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Videos Can Be Optimized Almost As Well As Text

Video has always been a complicated matter on the web, as it demands dedication from the creator to make something good, time commitment from the audience to watch, speed and power from both the web server and user-end, and labor from search engine crawlers to understand if it’s what their users want. Text is easy to navigate, but audio files and 30 pictures per second take work. A decade ago, video was purely an experience piece for your users, but now it can be just as strong of a content tool as any article of text.
That is, because text is still an integral part of video, and there are a few standard areas where you can control the text associated with your video. And any expert in video content will be sure to check off each of these steps, as this represents 80% of the results for engaging video. Here are a few of the basic key points to best optimize video.

1. Use YouTube

There are very few reasons to use your own custom video player, and most stem from the advertising requirements you have. YouTube alone has more traffic and viewers than any other platform. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen non-techie users go to to search for videos they previously saw on Hulu (and knew it was provided by Hulu). I’ve seen users be confused by custom-skinned players that don’t look like YouTube. Again, your uses may vary, but most of your traffic and search traffic will come with making the video available on YouTube.

2. Upload The Highest Quality

YouTube encodes video for web streaming by saving your original video file and encoding it to their specifications. These files are optimized for streaming on computers, tablets, and mobile phones, and they improve the encoding settings every year. And YouTube wants the best experience possible for their users, so they will promote HD videos over lower-quality files. Google is also pushing for extending the experience across all devices, including living room televisions.

3. Optimize Title, Description, and Keywords

This is the foundation of regular SEO for websites- make the primary information clearly defined and easy to understand. If there are particular keywords you want to promote, be sure to have this in the title. Make it entertaining, and put the most important information up-front. Typically the first 15 characters are displayed on most search results or sites before being truncated, so make those stand out before the rest. Descriptions are also an opportunity, in YouTube, to include a link to your website, so the first Description item should be your site’s link.

4. Upload The Transcription

YouTube encourages transcriptions of videos for a few reasons. First, the transcription is placed at the correct position in the video, liked the Closed Captioning service for television broadcast, to assist the hearing impaired. Second, it allows the text to easily be translated through Google’s Translation service, so if your audience doesn’t speak English natively, they will easily be able to understand the video. Third, it allows them a text baseline for exactly what the video is about. If your video is about pizza, but all comments and links to the video talk about root beer, Google Search will think the “pizza” tags and title is mis-labeled. However, if the word “pizza” is mentioned 20x in the video, than the search algorithm will be confident that the video is about pizza.

5. Annotations, Links, Playlists, and Encourage Interaction

YouTube allows you to link and annotate your video across the YouTube site, and in some cases, to your own site on the video itself. Just as Search favors websites with a lot of links into and out of the site, so do they like videos that appear to be a part of the YouTube community. Annotations also encourage users to engage with the video, which show interest. Playlists are also a device YouTube has encouraged their users to utilize again lately, as this encourages viewers to stay on the site longer and watch the full length of the videos. Finally, if possible, encourage your viewers to share, comment, link, and talk to creators, as the popularity of your video reflects well.

Optimization for anything online, videos or websites, is a thorough job that not only needs to have a plan of action from the beginning to really benefit your users and business goals, but also needs continuous interaction and updates. Just like users come to your site expecting the latest and up-to-date information, so should you continue to update and keep your content fresh. The more you benefit your users, the more you’ll be recognized and rewarded for doing so.