This post continues our series on increasing your visibility within Google’s new Universal Search results. Previous posts covered Google Maps and Google News. The Universal Search results include video results in many different types of searches. For example, product searches often result in video reviews. News and entertainment searches can trigger relevant video results. Most of the results are from Youtube, so this article will focus on optimizing your video content hosted there. Additional consideration is given to videos hosted on your own site.
Video is one of the fastest growing types of content on the Internet. Even though the medium has been around for decades, nothing has been able to replace its ability to visually convey information or provide entertainment. Increased broadband penetration makes bandwidth-hogging streaming video a viable option for more U.S. web surfers.
This great communication medium is not without its challenges. For one, search engine crawlers can not derive context from the actual video itself. The technology to interpret video is not far off, but for now we must rely on “meta data”, or data about data. Follow this basic list of video optimization tactics and you’ll dramatically improve the chances of your content appearing within the Google Universal Search results.
Youtube Video Optimization
1. Use a descriptive file name. Pick 2-3 keywords that best describe your video’s content and separate them with a dash (“-“) or underscore (“_”). For example, name a file “iphone_review.mov” instead of “vid301054.mov”.
2. Describe the video appropriately. Youtube (and other video sites) allow users to submit titles, descriptions and “tags” for each video. Be descriptive, but not too verbose. Keep the title and description short and to the point. Do a little keyword research and include different variations of your keywords as tags.
3. Choose the most appropriate category. Don’t just pick the one you think will be most popular.
4. Take the time to include audio transcripts if the option is available. These can be submitted as a separate .txt file. Youtube does not offer this option, but other video sharing sites do. Transcripts are formatted differently depending on the site you are submitting to, but Google Video’s transcripts are a good representation of what to expect:
Words said between 09:54:50.000 and 09:54:53.000
Words said between 09:54.53.000 and the next segment.
Words said at 09:54:54.000
5. Date and Geo-tag your video. This will make your video available to people that search by geographic region.
6. If you host the video on your own site, include relevant text around the embedded video that includes your targeted keywords and the words “video” or “videos”. Contextually relevant content on the same page as the video is a good signal about the contents of the video itself. Crawlers can use the nearby text to determine a video’s context.
7. As with all other forms of SEO, you should build links to the page where the video is hosted (your site or Youtube) from other topically relevant pages and sites. Be sure to use your targeted keywords in the link’s anchor text.
8. If you host the video yourself, make sure the page it is hosted on has relevant title, description and keywords tags. This will alert crawlers and users that the page contains video content, which usually results in better click through rates from various search sites.
9. Don’t be tempted to submit fake user comments stuffed with your targeted keywords. Let actual viewers take care of this for you.
10. Above all else, don’t be boring. Offer useful, engaging content. Humor and controversy work well to build viral distribution, as do rebuttals and “video responses” to others’ videos. Before you publish anything, put yourself in a viewer’s shoes. Would you watch your own video? Does it provide anything new or is it simply a “me too” piece of content?
Not every piece of video content will be the next “Evolution of Dance” but with practice and commitment you can find your niche and increase your company’s visibility by utilizing the power of video. Tomorrow’s topic will be image optimization for Google Images.
Updated list of categories covered:
7/31 – Google Maps
8/1 – Google News
8/2 – Youtube Video
8/3 – Google Images
8/6 – Google Blog Search
8/8 – Google Base
8/9 – Google Books
8/10 – Google Groups
8/13 – Google Code Search
Any others I’m missing? Leave a comment. Thanks!