Improve Your Local Search Results With Video

by on January 9, 2009 · 4 comments

Small Businesses looking to improve their search results usually don’t think of video first. But Google is “blending” videos in with the traditional search results more and more, and this represents a huge area of opportunity.

How video helps

Forrester did some practical research and testing on this and found that a video has a 50x better chance of appearing on the first page of Google search results than a text web page. (I ran across this article by Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land.)

And other studies show that if you have both a text result and a video result on a page, it is 3.3x more likely that the user will click on one of your links!

Based on this research, and what I’ve seen with my clients, video is a great opportunity to improve your search results. Particularly when you are aiming for “local” keywords, where the volume is much lower, this gives you a powerful magnifier.

Creating a video for your business is not as hard as you think

It’s easy to get intimidated and assume that you would need a high production quality video before putting something on the web.

Most of us don’t have those skills. What camera do I use. What video editing tools do I have to learn? It seems like there is a lot know, in order to create a good video that represents your business professionally.

But I learned something very interesting when I was working at Microsoft on a video related project. As part of the technology and platform evangelism team, we did a lot of informal video interviews with Microsoft developers as a way to connect with our developer community.

These videos were impromptu, and shot with a consumer grade video camera. Viewers loved it – they could really connect with and get to know more about the people inside Microsoft making the products they use.

As this project gained momentum, we experimented with higher production value video. Three cameras instead of one. More formal interview and panel settings. And guess what?

Our viewers hated it! They told us they preferred the informal, low budget format. Because it was real. Not like watching TV but more like connecting with the people behind the scenes.

I learned that in this type of setting, people want to see a video that is more like a conversation than a production.

So what kind of video should you make?

For a small business owner, here are a few ideas of what kind of video to make.

  1. Create a short 2-3 minute message from the owner. You can even record this on the built-in camera on your computer. Or if you don’t have one, invest $20 in a tripod, find an area at your office with a simple background and good lighting and use your family camcorder. Just introduce yourself and your business, and how you help your customers.
  2. Do a short walk-through of your office location. Start out front, and walk through your office and show the viewer around. Show them what it would be like to visit your place of business.
  3. Do an interview with the owner or one of your staff. Tell the story of why you started your business, or about one of your favorite customers. Invite viewers to visit your location and meet up in person.

Just pick one of these and get it out there. Remember to keep the video short and personal. Just like you were having a conversation with the viewer.

And you shouldn’t even need to edit the video when you’re done. Just transfer it to your computer and upload it to YouTube.

Tips for optimizing videos for search results

The Forrester post also provides some great tips to optimize your videos for 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.) As an example, here is the Expand2Web Video Channel on 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.

I’ll share some videos from my small business clients as examples once I get approval from them.

Are you using video to help promote your small business? If you are, let me know how it is working for you in the comments below!

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Don is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He founded Expand2Web and is the publisher of the Expand2Web Blog, and the GetFiveStars Customer Feedback and Reviews service.

Don has written 313 articles on Expand2Web

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim Coleman January 9, 2009 at 8:36 pm

We did a couple of videos and got them to rank pretty quickly so I believe in them as far as visibility and I believe your numbers… I’m a little skeptical about their ability to convert. We didn’t use a tracking number (stupid) so I have no idea.

Any thoughts on conversion?

Reply

Thomas January 9, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Don’t forget: your Operating System likely comes with a free video editing tool. Mac users clearly have the edge with iMovie. While Windows Movie Maker does the job, just not as graceful ๐Ÿ˜‰

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effectsofhgh January 13, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Nice idea!

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Irfan October 8, 2011 at 11:25 pm

@Thomas you are right i have made informative videos with windows movie maker and people like them ๐Ÿ™‚

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