I just spoke with the Guru of Video SEO, Mark Robertson, to get some input on my chapter on video SEO (for “Beyond Viral Video”). I don’t think I succeeded on convincing him to just write the chapter (with credit, of course), but he’s been very generous with his insights. He’s got the smack daddy of resources on this subject, and had an answer for every questions I could ask.
I’ve obsessed with using YouTube as the fast-track to Google results, but Mark reminds me that it’s only one part of the puzzle. Equally important, perhaps, is ensuring that video content on your own website ranks high, and that it displays thumbnails you create. This is especially true if you’re trying to sell something (versus drive awareness). We already know that YouTubers don’t leave YouTube easily.
I’m still keen on brands (and creators and bloggers) getting content on YouTube because it’s the dominant video site, and more searches occur on YouTube than Yahoo or MSN. But that doesn’t mean we give up trying to optimize video on our own little desert-island websites.
My key take away from the call with Mark: While it’s easier to optimize your content using YouTube, most people would prefer to have the results display their own website. So your focus depends on who you are:
- Small businesses or bloggers that lack a well-indexed website and technical resources: you’re much better off getting your videos found on Google by using YouTube.
- Large brands are wise to concurrently upload video content to YouTube and their own site. It can’t hurt (at least in the near term it’s unlikely you’d be penalized for repetitive content).
- Any sophisticated website should deploy Mark’s best-practices to ensure the site is SEO’d for video. The structure of the site has to make it easy for Google. And you generally don’t want to embed a YouTube video on your site, because that just makes it more likely for the YouTube URL to show up (instead of your own site, if that’s important).
Benjamin Wayne, SearchEngineWatch, published some good questions to ask your agency (or video platform provider, or technical geek) to ensure your videos aren’t invisible:
- Will you index both my video permalink pages and the videos themselves?
- Will links point back to my site, or will they drive traffic to pages hosted by the video platform provider?
- How often will feeds be updated?
- In which search engines will my results appear?
- Do you still live with your mom? (okay I added that one)
- How will I be able to track click-through and ROI?
Want to see what your eye might be doing as you search content on Google? Check it out: