One of Google’s objectives is to program its search engine to understand user queries in a way that is similar to human understanding. That is, if you type in a particular search term, it will yield results as close to possible to what you were looking for by trying to think like a person.
Google’s ability to think like a person to deliver relevant results is impressive, and it’s helpful to your content marketing strategy, insofar as your videos, if you can learn not just how Google thinks and what it recognizes, but also how your content can be optimized to stand out.
Understanding User Intent
When it comes to understanding a good approach to video SEO, consider the difference between searching for “Game of Thrones” compared to “what is that TV show with the kings fighting and killing each other.” When I tried searching for each of these, they both resulted in a Game of Thrones related website in the top position.
While the keywords in the latter could reflect several different TV shows, Google took what it understood to be a recent pop culture phenomenon as the most likely answer to the question. That is something a human would do.
From a content marketing perspective, this is actually a step in the right direction. You want useful content to be found easily, regardless of the input to get to it. User intent and especially the idea of anticipating consumer needs are very important for both SEO and content marketers.
One reason for the Hummingbird update is that people have learned to type short keyword terms and phrases into Google but with the increase in verbal queries on mobile devices (such as Siri on iPhones), the content of search queries has changed.
Using smartphones, people will search the way they speak, not the way they type. Google is trying to adapt because of this change. By understanding actual human speech patterns, the search feature remains relevant and true to its objectives.
How to Improve Your Video SEO
The good news is that if you were already producing high quality content, there’s a good chance you didn’t experience a significant drop in traffic. Here are five specific things you can do about the Hummingbird algorithm update that could have an impact on your video SEO rankings.
1. Have a Strategy
While you’ve probably been hearing that a lot lately, it’s no less true than when I was telling that to my clients a decade ago. Don’t just publish random videos. Make sure they have a purpose. A video with a purpose means you’ve thought about consumer needs and created content to address those needs. By successfully addressing those needs, your videos are more likely to be shared, embedded on other websites, and commented on. The more your content is shared, the more it can be discussed which in turn can lead to more inbound links to your website. Inbound links to your website ultimately increase your site’s credibility with Google, and thereby your ability to appear in search.
2. Anticipate Consumer Needs
Companies that anticipate consumer needs can get a lot more attention on social networks which, as discussed above, can influence rankings. Knowing the intent of consumers who are always searching for something useful is key.
To help you better target what searchers want, look at your video analytics. This will guide you toward creating content that people will like, consume, and share. You can also send out email blasts with links to videos and see which ones generate the most clickthroughs.
Finally, by placing calls to action within a video, including a link to a lead generation form, you can assess which videos had the greatest impact. If few to no leads are generated, it may be time to change your video since you may not be anticipating consumer needs as best you can.
3. Transcribe Video Content
One of the reasons that blogging remains effective is that it gives Google a lot of content to analyze. It helps determine the worthiness of a given post for search engine ranking purposes. By transcribing the content of your videos, you give Google that same opportunity. There are many video transcription services available that can watch your videos or listen to a podcast version of them and write out every word. This gives you content to enhance and optimize the page your video is on. It’s a great way to re-purpose content and give Google context.
4. Create a Blog Post for the Video
Many companies will post their videos to YouTube. That has good potential for optimization but you can get even more out of it. When you release the video, embed it on your own blog accompanied by an article that goes into depth about what visitors can expect to see.
This can include more detailed explanations about what they are seeing but often just having access to the details of the video in writing (and active links to websites that may have been mentioned) can be very useful to the end user.
Using the blog post provides an opportunity to say something useful and add value on your owned media. It also gives you another opportunity to have it promoted on social networks. Keep in mind that you should always write for people, not for search engines. This makes even more sense now given that Google is also looking for content that appeals to people, not search engines alone.
Even if you have a video transcription, I would also add additional text. This can be a brief or detailed explanation of the video that goes beyond what is written in the transcription.
5. Provide Unique Original Content
As with anything else related to quality and SEO, you must use your video content to create opportunities to be found. There are many different types of videos to create, many of which provide truly unique opportunities.
For example, a video interview can yield quotes from the interviewee that have never been put online. If your blog (or other owned media) becomes the original source of that quote, it can bring direct attention from Google in the form of a high search engine ranking. Moreover, by publishing what I call smart content (content that is useful, educational, and ideally entertaining), you can increase the likelihood of getting your content shared, and increasing your backlinks.
Be sure to write in a way that clearly delivers detailed information that gets very specific. There’s seemingly endless fluff out there. Provide actionable, real, informative and relevant value. Avoid light content that was made just for the sake of being made
By writing out detailed info, talking about the ways to do things the right way and the wrong way, teaching people who to avoid pitfalls, providing step-by-step guides, how-tos, and essentially educating those who watch your videos, you’re providing useful content to a targeted audience, which can only help you in the end.