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SEO For Your Web Video

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Video is Sticky

Everyone has heard that Internet video can be a powerful tool for creating sticky web sites. Until recently though, video has been out of reach to the average “webmaster.”  With the increased availability of high-speed Internet access, and the rapidly decreasing costs of equipment and technology, that has changed.  Really good video is now being created not just by professional videographers, but by everyone from soccer moms (and players) to CEOs. They all know that video is one of the best ways to improve the engagement level (A.K.A. “stickiness”) of their Web site. Regardless of whether you are selling homes, cars or blenders on your Web site video tours and product demonstrations attract and retain visitors.

Some people have argued that because video is not searchable by Google or the other engines, it’s a waste of time.  It is true that video, like other forms of embedded media, can not be indexed by today’s search engines.  There is progress being made towards having Flash files (which is how most web video is presented) being indexed. But, the best we can hope for in the short-term is that links buried within Flash files will be discovered and indexed. The ability of a search bot to actually understand the contents of a video file is a long way off – if it ever happens.  Does that mean we should ignore video?  Of course not, we don’t create our web sites, or videos, for the search engines, we create them for people.  People like video – a lot.

How Does Internet Video Get Found?

Since the engines can’t index your video, you’ll need another way for it to be found.  How did your visitors find your site when your “home tours” were just a bunch of photos stacked on a page?  Hopefully, you surrounded the photos with descriptive text.  Big surprise … you do the same thing with video.  Describe to your visitors what they can expect to see when they watch.  If you are doing a neighborhood tour, then perhaps you should write something like: “Join us on a short tour of beautiful Westwood Estates, a gated community located on the rapidly expanding northeast side of Austin, Texas.  During our tour we’ll travel along lush, tree-lined streets on our way to Sundance drive where we’ll see a lovely 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom ranch style home with an in-ground pool and ….” Easy, right?  Keep in mind that the most important part of SEO is content, and content is more of an art than a science.

Most video hosting sites allow you to enter a title, description and some key-words. Be sure to keep your site and page key words in mind when entering those.  Before you upload your video, give it a key word-rich and descriptive file name; perhaps “neighborhood-tour-westwood-estates-austin-texas-jack-leblond-agency.”  The video sites will give it a new name when you upload, but some still keep track of the original name and display it to viewers.  While I have yet to see documentation that suggests it, I suspect that the original file name is also included when people search the video sites. Why waste an opportunity to use your key words?

Use a Video Hosting Site

If you host your own web videos, there are a few additional bits of Search Engine Optimization that can be accomplished, but self-hosting video is a complicated (and potentially expensive) undertaking I do not recommend  – unless you have a well-trained staff and deep pockets. Even then it’s generally not a good idea.  The costs and hassles of self-hosting far out-weigh any minor SEO benefit.  Plus, having your video collection in your YouTube Channel, or any of the other video hosting sites only increases your overall exposure in the search engines result pages as blended search is becoming more popular.  Having multiple items (text, video, images) types show in the SERPs does result in a higher click-through ratio for you.

SEO is All About The Content

Video production is not part of SEO, but as your visitor engagement is affected by good or bad video, I’ll offer a few tips. Make sure that the first and last few seconds of the video contain your business name and contact info.  Some video sites will pick the static display image from this area.  If possible, take advantage of the lower third of the video to provide additional information.  For example, if you mention a street name, address or phone number in your narration, display it in text as well so your viewers get reinforcement of the information.  When people both hear and read the same information, they are more likely to remember it.  Keep videos short, 3-5 minutes is the max.   People have good intentions, but short attention – they will drift off quickly after the 5-minute mark.  End your video with a call to action; “Call 555-1212 now to schedule a tour of the homes shown in this video.”  Be sure to display the text on the screen at the same time. Lastly, as tempting as it is, do not use commercial music as the background.  Yes, we all love Jimmy Buffet tunes, but the music industry is taking more people to court than the Williams sisters.  Trust me, it’s not worth the hassle.  There are lots of places where you can get free or low-cost music.

originally published October 8, 2008

Jack Leblond is a SEO/SEM professional working for a large corporation full time in Austin, TX. He is not a Realtor, he is our in-house SEO expert. Jack is the Director of Internet Strategy and Operations for TG (www.tgslc.org). In addition to managing the team that develops and maintains the company's multiple Web sites, he focuses on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), e-marketing and Social Media. Jack's background ranges from Submarine Sonar Technician/Instructor for the United States Navy, technical writer, pioneer in internet/intranet creation for McGraw-Hill and Times Mirror Higher Education, former Adjunct Professor for two Universities teaching web-related courses, has served as a city council member and co-founded Net-Smart, a web design and hosting company, where he managed networks and oversaw the development of hundreds of Web sites. As a free-lance SEO consultant, Jack performs SEO Site Audits for small/medium businesses that want their web sites to perform better in the search engine listings.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Nicole Boynton

    October 8, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks for reminding people about not using other people’s music. I just had this debate with a friend yesterday over a podcast I had created with looped background music. My music came from a royalty free website and was just an instrumental because I am not taking the risk of getting sued over using restricted music!

