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Video: Google's SEO Loophole

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 7, 2010

As small business owners know, getting a first-page Google result is harder than ever due to the growing complexity of Google’s search algorithms and the company’s preference for blended search results that display videos and images toward the top of the first page, pushing down traditional results.

However, video is becoming the great equalizer—and in fact the secret sauce—for small businesses looking for search engine exposure as Google’s enthusiasm for video has enabled sites with video assets—even sites that would otherwise score poorly in the Google index—to achieve first-page rankings. In fact, Forrester Research found that videos were about 50 times more likely than traditional text-based Web pages to receive an organic first-page ranking.

Here’s how to make your videos work for you in terms of SEO:

• Get video content. Google is fairly flexible in what it considers video content. You can use actual video footage, but screen captures, slide shows, animated PowerPoint slides, and other content will work just as well.

• Submit smart. The only way to appear in Google’s blended search results is to submit your video to Google using a Video Sitemap. It is submitted using Google’s Webmaster Tools.

• Don’t assume that because you have submitted the Web page on which a video resides, that the video content itself is being indexed. This is not the case.

• Title and title tags. Google likes it when the title tag of the page matches the title of the video, and will give a higher weighting for results where this is the case.

• You’re much more likely to see results with video SEO if you target more specific search terms. A video titled "Dog" is unlikely to produce a first-page ranking, while a video titled "German Shepherd Police Dog" will be more likely to score well in Google’s algorithm.

Benjamin Wayne
Emeryville, Calif.

Reader Comments

Russ Somers

June 10, 2010 1:30 PM

Nicely done, Ben - this is one of the most succinct explanations of the basic blocking and tackling of video SEO that I've seen.

I'd mention two other points to drive the best results, based on what we see with our clients at Invodo (full disclosure: yep, I work there). First, go for unique video content whenever possible. Duplicate content quickly loses its luster in Google's eyes.

The second point is to consider where you're hosting the content. Small businesses often use YouTube. Convenient and user-friendly for a small business, but not 'free'. The hidden cost is the percentage of traffic that goes to YouTube instead of to your site - diluting the SEO benefit that you intended video to provide.


June 14, 2010 1:40 AM

Looks interesting. I've tried some SEo on You Tube but no results. 75

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