Jeff Martin is VP-director, search marketing at TouchStorm, which produces and distributes instructional online videos. BtoB spoke with him about optimizing search for videos.
BtoB: Creating and distributing powerful videos is one thing; getting them found via search is quite another. What steps can help this process?
Jeff Martin: The three great benefits of online video are reach, engagement and conversion; and, when a video does all three, it really helps it in its search rankings. We have a research tool called Search Revelator that helps us identify the more popular, actionable search interests of targeted customers, showing us insights into how people are searching and what questions they're asking. The reason that's important is that the content a company puts on the Internet, including video, has to answer the questions people are asking via search. If you miss that—answering questions that very few people are asking—you won't get your reach.
After that, of course, we take care of all the search optimization that's required, such as metadata, titles, tags, descriptions and so forth.
BtoB: How do you know your video is scoring well with the search engines?
Martin: That's where engagement comes in. YouTube considers many elements in determining a video's visibility, including engagement. This might be determined by how many people liked, disliked or commented on it. If a video is performing poorly, with a whole bunch of dislikes, there may be some basic problem, such as a wrong angle or trying to answer questions that people aren't interested in. That creates a bad user experience and can bury the video. We've never seen a video that performs so bad that it has to be taken down and redone, but it may be necessary. And if you're relying on your video for other things, such as conversions, lead-gen or sales, I can see in those cases where you should be constantly testing and tweaking it.
BtoB: Does video present particular search challenges distinct from other forms of online content?
Martin: Most of the same SEO best practices apply to video. But because the search engines don't have the capability of digging into a video file to listen and understand its intent and messaging, there are a couple of extra steps you need to take. It's highly recommended that you create a video site map, for example. Here, you'll want to include a few extra bits of information that are specific only to video, such as the URL of your video player.