This is my video SEO strategy:
I have 2 goals for my video marketing:
- Drive traffic
- Make money
I think we can all get behind that.
This is a monster-length, crazy in-depth post, so I split it into 2 sections: Theory & Strategy.
I use Youtube for all of my video marketing, and there is one fact that you absolutely must know about Youtube:
Youtube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world
So how does that impact your strategy? Well, first let me tell you the biggest mistake that I see over and over again.
The Big Foolish Video Marketing Mistake:
“I’m going to rank my Youtube video in Google to get traffic!”
Why is that the mistake? For 3 reasons:
#1 Youtube is the 2nd largest search engine
Why even bother making a video if you’re just going to build links to it like it’s any other webpage? You’re basically just giving yourself more work. Videos allow you the opportunity to drive massive internal traffic from Youtube.
Also, driving traffic from within Youtube is faster & easier than driving traffic with Google.
#2 Videos are not easier to rank than webpages
The phrase “seo link building” gets 6,600 exact searches every month. There are 9 web results and 1 video result. That means your video is competing for one place only. How long will it take and how hard do you think it might be to become the single best video result for that search phrase?
There are usually 1-2 video results (depending on the niche really) and it’s all or nothing when it comes to ranking. Also, even though I have a very long and sound strategy for increasing views and visibility on Youtube, I have to say that the rankings can seem somewhat random sometimes.
#3 Too few videos
Youtube presents marketers with an extremely rare situation where quantity trumps quality. Don’t get me wrong, the more value your videos provide the better it will be for your business. That being said, 10 mediocre videos will easily trump 1 great video.
I know you’ve seen Youtube ranking blog posts and guides before and they tell you to make all 3 mistakes at once. They instruct you to find a moderate to high search volume keyword, make 1 great video, and rank it in the search engines.
Here’s what you should be doing:
Do your keyword research, make tons of videos, and drive traffic internally with Youtube. The result is that you will have loads of videos
- Getting internal traffic
- Driving traffic to each other
- Driving traffic to your site
- Making you money with AdSense
- Ranking for long-tail keywords you didn’t even try for!
Before I get into my strategy, let me wrap the theory up with one more question:
If you have an hour to work on video SEO & marketing, do you…
a) build links to a video
b) make more videos
If you guessed “a” please reread.
Optimizing Your Video
The first part of the video SEO strategy is to optimize your video for best traffic results. These are the steps for making a highly optimize Youtue video.
Step 1) Pick a keyword
Make it fast! If you can’t decide between 2 keywords, just make 5 videos for both – remember the quantity rule.
Youtube has its own keyword suggestion tool, but the search volume in it is very low. Personally, I prefer to just use the plain old Adwords keyword tool. Your keyword can have little search volume or tons, it doesn’t really matter that much. Your video will rank for long-tail keywords regardless and this likely will not be your primary traffic source.
Step 2) Make your video
The easiest type of video to make (the kind I make) is a screen capture vid. I use Screencast-O-Matic because it’s free and superior to other alternatives. Regardless of the niche you are in, you can make at lease some of your videos this way. Just put together a quick presentation with PowerPoint or SlideRocket and record your own voice-over with Screencast-O-Matic.
If you’re in a niche where you need more than screen capture videos then purchase a cheap video camera, use an iPhone, or use a web cam.
Step 3) Optimize the file name
Before you upload it anywhere, make sure you have your keyword in the file name of your video. This helps Google and Youtube further understand the topic of your video.
Step 4) Upload your video to Youtube
Don’t worry about other video sites just yet.
Step 5) Create your title
This is the same stuff from article marketing:
- Include your keyword in the title
- the sooner your keyword comes in the title the better
- Keep it short
Step 6) Write your description
a) The very first thing you should include in your description is a link to a relevant webpage on your site. Only the first 4 lines are immediately visible in your description, so including your link early will help you drive traffic back to your site.
b) The next step is to include your video transcript. By adding content and keywords to your description you are giving Youtube/Google more content that they can use to understand and rank your video with. There are two ways to go about creating your transcript.
The first way is to simply write a script for your video first. This is probably the fastest and easiest way. I don’t usually do this because I always think of more to say or speak in a more natural way than I have written.
The second way is to transcribe your video’s audio. The easiest way to do this is to convert your video to just audio with convertfiles and then use the free version of Express Scribe to slow down your audio for transcribing. 40% is a good audio speed for me most times.
(You will need the transcription again in the next step)
c) The third part to creating a great video description is to include 2 more links. First, include a link to the video itself on Youtube. Youtube is one of the most scraped sites on the web. This means that there are loads of autoblogs that automatically republish videos that are uploaded to Youtube. While most of them will strip the links (jerks…) some won’t, so by including a link back to your video you will help build some links on autopilot to your vide.
