In this episode, Michael and Chris talk about Video SEO. What is it, and how do you optimize your YouTube videos to be discovered by new customers?
In this episode, we cover:
What is video SEO?
Why is video key to marketing your business?
What are some pitfalls to video SEO and how do you avoid them?
How do you brand your YouTube channel?
How do you craft your video content to your message?
What can you do to optimize every YouTube video?
What’s the best way to promote video content?
For more information on the tools and resources mentioned in this episode, please visit:
Michael Epps Utley: Video is really good for increasing the amount of time that someone will stay on a website, and if they’re spending more time on your website, they’re generally losing interest in research mode to find other options or other service providers.
Michael Epps Utley: Welcome to Grow Your Painting Business, a podcast for commercial, residential, and industrial painters to grow their businesses in their local or regional markets. We’re experts in digital marketing for painters and other trades, and this is a show to share our experience with you. Grow Your Painting Business is a free podcast from searchprimer.com, the experts in digital marketing for the trades.
Chris Raines: All right, welcome to episode 14 of Grow Your Painting Business, a podcast from Searchprimer.com. I’m Chris Raines. I’m joined as always by the great Michael Epps Utley.
Michael Epps Utley: Hey Chris. Happy Friday.
Chris Raines: Happy Friday. I’m feeling good today. Ooh. All right, cool. Hey, you know what, I’m really excited about today’s topic because my entire background is video production and video content creation.
Michael Epps Utley: That’s right.
Chris Raines: And so what we’re going to talk about today is video SEO.
Michael Epps Utley: Yep.
Chris Raines: Now we’ve talked before about just general SEO, which is showing up for Google search results, text search results, but we’re going to talk about-
Michael Epps Utley: Yep, or any search engine, yeah.
Chris Raines: Or any, yeah, Bing and others, but today we’re going to talk about video SEO, so Michael, just to kick it off, what do we mean when we say video SEO and how’s that different than just general SEO?
Michael Epps Utley: Yeah, so SEO is search engine optimization, and video SEO is making sure that when you’re producing video content, putting it out on the internet, that people are able to find it as easily as possible.
Chris Raines: Great, yeah, and so for the context of this episode, we’re probably going to be mainly talking about YouTube as the video hosting platform. It’s owned by Google. It’s one of the largest websites in the world, second biggest search engine, and so that’s where we’re going to focus our attention on today because of that. So Michael, let’s think in the context of a painting business, a painting contractor, commercial or residential. What should, if they’re trying to go out there and build their video SEO presence, what are some things that we need to check off the box to make sure that we’re executing on for their YouTube channel?
Michael Epps Utley: Yeah. Video is really popular. People are consuming video content online more than ever before, and businesses tend to fall into sort of one of two camps. Either they’re totally excited about video and get it and they’re investing in it professionally or they’re producing it on their own, or we see a lot of people that have sort of fallen into the trap of having made some effort in video, but they didn’t really get anything out of it that they could see, and they fall into this trap of being sort of inoculated against video. “Oh, it’s expensive and we paid somebody all this money, and we didn’t really see anything happen,” and so sometimes that happens, it’s sort of like overthinking the production quality, but under thinking the distribution, so it’s like having a really nice set of business cards in the desk drawer. They don’t do anything.
Chris Raines: Yeah. I always say if you create a video for a client and you hand it off to them, the moment you hand that off to them, it’s worth exactly zero to them. You have to put it into … There has to be a distribution strategy, a marketing strategy or an advertising strategy behind it. So Michael, let’s talk about YouTube. That’s where most people are going to want to go when they put their video out there into the world, so let’s talk about some things that need to happen with the YouTube channel.
Michael Epps Utley: Yep. So the two most popular sort of video players are either using YouTube or something like Wistia, and there is SEO capability that you can utilize with Wistia with meta content, but we really like using YouTube because not only do you have the ability to do some SEO to be discoverable and to easily embed videos on your website, but you also have a channel out there where a lot of people are. There are a lot of people on YouTube, so going to where the people are is helpful. I would say that for some businesses, it’s just not a good fit because they really need more control over the user experience, and they don’t want to have other videos promoted at the end of a video play, but most people now-
Chris Raines: And that’s where something like Wistia would come in-
Michael Epps Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: Or a more controlled player.
Michael Epps Utley: That’s right.
Chris Raines: Yeah.
