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May 3, 2011

5 Tips to Get Your Video in Search Results

video iconSo you have a video and you want to post it online and get tons of hits. Sounds simple, right? Well maybe not, if you don’t already know how to get your video to show up in search results.

To begin with, there are two approaches to posting vids online:

  • Uploading your video on a sharing platform like YouTube; or
  • Putting your video on your own website–through a hosting service like Vzaar or Screencast.

Whatever path you choose, there are some things you can do to make your video a web hit–even if you’re no Lady Gaga.  Read on for the 5 key tips for optimizing your videos for search engines:

1. Post your video on YouTube

  • Google and Bing pull from hundreds of channels on the web to fill their search engine results pages, or SERPs. Unless you’re Rupert Murdoch, your website is probably not on that list–but not all video sharing platforms are created equal! A recent study found that videos shared on YouTube were 84 percent more likely to show up in SERPs than those on other platforms like Google Video or Vimeo. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share on those sites; just think of them as backup.

2. Optimize your video’s ranking

  • The same study found that 100 percent of videos in SERPs appear on the sharing platform’s first page. To get there, optimize your titles, descriptions, and tags. Choose up to 10 tags, using YouTube’s keyword tool to select tags based on common keyword searches. You should also use keywords in the filename and title, and add them to your descriptions along with external links. Avoid tagging with popular, irrelevant keywords because users won’t spend much time watching, and that data will affect your ranking.

3. Choose your thumbnails wisely

  • Think of it as a money shot–a good thumbnail, or preview image, can dramatically increase your video’s click-through rates. After uploading your video to YouTube, use “Edit” to select between 1 and 3 thumbnails that will encourage users to click on it.

4. Create a video sitemap

  • Video sharing platforms are automatically indexed in Google and Bing, but your website is not, so you’ll want to create a video sitemap if you choose to post exclusively on your own. A sitemap is basically a text file that contains searchable metadata about your video like duration, title and description (use keywords!), so that search engines can find it. Once you have created your video sitemap, add it to your site in the Google Webmaster Tools sitemap area. (Keep in mind that only certain file types can be indexed on Google Video!)

5. Optimize your video sharing strategy

  • This tip is useful to both people using video sharing sites and their own website to host landing page videos. Most online video views come from embedded players on websites and social media. That makes your video sharing strategy highly important. So customize your videos for people to upload to their blogs, build your virtual network (by adding friends on YouTube or subscribers on your web site), and use a blog and other social media to amplify your reach.

Did any of these tips help boost your video’s hits?  Let us know and Happy SERPing!

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