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SEO for videos in 2014

Here at BMON we’ve been advising clients on search-engine optimising their videos for some time now. However, somebody recently asked me for a good online guide, and I realised I hadn’t really covered the subject that thoroughly here. These then are the principles we tend to stick with.

Remember that the main thing YouTube has to use to determine the relevance of a video is the text around it. This means the title of the video, the description underneath and (don’t miss these) the tags. If you don’t get all those working for you, don’t expect your video to start appearing in the Google or YouTube search results. Exact search term matches seem to be key: if your title, description and tags contain the target term “blue widgets”, you’re going to get limited credit on searches for “widgets which are blue”. And the description is not a caption! Feel free (indeed, try) to write a few paragraphs, and ensure the link (presumably to your website) which you’re promoting is at the top, so it doesn’t get hidden. Finally, if you can remember to do so, put the search term in the video filename when you upload it.

Take a look on Google before you write your titles and tags to see if Google considers your target search term as one for which videos are especially relevant. If you see video results on the first page, then it’s worth targeting, even if other videos are already there. If there are no videos in the Google results, but you know there are some decent ones on YouTube, then consider optimising on a different search term. Google clearly doesn’t think videos are an important result for that search.

Other things to remember include selecting the correct category (e.g. “science and technology”); including an appealing “thumbnail” image; and setting the company address as the video location. Once you’ve done all this, “share” the video by email to yourself and see what your customers will see.

Channels are being pushed heavily by YouTube and appear strongly in the search results. If you have a single product specialisation, consider calling your channel “Acme Ltd blue widgets” instead of just “Acme Ltd”. You just might find you’re the only channel with “blue widgets” in its title.

Similarly, once you have a dozen or more videos, organise them into keyword-rich playlists. This is another feature which YouTube is keen to promote. Set up playlists, which can overlap, for “large blue widgets”, “fast blue widgets”, “how blue widgets work”, etc.

Last of all, get views. Google loves videos which have been watched a lot. Circulate details of the video to your email list, promote it at every opportunity (e.g. your email signature), and see if it can be suggested as an answer on services such as Yahoo! Answers or Quora. Even if the quality of the views you may get from sites like that (in terms of sales prospecting) isn’t great, they’re still genuine views.

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