While standard SEO and video SEO work in very similar ways, optimizing your video content for search requires special considerations for many of the steps, including one that is often overlooked: video-centric keyword research. Keywords are the building blocks of successful SEO, from the creation of the content itself to the identifying and tagging stages. But if you are simply applying your standard SEO process to your video content, then you’re missing a key piece of the puzzle.
Why Keyword Research is Different for Video SEO
Let’s look first at the optimization process for Google natural results. According to Forrester’s 2009 study, it is more than 50 times easier to get ranked in the first page of Google results with a video than with a standard text page. (The study is a bit old, but is still probably pretty ballpark.) Great news for video marketers! Now for the bad news: not all search terms will yield video results. In fact, Google has and will continue to spend a significant amount of time determining when video results make sense and when they don’t.
Video Results in Natural Search
To test it out for yourself, search for the following two phrases: “history of fire pits” and “how to build a fire pit.” You’ll probably get results that look something like this — nothing but text-based page results for “history of fire pits” and a couple of video results quite high for “how to build a fire pit.”
Of course, this difference makes sense. If I’m searching for the history of fire pits, chances are I’m interested in an article, while I’m much more likely to consume a video if I search for “how to build a fire pit.” For further information on keyword intent and video results see this post from the SEOmoz blog.
And thus we get to rule #1 of video-centric keyword research:
1. When optimizing for natural search results (rich snippets), you need to find keywords that lend themselves to video results.
It may sound obvious, but it’s a step most marketers using video are completely ignoring.
Finding Keywords that Produce Video
So how do you know which keywords and phrases are likely to produce video results? The easiest place to start is by searching your core keywords and noting both how many and where video results occur in the natural search. If you’re looking for a tool to automate this process, take a look at SEOmoz’s updated Keyword Ranking Report. This report now has icons to indicate which words and phrases yield video and/or image results. Hovering on the camera icon shows where the video results occur in the rankings and which specific videos are being shown.
Obviously, targeting keywords that already have video results means your videos already have incumbent competition, but we’ve found that it’s much easier to replace those competing videos in the rankings than it is to start ranking for a term that doesn’t currently have video results.
Keyword Research for YouTube
If you’re focusing your efforts on YouTube search results rather than Google natural results, the story is a bit different. In this context, you obviously don’t need to worry about whether keywords will yield video results – they all will! Instead, you should concentrate on how search behavior on YouTube differs from behavior on a standard search engine.
Think for a moment about when you go to YouTube to search versus Google. If you’re me, your goals when heading to YouTube are more narrow than when searching on Google. Odds are you are looking for either entertainment or instruction, with the balance heavily in favor of entertainment.
To illustrate this and highlight the differences between a YouTube search and a Google search, below are results from each keyword tool for the term “video marketing.”
YouTube Keyword Tool, search term = video marketing:
Google Keyword Tool, search term = video marketing:
The top three related searches by volume on YouTube are “single ladies beyonce,” “byu” and “free downloads.” Meanwhile, on the Google side, there are more than 90,000 monthly searches for “video marketing.” This is not to say that YouTube isn’t relevant to digital marketers and video SEO experts — the reality is just that your approach needs to be tailored to the content people are searching for on YouTube. Which brings us to our second and final rule of video-centric keyword research:
2. YouTube is not a standard search engine, and therefore your standard keyword research doesn’t apply — YouTube-specific research is required!
Finding the Right YouTube Keywords
There are two primary ways to go about finding keywords that are likely to succeed on YouTube. The first is using the YT specific keyword tool that was mentioned earlier. The YouTube keyword tool is less powerful than the Google AdWords tool, but it is a good place to start. The tool will give you monthly YouTube searches for your keyword along with results for “similar” keywords. If your standard keywords aren’t appearing in these reports, it’s probably worthwhile to think creatively about what the average person is looking for when doing a YouTube search. For example, we have seen better results with phrases such as “uploading business video” and “how to track videos” rather than a generic keyword that works well on Google, such as “video marketing.”
The other approach to keyword research on YouTube is to do actual searches and record view counts for the top video results. This method is obviously more time-consuming than using the keyword tool, but I highly recommend it once you’ve narrowed down your list using that tool. And while view count is not the only metric that affects the video ranking, a quick glance at the top five videos will give a good indication how much search volume there is for that keyword or term.
Overall, the main message here is that keyword research for Video SEO is not the same as keyword research for regular SEO. Both are based on the same principle of finding topics, words and phrases at the intersection of your business and the search queries of your target audience. However, for Video SEO keyword research you must take the process a step further and evaluate where and when this audience comes across video results. The bad news is there’s more work involved. The good news is this work scares a lot of people away — meaning far less competition!
Article source: http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/videocentric-keyword-research