Well, according to Comscore’s latest report, YouTube has now overtaken Yahoo and sits in second position (behind Google of course) when it comes to online search. Quite an achievement! But, to be honest, it some respects, it really doesn’t matter where they are in the rankings – the fact is that the 60m+ visitors it attracts on a monthly basis speaks volumes on its own. It also begs the question – how are you using video to benefit your blog and your business?

Where videos prove their worth

Video, together with the increasing use of social media such as blogs, social networking and podcasts in marketing, has been winning new fans because of the extra dimension that it can give to our marketing activities. Using video not only helps to differentiate you from your competitors, it also allows you to convey your message in a different way.

The use of video has had a huge rise in popularity over recent years, with steeply rising user numbers. YouTube, with its estimated 64 million visitors every month leads the way, but its success has given rise to hundreds of other video sharing sites, led by Metacafe and Google Video. These larger sites all attract millions of users a month and have the potential to drive traffic to your blog, help you add another string to your social media bow and build on your SEO activities if you use them correctly.

But it isn’t just about tapping into this existing flow of visitors to video sharing sites you should also be using videos on your own blog. By embedding videos in individual posts, you are creating an additional resource for your visitors and a point of focus which you can link back to. If you have ones which generate high levels of interest then this can attract new visitors and additional links – both very beneficial of course! Having it on your own blog also makes it possible for you to distribute it (and syndicate it) through your RSS feed. Ah, so many opportunities!!

How to help your Video help you

However, there are some elements that you’ll want to consider, particularly if you want to get the best out of a video you are planning to create and use:

i) Creating your video

This is not a technical guide to creating your video but rather some pointers to start you thinking in the right direction. Nevertheless, as a rule of thumb, youll want to ensure that the Video gives the best impression possible, so spend as much time and money as it warrants to do so.

  • It is always best to keep it short and snappy, ideally under 5 minutes no matter what the subject matter. If you have something which merits longer then divide it up if the content appeals then they will come back for the rest of the series.

  • Unsurprisingly, content is all important: there is little point in just uploading anything and everything to video. The type of content can vary enormously though – it might be informative (how to guides are usually well received), quirky, funny or any number of variations. What it must be is interesting and something that will appeal to the market you are targeting.

  • For instructional videos, don’t forget that software which allows you to carry out screen capture will record you walking through a process easily and clearly – ideal business content.

  • Dont forget to include references to your business in the opening or closing elements of the video lets remember that the video is there to help us create additional awareness of our website and get people to visit it.

  • In addition, make sure you get a branding message into it at least a logo – but dont let it become the be all and end all of the video. Like blogs, videos are not a tool suited to a hard sell if they try to, they will quickly get turned off.

ii) Video Optimisation on your own website

When you embed a video in a blog post, remember to support it using the same optimisation methods that you might use on any other page … along with one or two additional elements too.

  • On the page that hosts the video, make sure that the page still has suitably targeted title tag, metatags and all of the onpage SEO elements that you would expect to use elsewhere on your blog.

  • And dont forget the text! Create a post which talks about the same subject matter and which will complement what you are showing on the video. The text supports the video and vice versa.

  • In addition, consider including a transcript of the video in the post itself this again will ensure that you have a lot of relevant content for the Search Engines to digest.

  • Of course, if you wish to take it a step further, then why not consider including a video, a podcast and text covering the same topic. Great for Search Engines and great for your visitors who can choose the medium they prefer to digest your information in.

iii) Video Optimisation on Video Sharing Sites

When you are using websites such as YouTube, you need to work with what they offer you and then make sure it is turned to your advantage.

  • The title of the video serves a similar purpose to the Title Tag on a web page and is used by both Search Engines and users. So make sure that the title contains a keyword phrase relating to your company or services and where possible also make it catchy enough to catch the attention of users.

  • You need to give the Search Engines information about the video itself you can do this by using tags for your video and make sure that they follow the keyword terms that you are targeting. Just like an individual webpage, make the tags specific to each video rather than just adding a standard set for all of them.

  • If you have a number of videos then its likely that you will also have a profile on your profile you will normally get the opportunity to embed your own keyword phrases so use these to support your video content

As an additional element, develop a programme for your videos where you employ social media methods to help build inbound links by using bookmarking sites such as Digg and del.icio.us, social networking sites and forums they are just as relevant when it comes to video promotion as they are for articles and pages.

Are Videos for you?

Not everyone has designs to be a director but you can be certain that the use of videos is here to stay and will continue to grow, so they need to be considered as part of your promotion plans. Check out what’s attracting hits on YouTube in your market area to get some ideas and, to make best use of them, optimise your videos by focusing on who will be viewing them and what they want to get from them. You can then use both general SEO techniques and those specifically relevant to video optimisation.

Above all, consider the use of social media marketing methods to harness the word of mouth and viral possibilities which will ensure that your videos get as wide a distribution as possible. Who knows, if your video reaches the right computer screen, it might even open up opportunities above and beyond great SEO for your business!

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