August 25, 2009
How To

Improve Search Visibility with Video: 5 Strategies

SUMMARY: Getting more than one organic link on a search results page can be difficult -- but powerful when accomplished. With the addition of image and video results, marketers are finding ways to boost their number of links on page one.

Read how a marketer’s video strategy is earning more links from results pages, and how referrals to his site from YouTube convert at a 12% rate.
Dan Tate, COO, The Concrete Network, has found a way to pull more searchers to his site. The secret is not getting higher rankings -- it’s getting more organic links on the first search results page.

The Concrete Network’s website earns revenue by connecting consumers with concrete contractors and suppliers. A recent Google search for "concrete pool decks" pulled up six organic links to The Concrete Network’s content:
o The top two organic links
o Two of four image results
o One of two video results (linked to YouTube)
o One organic link to another site owned by the team

Below, we describe the vital role that video plays in The Concrete Network’s search strategy to pull in visitors and convert them at an incredible rate.

-> 5 Strategies to Optimize your Videos

Tate’s team has 221 videos hosted at YouTube. Together, those videos capture 3,000-4,000 daily views and send about 500-750 visitors to The Concrete Network’s website via a link on each video’s page. That’s roughly a 17.9% clickthrough rate.

A visitor referred from YouTube to the team’s site, on average:
o Views about 10 pages
o Stay for about seven minutes (normal visitors stay for about half that long)
o Convert at an almost 12% rate

The enormous conversion rate is built on trust, Tate says. "After they watch four or five videos, you build more trust."

How did he get these results? Here are Tate’s five guiding strategies for his team’s videos. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves.

"We don’t have what I would call a complicated strategy, but it does take a lot to execute," he says. "Search is not easy. There’s no magical pixie dust that you can throw out and gain traffic."

Strategy #1. Make videos relevant, useful, and tied to HTML content

The team’s videos give expert advice on exactly what searchers are looking for -- concrete design and similar topics. The videos are hosted at YouTube and are embedded into The Concrete Network’s website on relevant pages.

- The team’s website is an extensive resource on concrete, with pages of content-rich information.

- Relevant videos are embedded into appropriate, keyword-rich pages.

- When a search engine finds a video, it will index its context on the page, which helps improve its rankings for target keywords.

"If I put up a video supported by keyword research and plug it into a page that’s already keyword optimized, I have a really good chance of showing up in universal search," Tate says.

Strategy #2. Support video creation with keyword research

If you’ve already done the keyword research to guide your site’s design and content, you have a good idea of which types of videos you need to create, and how you should be naming and optimizing the videos.

Every field in a video’s metadata (title, description, etc.) should use keywords that:
o Your research has shown to be effective
o Are being used on the page
o Are an accurate description of the video’s content

- Don’t be too data-centric

Keyword research is a very important guide, but do not let it be the only source of inspiration for your site’s videos. You should aim for a comprehensive library of videos on a topic -- not just a library of videos that have strong keywords.

Tate says that about 50% of his site’s videos were not identified as necessities in the team’s keyword research, but were videos that felt they had to create based on their industry expertise.

Strategy #3. Make videos professional, short, and spot on

Part of the team’s high conversion rate from YouTube referrals is due to the level of trust that the each video builds. The key elements are the professional quality of the production and information they provide. And since most visitors view several videos, that trust has a chance to solidify.

"Most people watch videos in bunches. Once they get into video-watching mode they’re going to watch five to 10. They’re not just going to watch one," Tate says.

- A five minute video is probably too long for most topics, Tate says.

"People’s attention spans aren’t much greater than one to three minutes. They’d rather watch five videos of three minutes than watch one video for 15 minutes."

- A three minute video does not leave much time for fooling around. Make sure that each video is concise enough to fully cover the topic, but short enough to make viewers want to watch the whole thing.

- Get insights from YouTube

Insight is an analytics tool provided by YouTube to account holders to monitor their videos’ performance. Tate uses the tool to see which video attributes contribute to a high number of views and "attention."

Attention is a metric measured by Insight, and it can be high, medium, or low, Tate says.

"When a video’s ‘attention’ is high, typically I can find the video in universal search results. When it’s medium, it’s a coin toss. If it’s low, I don’t stand a prayer of being in universal search."

- Editing

Insight has a feature that enables users to monitor changes in the attention metric at different points. By using this feature, you can identify drops in the audience’s attention and edit the video accordingly in hopes of lifting attention.

"A lot of times you can cut it right off. You might have a four minute video and it would be a much better one and a half minute video," Tate says. "So you just edit out the spots where people were leaving."

Strategy #4. Think in bunches

The best strategy is to go very deep into a topic rather than covering many topics, Tate says.

Having a large number of related videos also helps build trust with viewers, and helps drive them to the site and be more likely to convert.

Tate’s team receives the highest number of views from YouTube’s "related videos" section. These are videos on similar topics that are suggested on the same page as the video being shown. By having so many videos related to a similar topic, YouTube often suggests as many as six of the team’s videos in its short list of related content.

After doing the requisite research and planning, Tate’s team plans video shoots that allow them to create a large number of videos. He estimates that he uploads them in batches of 50 -- so don’t be afraid of uploading too many at once.

Strategy #5. Brand carefully

The videos are uploaded to a Concrete Network channel on YouTube called CNTelevision (a name Tate would like to change):
o Each video’s YouTube page links back to the CNTelevision channel’s page.
o The video’s description links to The Concrete Network’s website.

Also, in each video, The Concrete Network is mentioned:
o Verbally and with a graphic in the beginning
o Verbally in the middle (not always)
o In a graphic at the end

Much more branding would likely have been too intrusive.

"If you get into people’s faces, they’re going to watch something else," Tate says.

Useful links related to this article:

Creative Samples from The Concrete Network’s video campaigns:

How to Optimize Video Content for SEO: 7 Tactics to Improve Your Rankings

How to Redesign Your Site’s Images to Attract Relevant Prospects


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