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Six Best Practices for Ensuring Your Videos Can Be Found

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Search is the dominant way people—from consumers to business buyers—find information today.  In fact, Google claims to answer more than 1 billion questions every day.[1] And while text-based content has dominated search results since inception, Searchmetrics reports that video is being displayed in 70% of search results.[2]

Video's binary format, however, presents real challenges for search engines—unless the video is meticulously tagged and transcribed, it likely won't be found in response to a search query.  There are, however, steps you can take to ensure your video content is more likely to be returned, and thus watched.  I've outlined six best practices below to help you get started:

1.     Every video on its own web page so that it has its own unique URL and destination. This helps differentiate the video and its content from other topics on your web site.

2.     Video should be well attributed with a keyword-dense title and description, transcription, and tags. All of this information needs to be in HTML so it can be digested by the web crawlers. This helps a video "behave like a document" to text-based search engines.

3.     Incorporate related content around the video.  This makes the page look denser about the topic at hand and thus seen as more relevant to the search engine.

4.     Link out to relevant content from the video landing page—either on your own site, or out on web.  This helps the search engines understand the context in which this video content exists. 

5.     Encourage links to the page.  You can do this by pushing the video into your social channels, and submitting it to bloggers, journalists, and others who might be inclined to link back to your site.  This helps boost the credibility of the video in the eyes of the search engines. 

6.     Submit well-formed video site map to Google. This makes the site easy for the web crawlers to digest and index. 

You can act upon any of these tips without any special tools, and immediately begin to see results.  However, as your video library grows, the burden of manually preparing your video for search engines may become cumbersome and expensive.  So if video is an important vehicle for delivering your message to prospects, customers, partners and others, you should also consider how you can automate any or all of the best practices described above.  In many cases, your content management system (CMS) can help; and in some cases (such as transcribing the video), you may want to consider complements to your CMS system - such as a transcription service or third-party integrations - that help you make sure all of your video content is appropriately prepared for searchability.

Video is the new document—100 hours of video are added to YouTube alone every 60 seconds[3] — and video should be as searchable, discoverable, and engaging as text.  Follow these best practices, and you'll be well on your way to delivering video to your target audiences when they search for it. 

[1] http://www.google.com/competition/howgooglesearchworks.html

[2] http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/04/video-content-b2b-content-marketing/

[3] http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html

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