Google’s 2012 algorithmic updates have provided a big opportunity — and a sense of increased urgency — for marketers to improve their performance with video SEO. No longer can the same old video content just sit on the company site without incurring penalties in the search rankings. That’s why enterprises need follow these key tips for updating their own video SEO strategy and not get left behind.
The Fresh Opportunity for Video SEO
Google wants to always feature fresh and relevant information, and does so with its freshness algorithm, originally released last fall as part of an effort to provide more relevant, real-time results for search queries. The algorithm has been updated repeatedly in 2012.
“SEO today is social media, and vice versa,” says Thad Rueter, senior editor for InternetRetailer.com, who originally reported that Google’s fresh updates were demoting websites with low-quality and unoriginal content starting this spring. Rueter also reported that winners in Google’s algorithm update included “sites that feature a lot of video.”
Stale Video Content Leads to Rotten Search Visibility
The converse is also true: Not updating a website with new videos — along with new text and landing pages around those videos — can lead to a serious demotion in Google’s search rankings. The bottom line: Websites must feature new and relevant video content prominently throughout the site for the best likelihood of strong performance in Google’s search rankings.
Social Factors More in Video SEO
Sagmar Kamdar, Google’s director of product management on search, stresses that social signals are an increasingly weighted factor towards rankings in search results. Google’s social technologies also allowing for more recent and relevant videos to appear at the top of search queries.
What that means is that algorithmic SEO, while still important, is only the start. Videos also need to engage with their audiences in ways that lead to sharing and liking on social networks if they’re going to show up prominently in Google’s search results. Here are some ways to accomplish that:
Social Strategies for Fresh Video SEO
- Be unique. Create your own unique videos with original content, both for the video itself and the text around it. Before creating video content, search keywords related to your idea and see what videos have already been made. Either improve on them or try something new.
- Be fresh. Don’t repeat the same thing that’s already been done. Change up your home page to feature the latest videos. Do this with the company blog and the website videos archive, as well.
- Be recent. Get fresh videos on the site quickly, such as in a response to online conversations around products or brand-related solutions. Also, create videos that respond to recent mainstream or industry news, as long as it relates to your brand.
- Be worth sharing. Don’t create a video just for the sake of making one. If it’s not something interesting enough for someone to like, share, or comment on, or if it isn’t genuinely helpful, it’s not worth doing.
- Be helpful. Videos are shared and liked when they answer a question and provide customer service. Publish videos as a response to frequently asked questions. Encourage consumers to submit their own questions for you to answer.
- Listen. Pay attention to what people are saying in the news and in online conversations. This is a smart way to be proactive with video, rather than just reactive.
- Monitor. Key an eye on what consumers are searching for on your site and adjust your videos accordingly. For example, if search queries and page analytics show that people are asking about a particular product or product line, feature new and related videos prominently about the most queried items.
- Respond. Organize feedback from consumers and create video content that responds not only to their search queries on products, but also to more general items like FAQs and mainstream media topics.
- Dialogue. Encourage text conversations and reviews around your existing, then promote those conversations on related web pages. The easiest way to do this is by having a comments section on each video’s landing pages. Be sure to include social widgets for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Promote. Make your customers the stars! Many SEO experts say featuring user-generated videos is a great way to provide fresh content for Google’s search algorithm. Try to feature consumer-generated product video reviews and testimonials, along with your own brand-generated videos and in-house videos. Consumers will be more likely to link to these video pages.
- Test. Test all web pages featuring videos to make sure both the pages and the videos are loading properly. Google penalizes sites that load slowly. Videos that are poorly coded or have server issues can cause a slow loading times. For embedded YouTube videos, make sure that the videos haven’t been removed causing your viewers to receive an error message.
- Reviews. Add user reviews to existing video content and rotate in new reviews regularly. Look for reviews from consumers that relate to the brand and find ways to incorporate them both into the brand’s blog and product pages.
- Duplicate. Duplicate your video SEO efforts on your social media sites, as well. Regularly create blog posts that feature new video content, and post them to your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and other social media channels.
- Participate. Share videos on other popular social media groups. Build communities and forums where relevant videos can be shared and discussed.
The Keys to Today’s Video SEO: Be Fresh and Be Social!
Take it from the experience of Ellen Burgan, internet marketing manager for Drs. Fosters and Smith, an online pet product retailer:
“A strong social presence, one that demonstrates a loyalty among consumers that can translates into links, is another sign of good content, and therefore another way to earn the good graces of Google.”
Video is the best opportunity for marketers to build a strong social presence and benefit from search traffic. All it takes is fresh thinking and fresh content, and a real commitment to engage with customers.
SEO image via Shutterstock.