Just how important is video SEO for newspaper companies? "Their survival depends on it at this point," says Jake Matthews, Partner and VP of Business Development for 10e20, and head of their search marketing campaigns and video strategy. Jake's company spoke today at the session for Search Marketing Expo East in New York, "Social Media Marketing for Newspapers and Magazines." ReelSEO's Grant Crowell interviewed Jake just prior to the conference to talk about the specific opportunities and challenges of video SEO for newspapers and news magazines, both by the newspaper companies themselves, and search marketing companies looking to make the case with them for video SEO.
"Overall, it is our belief that newspapers must engage in video SEO in order to be competitive long term, or to gain competitive advantages and further monetize. It's now mission critical." Say Jake. "They also must engage in understanding how to leverage social websites in to get their message and content out there. Optimization and promotion helps with monetization."
"Print is getting on its way out. Newspapers, in order to really be competitive, have to pick up on the new and emerging platforms that are out there. Video is among them, obviously." Jake says. He explains that for newspapers, Video SEO is not just about optimizing on-the-page content or keywords around video on YouTube and other video sharing sites, but that they especially need to better research and leverage the major and niche social media and sharing sites that are out there.
What are the opportunities and advantages a newspaper company has in regards to Video for SEO and social media marketing?
Jake: The newspapers have a tremendous opportunity with video; it's one of the fastest content-growth areas online. Newspapers need to have a proper strategy on how to integrate it with their existing marketing. The newspapers have great writers and a lot of them are better than a lot of the blog networks out there. They've hired top-quality journalists with the goal of reporting timely and well-researched information, including on national and foreign-breaking news as well as local. They need to continue to do this... AND make money off of it.
The traditional print format of a newspaper can be enhanced with online video, and online articles can really be enhanced with online video. That enhances the presentation of what they're offering to the consumer.
As far as being in front of searchers, for newspapers that's critical. Search with anything shows intent; and the newspapers really want to be in front of people as they're showing intent. The consumers could be searching something for their own research purposes or somewhere in the buying stage; and it's to the newspapers' interest to be there as well.
The newspapers are just getting into the video phase, and there's lots of room for improvement there. Bringing video SEO into their current business structure is going to be really important for them.
In your opinion or experience, do you think newspapers at least understand the concept and importance of Video SEO?
Jake: I think newspapers are at the stage where they realize video is important, but are not yet at the stage of realizing that optimization of that video is just as important with what it can do for them. Newspapers are bringing SEOs in house, so they do treat search as important. They also understand that online video is a growing activity with their audience. Take the New York Times for example. They're producing a lot of high-quality video content. But they're not optimizing or maximizing as well as they could. Its unknown if that's a resource issue for them or if they're just not paying attention to it. I would be inclined to say that maybe its a little bit of both. So they've got an opportunity for a significant lift in visitors, conversions, and views of advertisements, etc... but I don't think they've capitalized on that yet. It may be an issue like you mentioned of not having things integrated with their content management system (CMS) or platform, and they may need to get updated with that. They really need to focus on how they're going to have video better integrate with their CMS. They really have to look at the special metrics for video performance versus standard webpage metrics, and what the advertising model is around that… and how they can best monetize around those metrics.
How well do you believe the newspaper industry is with marketing their video content – both editorial and advertising?
Jake: Its a delicate balance for the newspapers to maintain their mission of informative news content, and to not alienate the people who currently subscribe to the print edition; and at the same time, find a good way to make money.
Are there any other news media examples that newspaper companies could learn from, either on production or marketing of video for online?
Jake: TV networks are doing a decent job because it ties in well with their production and advertising systems. Newspapers can learn a thing or two from the networks and how they are syndicating. I think the newspapers can learn from TV networks about the monetization of video, even though the newspapers are doing a better job than them of what I would call "traditional" on-site SEO. (But what newspapers and local television networks have in common is that both are doing terrible with video SEO.)
How important is it for newspaper companies to have their video content show up in major search engines' universal web results?
Jake: If newspapers can position themselves prominently in search results, be it in universal or even on video sharing sites or both, they can win and gain / retain audience and revenue that they are so badly bleeding now. Search is important for any business, ecommerce or content providers. Search shows some form of consumer intent, whether it's research, or someone in the buying phase of acquiring a new product or service, search is one of the most, if not the most targeted form of direct marketing. .
How important would you consider it for newspaper companies to adopt a search engine optimization program for their video content? (What do you think of it as a business strategy for newspapers?)
Jake: It's now mission critical. Newspapers for the most part hire quality journalists, these are not rogue bloggers, but more great content producers. If newspapers fail to capitalize on this medium, they are leaving it to rogue established and even brand new blog networks to take over search results with their video feeds, optimized and properly syndicated throughout.
What challenges do you see for newspapers with Video SEO?
Jake: It's a delicate balance to not let video take over the mission of a paper; that is, to provide great, in-depth, informative, well-written article content on local or international current events or breaking news stories. And, further, to make money doing that. So in entering video and video optimization, it's important for newspapers to focus on 3 things: integration, metrics, and advertising.
Also, search engines like Google may tend to favor their own video content over that of what's own newspapers' websites, so they ought to think about strategic alliances with video sharing sites like YouTube or other major sites and have outposts therein. Already The New York Times does this, but there is always room for improvement. Hosting content not only on the paper's site but also with the search engines may be advisable.
What do you believe newspapers should look for when considering a Video SEO provider? (This can be a consultant, publishing platform provider, or both.)
Jake: In my opinion, a Video SEO consultant should have the following skills...
- Good advocate and evangelist for Video SEO. (Author note: They need to have more than just the technical skills, but persuasive skills as well. They need to be able to make a convincing case for the business decision maker at a newspaper, and also demonstrate the ability to pick out other advocates and evangelists in a newspaper company.)
- Traditional SEO foundational background in understanding how search engines work from an algorithmic perspective and a strong understanding of onsite/offsite SEO issues.
- A foundation in understanding social media websites and emerging social media platforms (including content-specific social media websites).
- A direct ability to build links and institute long term link building strategies
- A demonstrated background in video analytics
- A demonstrated background in actual video search optimization
- A good understanding of how to implement a social media platform on-site around the video content.
... should take into consideration the many social sharing sites out there, and have the ability to either incorporate them with on-site links by the video, or create their own social media platform/online community around the video. (Author note: The New York Times has a social media platform now, but not yet around their video.) People need to get that granular with the vertical of where the video should be placed and how it should be shared not just on-site, but also when visitors are away from the original video module.