Michael Epps Utley: So we’re not saying that one’s better than the other, and definitely not making any assumptions that someone should use YouTube. There is a downside to it, but it does kind of put you out there where the people are. So yeah first off, making sure you’ve got a channel and building it out. Thinking about what you’re going to name the channel after you get 100 subscribers you can brand it a little bit more. Thinking about the imagery and description for the channel that you’re going to use. Also a lot of companies sometimes when they first sort of get into video they might throw it up on maybe the founder of the company’s personal YouTube. We just always end up cleaning that stuff up and saying yeah, delete that. We don’t want birthday videos from grandkids there. What we want to have is a branded professional profile on YouTube because like you said, YouTube we think of it as a video website but another way to describe YouTube is, it’s the second largest search engine on the planet, after Google. People they are looking to solve problems, looking for information. They might be looking up your business to see if they can see some samples of your work. You don’t want them seeing the pinata at the third birthday.
So having a professional separate identity, doing the work to complete all of the fields. One thing people overlook there is include a full URL to your website in the profile for the channel. It’s an easy inbound link to get and people all the time forget about it or don’t see it during the setup process and it’s just an easy inbound link to have and extremely valuable for SEO. So making sure you’ve got a full, complete channel that’s branded. Complete, coherent and matches what you’re doing elsewhere.
Chris Raines: Yeah and let’s talk about being found on YouTube. Google’s really smart, but they’re not actually smart enough to just scan the content of the video and immediately tell everything the video is about. They need a little bit of help and that’s where things like titles, descriptions, tags come in. So talk about filling in all those pieces of what we would probably call metadata that’s attached to the video.
Michael Epps Utley: Yeah, so you’ve got a handful of things that you can control with each video description, and this is going to go back to your keyword strategy. If you’re doing search engine optimization for your website, you’re thinking about keywords. You know that the phrase “painter” versus the phrase “painting contractor” perform very differently. You know that some keywords show a high level of intent. You know that some keywords are not as valuable because they’re really more about DIY, do it yourself, type searches that people are doing on the internet.
You also know that you’re going to avoid things like free or cheap or how to, because those words generally don’t show a high level of intent for hiring a quality contractor.
So the things you can control when you’re loading a video are the title of the video, and it’s always good to have the most valuable keywords as early as possible in the process. Even if you have to sort of trick the system a little bit. One thing that we’ll often do, if we have a video about industrial painting, and we want to show maybe a sample project, and it’s maybe painting a big piece of plastic extrusion equipment. This would be like a real world example. Actually one of our clients does plastic manufacturing here in Middleton, but if they’re having their extrusion machines painted the title of a video about that sample project could be industrial painting, colon, and then painting plastic extrusion machine in Laverne Tennessee. So working those keywords into the beginning is really good.
Then some of the other things you can do are you can have tags, and it’s good to have, actually a lot of people in the SEO business recommend quite a few tags. We don’t go crazy, we don’t do sort of the wall of tags thing. We’re typically doing 10 to 20 at the most, but it’s all the different variations. Commercial painting, industrial painting, equipment painting, painting heavy equipment. Those would all be appropriate to create as separate tags. Then a description, and typically I’ll put the URL of the company website right at the front of the description, including HTTP whether it’s secure or not, HTTP or HTTPS, colon, slash, slash, etc.
So having that full URL there, YouTube’s sort of gone back and forth in the past whether or not that was hyperlinked but generally we find it’s a good way to create an additional easy path for people to get to the website. But description tags, title, all of those things can contain good keywords and are extremely valuable for being discovered.
Chris Raines: And another thing that people don’t always think of is a transcript.
Michael Epps Utley: That’s right.
Chris Raines: YouTube allows you to upload a transcript to any video so talk about that and why that’s important and how people can get a transcript or create one.
Michael Epps Utley: So this is going to be sort of a two part answer. Transcripts are really valuable because they’re essentially keyword rich content and we know that on YouTube, loaded transcripts that are sort of verified by the video creator as being accurate and correct, as opposed to sort of an automatically generated transcript, have value for keywords. If you are making, you’re thinking about making a video, even if it’s a very low tech sort of iPhone based approach, turn that camera on the side to get a horizontal orientation rather than a portrait orientation and talk about whatever you’re recording on the video and upload it. Then you can have that full transcript loaded and there are plenty of tools online. Feel free to check in with us at searchprimer.com and make contact and we can talk to you about ways to do more video SEO.
But yeah there are lots of services online that we use for transcription efficiently and then here’s part two to this, or actually I’ll talk about this in a few minutes, but transcripts have secondary effect of being content you can use on your website.
Chris Raines: Right. Talk a little bit more about that. If somebody’s got a video on their website, why is it a good idea to get the transcript and actually include that transcript, the full text of the video, on the website.
Michael Epps Utley: Yeah it’s great content. Something that we’ll often do, whether we’re producing a podcast like this one today, or video content, is not only on YouTube will we load up and make sure we’ve got a good, correct complete transcript, but then we’ll create a landing page on our website, imbed the video at the top of the page, have introductory paragraph that gives search engines a chunk of copy for knowing what the page is about, maybe that’s above or below the video just depending on what’s going on on the page, and then we will load the full transcript of the video on that landing page because it’s a lot of really great content. Sometimes people want to take things in different ways and they’ll actually scroll through and see something and if you do a good job of breaking stuff up with sub headers, you’re actually communicating quite a bit of information to search engines. For one thing you’ve got the page title, then you’ve got that introductory paragraph, and then you’ve got the entire audio content of the video as text.
