As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
There's a lot that goes into video marketing. You need to make a strategy, set a budget, follow through with production, and edit every video to be nearly perfect. However, in the hustle of creating marketing videos, a lot of people discount one of the most critical components: the optimization. Unless you don't want any of your customers to find your video content, you need to invest more time and energy into preparing your material for search.
It goes back to the 80/20 rule of content. The idea has always been that you should spend 20 percent of your time creating content, and 80 percent of your time promoting it. In video marketing, it's no different. There's too much video content out there to merely post your content in a few places and hope for the best. For your audience to discover and engage with your content, you need to get creative, and even a little scrappy with your SEO efforts.
Why SEO Matters For Video Marketing
The statistics for video marketing are staggering. Brands are dominating YouTube and Facebook with original video content. When you look at the state of video marketing, you can't avoid how critical it is for your overall marketing efforts:
- YouTube alone has over a billion users across continents consuming content in 76 different languages.
- Web video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
- People spend a third of their time online watching videos.
That's why SEO matters so much for video marketing. Google, YouTube, Facebook, and every channel or platform you share content on need a way to properly organize, assess, and get that content in front of the right audience. With a few of these best practices, you can make sure every video you publish is in the best possible position to rank.
#1. Say Your Keyword In Your Video
YouTube is one of the most sophisticated channels for video marketing, and the algorithm considers the headline, description, and engagement when determining the relevancy of video. But did you know it also bases that relevancy on what it can hear?
"Because YouTube automatically attempts to add closed captions, we know the algorithm technically can read through your entire audio script – and likely uses it as a factor when calculating relevance for a given keyword search." - Syed Balkhi, Founder of List25
In light of this, you should include your keyword a few times throughout your script. Similar to a blog post, add the keyword where it seems natural, and resist the temptation to keyword stuff. If YouTube is listening, keyword stuffing still applies, even if it's spoken.
#2. Spend Time On Your Headlines
To help your customers understand the value of your video, crafting original headlines is critical. Your headline should include your target keyword, preferably at the beginning of your title. When you "front-load" your titles, it can improve your chances of ranking for that keyword, thus increasing your clicks and engagement.
"YouTube creates HTML meta tags for each of these video view pages based on different page elements. The title of the video becomes the title tag, the description becomes the meta description tag, and the YouTube tags become the meta keywords tag (never mind that this tag is ignored by most search engines). Therefore, writing a good title can vastly affect your video’s click-through from both YouTube and from non-video SERPs." - Drew Hubbard, Contributor for Search Marketing Land
However, with all of the pressure to write a better headline, sometimes, you come up short. When I get stuck, I go to a Whiteboard Friday video from MOZ, where Rand Fishkin explains how to write a headline based on user intent and channel.
Here a few best practices that Rand recommends to write an SEO friendly headline, as well as some other tips:
- Use the word “video” somewhere in your video.
- Identify the intent behind your headline. For a YouTube video, you want to outrank the content you're competing against, while for a Wistia video that you embed on your website, you want to target qualified viewers.
- Focus on what the video will help the viewer accomplish.
- Experiment with some of the most common words in viral headlines.
Overall, you should do everything you can to write an excellent title. With a weak title, you will lose clicks to more intriguing content.
#3. Upload To Multiple Platforms
YouTube is a go-to for uploading video, but you should branch out and natively upload videos to different channels as well. Every channel has it's own unique audience and personality and can help increase brand awareness and reach more viewers. Some of them even have the potential to outperform YouTube. For instance, Facebook video gets 10x more shares than YouTube.
Here's a list of all of the channels marketers are currently using to upload content.
- Google My Business
- Internet Archive
- Daily Motion
Some of these platforms won't necessarily be a fit for your brand, but you should diversify your video marketing efforts. If you experiment with more than one channel, you have the best chance of finding a mix that drives performance and helps you rank.
#4. Treat The Summary Like A Mini-Blog Post
There are a lot of conflicting opinions about the description area for a video. Many brands write a full-fledged blog post in their description, while others keep it short and sweet. What's the best choice?
"Provide a basic outline of what your video is about, including its main themes and general points, but withhold the real, value-adding points. Make it clear what people can expect from your video, but don’t take away their incentive to sit back and give it a view." - Amanda Clark, Grammar Chic
I'd recommend basing the content of your description on the channel. With YouTube, around 200+ word descriptions perform the best, while with Facebook, the average description was 84 characters and the median was 61 characters.
