Video is quickly becoming one of the most popular types of content on the web. It's predicted that by 2017, 74 percent of all internet traffic will be video. According to nydailynews.com, the average American currently watches five hours of television every day, and in 2013 one in three tablet owners spent at least an hour watching video on it each day. As people turn from the big screen in their living rooms to the smaller screen in their hands, it's hard to deny the potential impact video can have for you and your company.
As the CEO of an Internet marketing firm that helps companies fix issues with online video, I've worked with a variety of clients who've seen video marketing achieve quicker results than traditional search engine optimization methods. For example, one trick is to optimize and properly sort video listings on your YouTube channel. Because Google owns YouTube, I've seen clients get their videos onto the first page of organic search engine results for many of their target keyword phrases. We've found that when Google decides to put a video in its results for a keyword phrase, effectively labeling your video listing is the easiest way to reach the first page.
However, video is often used ineffectively. (We've all seen YouTube videos with only a handful of views languishing at the end of search engine results.) To ensure your video rises beyond that, here are a few video SEO tips I've learned over the years that will help your content be seen and indexed by search engines, ensuring that your content gets viewed by more people.
- Research keyword phrases. Find the phrases that people are entering into search engines that are associated with your video. Experiment with a variety of keywords or phrases to dial in on the ones that bring up the best results for the content you're posting. For example, when we did videos for our client Classic Marble Restoration Inc., we experimented with "marble cleaning," "marble polishing" and "natural stone restoration" to see which would get the best results.
- Give your video a descriptive filename. Before you upload, name your video something relevant. Even though viewers won't see that your video file is named "Video1234.mpg," search engines will still pick up on that information. You could give it a name such as "MarblePolishingSouthFlorida.mpg" to assist with your SEO initiatives.
- Tag your video with appropriate keyword phrases. Make sure that content and titles are natural and easy to read for real users while also adding keyword phrases to your video tags. Take advantage of every chance you get to give search engines additional relevant information, including entering information into fields like tags and annotations. The more descriptive you are, the better chance you have of ranking. For example, for one of our clients, Classic Marble Restoration, tags included "Marble Polishing Services in Fort Lauderdale" or "Residential Marble Cleaning in Fort Lauderdale."
- Use the "Closed Captioning" feature. This gives search engines additional content to crawl. By transcribing your video and adding closed captions, you are providing more content that can be picked up in search results.
- Post the video into a relevant category on YouTube. You can also upload it to other sites that get crawled by Google or other search engines. Carefully select the category or categories you place the video in to ensure that it gets picked up by category-specific search results. For example, we would put one of our videos for our client Classic Marble Restoration (mentioned above) under the category of "Home Improvement."
- Be sure to incorporate relevant content on your video channel. By adding information to your YouTube or Vimeo channel, you are giving search engines additional relevant information that will be tied to the videos. If you have a variety of videos on your channel that could be easily grouped into subcategories, consider creating playlists for each of those subcategories.
Video is becoming increasingly significant in the world of SEO: 17 percent of people spend less than four seconds on a website, but the same people are willing to watch up to 2.7 minutes of video online. Make sure you're seeing a solid ROI on the time you spend making this increasingly important content.
Seth Rand is the Founder and CEO of Rand Internet Marketing, along with being an internet marketing speaker, author and consultant specializing in search engine marketing and social media marketing. Follow him @sethrand.