By Andrew Angus on June 5, 2012

Congratulations! You’ve produced a great new video that’s nearly ready for its global debut. All that’s left are some key optimization tricks to ensure you get out more than you put in. After all, there are plenty of great videos out there that fall just short of viral status. Here are five little-known (or overlooked) video optimization tips to help you get the most out of your video.

1. Keep SEO in mind.

It’s important to remember that video is not exempt from SEO rules. There are plenty of little things you can do to ensure search engines look kindly on your video. Your title, description, tags, captions and script will be the most important aspects to search engines. Be sure your title, description, tags, captions, and script all include your company name and core keywords. Where possible, especially in the description, include links to your website. Also make use of your keywords in the description. Finally, be sure to include a transcript with your video.

2. Consider CTA best practices.

We typically recommend that videos be 60-90 seconds in length. According to an infographic sponsored by Assisted Living Today, the average attention span is just 5 seconds long. So, if someone is interested enough to make it to the end of your video and you have a lackluster call to action, you have just lost a hot lead. To avoid this, observe CTA best practices like colour psychology, placement, size, etc. Be sure your video leaves viewers with a clear understanding of the next step.

3. Pick a compelling thumbnail.

Your thumbnail is the still image that people see before actually deciding to click “Play” and watch the video. The thumbnail you choose can have a big impact on how many people will decide to watch your video. Aside from the title, it is typically the most powerful motivator and biggest indication of what the video will be about. Pick a thumbnail that leaves people interested. Don’t give away the entire story with just one image – leave some mystery. The goal is to leave people thinking “What the…?” and dying to click for answers.

4. Go with a wide distribution strategy.

Don’t restrict yourself to just YouTube. Look into other video sharing services like Vimeo and Dailymotion. While you’re at it, look into websites that target your audience and accept video uploads. For example, a textbook trading company targeting college students might upload their video to CollegeHumor and Funny or Die. What’s great about a wide distribution strategy is that you will not only get more eyes on your video, but you can split test as well. Test the response of different audiences, different video lengths, different thumbnails, different titles, different CTAs – everything. Use your data in the future. And don’t forget to share the task of submitting your videos to Reddit (Try a subreddit), stumbleUpon and even Hacker News (if relevant)

5. Be strategic about video placement.

No matter where you’ve uploaded your video, it’s important to have it on your website too. Deciding where you want to place it must be very strategic. If you’re working with a demo video, try placing it on product pages to increase conversions. If you’re working with a funny or casual video, try placing it on your blog or about page so that people can get to know the people behind your brand. The fact is that videos are more sharable and digestible than written content. So, if a 90-second video is an option, people will be more likely to choose it over text. Zappos’ demo videos have been said to increase sales by 6-30%.  Implement a linking strategy by building both internal and external links. This is crucial and can be done by linking to videos from other relevant sites, tweeting the video, cross-linking to other similar sources, and bookmarking the video.

6. Start Seeding Right Away

And last, but not least is seeding the video with the right people. As in, sharing with your more influential friends and family.  Did you know that many of the top viral videos on YouTube had no intention on reaching the popularity they did?  It just happened that videos like “Charlie Bit My Finger” was viewed by a few people who shared it with their friends, who shared it more, and so on. Eventually the sharing reached people with much larger followings and caused a viral effect.

What are some other video optimization tips? What has worked for you in the past? Share your thoughts and videos below.

 

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