The basic idea behind video syndication is to take a single video and distribute it across as many video channels as possible. The advantages from a branding perspective are clear. The more places your branded message appears, the likelier the chance that people will watch your video and be exposed to a brand impression. In short, bring your video to the people rather than expecting them to come to you.
The SEO advantages of video syndication are less clear, but there is certainly evidence to show that syndicated distribution of a video has the potential to drastically improve its ranking on Google. The best example I have seen of this is a simple experiment that Mark Robertson of Reel SEO conducted about a year ago. He used TubeMogul and VideoWildfire (both discussed below) to distribute a video across as many video sites as possible with the hopes of ranking for the targeted search term “SEO Sales Training.” What the test showed was that a relatively uncompetitive search term could dominate video search results with the assistance of syndication.
Of course, this is only a small piece of the puzzle, and this doesn’t necessarily make short work of the larger challenges of highly competitive video search. But the experiment is certainly a strong argument for the practice of syndication for the purpose of boosting search rankings. The following tools all strive to simplify the work required to submit a video to the many available video and social media sites available for online distribution.
TubeMogul, in my experience, is the most talked-about and popular video syndication tool. It has been around since 2006 which is an eternity in the video SEO/analytics game, so it is certainly an established service that has undergone many useful revisions and enhancements.
Pros: TubeMogul’s analytics software, called InPlay, is robust. This is the primary feature that sets TubeMogul apart from its larger competitors. InPlay aggregates all analytics to which it has access and puts them all in a single reporting interface. I can tell you from experience that one of the most challenging and time-consuming parts of running any video or social media campaign is collecting and digesting the data. At the agency level, InPlay’s reporting is especially useful because you can export the data directly to existing reporting templates.
Cons: TubeMogul suffers from the same problem as all video syndication tools, which is that every video submission site is different. There is little standardization among sites like YouTube, Vimeo, Imeem, Yahoo! Video, etc. Therefore, the convenience of bulk submission often sacrifices the on-page nuances of each video site. This puts your brand at risk of looking careless or unsophisticated. It’s a trade-off that might or might not be worth it to your brand. Therefore, TubeMogul is definitely a syndication tool to carefully consider as part of your video syndication strategy.
Your first impression of Traffic Geyser’s website might be that it has “scam” written all over it, but once you get past the aggressively sales-oriented mumbo jumbo, you will see that this service is another useful video syndication tool. Additionally, Traffic Geyser has a back-end lead generation form creator with an automated response and lead notification system. I have not used this part of the service, so I cannot recommend it one was or the other, but is an interesting feature for a syndication system.
While researching this piece, I kept quietly chuckling to myself about how much Traffic Geyser reminds me of a late night infomercial with quotes like “I am making nearly $250,000 a year from one simple website using your system.” But it must be working for them, so I can’t fault them for finding an effective sales strategy.
Pros: The service is relatively simple to use, and for newcomers to video syndication or marketing in general, Traffic Geyser provides tons of training videos that cover basic marketing concepts all the way through how to use and potentially profit from their service.
Cons: Did I mention that their website and entire sales process rubs me the wrong way? Frankly, this would be enough of a reason for me to choose another service, but I’m sure it won’t bother everyone the way that it did me. The biggest drawback to Traffic Geyser is the same problem that still plagues all video syndication software, which is the inability to customize each video to the nuances of every video hosting platform.
VideoWildfire is another infomercial-themed website, but again, it obviously works for them. This is a low-cost service, so the back-end features are anemic when compared to something like TubeMogul, but like most services, you get what you pay for, and VideoWildfire is cheap. This service will appeal to individuals more than brands or agencies, but it could certainly be a nice behind-the-scenes helper for any video marketing professional at any level.
Pros: At about 20 dollars per month, VideoWildfire is inexpensive and accessible. The service is easy to use, and the online support in the form of videos and slide show presentations is robust. At the most basic level, I like VideoWildfire because it largely does what it says, which is that it submits your videos to a wide array of hosting services. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles, but for many people there probably don’t need to be.
Cons: I’m not crazy about their website, which I think will repel reputable brands and agencies. But since their target consumer is probably individuals, they likely aren’t terribly concerned with my impression of their online presence. Yet again, VideoWildfire is harmed by the inescapable reality that each video site has its own quirks. Using this or any other software-based syndication service is going to leave noticeable gaps on many of the video view pages to which they upload.
Hey!Spread is similar to the three preceding tools in that it provides a one-stop shop for distributing video to a wide array of video hosting sites. The company provides several other services including one that analyzes trends in online video and another video encoding service. But the Hey!Spread service, launched in 2007, is the one that we’re interested in here.
Pros: Hey!Spread has flexible pricing. There isn’t a set monthly fee. Instead, you pay for how much you use. For brands and agencies that run sporadic video campaigns, this is an appealing option. They also offer an interesting service called YouClone that takes existing YouTube videos and redistributes them across Hey!Spread’s supported network of hosting sites.
Cons: I know that sound like a YouTube video on repeat, but the disadvantages of using any software service should be clear by now. Obviously, any user, whether it is an individual, a brand, or an agency, will have to weigh the assets and liabilities of using a software solution. What is more important? Do you need to place your video in as many places as possible in the smallest amount of time, or is it essential that you maintain the integrity of your brand by taking the necessary steps to customize each video to the individual platforms on which they will appear?
Manual submission is obviously not a tool, but I feel that I have to cover the advantages of using low-cost interns or offshore employees. Rather than offering any automation, you can achieve similar results to the above software solutions, but then you can take it many steps further.
Pros: The biggest advantage to using low-cost employees is that you can overcome the inescapable downside to using any available software solution—customization. One of the primary pitches of all of the above tools is that they will save you time and therefore money. Time will certainly be saved, but at what cost? If it is vital that your video pages be customized, there is currently no other way to achieve this than doing it all by hand. But remember that this isn’t something that requires a great deal of skill. In the past, I have written simple tutorials that guide another employee through the process of submitting and customizing videos for each targeted hosting site.
Cons: Obviously, when everything is done by hand it is going to take time. And even if you are not coming out of pocket significantly for interns or offshore employees, you will have to wait first for the work to be completed, and then someone will need to Q/A the work (at least until you are comfortable with your employees’ abilities). Compared to the inexpensive or free software solutions that are available, manual submission might not even be an option. But consider, especially at the agency level, the off-peak times (like overnight) that can be used for this work to be completed.
Furthermore, other tasks like transcription can be completed at the same time. If your client or brand has the budget for manual submission and customization, you would be wise to consider it as a possibility.
Since there is no compelling reason for the various video hosting sites to agree on standards, there will likely never be a perfect solution to automated video syndication. But services like TubeMogul and Hey!Spread have come as close as possible for now. These same sites offer value-adds like analytics that collect data that would otherwise not be available to most brands or agencies in any convenient way. At the beginning of any video campaign, or even earlier when you or your business are considering video as part of your marketing strategy, spend some time thinking about what is more important—efficiency or accuracy.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.