On many platforms, you also need to select tags for your video. Business2Community recommends that one tag should be your focus keyword (what you're trying to rank for), two or three should be alternate versions of that keyword, and another could be a broad, overarching keyword.
Another crucial step to optimizing your metadata is updating it before your first upload. I couldn't find solid proof, but a lot of YouTubers speculate that when viewers begin to engage with your content within 48 hours, YouTube will evaluate whether or not to recommend your content.
#5. Get Creative With Sharing
Regardless of how well you optimize your video, you can't bypass another critical factor in video SEO. You need to share the content. When you don't share your content, you miss out on a tremendous opportunity for engagement with your customers. That's why we try to reuse and repurpose videos as much as we possibly can, before creating new content.
"You don’t realize the value of the library of content that’s smoldering in your resource center...It takes the fraction of the resources to refresh that content and redistribute it in a new way than it takes to start again in full cloth.” - Steve Kovsky, Director of Content and Digital Marketing for CrowdStrike.
Here are a few tips for distributing and sharing your video marketing.
- Create Trailers For Social - Use your footage to craft preview clips to use on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. You can direct the viewer to watch to the full-version on Facebook, YouTube, or on your website.
- Find Opportunities to Embed - You can embed your YouTube video on a SlideShare, in a Medium post, and in a LinkedIn article. It will require some additional work but will help get your video content in front of new eyes.
- Create An Audio Version - The last time I watched a Whiteboard Friday video, I noticed that MOZ features an audio recording of the video on SoundCloud. To replicate this, take the audio file of your video and upload it on Soundcloud to reach a broader audience.
- Go Live - Facebook Live and Instagram Stories can drive a lot of engagement. Even if you don't stream something new and original, you can use these instant live videos to discuss and promote your video. It's another opportunity to tease the content, and direct viewers back to it.
- Partner Up - You can take a similar approach to get links for a blog post and reach out to podcasts or websites to guest post or guest host. You can pitch them about the topic of your video, and ask them to embed the video when they post the content.
- Boost Posts - It will cost a little extra, but boosting posts on Facebook, promoting tweets, and sponsoring a Pinterest pin or an Instagram photo can give you a little bit of a bump in traffic and engagement.
We follow a few tried and true tips for repurposing all of our content. That way, we can get the best possible ROI from our video marketing efforts.
#6. Find Out When Viewers Are Leaving
One of the most critical metrics for video is viewing time, or how long people watch your video content. If enough people don't watch a significant portion of your video, it will indicate to Google that the material is of lesser quality than others who have more viewing time. Without the reporting to back it up, all you can do is guess why people aren't making it through your content.
To know for sure, you need to understand the metrics of each platform and learn how to study patterns to optimize future videos. Here are some metrics that are essential for each popular video platform.
- Engagement Analytics: YouTube - Views are an important metric, as well as the point a viewer dropped off the content. You can find these numbers under "Audience Retention" on your channel.
- Video Performance Metrics: Facebook - On Facebook, the average view duration, total video views, clicks to play, link clicks all factor into how well your videos perform.
- Across Channel Performance: Wistia - Wistia isn't the same as Facebook and YouTube, as people can't go to Wistia.com and search for your content. The metrics that matter on Wistia are total plays, audience engagement, play rate, and timeline actions, as they indicate how viewers are interacting with your content.
For more guidance, refer to the HubSpot Video Metric Overview. You can use your overall video marketing goals to help identify the metrics you should be tracking, and what those metrics tell you about the quality of your video.
#7. Keep A Consistent Schedule
Some video marketing experts suspect that platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and more prefer frequent posting, as it helps keep viewers on their sites longer. Additionally, regular and consistent posting is helpful because it allows followers to anticipate your next post. Similar to your favorite television show, video content that provides tremendous value to the viewer is exciting, and will bring people back to get more.
The activity will tell Google, YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms that your channel and your content is valuable. As a result, I'd recommend setting and sticking to a consistent schedule for video marketing and studying the performance at those various times to determine your next steps.
An Essential Part of Video SEO
Optimizing your video content can make a world of difference. When you launch videos that are fully optimized and ready to go, you can promote and drive traffic to those assets with confidence that they will rank. However, merely optimizing your video content isn't enough. To create videos that deliver ROI, you need to incorporate them into a greater strategy.
With the right strategy, you can align your on-site and off-site video marketing with an overarching campaign and objectives. You can make sure that every video you create has a purpose, and all of your video marketing efforts are helping you grow. To learn more about how to create a robust inbound marketing strategy that drives better results, check out our guide to Conquering The Inbound Marketing Mountain.
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