Some web companies today are now offering "video marketing campaigns" by repurposing stock video or video templates, and then promising their customers that these videos will get them lots of traffic and customers in the search engines. While these offerings are enticing to many companies looking for a low budget entry point, they are wholly unsuccessful from an online performance standpoint of bring new traffic.
This ends up not only creating unrealistic (and unachievable) expectations for the customer, but it creates misconceptions about what's involved with Video SEO, and the devalues the work and expertise that's really needed for a campaign to truly be effective.
Recently I received an email offer from a company called "Perfect Patients," a CMS program for chiropractic websites, which was offering "one of three personalized home page videos and launch a new-patient video marketing campaign!" How it works is that with the purchase of a website program, the customer would get to have their own name, practice name, and phone number on a pre-made, generic video. The video itself is really a slide-show approximately one minute, and with generic audio.
The customer would receive two video products – one for the home page of their website (supplied by Perfect Patients), and another one that was supposed to be for online marketing, as their copy states:
"When you approve your site to "go live", we'll also launch your video marketing campaign and upload the video to over 30 video sharing and social networking sites including; You Tube, Google Video, Yahoo Video, AOL Video, FaceBook, MySpace... Watch as your video marketing campaign directs prospective patients to your website and elevates your site's rank with the major search engines including Google, Yahoo! and MSN."
I had the opportunity to speak with William Esteb, founder of the Perfect Patients website service. He explained that the technology behind the program relies on XML and dynamic content generation, which dynamically converts the photos slides to a flash video file with the customers' contact info. This allows them a very inexpensive means of creating video content for each individual customer. William added that their plans for a "phase 2" of the video program will include the option of a custom introduction slide.
What is agreeable is that the Perfect Patients video program is a very streamlined means of producing the most basic type of online video content for customers. And on the most basic level, then have done some manual text entry for each video in their YouTube account with the most basic form of keyword targeting (by including "chiropractor" and the location in the title). But does this qualify as Video SEO? My answer is flat-out NO, for a number of reasons:
- No unique content. Each of the 3 video selections are all completely generic. The only difference between them is the text of each chiropractic client, featured in a black box at the bottom. Even the audio is completely generic and unchanging.
- No viral component. The biggest strength about online video is how desirable and accessible it is for an audience to share it. Each of the video slide-shows are completely forgettable – no story-telling, no sharing of personal experience, no testimonials, nothing entertaining, and of low production value. If you have nothing unique to offer, then you are not going to get the attention of your audience, and certainly not the viral distribution they have to offer.
So how are their videos performing? Judging by their YouTube page, abysmally. Out of all the videos they've had up for a month for customers, none have managed more than 30 views. (Most are in the 10-20 range). None of the freeze frames appear to have anything to actually do with the subject or even the target audience. One common frame shows a man with indigestion. (??)
And as for the mainstream web search engines that Perfect Patients claimed their video would show up well in search results for – Google, Yahoo!, MSN – virtually non-existent. I tried many times to just type in "chiropractor" and the location that matched what the youtube videos showed. After many attempts, not once could I find a single customer listed anywhere on the first page, including any default local search engine results.
So why does a company like Perfect Patients do a video marketing program that really goes against what makes online video successful for the customer? Part of it also comes down to their business model. Perfect Patients is also a company that provides syndicated text content for chiropractor websites. They also advertise that all of this content as something that will get those companies to rank high in the search engines, when that would actually be treated as spam by the search engines for being duplicate content.
You can actually get away with lots of duplicate video content YouTube, where it is actually possible to have near mirror-images of video content all being indexed. (Other popular video sharing sites are more likely to drop out the duplicates.) So what the Perfect Patients example did show is that as long as you're switching out a single portion of a still image in a video file, you can get away with having massive amounts of duplicate content. But of course, if it all looks and sounds generic (as the Perfect Patients videos certainly do), then no one is going to care, the videos will not be shared, and potential customers will not convert.
What this goes to show is that cookie-cutter, factory-style video production, no matter how streamlined it is, is ultimately worthless for clients with its false promises of getting the attention of people online an converting them to customers. Video SEO requires customized, unique video content that engages people and makes them want to take action and share with others. That takes more of a budget and certainly good expertise of both a video producer and a Video SEO marketer, and not
Stock image sets passed off as Video SEO? As my former chiropractic doctor would probably say – give me a break.