles with the keywords close to the front are in the best position to rank. With titles being so important when it comes to SEO for video content, this is certainly worth the effort.

-          Keep your title under 70 characters in length. Anything longer creates a poor experience for search engines and users alike.

#2. Does more text make sense?

While search engines can’t crawl video presentations for keywords, there is still the option of transcribing your content and including it right there on the page. Of course, there are pros and cons to this strategy.

The benefits here are pretty straightforward. First, transcribed videos generate more unique text for search engines to crawl, increasing the SEO potential of the page. It’s also easy to do. At Brainshark, we recommend writing out a script for all video presentations ahead of time, so all you’d have to do is take that script and drop it right into your blog post. Then again, if you decided to wing it, there are always reasonably inexpensive transcription services like Speechpad (which charges $1.00 per minute of audio) that can do it for you.

But there are cons to consider as well. For example, depending on where your video is featured, transcription doesn’t always make sense. Blog posts are great, but what if you’re embedding it on one of your main site landing pages? Or even your home page? There’s also no guarantee that the transcribed audio will include enough keyword juice to have any effect on your rankings at all. In the end, it could potentially serve to discourage people from viewing the actual presentation, which is the last thing you want.

My advice, in most cases, would be to simply create unique, keyword-rich text for the page that teases the video and entices people to view it. That, combined with a good title, meta description and internal linking strategy, should be enough.

#3. Should your content live on YouTube?

The easy answer is yes, but again, it depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you’re targeting the greatest possible viewership and reach for your video content, than YouTube is probably the way to go. It’s one of the most popular search engines on the planet, and of course, holds high authority in Google search results.

It’s simple to upload Brainshark presentations to YouTube, but remember to include calls to action in the summary section to encourage clicks back to your company website. Also, while Brainshark makes it easy to add clickable links and surveys within your videos, these will no longer work once uploaded to YouTube. As a result, it might be a best practice to take advantage of YouTube’s annotation features to add calls to action and links back into your presentations.

Then again, if the ultimate goal of your video is to drive more traffic and higher conversion rates to your website, then YouTube might not be the right option. Because of its authority in search, chances are if you posted the same video with the same title on your own site and on YouTube, the latter would likely rank higher.

As far as SEO goes, a better option might be to use your keyword-rich title for the video that lives on your site, but a different (and possibly more compelling) title for YouTube. That way you might find yourself celebrating the best of both worlds.

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