Video SEO Can Give Small Businesses An Edge

Many of us in the online video advertising space have been encouraging small businesses to deploy video to stand out in search results and level the playing field with larger competitors. Some colleagues and I have been working with select clients to test, learn, test again, and learn again from placing video in search and other distribution points. The early learnings have been interesting and reinforced some tips outlined further below.

Big picture search marketing that leverages video will be among the most effective ways to market, specifically when video gets decent placement in search results and can show that it drives action. Let’s take a look at a test case:

One agency we work with specializes in marketing and sales for large-scale condominium developments—and the individual SMBs who manage those properties. For several months, we’ve been testing video ads on the agency’s web site, in ad networks, and in both search engine marketing and organic video search.

For some property videos on the agency’s web site, we’ve seen views-to-impressions ratios as high as 70% (similar to the luxury broker we talked about last month) and conversions (actions-to-views ratios) of almost 40%. We believe these amazing ratios reflect the value of keeping video relevant to what viewers expect to see when they view it.

On Google video search, the agency videos have achieved six of the top ten video search returns on some pretty broad search terms related to condos in their market. Pretty impressive results, most people would say.

However, when you type the same broad search terms in Google universal search, the agency’s videos appear on the seventh search engine results page—as the 75th result. Results, on universal search, of course vary based on a number of factors, including the tags, keyword competitiveness, and in paid search, the bid.

What does it all mean to SMBs? We believe it signifies both the promise of online video and the still-early nature of video used in organic search.

Some video-related tips to keep in mind in 2008

Relevance is key. We’ve said it before—it’s all about relevance. The higher the relevance of the video to the information that surrounds it, the better the results.

Use focused keywords. The tighter, the better. For the condominium marketing agency, we can track what keywords people type to locate video ads. We’ve seen “long tail” terms like “old historic Seattle buildings with condos for sale” return property video ad landing pages toward the top of universal search results pages.

Create useful content. We are often asked, “How long should a video be?” We have deployed video ads for a number of clients and are finding that viewers watch an average of 70% of an ad, regardless of video length. If content is useful, people will watch it.

Optimize for performance. Unlike single .flv files that you upload to YouTube and leave alone, we change and optimize VideoAds for our clients wherever they are distributed. With some clients we’ve made tweaks to their VideoAds and seen views-to-impressions ratios increase by over 35% and true conversions (clicks-to-views ratios) increase by over 50%.

Some video-related things to avoid:

Redundant multiple postings. Posting to every video sharing site does not necessarily result in higher placement on search engine results pages. This makes sense, because video search sites don’t want a high duplication of results in their returns. Several months ago, we would see our client’s videos “stacked” on search engine results pages because of all the sites to which we’d submitted. We’re seeing less of that today.[CM1]

Irrelevant content. The more targeted the keywords, the more focused the video must be. We have seen that less relevant VideoAds tend to lose viewers in the early part of the video – often with high abandonment at the less than 10% of video mark.

Online video is still very new and its power in search is still based on the promise of both the discoverability of the video and what happens when someone sees the video. In the early stages of a medium that holds so much promise for marketers, it’s most important to test, test, test and learn, learn, learn. The search algorithms are constantly changing and, consequently, so is the game. But advertisers who stay true to consumers are bound to come out on top.

Glenn Pingul is VP of marketing for Mixpo, an online video advertising company dedicated to small- and medium-sized businesses. The Small Is Beautiful column appears on Thursdays at Search Engine Land.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | SEO: Video Search | Small Is Beautiful

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About The Author: is VP of marketing for Mixpo, an online video advertising company dedicated to small- and medium-sized businesses. The Small Is Beautiful column appears on Thursdays at Search Engine Land.

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