The second link is just a link back to your site’s homepage. I usually add:
This video brought to you by: http://www.seodiscovery.org
Step 7) Creating your tags
Tags are actually very important for Youtube videos. There is one important fact you need to know about them:
Tags largely control the “Related Videos” sidebar in Youtube. Knowing that, the strategy for choosing your tags is two fold.
a) First, you want to find videos in your niche that are getting a lot of traffic. Just search for your keyword or some relevant keywords and pick out videos with a large amount of views.
b) Next, click on the “Insights” button to see if the video is still receiving traffic. You don’t want to target a video that has “gone dry”.
You can then copy the exact tags used for these videos in order to greatly improve your chances of appearing as a “Related Video”.
Alternatively, you can create your own set of tags and use it to make sure a series of videos you upload all stay related to each other.
Step 8 ) Add Closed Captions
Why did Google make a world-class speech to text program and offer it for free? It’s not because they’re just nice…
Google created their speech to text program in order to understand language being used in multimedia search results. Before you even upload your caption file Google already has an auto-generated machine transcription that tries to decipher the meaning of the video. What the good folks over at Reel SEO found is that Google won’t use keyword data from their own captions, but they will use yours.
By uploading your own caption you enable your video the opportunity to appear relevant to more keywords, and have a greater relevance for your target keyword. The best part is that Youtube has recently made adding a Closed Caption file MUCH easier.
All you have to do is take the transcript you created earlier for your description, save it as a text file, and upload it as a “Transcript File.”
Driving Traffic to Your Videos
The first 8 steps were showed you how to optimize your video. By following these steps your videos are more likely to receive internal traffic from Youtube and rank in Google.
These next 6 steps are active ways to promote and drive traffic to your videos.
Step 1) The first technique for getting traffic was already revealed earlier. This strategy was copying tags from videos gaining traffic to become a related video. I’m mentioning it here so you can understand it’s categorization as an optimization and traffic getting-tactic.
Step 2) The next step is to make your video a video response. Video responses are like video comments – they appear below the video’s description and “top comments” (if there are any), and above all the other comments.
This is any easy way to get traffic internally from Youtube. All you have to do is repeat the strategy used for copying tags. Find a popular video that still receives traffic and add your vid as a response.
To add your video as a response, just click in the comment box and then choose “Create a video response”.
After this you just select the video from a list of your videos provided that you want to use as the response. Some users will auto-approve VRs, but most have them set for approval before adding them. Copy down the channel name of anyone who auto-approves VRs for later use.
You can and should do this with every video you upload to Youtube.
Step 3) Create playlists with your videos.
If you made a series that is meant to be viewed as such then this is a very obvious step. However, you can make playlists with any combination of your videos, so be creative!
Making playlists is very easy, so I won’t go over it in detail. But I will tell you that playlists are indexed separately from video results. This means your playlist is an entire new result that can show up during searches in Youtube and Google. Also, you should feature your playlists on your channel sidebar for greater exposure.
Step 4) Add annotations
Annotations are best used for post-viewing activity. In other words, add a box with a link to the next video you want viewers to watch. I usually just pick one.
Bonus Tip: Don’t ever link to your plain video URL with an annotation. Instead, use a link from a playlist. By sending users to a modified playlist URL, they will see your video, but there will also be a toolbar at the bottom with the rest of your vids in the playlist, and it will also automatically take them to the next video after a video finishes.
You can get these URLs by using a playlist you have constructed or by clicking on any video on your channel page and using the URL you’re taken to (a playlist of all your videos).
Step 5) Republish your videos
There is no other video site like Youtube. None come even close.
However, you have already made these videos so you might as well get more bang for your buck. You can submit your videos to other video sites as well for more traffic. Linking back to the original version on Youtube may also keep your Youtube version established as the original version as well.
Step 6) Syndicate your articles (optional)
I use Traffic Kaboom (you can read my full Traffic Kaboom review here) to syndicate my videos. Traffic Kaboom is an article distribution network that also allows you to embed Youtube videos in your content.
All I do is take the transcript from a video and use that as my article – it’s already written! I then add a link to a relevant page on my site, and embed the Youtube video and add a link back to the video’s page on Youtube. On average my articles get syndicated to 15 different sites.
This helps my videos a lot with their rankings because they get contextual backlinks and it also increases their embed count – another Youtube ranking factor. If you’re serious about video SEO I highly recommend Traffic Kaboom as a part of your arsenal.
You can of course do any link building you want to your videos, but it is not necessary. As stated earlier, I would personally rather make more videos then spend time building links, but this is up to you.
Monetizing Your Videos
Getting an invite to become a partner with Youtube is very easy these days. It likely won’t take long to get an email from them, but if it does you can always apply here.
In order to monetize a video with Adsense you have to have full rights to both the visuals and the audio, so make sure you only use content that is 100% original and made by you if you plan on making money with Adsense.
The real trick to making money with Youtube vids is to enable the “TrueView in-stream ads”. These are the ones that automatically begin before a Youtube video plays. Your CTR will skyrocket after enabling this option for each one of your videos.
That’s everything! I’m not sure what would hold you back from driving traffic and making $ with Youtube now besides your own inaction. Thanks for reading this short guide, Tweet or share it if you liked it!