Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Are You Neglecting Videos in Your Business?

Author :
Over the past couple of years Videos have become more and more important in building one's reputation and brand online. Business are investing in general videos about their products and services as a form of building engagement with the customers.

Search engines have also emphasised the importance of video, by displaying them in search results, as you can see from the screenshot below, at times its videos that are shown above other organic search results.
Videos and SEO
Importance of Video

So creating videos and having this as part of your new content strategy, can expose your business to a new audience, and most importantly you may find your video ranking quite well for those competitive keywords that you have been craving for.

You maybe thinking this is something new, but in fact Google has integrated videos in its search results since back in 2007, where websites featuring videos were having an advantage above others.

Whether you are a service provider or a retailer both can harvest the benefits of having videos on your website. Lets look into this in a bit more detail.

What do I need a video for?

You may be sitting there scratching your head, how do hell am i going to create videos for my business, and then get them onto my website, and most importantly what do I create the video on.

So before we go and create some videos and look at what type of contents we can put on our website, we need to consider why are we going to create videos for our business, what's the point.

The whole purpose of creating videos for your business is:
- To expand your business exposure
- Build brand awareness
- To target and cater for new audience
- To create new fresh content

and further to that, doing all of the above is to increase your sales and generate your leads which has an impact on your business bottom line.

So in short to future proof your online business, you need to consider video contents.

Now onto what to include on these videos, you maybe thinking that you need to set aside some funding to invest into your video venture, in fact not really, most probably you have a smartphone, or a digital camera, which does recording, to start off you can use that, It does not say anywhere in the rulebook (if there is one) that you need to have a whole film crew with singing and dancing technology, all you need to do is produce video content, how you do that its entirely your choice.

Yes having a good camera, and doing some video editing will give a better presentation and better impression of your organization.

You can create videos for anything to do with your business, a quick list is to give you some ideas:

Company overview: An overview of your business
Product Information: Every single product on your site can potentially have a video.
News: Any news and events
Testimonials: Asking your customers to record a minute or two minute video about your business and services.
Info about your service: information about the service that you are offering.
Guides & Tutorials: You could show others how to do certain tasks with your products by creating tutorials, and even tutorials for the services that you offer.
Interviews: You could do a video interview of an individual or a company which has authority in your industry.

I have recorded my video - now what?

Well the good news is, the hard part is done, now we need to just polish the video up and get it ready for the web for the world to see.

Editing:

I wouldn't recommend spending a lot on editing, especially if you are on a low budget, you can do this yourself at times with easy to use video editing programs, but again as mentioned above, its your companies image and brand, so you don't want to come across tacky and cheap, but on the other hand you do not want to invest a huge amount of your marketing budget.

After a few practises you can create a decent video for your business.

Points to include and consider when editing your video:
  1. Logo: Always include your company logo, whether its at the beginning, end or throughout the video, you need to let your audience know that its a video done by your company & organization.
  2. Sound: You may need to increase or alter the sound quality so that its comfortable to hear, such as reducing background noise.
  3. Brightness: You may want to play around with the contrast and brightness of the video, especially if you have recorded this in a dark area or in a too bright area.
Once you are 100% happy with your video, you are now ready to save this file to be uploaded onto the web. You could save your video in most common formats available, as YouTube does accept most formats and converts them well. It's worthwhile having a look at some recommended formats from YouTube.

Adding video to your website

I would always recommend uploading your videos onto YouTube or Vimeo (or both) and then embedding them onto your website, using the code provided.  The reason this is a preferred method
  • Hosting: You are not hosting the video files directly on your server, so you are not eating into your hosting space especially if you have a lot of videos.
  • Bandwidth: By streaming videos from YouTube / Vimeo and other video platforms, you are not using up your bandwidth. These sites are designed for video streaming and hosting, they can handle multiple user requests without the server falling over.
  • Building your presence: By submitting your videos onto these sites, you are adding video titles, descriptions and so on, which is building your brand awareness on such platforms, which already have good traffic and audience.
Notes: When adding videos to YouTube / Vimeo, ensure that you give your video a good title, which includes at least one of the keywords that you want that video to rank for.

Give the video a good description mentioning what the video is about, and also a link to where the video is actually posted on your website.

If you are looking for an alternative video hosting provider, I would recomand wistia.com

Adding the video to your site is straightforward, but so that you take advantage of the latest HTML markup codes and that your content is easily understood by major search engines, it is recommended that you add your video using Schema code. It can be a bit technical for some elements depending on what you are looking to code up, but for videos it is quite straightforward. You can view our article How To Add Video And Audio Files On Your Site Using Microdata as per schema.org, I will recap below.

The code that you capture from Youtube generally looks like below:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/SKqRm7YqMZw?list=UU0LI2nnnSO6lP8ZFj9FIdyA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

What we now need to do is to add some extra coding to this, you can see on the code below we what you need to add around your orginal embed code.

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/VideoObject">
<h2>Video: <span itemprop="name">NAME OF YOUR VIDEO </span></h2>
<meta itemprop="duration" content="LENGTH OF YOUR VIDEO e.g. T1M41S" />
<meta itemprop="thumbnailUrl" content="THUMBNAIL URL" />
<meta itemprop="embedURL" content="FULL URL OF YOUR VIDEO" />
<object ...>
PASTE THE YOUTUBE CODE HERE
</object>
<span itemprop="description">
DESCRIPTION OF YOUR VIDEO. </span>
</div>

Name of video:
This is just a simple video name
Length of video: If your video is 2 minutes and 34 seconds, enter it like T2M34S
Thumbnail url: You need to upload an image representing this video onto a server or even onto Picasa and paste the full url over here. e.g. https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-r9iuScVm5ug/TphkEedq9oI/AAAAAAAAAiY/hZGDjtexxm8/s250/logo4_web.jpg
Full URL of your video: paste the full url of your youtube video e.g.http://www.youtube.com/embed/SKqRm7YqMZw?list=UU0LI2nnnSO6lP8ZFj9FIdyA
Paste The embed code: The embed code that you copy form YouTube or Vimeo
Description: A brief description of your video

Once you have added all the relevant codes you can test this using Google rich snippet page.

If you have entered the code correctly you will see all the data display here like shown below.
Schema Test

After you have have added video to your site

Now you need to create a video sitemap xml and submit this to Google Webmaster tools, depending on how your site is built, you may have to do this manually or you may get automated plugins and extensions that will generate and update an XML sitemap. It would be worth while speaking to your website developers at this stage.

Google does have some documentation regarding this over here.

All the best with creating video content for your business, point to take, Videos should not be overlooked in your online marketing strategy.

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