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Optimizing Video for Search Engine Rank

video-seo-web1.jpgPiggybacking off my February 2010 Entrepreneur magazine column ("Video SEO for Your Website"), a reader in New York City wants to know exactly how to optimize the video on his company's website. From Bob Bello, Founder and President of CiscoKits.com:

"I would like to improve and make sure the videos I am putting on my site are done properly from an SEO perspective. Can you provide a list of steps I should perform or tool to use to distribute them in a way that will provide SEO benefits? My website address is: www.CiscoKits.com and the videos are located at www.ciscokits.com/ccna-videos."

As I wrote in my February column, search engines need help in identifying and properly indexing video content. With that in mind, here's what CiscoKits--and anyone else in the same situation--can do to boost the visibility of their Web-based videos:

Thumbnails: Create and add a thumbnail image alongside the link for each video. In the thumbnail image tag, include an alt or title attribute that contains the word "video." Search engines, especially Google, often consider image tags that contain the word "video" to indicate the presence of video content.

XML Sitemap: Create an XML sitemap and submit it via Google's Webmaster Tools. While having a sitemap does not necessarily guarantee that each and every page or link on your site will be crawled or indexed, experts like Benjamin Wayne, CEO of Fliqz, a full-service, plug-and-play video solution provider, agree that having a sitemap is the best way for leading search engines to get to know the entirety of your website.

XML Video Sitemap: Submit your videos to Google (again, using Webmaster Tools) by creating an XML video sitemap. Anyone having difficulty doing this themselves should consider using Fliqz's SearchSuccess product.

Video Length: If your videos are much longer than the recommended target length of 90 seconds, consider breaking them up into smaller segments. While this may not be practical in all cases, doing so increases the number of video submissions to Google, and helps maximize your chances of obtaining a first page ranking.

Title Tags: Follow CiscoKits' lead and match the title tags of the page to the titles of your videos. 

Video Titles: Assign a unique, descriptive name to each video, as CiscoKits already has done, that targets long-tail searches (Generic titles do not score very well with search engines like Google).

Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. For more information, visit MikalBelicove.com.

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