The following is a recap of the session, titled "Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO)," from the Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference in San Jose, CA – August 18th, 2008
The big hero of this session was TubeMogul. As you all know, TubeMogul is a service that enables you to syndicate your videos to all of the major video sites. It also provides analytics tools for monitoring performance across each of the syndicated sites. Gregory Markel was the first to mention it (stating several times that he has no financial interest in the company), and several other panelists said that they use it as well. Although Tubemogul is not a tool to optimize video hosted on your own site, it is a strategy for search engine visibility via syndication of video content across multiple popular video sharing websites.
Session Description (From SES):
According to comScore, nearly 139 million U.S. Internet users watched an average of 83 videos per viewer in March 2008, viewing a total of 11.5 billion online videos during the month. However, the average YouTube video receives only 100 views a year. This makes optimizing video for YouTube one of the biggest opportunities in the fast-changing and complex world of search. This session will look at how video search engine optimization (VSEO) has become the most important new use of search engine optimization today.
Joseph Morin, Partner, Boost Search Marketing & CEO, Storybids, Inc.
- Greg Jarboe, President & Co-founder, SEO-PR
- Chase Norlin, CEO, Pixsy Corporation
- Steve Espinosa, Director of Product Development & Management, eLocal Listing, LLC
- Matthew Scheybeler, CTO, blinkx
- Gregory Markel, Founder/President, Infuse Creative, LLC
Greg Jarboe's presentation dealt with what exactly we mean by optimizing video. What is Video SEO?
His overall point was that optimizing video is much broader than just search. He illustrated this with some complelling stats. When thinking about optimizing video for search on Google, people often use Google Video as the basis, but comparing Google Video to YouTube, it's not even close. Google Video searches drive 2% of views, while YouTube drives 98% of views. So why bother optimizing for Google Video? He's being somewhat facetious in saying that, but his point is well taken.
Other points supporting his perspective..
- You Tube is not really video search, it's more video sharing. Therefore you do need to optimize for search, but video sharing strategy is key.
- It's not just explicit sharing that drives video views, but consumption patterns around related videos and embedding videos. With that in mind, your strategy shouldn't be focused on going for spikes, but look for progressive growth.
- Looking at a popular YouTube video featuring basketball player Allen Iverson: 13% of views came from you tube search, 75% came from related videos.
- Another video he presented featuring Nicholas Carr (who is not a basketball player) video: 7.4% of views came from search, 71% from embedded players.
So a great way to execute this strategy is to combine related and embedded phenomena by building widgets and video packages.
Chase Norlin talked about Pixsy's model. They are not a destinatin site, but more of a B2B utility, powering video search applications for other sites.
He covered some of the basic ingredients of video SEO:
- Use rich metadata,
- Syndicate via RSS and MRSS
- Update your content frequently
- He also recommends actually contacting video search engines directly as they may work with you to put your content higher in the crawling queue(or you may not get crawled).
He suggested the benefits of running a video search engine on your site. Basically, it creates more pages for video search engines to crawl and sets you up as a content provider.
Steve Espinosa came from a viewpoint of helping small and medium sized businesses (SMB) reach customers via video. He covers 2 different topics – 1) how to optimize video for conversion and 2) how to rank in universal search .
How to optimize for conversion:
Some of the considerations in optimizing for conversion include video length (making sure the length of the video is appropriate for your audience), including a call to action, making it ready for tv, and putting a twist on it to give it viral potential.
How to rank in universal search:
Suggestions: export as .swf, don't use Active X controls (in-video buttons don't work on YouTube), use video sitemaps, build a page for each video, optimize the page using traditional SEO, make meta data consistent across video sites, use analytics to optimize video length, a/b testing for page design and video choice, set your thumbnails (put good thumbnail frames at 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 of the way into video, as some video sites use those intervals to autogenerate thumbnails), and using Google TV.
Interesting stat about video and local search: having a sponsored listing and a local listing on a SERP gives you a 2.2x conversion rate, while having a video and a local listing on SERP leads to a 3.3x conversion rate.
Matthew from Blinx talked about their advanced content scanning technology; they don't just index metadata, but they can actually "know" what the video is about via speech recognition.
Video SEO DO's:
- Include metadata
- Clean out your metadata
- One video per page
- Include lots of relevant text on the page
- Create filenames that makes sense and contain your keywords
- Create video sitemaps
- Have one URL as starting point
Video SEO DON'Ts:
- Dont try to keyword stuff your tags = tag spam
- Dont use flash only players or popup players.
Blinkx auto-generates taxonomy, summary, titles, tags and transcripts.
Gregory Markel was high energy and confident and had several tips to share for optimizing video for search.
"I'm not selling, I'm here to help; we have more work than we know what to do with.”
- He sees video as a reputation management tactic.
- Remember, if you create a YouTube channel, you have a mobile channel (m.youtube.com), so use it.
- Major brands are still not taking advantage of video on SERPS. For example "corvette video" search on Google: where are the videos created by GM?
- As others have suggested, Gregory defines Video SEO broadly as anything you do to leverage video for your brand.
- Lots of standard SEO principles apply (body text near video, etc.)
- Community factors are very important elements of ranking, especially on YouTube.
- Use TubeMogul to submit to multiple sites.
- Look at dynamic suggested searches feature on YouTube to find out what searches are popular.
- Do a search then sort by most popular to see what the characteristics of the most popular videos for that search are, then mimic those characteristics.
- Video responses are also a great tactic. Use it to piggyback on popular videos; mimic title, description of the main video
- In the description field, lead with a hot url, since descriptions are often truncated.
- Video annotations are a new feature that you should utilize as well.
- Have a brand or url in the video frame as much as possible (think about the watermark logos you see on network tv in the corner of the screen).
- Look into the YouTube partner program.
- Independent Filmmakers can get great free exposure in the YouTube Screening Room.
- Allow comments (moderated, if you want).
- Talk about your video at industry meetings, press releases.
- Paid Search tactics: site targeting AdWords to YouTube.
- Gregory hinted at lots of guerilla tactics: search "optimize video views" on YouTube.
- Use TubeMogul to do competitive research.
- Use "video" in title or description.
A question from the audience addressed duplicate content issues around wide distribution of videos. The panel agreed that duplicate content doesn't seem to be on the radar yet, but you should tweak titles and descriptions on each video site.
Thanks to Michael Bunnel for taking the time to cover this session on behalf of ReelSEO