Chris Raines: Really three pieces of content.
Michael Epps Utley: Yeah and sub headers. So you really get, I call it a french kitchen approach, nothing gets wasted.
Chris Raines: Right.
Michael Epps Utley: If you spend the money to produce the video you better get two or three touches out of it. The first one is pulling in traffic or even generating leads directly on YouTube. The second is embedding and creating landing pages for every video asset you have on your website. So those are sort of the first two touches out of video production to get as much SEO benefit as you can.
Chris Raines: Michael how should a painting contractor use video on the website? Which pages should it go on, what’s the best use? Once you have the video of course you’re going to load it on YouTube and do all the things we talked about, but what’s the best use for the video on the site?
Michael Epps Utley: Video is really good for increasing the amount of time that someone will stay on a website and if they’re spending more time on your website they’re generally sort of losing interest in research mode to find other options or other service providers. So video’s a good way to increase engagement. It’s been known for years that video content on a landing page, for any sort of service that’s provided, it could be commercial painting, residential painting, residential cabinet painting, if there’s video showing quality of work and these are the kind of people who are going to be in your house or in your business, you know we’re going to treat your commercial property with respect and care, all of those are things that can be demonstrated easily, show don’t tell, demonstrated easily on video and they actually increase the time on the page and they increase the conversion rate of a landing page. So places to use them? Service pages and landing pages for any paid search or other advertising that’s being done. Video increases the conversion rate and it increases time spent on the page.
Chris Raines: And you mentioned paid search. If you’re interested in learning more about paid search or PBC for painting contracting businesses, check out episodes 11 and 12 where we talked to Bob Alesio, who is a paid search expert for painting businesses and episode 12 we actually talked about video advertising. So paid advertising for video on YouTube, which is sort of a compliment to what we’re talking about.
Michael Epps Utley: That’s right. A great way to sort of use your video assets and you know structuring something that people want to purchase and shop as a business service, video is a tool for getting them into a personal connection and helping them understand who they’ll be dealing with. So creating video content for an advertisement can be a little bit different. You want something sort of in the first five to ten seconds that’s going to grab them, and then content on the website’s going to be different. Generally you want that to be as targeted as possible toward solving some sort of problem, answering a question.
Chris Raines: Yeah that’s great. Well we’ve got one more thing to go into and then we’ll wrap it up. Let’s talk about promoting your videos. We already talked about getting your videos found on YouTube and also the best way to implement them on your website. Talk about other channels that once you have the video, just more ways to use them, more ways to promote that video content to your audience.
Michael Epps Utley: Yeah that’s right. So the first touch is having the video to YouTube, having it generating even leads. You can use your website address or your phone number in the description and generate leads or business activity directly from YouTube. The second is landing pages. Having content right there on the page that search engines can index and associate with your domain.
And the third one is push your video content out to your social and email audiences. One thing going back for a second, we didn’t talk about thumbnails, but it’s good to think about what sort of image you have selected in the profile for the video on the YouTube channel. But yeah, when you’re promoting you want to use some really simple visuals. So letting people know that an email contains video content is good. Gmail has kind of changed lately in how they’ll show and let you interact with video content, but you’ll have to decide whether you’re going to push people to YouTube or if you want to push them to your landing pages. Both are good, you just want to remember that in email it’s good to kind of let people know, hey this is video content, because they may be in the mood for video. Sometimes in a subject line for an email we’ll even do video colon, and then the subject line.
Chris Raines: Yeah just that word.
Michael Epps Utley: Yeah just that word can say, hey you’re going to get to interact here. You’re going to get to see something that’s a little bit more than just us pushing you to a blog post. Then on social, the only other thing I would add, is don’t just post it once. Maybe load it up into your social media schedule once but then throw it in again for three weeks out.
Chris Raines: Yeah there’s a higher perceived value to video for people and it is more immersive.
Michael Epps Utley: Yeah that’s right.
Chris Raines: So you need to capitalize on that higher perceived value.
Michael Epps Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: Okay great. That’s all the time we have for today. I know we’ve been talking about video SEO but if you’re interested in learning just the fundamentals of SEO in general, I would encourage you to go watch the very first four episodes we did. We did a monster series on the fundamentals of SEO which is a great listen if you’re looking to kind of get oriented on the best way to get started in SEO, if you’re a painting business.
Michael Epps Utley: Yup. Absolutely.
Chris Raines: Alright great. That’s all the time we have. Thanks Michael.
Michael Epps Utley: Thank you everybody.
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