For small businesses, search engine optimization is tricky business. A local sports retailer is trying to move mountains when they compete for keywords against behemoths like Academy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or REI. A good way to test your credit limit is to set up a PPC campaign for “Baseball Gloves” right now.
There is never going to be a silver bullet for SEO unfortunately. However, fresh content has always been an effective way to feed the Google machine and get customer eyes wandering to your site.
Over the past year, online video has become a powerful tool for boosting organic SEO rankings. Search engines still value video because it’s harder to make and is typically much more engaging. It’s by no means the end-all-be-all of SEO, but here are a few tips to make sure you are getting the most value out of your branded content to compete online.
1. Create strong content
Interesting and relevant content is the core of any SEO strategy. The same applies to video. If you are a small to mid-size brand you don’t have a ton of money to throw at video production. But that’s fine — pick up the camera and shoot something yourself. Video is more accessible than ever before. Focus on creating educational and helpful content for your customers. If you sell scuba gear, make a one-to-two-minute demo video about how to check tank pressure or properly store tanks at home. You want your customers to be engaged and have a positive emotion towards your brand at the end of the video.
YouTube is typically your best option for web deployment. It’s free, easy to use, and it’s owned by Google so it is naturally going to be given SEO priority. YouTube has a ton of great benefits to business. It automatically curates content to promote other users’ videos. So if a consumer is searching for reviews or info about a baseball bat they are interested in, YouTube will serve up more suggested videos about similar products. Thus stimulating organic search and discovery of your brand for consumers.
Google can’t actually identify what is within a video (yet). So we have to optimize them with keywords and tags just as we would a piece of text content. Hit the major keywords you know your potential customers are searching for. Include category level down to color and size if you’re dealing with a product video. Write up a detailed description for Google to pick up on. There is no character limit. so the more the merrier. Between 250 and 500 words is probably the sweet spot so you’re keeping it short enough for your audience to read and not painfully obvious that you are aiming for maximum optimization. You can even include long tail keywords to get pretty niche like “How to assemble a Schwinn bike” or “Best ways to store an REI paddleboard”.
4. Get Social
Encourage social engagement on YouTube or wherever you have your videos deployed. It is social media after all. Get users to ask questions, comment on the video, and spark conversations with the brand. The more engagement videos get from comments, likes, and subscribes then the higher the video is prioritized as a valuable piece of content to Google searchers.
You want linkbacks to your video, which typically means embedding it on web pages. Of course you will want to include it within the interior pages of your own site, especially if you are dealing with product or instructional videos. Reach out to industry bloggers or affiliate sites to embed your video in their next posting about your industry or company. Everyone is always hungry for great content.
Remember that posting your video on YouTube is not the end of the road for getting your content out there. You really want to get the most bang for the buck you spent on your production so take these steps to optimize your content for maximum reach. Video SEO can be a little time consuming, especially if you are dealing with multiple videos. But the great thing is that most of these options are completely free. Start providing great value and easy access to your content and grow your online audience. You’ll build the strength behind your brand name and in turn build a loyal customer base.
Charlie Rall (@charlie_rall) is co-founder of Video Review Labs, an ecommerce video startup in Austin, TX. Charlie and his team focus on creating scalable video content for online brands to extend their engagement and conversions in ecommerce. He loves helping small companies look big online and making customer experiences better.