For those of us who spend countless hours a day in front of a computer screen, chances are, we’ve spent some portion of that day on video sharing sites such as YouTube, Blip.TV or AOL Video. According to the web analytics site, Compete.com, YouTube alone had over 76 million unique visitors to the site in May 2009 alone.
With millions of people watching hundreds of millions of videos per day and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily-ten hours of video is uploaded every minute according to YouTube-the task of guiding users to your video content, can be quite a challenge!
In June, I provided tips for “Implementing Video in Your PR Campaigns,” and discussed “Best Practices for Creating Video Content.” But once you have begun creating video content and posting to video sharing sites, how can you ensure that your videos will ever be viewed?
First, we need to understand how the search algorithms of video sharing sites such as YouTube work. Videos are optimized based on the headline/title, video description, tags/keywords, total number of views, and ratings. All of these items can affect how high the video will appear in the search results.
So how can we control the items listed above to ensure that they are optimized for search? Here are some quick tips:
- Put yourself in the shoes of the average search user. What are the most basic keywords that you would input into the search box?
- While it may be tempting to put your company’s brand, or your spokesperson’s full name and title in the headline, keep it short, to the point, and make sure it captures the main keywords that you think people will search to find your video.
- 140 characters seem s to be the number of the day! When writing the video description field, keep the description to around 140 characters. Anything more than that and you’ll get the “…” at the end of the description in the search field.
- Similar to the headline/title, make sure that the description of your video contains all the keywords that will drive users to your video.
- Tagging your videos with the most relevant keywords can be one of the most important steps to video optimization. They should contain the top keywords listed in your title and description.
- List all the variations of the keywords that you may have in your video. If you are a company whose name is frequently misspelled, list all the variations. For example, if your video involves video conferencing, try different combinations such as “video conferencing,” “videoconferencing,” and “video-conferencing.”
- Ordering the tags does actually matter! When listing the tags, write them in the order you would normally type them in a sentence. So if your video is on “Trends and the Future of Cloud Computing,” list the tags as [Trends, Future, Cloud Computing]. Eliminate connecting words such as “and.”
- The natural inclination is to load the Tag area with every single keyword that you can think of that will draw attention to your video. Keep the tags to six to eight of the most relevant keywords as any more may disrupt the search algorithms.
- If you are posting videos to multiple video sharing sites, make sure to keep the titles, descriptions and tags consistent across all the sites.
Total Number of Views:
- It seems like a simple formula: the more viewers you have of a video, the higher it will appear in search results. So beyond the tips provided above, share your videos!
- Embed the video on your corporate Web site or blog.
- Have a Facebook Fan Page? Share the video with your fans. Encourage employees with accounts to share the videos with their friends.
- Post the video to relevant forums or networking groups on LinkedIn and ask for comments.
- Send out a company-wide news flash with either a link or the embedded video right in the e-mail. Send the video out to customer e-mail lists, assuming they have signed up to receive this type of content.
- Engage with video channels of partners or those that offer related content. Subscribe to their feeds and “favorite” some of their videos. This will, hopefully, encourage them to do the same and will increase your network.
- Add comments to related videos, and include a link back to your channel and videos.
- Whenever appropriate, encourage your viewers to provide a rating to the videos you’ve created. Again, the higher the rating, the higher the video will appear in the search results.
Keeping these tips in mind when posting to video sharing sites, we must still remember that content is king! Having compelling, interesting and thought-provoking content that provides users with an experience, will not only increase views, but will bring people back for more.