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Andrew Williams, Digital Marketing Manager at MoneyWeek fills us in on the video SEO tactics the team used to grow websites visits by 136%…  

  MoneyWeek Video SEO Traffic Growth

That line you’re looking at? That’s the increase in organic video visits we’ve seen at MoneyWeek in the past 5 months.

And that’s not all. We’ve also been enjoying a surge in overall visits, increased time on site AND an ever growing number of newsletter subscriptions.

How have we done it? By following a few video SEO best practices.

But, before I dive into all that. First, a little context (it’ll come in handy later). What is Moneyweek?

MoneyWeek is the UK’s biggest financial magazine. Our ultimate aim is to build a large audience of highly engaged readers. To that end, we produce informational videos on the hot financial topics of the day as a way of encouraging people to sign up to our biweekly newsletters.

Ok, back to the matter in hand. When I first set foot in the world of video SEO I read over and over again how video search results see higher click through rates than plain text ones.

“Yes,” I thought. “But how do you get your videos into those search results in the first place?”

After all, you have to be in to win it, right. And therein lies the challenge.

So I’ve put together this been-there-done-it guide to video SEO to fill you in on what worked for us:

Step 1: Create a video sitemap

For Google to display a video search result linking to your site it needs to know two things.

    1. What the video is about 2. Where the video lives

Once it has that information it can determine whether to return your video as a result for a given search query. As so:

MoneyWeek Video Rich Snippet

That’s precisely what a video sitemap is for. It looks something like this:

Video Sitemap xml

To build our video sitemap I use vzaar. It just makes it quicker all the fields are laid out for me, I just fill them in and vzaar produces the code.

vzaar Video SEO feature screenshot

Trust me. When you’ve got more than a few videos in your catalogue you don’t want to deal with creating the sitemap from scratch yourself.

The really neat thing is that if I miss something (hey nobody’s perfect!) rather than submitting an incomplete video sitemap, which can actually be damaging for your SEO, vzaar automatically excludes it. Then I just go in and fix whatever’s wrong, without needing to search through the sitemap and find the error myself – again a really nice timesaver.

MoneyWeek Video Sitemap Statistics

Once you have your video sitemap you just need to paste the code into your site’s robots.txt file. And then it’s a bit of a waiting game. You’ve done your bit. Now Google needs to index your videos. For us, Google started to index our videos pretty much instantly.

Step 2: Video Transcripts

A quick video SEO win for us has been incorporating video transcripts underneath our videos.

We use Speechpad to create transcripts of our videos. At $1 per minute of video it’s a pretty inexpensive way for us to get a lot of keyword rich copy for the page.

Step 3: Improved Video Page Template

Once people actually click on the result – guess what they’re expecting to see…. a video! It may seem like a no brainer but for a time our videos were fairly hidden on the page.

That way leads to madness – low engagement and high bounce rates.

This is bad for your SEO efforts. If Google sees lots of people bouncing when they hit your page they’ll come to the conclusion that your page isn’t a good result for that given query. Rankings will plummet.

To rectify this we have made our videos much more prominent on the page.

MoneyWeek Video Page

And we’ve reaped the rewards.

Average time on page is up by 40% in the 3 months since we updated to the new video page template.

MoneyWeek Time on Site

The YouTube Conundrum

MoneyWeek videos started life on YouTube. Which was fine, to begin with.

In the early days it was great to be reporting how many video views we were getting. We were really pleased we’d seen some take up.

But, as we became more experienced with online video marketing we noticed a problem.

The trouble is a lot of those views go to waste. After watching our videos a huge chunk of people head off into the rest of YouTube. As our viewing figures mounted we weren’t seeing a difference in our bottom line.

We have been hesitant to completely cut YouTube from our video marketing mix, it is the 2nd biggest search engine after all. But, what we have done is become more intelligent in how we use it.

After a fair amount of head scratching we’ve landed on a solution that works for us:

We still post a lot of our videos to YouTube. But we annotate those videos, advertising one exclusive video on MoneyWeek each week.

