Video content can be a hugely effective method of driving sales and traffic for a brand – but where that traffic goes depends on how the video is hosted, optimised, promoted and shared. Although video is becoming one of the foremost channels for online marketing, there is still a lot of confusion in terms of how it should be used to the best effect, particularly if the aim of the video is lead generation for the client.
There are, effectively, two ways of hosting a video – on page (self hosted) or off page (posted). You can of course do both, or either, or chop and change the method depending on the audience you want to reach or the impact you want the video to have. Both strategies have their advantages and their disadvantages and a cookie cutter approach isn’t always the best way of utilising video so it pays to know the difference. There are going to be times when you need a bigger audience so posting to a site with a significantly wider (and higher) audience may be the approach that’s taken. There are also videos that are dependent on on-page content so self hosting is the only option that gives you the flexibility and control that is required. Below is an overview of both hosting and posting which should give you a quick and easy guide to both.
There are a number of reasons why hosting a video on your own (or your client’s site) is a fantastic option, not least because it greatly increases your chances of getting a video thumbnail for your own domain in the blended search results – if done properly. Hosting your own video content can mean embedding it on your own site, using a third party player like Flowplayer, JW Player, Kaltura or a Brightcove plugin, or even a YouTube or Vimeo embed.
* If you want the search engines to drive traffic to your site exclusively, remember to disable any embed/sharing options.
* Google will index YouTube embedded videos so there is no real reason not to do post there first and then upload to your own site (but remember to optimise your video landing page if you want your site to appear in the listings above or instead of the YouTube thumbnail!)
* Customise your video player so it fits in with the style of the site/page.
* Create an individual landing page for each video (even if you still want to promote one or two of those videos on the home page). Make sure the landing page is optimised along SEO best practice guidelines but also ensure that the content surrounding the video is relevant and supports the video itself. This could be the transcript or a full description of the video content. Use a good, strong Call To Action and link to other parts of the site to encourage user engagement.
* If you want to encourage sharing of your video – allow embedding and use social sharing buttons on your landing page. This is vital for getting those inbound links!
Unless you are the BBC or another huge traffic generating site, the chances are that the average user is probably NOT going to visit you multiple times a day. However, they may well dip in and out of Facebook, YouTube (the second largest search engine in the world), Flickr, Vimeo, Twitvid and Pinterest several times so, if it’s views/engagement you are after then post away on these sites too.
* Take every opportunity you can to optimise your video on the platform provided. Use good, relevant keywords and descriptions so users can find you (don’t forget that more and more people are using video and image sharing sites are search engines in themselves).
* Include a link back to your site – especially the unique video landing page if you have created one.
* If you have the budget, use any available tools offered to promote your video on that third party site.
* Allow sharing of the video – encourage any kind of user engagement that you can.
* Create your owned branded channel where possible.
Video SEO is all about gaining the maximum exposure for your site/brand/product so don’t be afraid to mix and match self hosting and third party hosting to get your message across. Because video lends itself extremely well to all parts of the user journey it’s possible to pick a slightly different method for each video you produce, and still achieve the results you are aiming for.