The following are basic tips and factors to keep in mind throughout the video production and promotion process:
Video Length – Pay close attention to the length of your video. A video which is too long may not convert as well as short 30 second video. A great way to determine whether your video is too long is to check the length of pageviews on your video landing page. If you have a two minute video, but the average length of pageviews is only 30 seconds, it is probably a good idea to either cut the length of your video , or bring the call to action into first 30 seconds of the video.
Call to Action – Be sure your video has instructions on what you want to achieve. If the goal of your video is to promote a business, be sure to have a call to action somewhere in your video. For example if I am promoting a video for a hotel, I will have a watermark throughout the entire video with the address, phone number, website of the hotel and something communicating the message that I want people to book a room.
Ready for TV – When develoing your online video you should always keep in mind that this video can potentially be used for TV adverting. With products available such as Google TV Ads that enable people to broadcast there online video’s directly on live TV, it is important to develop your video in such away that it would look great on a computer screen or 42″ plasma TV in someone’s living room.
Put a twist on it – To make a great viral video, there has to be some twist or catch. If the video is plain and boring with nothing to hook the audience, it is quite likely that this video will not perform. A good way to test this is to get a few outside opinions on the video. Have your friends, family or anyone not related to the video watch the clip and monitor there reactions closely. No one wants to spend even a second of their busy lives watching a boring video. Be sure the content, images and voice overs are compelling enough to keep a 9 year old child entertained.
File Types – It is crucial to keep the file types in mind while exporting the final cut of your online video. It is recommended to export the video as flash “.swf” file and to make sure there are no Active X Controls involved. If the video is exported in the wrong format, it will effect the video download time, video buffer time, video quality, and the ability for people to easily watch the video. Nobody wants to install Active X controls to watch a 30 second clip. The goal is to make a video that will play quickly and smoothly and require only one click of a button from the end user.
Video Sitemap – Be sure to create and submit an XML video sitemap. This will force Search Engine Crawlers to find your video. You can have a beautiful video, hosted on an amazing site, but if you don’t direct the crawlers to the video, there is a good chance that the video will not be picked up. To generate a video sitemap is quite simple, just follow the instructions provided by Google. Lastly, be sure to submit the Sitemap feed to the resepctive webmasters.
Search Engine Optimization – You can optimize your video at several different stages. You can optimize the video itself by using ID3 tags which are now crawlable by search engines and act as a digital footprint stating what your video is about. You can optimize the video landing page with relevant Meta Tags and relevant keyword rich content. You can submit a Title, Description, and Keyword tag to most of the video sharing sites.
The Competition – If your video has only 12 views but a competitors video has 3,000 views there is an obvious cause for this. However, if you don’t analyze the competition’s video and compare it to yours, that cause will never be found. See what the competitor is doing. Watch their video, read the meta tags, compare side by side what they are doing and what you are doing, and make the necessary changes!
Track it – Either you use in house tracking, Google Analytics, Urchin, Omniture or any other tracking software it is important to analyze the data of your video. Start off by taking a look at the data of your video landing page. How are people getting to this page, what keywords are landing people to this page, what is the lenght of pageviews on this page, how many exits does this page have? If you are submitting your video to sites like YouTube, you can track the results directly through YouTube. YouTube now gives out great tracking information and you don’t even have to sign in. I personally recommend using sites such as TubeMogul which allow you to track your video on several different sites and reveal how many views is the video getting, how many comments is the video receiving and more!
The tips above are just the tip of the ice berg in terms of video search engine optimization. There are hundreds of different strategies that can be implemented and there is no right or wrong strategy. The ultimate goal is to get conversion from your video. Set up realistic goals and action steps that your video is intended to achieve and track them. Lastly, don’t be afriad to try new things. If your video has been on YouTube for a month and it still have only 10 it is time for a change! If properly used online video is a great channel to use to achieve your goals!
Special thanks to: Greg Jarboe, Steve Espinosa, and Chase Norlin
Contributed by: Alex Yunerman, Milestone Inc.