Because we have a secure video hosting platform (vzaar), we ensure that the videos we embed on our site cannot be made available anywhere else. This provides an incentive for YouTube viewers to head onto our site. And that’s where we want ‘em.

In summary

To grow traffic to our videos we’ve done 4 things:

    1. Build video sitemaps with vzaar 2. Created video transcripts with Speechpad 3. Redesigned our webpages to make video more prominent 4. Post exclusive content to Moneyweek to drive audience away from the distractions of YouTube.

And we’re seeing some pretty exciting numbers:

    1. Organic visits to our videos up 136% 2. Time on page up 40% 3. Overall visits to videos up 160%

So has this helped us achieve our business goals?

Absolutely.

Remember earlier I said: “Our ultimate aim is to build a large audience of highly engaged readers. To that end, we produce informational videos on the hot financial topics of the day as a way of encouraging people to sign up to our biweekly newsletters.”

Have all our video SEO efforts paid off?

Let me answer that question with a statistic: 82%

That’s how much our email subscriptions have grown since we started.

Newsletter Subscription Growth

I rest my case.

Video SEO: it’s where it’s at.

Categories Video Marketing
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We heard tons of clear, actionable insights into video marketing at our Future of Video Marketing event last month.

Here’s what went down:

Video_Marketing__Optimizing_Your_Videos_For_Search_Engines_-_the_vzaar_blog____the_vzaar_blog_png
Optimizing Your Videos From Search Engines

It’s super important to tie business goals to your video marketing campaigns. Whether your goal is driving traffic & conversions, raising brand awareness or encouraging links and shares, will have a big impact on the content and implementation of your video marketing. Phil Nottingham of Distilled gave us his best practice advice. Read more.

Video_Sharing__6_Secrets_Every_Marketer_Needs_To_Know_-_the_vzaar_blog____the_vzaar_blog
The Science of Video Sharing

Social video, as we call it, rather than viral video, social video has been around for let say since 2006 and it’s almost as if it’s being delivered apologetically by brands. It could be an amazing piece of content, but at the end, they’re like ooh sorry. That was brand X.The reality of the situation is a lot of brands are missing the opportunity” Barney Worfolk Smith of Unruly shares with us 6 research findings that could get your videos shared. Read More.

Video_Marketing__The_Future_Will_Be_Televised_-_the_vzaar_blog____the_vzaar_blog
The Future Will Be Televised

Then I’m going to pull it right back down to brass tacks to tell you, as people in business today, what this means to you, and what you can do, practically tomorrow, that would in fact empower you and help you.” Richard Teideman of London Creative on the shift from television to online video. Read more.

Video Marketing We Love

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We’ve been thinking a lot recently about how to get our video marketing efforts to stand out from the crowd (thanks in no small part to Phil Nottingham’s outstanding presentation from our Future of Video Marketing event – if you haven’t checked it out yet do so here).

If your message is ever going to get through to your target audience it needs to be loved. It needs to be relevant, targeted and helpful if it’s ever going to resonate, educate and inspire.

So with that in mind we thought we’d share some examples of recent video marketing campaigns that we love (well it is Valentine’s Day after all).

Illamasqua Video Tutorials: Growing Shares & Links

Cosmetics retailer Illamasqua’s video tutorials provide step-by-step instructions so that their audience can recreate various looks and effects with their own make up.

Why do we love it?

“For marketers that know their audience and know their target persona, the better approach is to take a question you know your audience is asking frequently and answer it from a position of knowledge. Marketing that educates and informs is always more persuasive in the end than marketing that boasts or sells too hard.” – David Carpenter, Connection Model

This is a perfect example of video marketing that is relevant, targeted and genuinely useful.

Speckled_Eye_Liner_Tutorial_Using_Illamasqua_s_Masquara___Precision_Ink

Illamasqua have understood a real problem that their target audience face – how to apply make up properly – and provided the content to solve it. Plus by including links to the products used within each video they ensure that the viewer can take action and buy.

