As you push traffic to your website and expand your brand name, you lose out if you don't use the power of online video. Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO) is a vital and necessary component of a competitive website, and it's not as difficult to implement as you may think.
The popularity of web video sites only continues to increase. ComScore recently disclosed that YouTube alone had 100 million viewers in January. In terms of views, this Google-owned online video juggernaut served a staggering 6.4 billion videos that month.
Something to keep in mind is that today's search engines, such as Google, not only return results for websites, they also return blended information--everything from websites, videos, images and blogs to news and shopping. New technology has also made it easy for a webmaster to add video, audio (podcasts) and images to a blog, for example.
Video is also a great way to display your company's expertise in a certain subject matter. Your website would receive traffic and potential new customers when people search a specific set of keywords, via a video search engine. They'd also find a video or image via blended search engine results.
How to Begin
Start by searching for your competitors. Find out what they're doing with video, and research keywords for your market. Try the Google Keyword tool. YouTube also offers powerful search queries via "Advanced Options"--see which keywords others are using within your market. Also check the official Google Webmaster Help for YouTube for more information.
Let's say you're in the internet marketing business. You could build a series of online videos with a main title like, "5 Simple Steps to Making Money Online." You might want to include your niche term as well, and break each video down into a specific goal--each leading to the next one. These videos needn't be lengthy or difficult to make. Short videos (30 to 90 seconds) are often better. If you choose to make a three- to-four-minute-long video--make it fresh, fun and educational. Use thumbnails to entice visitors to click on your video, and make the thumbnails stand out. Add a watermark of your brand and website to your video. Create a new channel on YouTube to promote a video series.
How to Create
Five short videos can be created in about an hour. Simply use Camtasia (paid), a screen capture program, or Jing (free), a microphone. Use PowerPoint to create slides. In a professional voice, record audio for each slide. Name the finished video appropriately. Each video should lead your viewers to a landing page for more information and lead into the next video with a teaser, to keep them coming back for more. Provide your best material; don't post fluff. Get visitors to register on your site before they can access videos so you can build your e-mail list. But try not to sound overly "salesy."
After you've uploaded your videos, add the related keywords (tags) you discovered in your research. Don't overuse them; if there are too many, the search engines see them as spam. Use them naturally in descriptions, and use the URL to your website in the first sentence of your video's description.
Another important step is to use video sitemaps. Submit these to sites that use MRSS and RSS. See Yahoo's Media RSS and video feed for more information. You'll be able to describe your data better with text.
YouTube isn't the only game in town. Just as articles can be syndicated, videos can and should be, too. It can get tiring setting up multiple accounts, repeating the process and keeping track of everything. TubeMogul is a popular tool. Set up an account, and use this free option to distribute videos across many sites. You should change the titles slightly, but keep them enticing. Vary the text, too, but keep everything consistent. Watch your metrics using your favorite analytics package, and adjust as needed. YouTube provides a lot of data. Watch this video describing the insights tool.
While search engine optimization is important, these sites center on a social media platform: You can respond back with video messages and, if you're first on a popular thread, your video will be seen by others. Make it easy for users to embed your player on their sites, and connect with new friends on the social network. Much like a blog, try to keep a consistent posting schedule and keep building out your channels.
Other sites you'll likely come across are Metacafe.com, Revver.com, MySpace Videos, Vimeo.com, Dailymotion.com, Viddler.com, Break.com and veoh.com. Don't overlook them, as each specific video site can generate a great deal of traffic to your website. Check compete.com and Alexa.com to get a sense of activity.
Making sure that your website appears on the first page of search results is not as easy as it used to be. Online video is growing rapidly. If you want your company to remain competitive online, you have to be certain your videos are doing all they can to receive constant exposure on the web. VSEO and social participation are key in this new environment.
Jon Rognerud is Entrepreneur.com's SEO columnist, an SEO consultant and the author of The Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Optimization, available from Entrepreneur Press. He has more than 20 years experience building marketing and web projects, including creating content and application solutions at Yahoo!/Overture.