Monday, September 21, 2009

Attention Newspapers: Video Improves Your Google Ranking

If you don't have video on your Website, you jeopardize your chances of getting a top Google search ranking.

That's a lesson that newspapers should take to heart, judging from the advice of Bruce Clay, a veteran of the search engine optimization (SEO) industry.

In an interview with ReelSEO, Clay discusses what is known as "Engagement Objects" -- multimedia components such as MP3 audio files or videos that Web page visitors can interact with.

Whereas Google once used 120 variables to rank Websites, thanks to "engagement objects" its algorithms now incorporate 200.

In the case of video, we believe that as one of the more important engagement objects, Google has actually started to build it into the algorithm. That means if your Website has video on it, it is going to be received by the algorithm better and your site will actually have an opportunity to rank better.

A year from now, we are going to be sitting here saying, "If you don’t have video, if you don’t have engagement objects on your website, you are just not going to rank. It will make you last among equals if you don’t have it.”
This corroborates the findings of Nate Elliot at Forrester Research earlier this year, in his study, “The Easiest Way to a First-Page Ranking on Google.” He concludes:

“Not only are video results increasingly common in Google’s search results, but your videos stand a 50 times greater chance than your text pages of being shown on the first results page.”
Forrester's tips for optimizing video for best search results:

* Insert keywords into your video filenames.

* Host your videos on YouTube, and embed those YouTube videos into your own site. Google says its algorithms consider how many times a video is viewed, and any views embedded videos receive on your own site get added to the 'views' tally on YouTube. (And yes, nearly every video we saw Google blend into its results came from YouTube.)

* Optimize your YouTube videos by writing keywords into your videos' titles, descriptions, and tags.

* Embed videos into relevant text pages on your site. The context provided by the text on those pages (which is hopefully already optimized for search as well) will help the search engines figure out what your videos are about.

* Also create a video library on your site, so Google knows where to find your video content. (Google Video Sitemaps can help with this too.) Write keyword-rich annotations for each video in the library.

Many newspaper Websites bury their video, poorly annotate it, and make it impossible to navigate (from text story to video and back, or from one video to another). They would do well to heed the advice from marketing pros, and start affording their potentially most valuable asset better care and treatment!

Watch the video interview with Bruce Clay here.