Attendees at both the recent Streaming Media Europe conference in London and the Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles received advice from panelists on how to best approach search engine optimization (SEO) for online videos.
Meanwhile, during the Online Video Platform Summits—held in conjunction with both Streaming Media conferences—discussions shifted to social media strategies for online video. One panelist called it a shift from search engine optimization to “friend engine optimization.”
So what’s a friend engine for online video? And how can you put one to work for you?
According to a number of panelists at both shows, a friend engine is any social media tool that allows video sharing and recommendation. Creating a friend engine means going beyond simply adding a Share button to each video on your site. Just as with search engine optimization in the past, today’s online video growth is being fed by recommendations. Having friend engine optimization strategies for Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms is now a necessity.
Here are a few tips suggested by panelists from both shows:
1. Keep it Simple
Make it easy to put your videos in a news feed on Facebook. If you can’t guarantee that your videos will play in a Facebook feed, then it’s time to revamp your video sharing strategy.
2. Play it Safe
As part of the ability to play videos directly within the news feed, make sure your online video platform has its video player white-listed with Facebook. A white-listed video player has been scrutinized by Facebook and found not to cause harm to Facebook’s database or users.
3. Embrace Diversity
Consider the various social media platforms—such as Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter—and how they differ. To gain the most “social capital” from each one, you’ll need to treat them differently. Having a strong social base is more useful that simply getting a lot of video views.
4. Mass Distribute
Hyper-syndicate your content. The benefit of social media is that viewers will help spread the word—and the videos—for content they’re passionate about. To find viewers wherever they are, put content on many sites.
5. Rely on Friends
Allow your social media friends to help you build your brand. You’ll develop a more engaged community if you let them contribute their own experiences and feel ownership of the brand. Letting them upload their own videos or watch behind-the-scenes special access clips are good ways to build bonds.
6. Optimize Your Videos
Viewers decide what to watch based on title and thumbnail—and they do it quickly. How your video looks at-a-glance is just as important as the meta-tags you add for video search.
7. Do More with YouTube
Consider using YouTube annotations. This can be as simple as adding a URL to drive people back to your website. If you’re trying to improve SEO, use annotations to describe more than just the video being seen, then offer a link back to your site.
8. Transcribe Your Videos
While it’s a lot of work, consider transcribing some videos. Having the full text of a video on the page helps greatly with search engine traffic.
9. Create a Sitemap
Having a video sitemap is critical for getting Google search traffic. Read How to Create a Video Sitemap for more information. Page load speeds are important, too: Google now looks at load times when creating its search results pages.
10. Use the Right Tags
Using the right HTML tags can help your search engine rankings. The title of every video should be in an H1 headline tag; the description of the video should be in an H2 tag.