  2. Matt Stigliano

    October 8, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Nicole – Music and royalties being dear to my heart, I have to chime in on this one. Right now, record companies are searching for every way they can to increase their bottom line. One of those ways, is looking at sites daily for any sign of their artist’s music, so you’re smart to debate your friend on this one. Back when Napster first came to light, record company employees spent hours and hours uploading fake tracks with the wrong bands associated with them, just so they could break the system and make it worthless to the user. I suspect they’re going to get even more aggressive pursuing users who use their music in video, podcasts, etc. as their business models have shifted drastically. Back when I started, record royalties were where the good money was at and touring was not worth so much. Not any more…the roles have been reversed thanks to file sharing and now many record companies need every cent they can get when it comes to their artist’s music, so they’ll try and get it wherever they can.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    October 8, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Ooops pushed “submit” before I was done.

    On the video post – Jack, thanks for the article. As someone who wants to try and delve into video sooner rather than later, I will be reading this one more than once. I’m only just now starting to get things put in place, but when I do, I hope that video will become a big part of what I do.

  4. Vegas SEO

    October 8, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    I completely agree that video helps SEO. It really helps to decrease bounce rate as people are stimulated visually and will want to stay more to watch. Humans in general like to see and watch things instead of read things.

  5. Joe Zekas

    October 8, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Search engines do index video titles and keywords. No SEO is usually required to rank in search results. Just use YouTube to host your video.

    Go to Google and enter these keywords: Hyde Park condos Chicago. You should see video thumbnails in the top 5 results.

    Just write a good title, a simple description and relevant keywords. Nothing to it.

  6. Fred Light

    October 9, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Search engines not only index titles, subject and keywords/tags, they rank WELL and FAST. I have many hundreds of videos online and most end up on page ONE of Google (searching for the #1 keyword search…. i.e. city, state, real estate). Not only does it happen, it happens within hours or a day. Every single time.

    It’s not difficult and you need no SEO.

  7. Jeff Dowler

    October 12, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Jack – great info. I am doing a lot more with video and try to use keywords and other means to help them get found. Terrific suggestions – some things I need to do a better job of focusing on. I use the word video in posts where I have posted a video – some folks search homes with videos and I have ended up on page 1 of Google a numer of times this way. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

    Jeff

  8. Mike Mueller

    November 5, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Jack-
    What about putting the link to the post that the video will be embedded in the video description?

  9. jf.sellsius.theclozing

    July 26, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    Excellent advice, Jack.

    Also, leave comments containing keywords. Favorite the video. Evidence suggests engagement with video is a ranking factor.

  10. Jack Leblond

    July 27, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    @All – Thanks for the great feedback. As pointed out by some, video ranks well (and quickly). Just be sure to do it correctly so your viewers get the picture you intend for them to get.

    Making sure to completely fill out the description, tags and URL when you post a video is very important. Make sure potential visitors have ways to find you.

    Lastly, there is new evidence that the number of views you have for the video is irrelevant (at least for know anyway). Check this out:
    https://www.jackleblond.com/web-video-can-improve-search-rankings/

  11. Jason Barone

    July 28, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Another note on hosting: THe most popular sites including Youtube, Vimeo, Viddler and a few others specify in the Terms of Use “No Commercial Use” so be cautious of what you’re putting on those sites. You may go 6 months without any issues, but don’t be surprised if one day you wake up and your account is terminated, without warning. You’ll loose months of hardwork, and all of the links to your profile will go dead. I’ve already had this happen on Flickr (photo sharing site).

    Look at almost any commercial website, their videos will almost always be self-hosted. A lot of companies use Amazon’s web services to host videos because videos take so much bandwidth to view properly. You can also check out some paid hosting services.

    And it’s difficult to judge what’s commercial and what isn’t. Look at the Blendtec blender videos on Youtube. Is that commercial? You could argue it both ways…

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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.

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Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Social Media

Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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Social Media

BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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