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YouTube, Videos & Search Engine Optimisation

Video and YouTube presents an untapped opportunity for Australian companies

Videos are something of an untapped opportunity for Australian businesses when it comes to SEO and online marketing. Despite changing user behaviour such as huge increases in mobile internet penetration in Australia and a demand for more engaging content, the vast majority of industries have not delved into the world of video optimisation, so competition is still extremely low. This gap in the market presents a valuable opportunity for businesses willing to take advantage.

In some instances, research has shown that videos have proven to be up to 50 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google for a specific search term. Given the low level of competition in video SEO, targeting videos presents a realistic opportunity to get straight to the first page of Google for a specific search term.

How to use video to rank better in Google organic search results

Videos should be embedded into your blog or elsewhere on site and really need to be flagged for Google and other search engines through appropriate sitemap protocol. Whether using an existing sitemap or creating a new one for video, you need to make Google aware of what your video content is about as this will impact on whether or not you get your video ranking on the first page of search results.

Sitemap listings relating to video can specify a range of things including duration, category and family-friendly status of the video which form part of Google determining its relevance to related searches.

If you don’t have sufficient space to publish videos on site (for example if your site doesn’t have an integrated blog), you can opt to publish video on YouTube or a similar site. The problem with not embedding the video listing on your site is that it doesn’t direct traffic straight to your website, it directs the traffic to YouTube or Vimeo or whatever other video sharing website you use.

In this instance, you need to be pretty confident that the content of the video can then redirect a significant portion of your YouTube viewership to visit your website. If your video content is not compelling enough to redirect traffic to your website, your effort has probably gone to waste in terms of traffic generation.

The objective of your video may not be to direct traffic to your website (not directly at least). Perhaps you are just looking to build awareness of your brand and short insightful screencasts (which promote your brand & URL) are likely to prove a good way of increasing awareness amongst your target audience, which should have an indirect impact on traffic to your website in the medium to long-term.

Optimising your video for Google and other search engines

The important thing about video from a SEO standpoint is ensuring that the title and meta data reflect the content of your video, so it’s important that your title reflects the ‘best-fit’ and highest traffic keyword relevant to what is contained on the video. Be aware that competitors may also have videos targeting the same keywords – it is worthwhile doing a manual Google search for a keyword you are proposing to target, and even searching the title in YouTube to ensure you’re not facing stiff competition.

It’s unlikely that strong competition exists but where competition does exist, or where you intend to publish many videos similar in topic, target longer tail keywords for each title rather than – My New Video, Part 1 and My New Video, Part 2 etc.

Unlike text content, video content cannot be understood by Googlebots. One straightforward way around this is recommended and used by industry experts seomoz.org is using text transcriptions. Transcriptions are basically a text representation of what is said on the video – which can be crawled and therefore ranked better in terms of relevance by Google.

Beyond the basic ‘crawlable’ elements of your video, Google are understood to look at the social element of video – ratings, comments, Retweets and submissions to other sites – when it comes to determining relevance, so using all available avenues to promote your video will improve its chance of ranking and as a result impact positively on your SEO campaign.

The future of video, social media and SEO

Video is generally accepted as more compelling than text for most consumers, so it’s logical to expect that video will become increasingly relevant in the future of online marketing. The use of video on the web and through mobile applications is rapidly increasing and like with any new business initiative those first to the market are usually those that establish a position of leadership.

With the focus on relevance in 2011, Google’s approach to indexing and ranking videos is likely to become significantly more sophisticated as time evolves and there is likely to be a need to review strategy on an ongoing basis but for the mean-time, video is a relatively uncompetitive SEO space worth exploring.

Social media and mobile internet have been identified as two of the most important drivers of growth in online marketing. Those drivers are likely to play a huge role in the success of video too and promoting video through social media will have a positive impact.
For more on what online video can add to your marketing campaign, call roi.com.au today on 1300 650 274 today!