Video marketing has clearly become a more popular and effective component of a sound content strategy. But for businesses, creating a viral marketing campaign isn’t just about getting people to view your videos, but encouraging them to share them.
Recently, I spoke with Jason Acidre, CEO and Lead Marketing Strategist at Xight Interactive, to get his thoughts on some of the ways video content can be used to improve SEO and visibility for your most critical marketing messages.
Jason also manages the online marketing blog Kaiser the Sage, one of my favorite sites for learning how to improve your online marketing efforts through SEO, social media and more. You can also follow him on Twitter @kaiserthesage.
I’ve read that including videos with your content can be an effective way to drive more backlinks to your site. Do you agree? What can you tell us about using video to improve your link building and overall content marketing efforts?
JA: Yes, definitely, especially when the embedded video offers real value to the content’s target audience. In fact, including videos on text-based content makes the content look more comprehensive, and this aspect makes it more appealing to readers, which increases the probability of having the content shared socially and/or be cited as a resource (by linking to it).
There are also many ways videos can improve a site’s link building campaign (particularly in attracting natural links), such as adding custom embed codes (wherein the embed code can also include a link attribution to its original source – probably the site’s homepage).
It’s also easier to request links to pages that contain high-value content (with videos) through outreach. There will be more impact to the influential people that you reach out to if they find your content interesting/useful to their following base. We have tried doing this to Affilorama’s free affiliate marketing lessons (which include extensive video tutorials), where we’ve had high response and success rates for link acquisition, since the pages were offering valuable content with high-quality video tutorials.
Launching creative viral-focused videos (like infographic animation or short films) can disseminate brand awareness, which of course can lead to more branded links, especially if the video was efficiently distributed through outreach (featuring it on guest blogs, promoting via social media, etc.).
Zappos’ approach to video marketing – through making HD videos of the products they offer (over 50,000 product videos) – is a good sample of an effective video content marketing, in which bloggers who review products that Zappos offers, then use and embed their videos to their blogs (which allowed them to generate more links to their pages).
Without resorting to keyword stuffing, a well-optimized and engaging title is still an important part of SEO. Because videos generally lack in text-rich content, would you say that effective titles are especially important for video content when it comes to search?
JA: Yes, the title tag is still one of the biggest ranking factors when it comes to on-page optimization, given that it’s the first section of a webpage the search engines will be able to crawl and use to assess what the content of that certain page contains.
Using keyword-rich titles can certainly improve the video’s (or the page containing the video's) visibility on search results. However, there are also other optimization methods that content creators can do to make their video content more search engine-friendly (without the risk of interrupting user experience) such as:
Implementing video sitemaps, so search engines can easily access the site’s pages that contain videos. This can also allow those pages to display prominently on search results through rich-snippets (search listings will include video thumbnails), which can increase click-throughs from searchers.
Optimizing the video’s description, where other related keywords can be used to describe more of the video’s content.
Transcribing the entire video and including the text-version within the page (below the video), to make it easier for search engines to understand what the video is about. Notice how SEOmoz implements this on their Whiteboard Friday Series.
Using the video’s target keyword as the video’s filename.
Most would agree that getting your videos on YouTube is critical to extending your reach and increasing the chances of your content being found. Are there any special considerations for YouTube optimization when compared to, say, a regular blog post?
JA: I agree, knowing that YouTube is the second largest search engine – and widely used worldwide. Videos hosted on YouTube also show up on Google’s search results (for relevant search queries), which makes it a more powerful tool for marketing.
I believe YouTube’s ranking factors are more on usage-data, where they mostly base it on the video’s amount of views, votes and interactions (i.e. comments, video responses), and this is aside from the on-page factors that they also use.
With that said, to efficiently make videos more visible to their target audience (within YouTube and Google’s platform), marketers will really need to drive interactions to their videos and make it more engaging, to compel their viewers to share and contribute to the discussion.
It’s been said that video content works very well for social media marketing. Have you found that there are certain social platforms in particular that are especially effective for sharing videos and improving visibility?
JA: Facebook is sure to be on the top of the list, as this social platform has many highly-engaged users (and are very much active in sharing interesting content to their networks). Promoting videos on Facebook by targeting industry influencers and having them share your videos on the social network is certainly one of the most efficient methods in driving more views and multiplying the shares the video will get.
Promoting videos via Stumbleupon is also a good way to drive more traffic/views/shares to your videos, especially if you’re offering interesting and valuable content. You can utilize Stumbleupon’s paid discovery (ads) to jumpstart your campaign and assure that the video that you’ll launch will get more views and social interactions.