5 Tips to Boost Your Video SEO Strategy [#CZLNY]

Since YouTube is the second-largest search engine, video can and should be an integral part of your SEO strategy. During a session at ClickZ Live New York, Allen Gottfried, manager of Internet and online strategies at New Jersey’s St. Peter’s Healthcare System, discussed video and shared some ways in which search marketers can up their game.

When Gottfried created videos detailing a specific treatment option, the keywords quickly brought him from page three to the top of page two in the search rankings. 

“I see a lot of websites writing relevant content and it’s good, but the video performs so much better, even though the written content is the same,” he said. “A lot of people just want to watch something for two minutes. They want to see a product in front of them, being demonstrated.”

According to Gottfried, how-to videos and videos with numeric titles tend to garner the most views. Here are five more of his tips:

1. Leave No Field Open

Gottfried recommends taking advantage of all open fields in a video’s description on YouTube, such as title, description, and annotations. In the empty space, you can put subscribe and social media links, or even the video itself, making it easier for people to share.

“The fields will just have 40 characters but you can have 5,000 characters to work with – it’s just silly,” he said.

In the description field, Gottfried recommends using all top keywords – which should also go in the metadata – and being very clear about what people ought to expect. What will they learn? What can they take away?

2. Don’t Skimp on Production Quality

A bootleg-looking video will hurt your authority in the industry, so it’s crucial to get the lighting and sound right, at the very least. You can get a professional-quality microphone for less than $20. Those standards should also apply to your thumbnails – Gottfried recommends taking still photos to use as thumbnail images to avoid the always-unflattering picture of a speaker gesticulating.

“One thing I hear a lot is, it’s too expensive; we don’t have the resources to do it,” he said. “If this were five or 10 years ago, I would understand, but today, the resources are there if someone in your company has a phone that shoots HD.”

A tight budget doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself. Gottfried said that outsourcing things like closed captioning, editing, and motion graphics can save you a lot of time without setting you back too much. “You can send someone your footage and $50 later, you get it back and it’s edited,” he added.

3. Be Mindful of Mobile

Smartphones have gotten sophisticated enough that you can shoot professional video with yours. Just remember to turn the phone sideways to avoid the distracting black bars on the side, Gottfried said.

The omnipresence of mobile goes both ways. Half of YouTube’s views come from mobile, a number Gottfried doesn’t expect to go anywhere but up as data plans become cheaper and Wi-Fi is more widespread. With that in mind, he recommends shooting video specifically for smaller screens.

4. Have a Schedule

Jenna Marbles is one of the world’s most famous YouTubers, with nearly 15 million subscribers. Her fans know to expect a new video every Wednesday. You should be just as regimented.

“Google and YouTube look at user engagement,” Gottfried said. “What’s your upload frequency? Are you uploading once every three months? If so, that’s not going to rank very highly. You need to come up with a plan – [upload] on a weekly or two-week basis.”

5. Keep Them There

A simple YouTube widget on your website will drive more people to your channel. Once they’re there, there are some simple things you can do to engage them further.

If you have a lot of videos, curating playlists is a good way to keep them organized. If you dedicate the last few seconds of a video to an end card, as people like Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres do, that will remind viewers to subscribe and interact. Additionally, with YouTube being such a community, cross-promotion with other channels can help drive additional traffic.

Another simple way to engage viewers is, when they comment, to respond quickly.

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