Online Video Update – The Next Wave – SES London 2009

At Search Engine Strategies London this past week I got to speak on a few panels, one of them being the Online Video Update – The Next Wave panel with Greg Jarboe and Shari Thurow. Each of us presented different views or approaches to Video, how to use it, why to use it and what happens when you use it.

Shari started the panel off with a look into the mechanics of optimizing videos, primarily the video files and if you are hosting the videos yourself. Just like image optimization, a lot of things cross over. Naming your videos is very important, something descriptive, using hyphens. Directory naming is important as well, as it gives another clue to the search engines that the files in there are videos. Adding the meta information to the video is vital as well as video search engine crawlers do read this information. Title, author, description, etc. are all read by these engines and help them to understand what the relevancy of the video is.

Content on the page that surrounds the video is very important as well. Titles, captions help to point to reference just as much as the paragraphs that surround the video. Even though search engines no longer have the issues with frames or iframes, having your video inside one of them, or the content about the video in one, isn’t good for relevancy either. On that track, pop up windows for the videos really detract as well. Lastly Shari really points out that the “related” videos or articles that appear on the page play a major role in sending signals to the search engines about videos so ensure that links to other articles on your site or videos on your site, relate to what you are currently showing.

I was up next showing the approach of why companies who have an site online need to really consider video as a serious strategy for their online marketing efforts. YouTube has even surpassed Yahoo has a search engine. When people are searching, they aren’t just looking for links to websites, they are looking for media to consume. I pointed out a post on Google’s blog that Marissa Meyer wrote back in October about how people are searching differently, she demonstrates this by mentioning the learning to do the Charleston, more people would rather see a video of how to do the dance steps than read text about it.

Blendtech has become a master as marketing with video. According to their CMO, the videos have helped increased their bottom line 5 fold. That first video cost less than $100 to produce and launch. They are very market savvy too, they keep their message and marketing congruent across the channels, logos are all the same, message is consistent. Blendtech has moved beyond YouTube as well, they now have their videos out on revenue generating video shares, such as Revver to take advantage of the videos popularity. They even have companies paying them to blend their products in their blenders.

When it comes to utilizing videos shares, of course utilizing YouTube is a no-brainer, but what about other sites? There are a lot of other videos shares out on the internet and a lot of them cater to very specific audiences. From travel and hospitality industry to educational and reality based video share sites, you can find some really powerful niches video shares that speak to a very targeted audience than a big general audience, so do limit yourself to YouTube. Lastly, don’t forget about Local Search too. Some of the search engines allow you to link your videos to your local listings.

Greg Jarboe then rounded out our panel showing us the popularity of video in the UK. When it comes down to it, the UK consumes the most videos per day, over 100 a day on average. Video is a huge way to get your audience engaged, interested and talking about you. There’s a lot to optimizing the video, titles, descriptions, tags, links into the videos and embeds all help to give signals to the video shares what the video’s really about. What makes them popular is an entirely different story. All the optimization in the world, can’t make a bad video popular. It takes understanding what the end user wants to get the views up.

Greg did a video interview for SES with Google’s Matt Cutts. The did all the normal optimization, plus when the extra mile in keyword research for the video, looking even at the suggested terms that YouTube displays when it suggested “Matt Cutts Google SEO”. They got some views when they posted it, but as they watched their traffic to the video climb, they saw a huge spike one day, did the video go really popular on the main page of YouTube? Nope! Not at all. Matt posted the video in his blog, and the embedded video produced the spike in views. How did they get Matt to post it? Simple, very simple, they emailed him a link to the video that it was now out in YouTube.

All in all the goal of our panel was to show the audience that video is the next big wave, understanding it’s intricacies take a bit more than just optimizing a title tags.

Photo above by Mike Baird (Flickr: MikeBaird)

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