More tools for your website: Video

More Tools For Your Website: Video

What makes the Internet so interesting are the number of different opportunities it provides for businesses to build strong customer relations and create conversions. Video is just one of those opportunities.

The statistics on how many Internet users actually view videos is staggering. In a ComScore study released in February 2011, 82.5 percent of the US Internet audience is said to have viewed a video online.

How can videos be used to attract new customers to a business? If you aren’t using video, perhaps this is the time to step forward. If you are using video, perhaps there’s an opportunity here that you had yet considered.

Having a video on a website provides a business with a human face. Video is a great way to introduce staff, demonstrate products and show off the premises. Many users would rather watch a two-minute video clip than read through specification charts. And, videos always have that chance of going viral and subsequently attracting more website traffic, particularly short funny clips, bloopers or educational videos.

Videos can be easily syndicated across multiple web properties. You can create a single web page with only videos, or a dedicated YouTube channel, and then easily link them back to the website.

And the best part of videos, they don’t absolutely require a professional film crew to be effective. Amateur videos that are well done (i.e. skip the tacky special effects) can elicit just as much trust as a professional production.

How-to content is perfect for video, particularly product demonstrations. And don’t be afraid to borrow from the experts who want their videos used on other sites.

Live streaming or video conferencing is not new. In fact, it’s used widely for seminars, conferences and meetings. The timeliness and interactive quality is what really makes it an interesting choice for business.

The technology is really quite simple. All that is required is a video camera, computer, Internet access and a live streaming service provider. It sounds like a DIY project, but there are times when outsourcing the logistics would be wise. A professional company is not only affordable but will heighten the quality.

There are some interesting possibilities with live streaming. The Toronto Boat Show for example has live-streamed the filling of their indoor Lake in the RICOH Coliseum.  It makes for great video because – WOW – it takes 5 days to build and it’s done in the winter!

Live streaming mid-week seminars to your customers is a great way of keeping them engaged and visiting your website during the week. And live streaming allows for interaction – online questions and answers.

When you post videos to your website, it’s important to ensure they are properly optimized. Slapping videos up on a page without ensuring they are readable by a search engine doesn’t do a website any good. Search engines can’t find video content on their own, so getting a video optimized correctly is crucial.

A properly optimized video has a greater chance of coming up on the search engine results page (which now provide users with a blended search results). Type in a keyword phrase and up comes search results for websites, videos and images.

Your web designer has a number of tricks to help optimize video content. Either update the website site map, or create a separate one for the video page. Site maps are the first reference point for a search engine to understand website content. Site maps can also be emailed to a search engine as a notification of changes made to the site.

Each video requires a distinct URL with keywords that help identify the content of the video. Give some thought when giving a video a titlem because that’s part of what search engines see. A URL that reads myboatcompany.com/video/how-to-buy a boat is far more informative to search engines than myboatcompany.com/video/?31.

Don’t let a video hang on the page by itself without some call to action to view it. A short explanation of what the video is about will encourage users to click, at the same provide the search engines with important clues about the video content. Search engines still can’t read videos, but they do read the words supporting the videos.

It goes without saying that providing social share icons is a good idea. Don’t leave it to your users to think that they might want to share a particular video, invite them to do it.

Be sure to include the company branding (name and web address) in the beginning of each video. A user viewing your video on a social media platform won’t necessarily make the connection to your site unless you make it for them. All the secret embedded codes won’t help here.

If you are loading up videos to your own site, be sure to add them your to personal channel on YouTube, which is reported to be the second largest search engine to Google. It doesn’t take long, is only done once, and gives your videos a boost.

Include video links in your email newsletters. One large sporting goods store did that in an email that I recently received. After scanning all the equipment, what made me stop was the how-to video at the bottom. With one click, I was right on their website, watching the video and checking out other interesting products.

Every six months Google seems to update its algorithm. And that makes sense because the Internet is an ever-changing space, and Google is updating his algorithm to better meet its user’s needs.

By incorporating a variety of Internet tools (photos, videos, audio, social sharing) you are making sure that you meet the needs of a wide range of users and cover the widest range of search opportunities.

– Heather

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