Video search ranking

Are your videos appearing in Search?

Video marketing theory is all very well but sometimes a crackerjack of an example comes along that just begs to be blogged. I feel that one of the great disciplines missing from many video marketing campaigns (even campaigns of just 1 video) is the final part in the process - measuring impact and success. In fact this goes for any marketing initiative. I do think that it is even more important when it comes to a 'discretionary' spend such as video. I appreciate that funding corporate or business videos is sometimes a tough ask, but when that hurdle is overcome and the video is in place, it seems odd not to see how well that hard-fought investment is faring. For online videos, some of the checks that I would imagine are a must-have are Views, clickthroughs and sales leads. Ideally a business should also look at audience demographics and average watch time. Yes, your View count may be high, but are those viewers within your target audience? If you sell e.g. Handyman services in Berkshire, but 75% of your viewing figures come from Spain, the success you see on the surface might not translate into real world results. But at a higher level, especially if the video is hosted on YouTube, with its potential beneficial impact on search results, the question should be 'Is this video helping us to be found in Search?'. Video can really rank well in Google but the point here is the caveat: video search ranking only works if done properly.

An Example of Missed SEO Opportunity

A recent addition to our client list is a business with a nicely performing YouTube channel, the basics done right, and 20 or so professionally produced videos. They operate in a niche manufacturing business, so there are lots of relatively uncompetitive keywords to attack, and they have a unique company business name (unlike e.g. London Cleaning Services Ltd or Associated Power Supplies). I was therefore amazed to find that by Googling the name of the business, only 1 of the videos appeared in the first 2 pages or results. Yes, I appreciate that a buyer is unlikely to use that search term, instead choosing a product related keyword, but I think that at a very basic level if you have a volume of videos all on a narrow topic, they should all rank well. Part of this is down to missed optimisation opportunities at a high level on their YouTube channel. But at a deeper level there is an inherent problem with the SEO created from the embedded Caption tracks (the speech recognition undertaken by YouTube's software on all your videos). An illustration of this is that if you are in the business of selling flour, then the algorithm might think you mean "flower". If you are a big flour importer, and you have a series of videos that YouTube (and by default Google) thinks are about flower, then your potential video search ranking within your chosen subject area is damaged. This applies in my real world example, where keywords are not properly decoded. Mis-translation of technical terms and homonyms is very likely. If you don't measure how well your videos are ranking, you won't know whether problems like this exist. Under performing videos are not necessarily a wasted investment - there is no need to reshoot them. But not knowing that they are underperforming, and hence bleeding away potential sales opportunities for you, is certainly a marketing mis-step.