There is nothing better than being able to watch a make-up artist actually create a look and be able to pause and rewind clips so any techniques, no matter how complex, can be practiced at home. It adds real value for our customers.” – James Winfield, Illamasqua eCommerce manager.

Not only is the content of each video excellent, the implementation is also spot on: Illamasqua are racking up a healthy amount of sharing on these videos. If they had chosen to host on YouTube all of that linking activity would simply drive traffic to YouTube.

Whereas, by hosting with a secure video platform (yes, vzaar!) Illamasqua ensure that when people share their videos they get the credit.

BlendTec “Will it Blend”: Raising Brand Awareness

Ah BlendTec – blenders so powerful they’ll smash just about anything into smithereens. And they’ve got the videos to prove it.

Why was it so good?

Well, before we dive into the ins and outs of the ‘Will It Blend?’ campaign.

First, a quick word of warning..

(I’ll try to keep this brief, but if you do want more detail on the ins and outs of using YouTube for business check out this post)

IF raising brand awareness was the goal of this video marketing campaign, BlendTec pulled it off – and then some (over 16 million views for their iPad blending video alone).

But.

Hosting on YouTube for business is a bit of a thorny topic. If you venture into YouTube territory you need to understand why you’re doing it and be realistic about what you can achieve.

If the goal of your video marketing campaign is to sell more products: steer clear of YouTube. All your videos are doing is feeding the beast: driving more traffic to it, than your own site.

See what I mean?

blendtec_-_Google_Search-13

Search for BlendTec and the first result you get is YouTube – rather than the brand website. Potential customers then, may actually end up getting sidetracked in a world of cute cats and dancing babies.

Ok. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, why did BlendTec succeed in raising brand awareness?

Well first, by hosting on YouTube, BlendTec ensured they got the maximum possible visibility.

Now, a lot of brands put their videos on YouTube, sit back, rub their hands together with glee and wait for the viewers to come rolling in. This, in most cases, doesn’t work.

The reason BlendTec’s videos have amassed so many views is because they understand the audience perfectly.

People don’t go to YouTube to be sold to. They just don’t. They go to be entertained. Something which BlendTec have clearly recognized and catered to.

“‘I love being marketed to’ said no one, ever. But people do love art, music, bacon, and a good story, so pretend you’re not marketing and just give people those things, and trust that they’re smart enough to figure out who gave it to them.”- Jesse Thomas, JESS3

BlendTec’s videos find the joy in the seemingly ‘boring’ world of blending appliances. And, in doing so have made their brand much more recognizable to an audience who may otherwise have been unaware.

MoneyWeek: Increasing traffic & conversions

Financial magazine MoneyWeek educate their audience on the financial issues of the day in relatable – jargon free video presentations.

Why do we love it?

In a nutshell: fantastic video SEO ed_bowsher_gilts_-_Google_Search

As an online publisher MoneyWeek’s primary concern is to increase traffic to their site and expand their audience. The way they’ve incorporated video in their site basically reads like a best practice manual.

    1. Video Sitemap

First MoneyWeek have created a video sitemap so that their videos enter the search results for relevant terms (you can learn how to do this for yourself here). With an average 41% higher click through rate for video results (according to Econsultancy), MoneyWeek are therefore attracting far more search engine traffic than they otherwise would.

    2. Video Transcript

They’ve also included a transcript of the video on the page. This is a really good idea as is provides plenty of unique and relevant copy that the search engines can use to determine whether or not to display the page for a given query.

    3. Professional Video Hosting

And finally, because they’ve chosen professional video hosting they are driving traffic directly to their site – not YouTube (remember: don’t feed the beast).

Well done MoneyWeek: we salute you.

There we go: three fantastic examples of video marketing to inspire those creativity cells in the rest of us. Have you seen any campaigns recently you think are worth a look? Share the wealth, let us know in the comments below…

Categories Video Inspiration, Video Marketing
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Video sharing is a great way to grow brand awareness. Barney Worfolk Smith of Unruly Media talks us through the 6 ways you can encourage video shares.

