More and more companies are using media sharing sites such as YouTube, Yahoo!Video and Vimeo in order to broaden their digital footprint. With a little strategy, these sites can be used as viable lead generation tools for your company.
No doubt you have probably heard a lot about search engine optimization (SEO) and that creating and publishing unique and valuable content is an important part in driving visitors to your website. Did you realize that there are ways to optimize your video content as well? Like traditional SEO, video search engine optimization (VSEO) can enhance your organic search engine results; like SEO there are best practices in optimizing your search rankings. By implementing VSEO techniques alongside your SEO best practices, you can increase views of your videos and as a result drive traffic to your site.
Content The first thing to consider when developing video content is your audience. Your videos should be relevant and interesting. Producing video content that is vague or too general will likely confuse your audience and although it may generate some traffic to your site, it may not be the visitors that you are looking for – customers.
Your videos need to look good. Notice I did not say “professional”. They don’t need to be slick. Just be sure your message is clear and is appropriate to the audience you are targeting. People buy from people, not businesses. YouTube and other social media sites allow you to personally connect with people – especially when it comes to video. Your website no longer looks like your competitors when it is you speaking directly to them. As the viewer learns of the value you bring or the problem you solve, you build tremendous credibility.
Keep your videos short. Viewers have short attention spans – especially on the Internet. You literally have seconds to capture their attention. A good rule of thumb for online videos is under five minutes. If you have a lot of content, consider breaking it up into multiple videos. This allows you to focus your message and works well especially when you have multiple products. Don’t forget to include your logo and website address in all your videos. Consider including links to specific landing pages on your website. This will increase brand awareness and provide you with some traffic data.
Be Creative! The old adage, “garbage in, garbage out” applies here. I had a customer that decided to convert his sales PowerPoint presentation to video and post it to YouTube. Not a terrible idea, but his PowerPoint presentation was 53 slides long. With the exception of the title slide, every slide consisted of no less than two paragraphs of 11-point text with an occasional non-relevant clip art image squeezed in between the paragraphs. No one is going to go to YouTube to read. We split the presentation into three shorter presentations: a corporate overview and two product-centric. We then created three distinct videos and uploaded them to YouTube. The result? Traffic to his site doubled.
Optimizing Your Videos for Search When you upload your videos, be sure to use catchy titles. You want to grab the viewers’ (and the search engines) attention. Think of these like the titles of a magazine or newspaper article.
Load up your videos with Tags – the more the better. Basic SEO applies here. Use Tags that are relevant to the content and as descriptive as possible. Don’t waste tag space on words like “and,” “to," and “the.”
Feed the URLs of competitors’ websites, their videos, and your own websites into Google’s Keyword Search Based Tool to suggest keywords, titles and descriptions that you can use in your videos. You will want to make sure that you link your videos back to relevant pages on your website. Use titles and key phrases that relate to specific content on your website.
Subscriptions, Ratings and Views It is important that you leverage the social nature of video sharing sites to help maximize your view counts. Ideally you want viewers to subscribe to and embed your videos on their blogs and websites. This lends credibility and increases your relevancy in the search results.
Don’t forget to include the videos on your own websites and blogs. Create a site map on your sites so that search engine spiders and humans can find them easily. Don’t limit yourself to YouTube. Even though Google owns YouTube, it indexes the entire internet. Upload your videos with tags and appropriate titles to other sharing sites such as YahooVideo and Vimeo.
"Reel" World Examples Here are two great examples of how companies are using YouTube to broaden their digital footprint.
Computer Simulation Technology – CST develops and markets software for the simulation of electromagnetic fields. The company launched their YouTube channel CSTworld in December 2008. CST uses YouTube for product announcements, feature demonstrations and events. By linking their videos to product specific sites (www.antennamagus.com), CST improves their organic search results rankings, driving traffic to their site.
Anritsu Company is a global provider of wired and wireless communication testing and measurement solutions. Launched in February 2008, Anritsu Company’s YouTube Channel features short, creative and informative videos that capture viewers’ attention. The videos are loaded up with descriptions and all Anritsu’s videos begin and end with their corporate branding and identity.
Conclusion According to YouTube, 20 hours of new video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. If you are not using video to drive traffic to your website, your competition will be soon. Stake your claim. Broaden your digital footprint and bolster your online marketing efforts using best practices of SEO using video.
About the Author: Jaime Leger is a partner at Sheppard Leger Nowak Inc. Marketing Communications. He specializes in the RF and microwave industry and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.