by Corrie Davidson, Sisarina, @corrietweets

Video is everywhere. The average web video viewer watched 18 hours of content in the August alone.  Video advertising reached 50% of the total U.S. population an average of 37.6 times during August, with the total time spent watching video ads totaling more than 2.5 billion minutes (according to comScore). There are even experiements and studies being conducted that are showing videos on websites are helping sell products even when customers don’t watch them. Shoppers who viewed the product videos were MORE likely to buy than those who did not view, but -based on multivariate testing- visitors who did NOT watch the videos converted at a significantly higher rate than those who saw the same product page without the option for video viewing. 

How Do I Get Started With Video?

1. Decide where you want it.

What are you trying to achieve with your video? Companies left and right are adding video to their product pages and to their “about us” bios. They are posting information and promotional segments on their websites. You can now walk a potential customer through a complicated process or the steps for using a product. You can give them a better look at what they are buying and entice their senses. According to the BIA Kelsey Group, viewers engage more after watching a video, with clicks for more information increasing by 30-40% and phone inquiries by 16-20%.  Web video is a proven selling technique and is far cheaper than traditional advertising.

2. Start shooting!

Whether you take a DIY approach (perhaps through a blog format) or hire someone to do it, you find a way to get some videos put together that reflect your goals and brand image. Remember that this video can add to your credibility, build trust, and improve your customer experience, so whatever you do, do it right. If the goal of your video is to sell a product, make sure that it:
  1. Tells the viewer why to buy the product or service; 
  2. Explains what they need to do or the steps involved clearly – whether that is “click the buy button” or walks them through a sign up process; 
  3. Motivate the viewer! Make sure you have a call to action and end the video on a strong note!
Your video does not need to be lengthy or overly flashy- in fact its better if its not, customers can see through overly scripted sales pitches- but you need to keep your end goal in mind and focus the viewer onto doing what you want them to do. [I recommend reading Creating Persuasive Interactive Video for E-Commerce.]

3. Distribute, distribute, distribute!

Whether you host the video on your own site or embed it from a YouTube service, you need to get it in front of people. Post it on your Facebook page and add it to your Google Local Business Listing.
Don’t forget optimization in your video plan though. Search engines return what are called “blended results” meaning they find images, videos, articles and more, so you want to take advantage of this.  According to an experiment by Nate Elliot of Forrester Research, when analyzing search results from common queries, they found that on the keywords for which Google offers video results, any given video in the index stands about a 50 times better chance of appearing on the first page of results than any given text page in the index. That’s HUGE for any business. Elliot suggests the following tips for optimizing your online videos:
  • Insert keywords into your video filenames. [Google pays a lot of attention to the titles of videos]
  • 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.
[You may also want to read additional Video SEO Tips and Techniques.]

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