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Engage Your Audience with These Video SEO Best Practices

After creating some good video content, it is time to create ways for people to find and experience your content. Learn some video marketing best practices for video search engine optimization from Rand Fishkin of MOZ and Greg Jarboe of SEO-PR.

Video SEO marketing on video platforms

Considering that YouTube has over a billion unique visitors per month and that YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google, it is clear that your video marketing strategy starts with YouTube.

Greg Jarboe, the president and co-founder of SEO-PR states that “if you are not on YouTube, the odds that your video will be found are low”.  Consider that in addition to Google video searches, which favor YouTube videos over others, YouTube itself has its own separate search engine from Google.

YouTube is an enclosed social ecosystem in and of itself where people go specifically with the intention of looking for video. Jarboe notes that there are many benefits to using other video platforms, but warns that you should “not avoid YouTube”.

Rand Fishkin, founder of MOZ, notes that it is important to distribute your video on YouTube to tap into the active video searches there, but to not neglect the value of video that resides on your own site. There are a lot of people searching on YouTube for educational content, but video content on your site can earn a lot of links which can help you rank for that content as well.

“At MOZ, we have a video series called Whiteboard Friday and we film those weekly. Those videos get a lot of traffic and they drive a lot of value for our web site. So we want that traffic to stay on our web site. We know that we can convert people into our community account and get them to subscribe to us and get them to share and amplify our content.”

So if garnering an audience on YouTube does not exclude you from gaining a more diverse audience on your own website using Wistia, Vimeo, Vidyard, Brightcove, or Ooyala, why limit the distribution channels to just your site and YouTube?

Consider Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms for additional ways to get your video content out there.

Duplicate content on different distribution channels

Having your video on your web site and the same video on YouTube will not create a search engine detriment.  This is because even though it is duplicate content, it is on two different search engines.

In Google, search results of the website version of your video appear alongside the YouTube video or if the titles are the same, it may only show the YouTube version. Hopefully both venues of the video will show in the search results. Keep in mind that this is an opportunity to AB test with different thumbnails and different titles for the same video.

Fishkin pointed out that you used to able to get the rich snippet markup video results from your website within your search results. “Video xml site maps used to give your web site the ability to show the video rich snippets in the search results”. But the video snippet value got snipped by Google, giving YouTube an advantage in showing up.  One thing you can do is consider different uses for your video thumbnails or poster frames. Consider repurposing these images in association with written transcriptions of the content.

Video transcription

Video SEO best practices include creating a transcription for your video. “Make sure that you are providing a transcript. That text content is very important to Google” Fishkin said. Jarboe agreed and suggested taking it a step further by adding sub-heads to the transcript, giving some ability to optimize that content to be found in search.

Video SEO marketing with keyword targeting

Fishkin suggests, “Search out what people are actually looking for. You can use tools like AdWords or Ubersuggest. You can use a tool like, our keyword explorer tool. Then you can figure out, there are actually people searching for this phrase, I should make some content—I think video is the best way to convey that. I think search engines will rank that highly.”

Video authority and the optimal video length

How does Google determine video quality? According to GregJarboe, one of the components used by Google is the length of the video. Longer content is seen as more authoritative on a subject matter.  This became more apparent as YouTube began ranking videos with a factor named watch time. This is the case for blogs as well.

2000 word blogs will outrank 600 blogs for the same reason a longer video will outrank a shorter one, because it is assumed that longer form content is more authoritative than shorter form content.  This doesn’t mean that the vlog needs to be jibberish or includes mass amounts of filler in order reach the optimal video length.

If blog engagement can be enhanced by incorporating video as part of the messaging, video can likewise be enhanced by quality spoken content.  Jarboe goes on to suggest a 15 minute video is now an ideal length as opposed to the perception from several years ago that 2 to 3 minutes is the ideal video length.

Advertising as a way to boost inbound traffic

Rand Fishkin suggests that “Any time you are producing content that is showing you high assisted conversions or high direct conversion rate to an action that you want people to take on your web site, it probably pays to do some investment to boost that piece of content’s ability to drive traffic through paid sources.”

With all these video seo tips, it can be easy to forget the most important aspects of all: Be sure to provide value for the viewer.

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Direct Images Interactive is a video marketing agency specializing in high-impact video production and online graphic design. We are centrally located between Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose.

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