I interviewed Mark Robertson, ReelSEO publisher and featured speaker at the 2011 Video Commerce Summit August 1st-2nd in San Francisco, who will be presenting on "Why Video Marketing has Evolved Beyond SEO." Mark shared with me his belief that social video marketing has become the huge driving force not just for video SEO, but for all video online.
How Has Video Evolved Beyond SEO?
Mark, explain how online video marketing has evolved beyond SEO.
Sure, I think there are a couple points to make about that…
The first is, video marketing has expanded beyond video SEO. What we've been saying for years over at ReelSEO is that video SEO is really just an extension of regular SEO. I think it has moved beyond this idea that it has its own little strategy and technique, although it is important; and people are starting to realize that video SEO is more about best practices for publishing video on your website, and optimizing your own website as it is. So I'd say it has moved beyond what I'd define as video SEO. Although, I do think that the SEO is still a very strong component.
The reason that I titled my presentation this way, though, is because there's been quite a few changes in search, and in social. Social has become a huge driving force now – not only for SEO, but for video. When you think about YouTube for example, the 2nd largest search engine, people are searching non-stop on that search engine.
Now, in order to rank well on YouTube, it's important to describe your video properly, to have a good title. But more than that, it's about making sure that there are comments going, people are sharing that video, and that there are a lot of ”thumbs ups.” So social is not only within the video destination platforms like YouTube (which I would argue is a social network)… so there's that piece of it, but there's also the social networks, which are also starting to drive a lot of traffic to video (like Facebook).
I think video marketing is all about marketing a message through video, in the best way that you possibly can, and I think in order to do that you need to disseminate your message to the largest audience (and most targeted audience) that you possibly can. Video marketing is just that, and video SEO is one component of that; and it turns out that while SEO is still a very strong component of video marketing, social is quickly becoming just as strong of a component.
SEO and social have kind of come together, in a sense. Here's what I mean by that: In the past 6 months or so, both (Microsoft's search engine) BING and Google have confirmed that they're looking at Facebook "likes”, and Twitter "retweets," to influence ranking in organic search. That will ultimately affect video as well, if it hasn't already.
"Why Video Marketing Has Evolved Beyond SEO"
Give us a preview of what your presentation will cover.
I plan to focus on the following:
- How video marketing is becoming more of a holistic Internet marketing strategy (rather than just something relegated to video SEO) and what research is supporting this.
- I'll go through some examples specifically in the eCommerce realm of companies that I feel are doing a great job with regard to SEO, which is still going to be an important component of my presentation, and is still something that we very much believe in.
- Then, I'll show some case studies of those who've done well with video in social media. I'll probably also present a couple of case studies of how not to do things, and hopefully a case study (if I can find one), of someone who's done a great job with video in both search and social; and I'd like to be able to show the difference and impact for that.
- Beyond that, what I'd really like to get across is more strategic thinking about video marketing. I'd certainly provide a few tactics here and there to teach the audience (and our own audience at ReelSEO) that video marketing is not going away, and that it's not just one component like SEO; it requires strategy and forethought, both up front and during. That strategy and forethought, in some ways, can differ when you're talking about the eCommerce vertical. Hopefully, we'll be able to pass on our teachings that we at ReelSEO have gained over the past year, and turn that into some actionable measures for the audience. But also, we want to get them to think more holistically about video, as part of an overall business strategy.
Special Tips For E-Commerce & Retail Video
What do you find to be some special considerations in the retail business for doing video (in eCommerce)?
I had a conversation with someone on that recently, whom I'm speaking with on another conference panel. He brought up a very interesting point that I think isn't communicated as well as it should be. I think the going notion is that, "If I have a thousand videos, it's important that I get all one thousand of those videos in the search results." I think in some cases that's true, but I really think it's more important to ask as many questions as you can in such a strategy.
For example, in eCommerce, we know that in Google Universal search, if someone is doing a transactional search (say for example, Nike hightop shoes), more than likely they're not interested in seeing a video for that product. More often than not, when you're doing a transactional keyword search, you won't be presented with videos. And that being the case, I think it's more important for eCommerce retailers to look at things like: What keywords people are searching for? What drives the most traffic? When those keyword searches are done, how often to video results tend to surface?
I think specifically, with regard to Google Web and Universal Search, it may not be the right strategy to get every video within the search engine, because oftentimes that could change, slightly, rankings for Web search. I think it's important to think through that, and I don't think everyone is right now. I think the going notion is, let's get all of our videos in the search index, and let's focus on product videos. At the same time, we know that informational type searches, "how-to" type search queries, do surface with video quite often. It may be in an eCommerce website's benefit to actually do a different sort of video strategy altogether. Depending on the metrics, it's still very beneficial for them to be doing product videos, but it may also be important for them to be doing helpful videos.
For example, Crutchfield Electronics has a great video library on how they can help people with purchase decisions. It's helpful to their community. If someone were to be going online and searching for something related to something like, say, installing an automotive accessory or any A/V accessory, they could stumble upon a Crutchfield video and be taken to their site; and in turn end up becoming a more engaged, longer-term customer.
Overall, to answer your question, the oversight I see with eCommerce companies is that I don't see a lot of strategic forethought with video marketing, and I don't necessarily see a lot of follow-up, either. In fact, I see a lot of eCommerce clients I've worked with where they're not necessarily interested in having a solid plan for what results they should expect, and how to properly measure them. That should really change if you're going to get any serious momentum.
What do you think have been some notable advances in online video retail and video eCommerce since last year (2010)?
Overall and ongoing, I'd point to several things…
- Video sitemaps are not a fixed target. With Google and Bing's index of videos – the way that they validate videos within your sitemap is an ongoing target. It's changing all the time; and even Google will tell you that.
- We continue to see constant change within video search.
- YouTube has launched a ton of new products just this past year alone. They've focused quite a bit on quality video content and web-series type content. I think there is more of a focus in the past year, or brining to light more so, the desire, at the very least on the part of Google and YouTube, to bring about much higher, long-form quality content to their website.
- I do see a movement towards higher-quality video (especially in consumer electronics). That is true for the eCommerce industry and businesses in general. If you look at the way that general businesses are doing video, I think that many of them are starting to realize that maybe a webcam isn't necessarily the best video for their business, and maybe they need to find something higher quality.
- Social in video will continue to take off. We've seen surprisingly very little movement in terms of Facebook enhancing their video product, but we have seen an increase in social products to video, and we've seen a big push by companies and websites to make sure that they're socially enabling their videos.
The Social Video Marketing Future
Can you leave our audience with a specific example of how social is taking off with video marketing?
Here's a good example from one of our video marketing colleagues and video SEO expert, Jeff Martin over at jeff-martin.com: If you have a video in YouTube with a negative comment or comments, and you don't respond to those comments, the momentum for additional negative comments increases. So for example, if there's a video with a negative comment on it and you respond to it, you're certainly going to get more comments. If you have a video that has negative comments, ignoring those negative comments will breed more negative comments. It makes perfect sense. People can't just put videos out to the public and think their job is done. They actually need to engage with their audience.