fredcamino via flickr
The use of video to tell your story, put a real live face on the company and showcase your products, services and customer testimonials is a very foundational online tactic these days.
As cameras become more sophisticated and cheaper to buy and services such as Vimeo and YouTube provide free and low cost hosting and streaming, small business owners are embedding video in blog posts and web pages with increasing ease.
There is one aspect of this tactic that is often overlooked however, and that's taking proper care of how you place your videos on the hosting site, in particular YouTube.
While many businesses seek to draw attention to the video placed on a page on their site, millions turn to YouTube to find information and getting your videos to rank well there may be an extremely important way to get visitors to your site.
Here are a couple facts that you should consider when it comes to your YouTube video strategy:
- YouTube is the world's 2nd largest search engine - that's right more people turn to YouTube to find information than Yahoo and Bing.
- According to Compete.com over 25% of YouTube's traffic comes from Google - people are turning up lots of video in Google searches.
- Google is committed to something they called Universal Search - this is the act of returning more than textual information for many searches. This includes video, blog posts, images and even near real-time Twitter streams. In some cases getting your videos to rank well can be easier than getting your pages to do so.
Below are five things to consider as you begin to optimize your video assets on YouTube.
Do your research - Use the YouTube Keyword Tool - Most people are familiar with Google's keyword research and related search tools, but did you know that YouTube has the same tools?
By visiting and using these tools you can find some great insights about video topics that are hot and ways to optimize your video content to take advantage of what people are searching for on YouTube.
Describe and Tag Well - One of the first things you can do is make certain that you do all you can to help YouTube know what your video is about. (Of course you've got to make it public first) This includes the file name (don't use newmovie.m4v use importantkeyword.m4v), description, tags and categories.
Make sure you pick the right category - there is no business category, but I've found HowTo and Style to be the best for my videos.
Use your description to describe what is going on in the video. You've got lots of room here, but don't cram keywords in, make it a thorough description and include a link back to you site. Use all of tags that work and include a few variations. (Get your keywords in the description within the first 20 or so words too.)
Annotations and Transcripts are Key - YouTube allows you to annotate or add notes to your video that show when people watch. This is a great way to emphasize content, show links that you mention, or point out other related videos you've made. It also adds content that Google may index in some cases.
You can also create and entire transcript that is used by hearing impaired viewers using Closed Captioning. CaptionTube makes it easy to do and the transcript can go a very long way towards helping your video rank well.
Call to Action - One of the things I notice quite often is that people spend a great deal of effort creating videos that simply end. I think this is because the videos are created to go on a web page that has lots of information and a call to action.
If your video is to stand alone and ranks well on YouTube, the video itself must contain a verbal and visual call to action. End your videos telling and showing what people should do next.
Spread the Love - Once you've done your work on YouTube it's time to spread your video to other places. Here's a list of video sites beyond YouTube for starters, but many people find that using a tool like TubeMogul to automatically submit to video sites and track traffic is the best way to go.