“I used to stand up here and explain what our company does, but since we’re a video company, our marketing and design department are very proud of the new video that they’ve created, which explains.

It explains what we do actually, but also rather helpfully shows you some of the type of videos our company spends its time distributing. It will give you a flavor into the area which we tend to play most of our time, which is B2C. What this chart is about is, put simply, the way in which video sharing has grown.

As you can see, it’s an exponential curve in 2012 when this chart refers back to. You’re looking at 18 million shares of the top three pieces of content in that year as measured by our viral video chart, compared to if we look back at ground zero for really just predating YouTube of 1.6 million shares being the number of top three videos shared in that year.

People hear me sometimes talk about Zuckerberg’s Law, which if any of you guys are into tech mirrors Moore’s Law, that the speed of computing will double each year. Zuckerberg’s Law holds that the amount of sharing of content will double each year, and that’s pretty much holding true for the last three or four years. And it’s not just cats, dogs on skateboards, etc. this is brands, that are gaining enormous amounts of earned media for this.

Anyway. A lot of what we do is offer insight into precisely what makes shareable content and if you have a thing called the viral video chart, as we have done since 2006. People instinctively want to be at the top that. Brands are keen to be at the top of that. For a long time we offered conjectural advice about what makes good content.

If you spend a day looking at video content you become quite adept at understanding what will work and what doesn’t, however there’s an awful lot of people in East London with beards and spectacles and checked shirts who’ve got an opinion about what makes good viral content. And the founders of our company, being academics themselves, are very keen for us to be able to deliver advice that was rooted in empirical research. So rather than me saying, I think that content is shareable, we think it’s not, the data says, based on empirical research, this is shareable or not.

This is the book (Viral Marketing The Science of Sharing) written by our academic partner, Dr. Karen Nelson-Field, who is based at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science in South Australia. If you’re interested in this it’s available on Amazon, it’s about 20 quid or something. It will take you an hour to get through it. It’s really interesting because Karen is actually an ex-marketeer. She used to be a marketeer for Diageo in Asia Pacific so it’s written in quite an interesting way. It’s very accessible for marketeers and it’s not too heavy an academic piece of work. Rather than me talking about that in a broad brush sense, we draw from this some key things, which we advise clients about when actually generating content, when they seek virality within that content.

So, number one, and as Gareth was saying, some of this might seem desperately obvious, but this is routed in stats, which gives it hopefully, inherently, more gravitas. So, number one, make it emotional. Specifically in that sense, videos which are emotional, highly emotional, be it either in a positive or negative way are twice as likely to be shared and here you can see for example, you may or may not spend much time looking at viral content on the web in this particular corner of marketing, but this was a Proctor and Gamble advert for the Olympics in 2012.

There’s been a recent remix of this, for the Winter Olympics showing some children trying really hard at skiing and then you see them go through their life and their mom is helping them and then they win at the Olympics and it’s a fabulous, beautiful thing and they hug and everyone cries and it’s deeply emotive, and as a result this video, during the Olympics, was the most shared video of that period and highly emotive.

I’ve mentioned positive and negative emotions can drive sharing, but for brands that we speak to it’s not always necessarily a good thing for your content to be shared with someone on Facebook going, “Oh my God look at this awful thing.” With negative emotions, such as disgust, sadness, shock, and anger you can imagine that, yes it’s applicable for perhaps a governmental organizations, charities, the classic 80′s horror film ‘Carrie’ has recently been remade and that had a viral video, which was genuinely hairs on the back of the neck shocking, but if you are reviewing a brand, let’s say for example a technology brand or sportswear, whatever it might be, going for these type of negative emotions, it’s probably wiser not to.

