Because video has become the new darling of search engines, many startups are rushing to create and post video on their websites. Just run a Google or Bing search on any topic, and links to video clips pop up right on page one. The reason for this is that search engines are tripping over themselves to provide blended search results--links to news, blog posts, photos, video and other specialized content all mixed together. To ensure video is included in the results, search engines give them preferential treatment.
Do's and Don'ts. Do post quality video on your website.
. Don't post video to YouTube assuming that it will drive traffic to your site.
. Do submit to search engines both your videos and the pages on which they appear.
. Do contact your video platform provider to ensure your content is properly indexed and drives traffic back to your site rather than the platform provider's.
. Don't assume your video platform provider will point links from your video back to your site. Ask.
This trend presents startups that are able to produce quality video content with tremendous search engine optimization (SEO) opportunities. In fact, Forrester Research reports that compared with standard SEO techniques, a properly submitted video is 50 times more likely to achieve a first-page Google ranking. And because video is in such short supply, relative to other web-based content, the competition for search engine attention is less fierce.
Many startups and entrepreneurs are not yet taking full advantage of this opportunity. They are not using web-based video, are disregarding video SEO, or are trying but doing it all wrong.
Old-school SEO combines text, meta data, a linking strategy and site maps to raise a page's search engine profile and ensure proper indexing. These techniques fall short for video, which has no text to index.
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Although developers are improving search engine technology for discovering video, search engines need help in identifying and properly indexing video content. You cannot rely on a web crawler or bot to discover your website's video. Instead, you must submit your video following each search engine's submission and XML-serialization guidelines.
Carefully research each search engine to determine its requirements, keeping in mind that information provided online may be outdated. Also, avoid packing your video XML feed with meta data. "Most search engines ignore it or may even penalize your feed," says Benjamin Wayne, CEO of Fliqz, a full-service, plug-and-play video solution provider in Emeryville, Calif. "Focus instead on including a descriptive title for your video in your XML feed."
For optimum results, Wayne recommends including a permalink site map that reflects your XML feed so that search engines index not only your videos but also the pages on which those videos appear. Using the same title tags to label both the videos and pages tends to improve page ranking.
Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. When he is not working or ghosting blog entries for clients, Belicove can be found musing about the world on Belicove.com and can be reached at Mikal@Belicove.com.