If you have the means to produce it, video can be a huge asset to SEO. Quality is the key. You absolutely need high quality video with high quality audio and compelling scripting if you want to succeed with video, and that’s true regardless of whether you’re sharing on YouTube, Vimeo or a custom player embedded on your site. Beyond that, though, you can do a lot to bolster your video strategy.
Note that what follows mostly assumes you’re using YouTube as your primary video host. It’s easier and more convenient than using a different video host, and it’s less stressful on your host than hosting it yourself. Plus, YouTube is a huge social network in its own right, and the engagement and referral traffic you can get there are worth it on their own.
1. Create a Video Resource Center
Yes, your YouTube channel page can be a hub for exploring your content, but it’s not without its limitations. You can do a lot more with a completely customizable page on your website. Create and brand that page. Center it around an embedded YouTube player, but don’t be afraid to allow users to click offsite.
A good video hub on your site should have a display for your video title and description, a search that only searches within your videos and a list of popular tags for users to click through. You can also benefit from a complete index of videos, or at least a complete index of playlists. For playlists, create them on YouTube itself and link to the playlist from your website.
2. Use Video Transcripts
There are two ways you should use a transcript of your video.
First, you should upload it to YouTube. This will not cause duplicate content penalties, so don’t worry. All it does is make it available to any user who wants to turn on captions, and avoids the messy issue of YouTube’s relatively poor captioning system. Google does actually index captions, but it only really applies to searching exact phrases through YouTube.
Second, on your on-site embedded video, post a copy of the transcript. This allows the video content to effectively be indexed for search, allowing the video to pull double duty. You have two options with this; you can make the transcript the entire content of the page, or you can create an article around the video and use a hidden div to hide the transcript unless a user clicks to read it.
3. Consider Self-Hosting Videos
Now, in the introduction, there are several good reasons to use YouTube rather than host videos on your own site. This option is the exception, and offers you a way to integrate YouTube with your on-site video SEO.
First, create long, deep content with a lot of value. Host this content on your site and link it up to your video center. Post the transcript, optimize titles and everything else for video SEO.
Second, create a video sitemap that offers meta data and descriptions for all of your on-site videos. This helps those videos find a place in the search index in a way that doesn’t force traffic away from your site.
Third, create a “trailer” or teaser for your content. This short version should be designed to tease questions without answers. It should also encourage users to click an annotation link or description link to visit your site for the full video. This brings people to your page, where other hooks can keep them there.
4. Use Transcripts for Derivative Content
Transcripts are a great resource to create further content. A transcript can be leveraged into a case study or adapted for a blog post. A transcript can become a hub for links to supporting content elsewhere on your site. You can even use the transcript to create an infographic, which in turn links back to the video and your website.
Essentially, a good transcript is a great amount of content you can use to create other content. You can also allow other users to use snippets of the content. Quotes and sentences become tweets and hooks for other blog posts. Screenshots or embedded videos become links to your site or YouTube profile. It all helps turn a video into a wide array of additional content.
5. Drip Content Slowly
It can be easy to have a sudden burst of inspiration and produce half of a hundred hours of video in a few weeks. You should avoid posting all of this content at once, however. Think about it; that much video translates into quite a bit of verbiage in transcripts, with supporting articles and infographic opportunities. You can drip-feed the content and support your YouTube channel for months.
Perhaps more importantly, SEO is a slow build over time. If you were to create a site and post 100 articles in the first day, it looks suspicious. If you were to create a YouTube channel and upload 100 videos on the first day, it looks much the same. Keep the content, drip feed it over time and reap the benefits of a slow, steady SEO build.
6. Don’t Ignore Analytics
YouTube, as part of Google, has a wide array of analytics options at your fingertips just for being a content producer. You can further install your own analytics – and may have to if you’re self-hosting videos – to broaden your information.
Learn how to read and interpret what YouTube analytics has to tell you. Learn how to put those tidbits of information to use. Some of it will take practice, but that’s what analytics is all about; iteration and sequential improvements.
7. Consider Content Length
Unless you’re Hollywood, virtually no one is going to sit around for a video longer than an hour. In fact, most people are going to tune out of your videos before the five minute mark. Even though YouTube has long since removed the ten minute cap on videos, you should consider it a soft limit.
In general, you should shoot for a video between three and five minutes long. Any shorter and you don’t have a lot of time to push value, with the exception of those video teasers mentioned above. Any longer and you lose audience to boredom and distraction. If you have a video and it works out to 30 minutes long, cut it into chunks and create the start of a video series with it.
8. Share Videos Everywhere
This tip is really quite self-explanatory. Share your videos anywhere you can. Here are some ideas:
• Embedded in a blog post
• Embedded in a Facebook or other social network post
• In your email newsletter
• On a “modern” community, like Tumblr or Reddit
• In press releases to industry bloggers
• Anywhere else a relevant audience resides
Essentially, just post your video anywhere you can, as long as it’s relevant. The more exposure you get, the better.