Next, cute cats and celebrities, which to the layman when they think about viral videos that’s what they always think of. The creative device, sorry this is a relatively technical term within the book. What the creative device means is it’s the thing in the video. A cat or dog or baby or celebrity or whatever else it might be. Statistically from the 1,900 videos which were studied in this book not one of those things statistically registered as more shareable than the other.

We’ve seen a lot of adverts with cats and Evian roller babies and the like, and we felt it was quite important in exploding that myth. Stuff that actually really counted and shifted the dial of whether people would share something or not was the actual emotions themselves. Apart from personal triumph, which was really interesting, and I suppose this is where we kind of stop, because after that you’re going into psychology, I suppose. But, personal triumph always seems to share very well and lots of brands have begun to find their way to this through testing.

For example Diageo, Nike, bizarrely a couple of other booze brands as well. The other interesting thing about personal triumph is that of all the various research and study that we do they tend to be focused by country, because, as you can imagine, what’s funny in France isn’t necessarily funny in China, but personal triumph cuts through that and works on an international basis, which is probably why a lot of brands have found their way there.

Be proud of your brand. I found this the most interesting and compelling thing from the book. The average TV advert of 30 seconds, since the 70′s, there’s an awful lot of research and it’s very well documented about how many times a brand can visually or verbally be referenced in 30 seconds. Social video, as we call it, rather than viral video, social video has been around for let say since 2006 and it’s almost as if it’s being delivered apologetically by brands. It could be an amazing piece of content, but at the end, they’re like ooh sorry. That was brand X.

The reality of the situation is a lot of brands are missing the opportunity to insert their brand into that more, because at the end of the day this is a marketing channel. It’s not just about titillation, it’s about altering people’s perceptions or ultimately right down the sales funnel of making them buy stuff. As a result some of the advice, which we’ll give to brands is to actually think about dialling down levels of virality and emotional intensity and start thinking about inserting the product in there, especially if it’s an FMCG advert, a brand you’ve personally been exposed to this piece of content will walk into a supermarket. It’s really important that brand recall has worked, because there’s soap powder X and soap powder Y and it’s at that point that they’ll make a decision based on that.

Don’t over invest in content and under invest in distribution. Obviously we are a company that profits from distribution of content. This is why this isn’t disingenuous. The simple fact, statistically from this book, is that if a video is only seen by a few people it can only be shared by a few people. It’s common sense.

We’ve got Malcom Gladwell who wrote Tipping Point to thank for this misunderstanding, people seem to think that you stick a video on YouTube and it’s somehow going to inexorably grow and turn into a viral sensation. It simply doesn’t happen, apart from the odd black swan event, like Gangnam Style or some other meme. The reality of the situation is that to get a large number of shares there needs to be a large viewer base to start. Now, this is a screen from our lab, we’ve got a lab based over in East London in the basement, and these things refer to different types of digital media. The basic story is distribute in as many places as possible, as quickly as possible to add oxygen to the fire over a short period of time to drive virality.

And then, exhilaration. We’ve actually undertaken quite a lot of study about exhilaration recently, almost accidentally, because of the World Cup coming to Brazil and creating a specific share program, and exhilaration looks, by the way this is Top Trend, is going to be what a lot of the content created for the World Cup is going to be all about. But, as I was eluding to a moment ago, exhilaration is the most successful trigger in terms of driving both virality, but at the same time making people remember stuff with 65% recall.

Second, incidentally is hilarity with 51% in terms of making people share and remember a thing. We’ve found from our studies hilarity is the trigger most often missed, unsurprisingly. It’s all about exhilaration and I think we’ve got another little video to show you, which you may or may not have been exposed to, which is all about hilarity.

Magnificent stuff. The seventh most shared video of last year. We’re showing this video because we’re often asked the questions about whether, would social video be right for my brand. Volvo trucks is something which is not necessarily immediately congruent with that. So it’s a good lesson to people, that you can play in that space if you want to.

Anyway, thank you very much you guys.”

