Most people who are newbies to online video marketing tend to assume that video search engine optimization is all about getting your videos into YouTube, and expecting them to appear in Google's search results. However, I argue that you have a big advantage with Video SEO if you learn to optimize your own website and video on your website first. Below is the presentation I gave at the Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago this past October where I discussed the why's and how's of optimizing video on your website for SEO.
Website Video SEO At SES Chicago 2010
Watch the special video I created that features my actual presentation I gave at the conference with my exaggerated body language, facial expressions, and cracked voice) where I cover these following topics:
Feel free to skip the shaky Blair-Witch camera effect and the company plug to get right to the topics! Also, you can view the raw slide presentation at the bottom of this post.
- (5:00) Examples of performance results of Website Video SEO in Google
- (6:03) Website Video SEO, explained – what it is, and the advantages of doing it for more effective SEO and video marketing (including over YouTube)
- (10:00) Website Video SEO tips!
The Video SEO panel at SES Chicago 2010
I was joined by the following speakers on the Video SEO panel at SES Chicago:
- Greg Jarboe, Co-Founder of SEO-PR and author of YouTube Marketing on an Hour a Day – Greg presented on the SEO benefits with YouTube, and tips for how to best optimize your video content with copy, metadata, and engaging content.
- Paul Carff, Senior Developer Advocate, Google – Paul presented on how to set up a Google Video Sitemap to have all of your videos on your website be indexed by Google Video Search (and hopefully, to have them appear in Google's Universal Search results). Paul has also been helpful on Google's Webmaster Central video sitemaps discussion area, which I encourage you to follow and add your own questions.
What is WEBSITE Video SEO?
I found most of the people in the audience were relative newbies to online video marketing, and it would be helpful for them to start with a definition of what Video SEO is, or at least, what I advocate that it should really be about. This is what I shared with the audience:
Website Video SEO is about driving more traffic through video in a search engine's search listings directly to your website, which:
- Gives you an additional opportunity to rank in search engines' page results, and;
- Provides greater visibility in those search engines' page results, with the use of a video thumbnail
When we mention search engines, we normally think of Google and YouTube, since those are the #1 and #2 search engines respectively. However, there are other popular search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and AOL that can also work towards getting your video optimized for.
It's Like Regular SEO, But With Video
Website Video SEO is really just an extension of regular website SEO, and website publishing best practices. Back in 2002 and 2006, I was a contributor to the book Search Engine Visibility, which was about designing your website so that it could be properly indexed into Google search engine results, and how to generate positive responses with audiences which result in better prominence in search engine results page listings. We also covered tips on how to generate inbound links from popular and authority websites. A lot of the screenshots in that book came from websites that I was involved with designing, and in the 2nd edition, I wrote about optimizing your websites with video content. (Yes, even way back then, which sounds old in web years.) So I've understood that websites are still the natural hub for where we ultimately want people to come to, whether it's a search result or what someone links to, over a video distribution site or social network site.
Website Video SEO is like regular Video SEO, and SEO, in that it's part science and part art. One part is about understanding algorithms, keywords and placement; but it's increasingly about being social with creating compelling and engaging content on consistent basis that makes it something people want to share with others. There's a mathematical aspect, an aesthetic aspect, a psychology aspect, and an aptitude to be social (by observing, sharing, and engaging with others). Video is a medium that naturally relates to all of these elements, and the Website is the natural hub for where you benefit from the audience attention, reaction, and engagement that follows.
Video SEO & Social Media Optimization
And I do want to stress, Video SEO is very much about being social. Your video's performance in Google's and other search engine listings isn't not just about doing keywords or code or the right technical copy (which are all important of course); but it's about making both your videos and your persona appealing enough to others, so that others are promoting your videos for you. Just like with regular link popularity leading to better regular SEO, your video popularity naturally translates to better SEO as well.
YouTube SEO VS. Website Video SEO
I should make it clear that I'm actually all for optimizing your videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites, which I covered earlier on ReelSEO about the YouTube Cannibalization debate. Even though my own background and history with SEO makes it such that I feel Video SEO should first be about optimizing your own website and video on your own website, there is no doubt that YouTube has been a great opportunity and advantage to marketers (especially SEO specialists) with video content. So my one-sentence advice is: If you're doing Video SEO, Learn to optimize your website first and make that your #1 priority, and THEN do YouTube for your Video SEO.
Special thanks to: Digital Take for their videography services with the video intro, Mark Robertson (for the guts of my presentation), James Jordan for the SES Chicago Video SEO event photos, and volunteer Bryan Gerber for video coverage of my presentation at SES Chicago.