It’s super important to tie business goals to your video marketing campaigns. Whether your goal is driving traffic & conversions, raising brand awareness or encouraging links and shares, will have a big impact on the content and implementation of your video marketing. Phil Nottingham of Distilled gave us his best practice advice at our recent event. vzaar’s Gareth Cadwallader gives his take…

GC_Med “A couple of weeks ago, I was really pleased to host an event on The Future of Video Marketing at the Digital Marketing Group of London’s Stationers Livery Company. It was cool to be talking about 21st century digital marketing in a five hundred year old Stationers Hall in the City of London. We had a full hall with about a hundred attendees on a stormy January night.

I’ve been reflecting on the excellent presentations we heard and the subsequent discussion. We were fortunate to hear a great presentation on video SEO from Phil Nottingham of Distilled that really got me thinking…

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Video Marketing Must Be Loved

Phil started out by making an observation that frames the challenge of digital marketing today. Whereas in its first decade or so, the key feature of the internet was that suddenly marketers had incredible access to everyone and everything, the pendulum has swung; today the internet is increasing characterized by the filtering out of what we don’t want to see.

All the main platforms are giving their users more and more support to keep unwanted content away from them. The implication for marketers is that now, more than ever, your marketing must be loved in order to be viewed.

Phil Nottingham On Video SEO

Three Main Goals for Video in Marketing

I was also struck by the clarity with which Phil set out three distinct goals for video marketing, and the implications for each goal.

Goal 1. Video to generate traffic & conversions

First, he identified videos whose purpose is to generate traffic and convert viewers to customers. This is a core use of vzaar’s platform, so it was of particular interest to me. The main characteristic of these videos is that they work with and within a page.

If it’s true that product pages are effectively your digital sales-force, then the video is a key conversion tool within that page. It’s all about getting higher rankings, higher page views and higher click-through rates.

Phil made a great point that these videos should always be hosted on a secure commercial platform like vzaar and not on You Tube or Vimeo.

Why?

Because for these videos you’re really only interested in viewers who are going to stay on your site and potentially hit the buy button or call the order line. What you don’t want is to spend good marketing money generating traffic for YouTube that you’ll never see again.

Phil reported an impressive statistic from his own research: that less than 1% of the traffic that company’s generate for their videos on You Tube gets returned to their own site.

Video Marketing At Stationers HallGoal 2. Video for brand awareness

Where YouTube comes into its own is for videos that are intended to generate broad brand awareness. This is a very different objective to that of converting views to sales. Three points that Phil made about this second goal for video marketing have stuck with me.

First, he identified two distinct types of video that can be effective in generating brand awareness; what he called ‘hero’ content – this is the stuff you hope will go viral – and unbranded informational content, with no call-to-action, that create goodwill towards the brand.

His second point was that either kind of content needs to relate well to an audience that is relatively unfamiliar with your brand. This is why it’s so hard to use the same video content for multiple purposes: the transactional, product marketing videos are targeted at visitors who are already pre-disposed to consider the product in question, whereas videos serving the goal of creating brand awareness are targeted at people who might know very little about the brand.

His third point was that the key metric for these videos is not views, as such, but user engagement – how many people watch your videos all the way through?

Goal 3. Video for links and shares

Finally, I was also struck by what Phil said about a third goal for marketing videos; to stimulate links and social shares. The challenge here is obviously to create a video that others want to link back to your site.

I really liked the way Phil explained a two-phase strategy for these videos. It can be a real mistake to go out to You Tube too early – again because you want the links back to your own site, not theirs.

At the outset, it’s best if the video is only visible on your own domain, so this is another example of where you need a secure, commercial video hosting platform. Once you’ve started to see the video generate its own traction, that’s the time to go broad and wide with You Tube – but even then, it’s worth tracing those sites who are linking to the You Tube video and encouraging them to link back to your site instead.

From the front of the hall I could see that after Phil finished his presentation the entire audience mouthed ‘Wow’ to themselves. It was a great pitch that I’ve been thinking a lot about since.”

Categories Community, Video Marketing, Wider World
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