Video SEO used to be the name of the game, but these days, it’s all about social video. SEO is still definitely important in its own right – you can’t ignore it – but the lines are increasingly blurring between organic and social discovery. So, what does this mean for your videos, and how can you take advantage of these emerging trends?
The Lines are Blurring Between Organic and Social Discovery
Social networks were originally all about what people you knew directly were up to, and wanted to share about their personal lives. That remains somewhat true (ask anyone in their 30s about baby pictures in their timelines), but the focus has shifted, largely in-step with ad dollars, towards the type of content that can be more publicly shared, and sponsored. Meaning, more news and entertainment, and less personal “what did I just eat” types of updates.
This has also meant better tools for content discovery within social networks. Twitter has always been about public content and hashtags, but their new “While You Were Away” feature, and more recently launched “Moments,” help to surface compelling content on its platform in a highly visual, accessible way. Autoplaying videos in particular standout fabulously in the new layout.
Facebook has been making an ongoing effort to improve content discovery on it platform as well, with the introduction of trending content, and new tools for video in particular. It also recently launched enhanced search functionalities, positioning it more directly in competition with YouTube and Google. The results? Video now extends your organic reach more than any other content type on Facebook.
Concurrently, search engines have been tweaking their algorithms to discern the quality of content online, to ensure the results delivered for a given search are targeted and relevant to the searcher. Whether or not the popularity of content on social platforms is a direct factor in search rankings has been under debate for a while, but some data shows its relevant strength might be increasing over time.
Also, more public content shared on social networks is appearing in organic search results. Tweets have been appearing on mobile search in the Google App for a while, but were recently added to desktop search results too. Public content on Facebook can be indexed and reported in search results, although it appears to be in Facebook’s best interests to maintain more walls between content on its platform and search engines given the privacy its users expect. It will be interesting to watch this growing overlap evolve over time.
From this perspective, we appear to be trending towards a world where social reach is getting bigger and better, and profoundly influencing organic search results as well.
What Does This Mean For You?
Optimizing your videos for search now also means optimizing them for social. Don’t just think about Google, think about Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms too. This will change the titles you use for your videos, and increases the importance of following best practices for video metadata and social sharing tools. You will likely want to increase the amount of text you use in your videos too, in order to make them more accessible when they autoplay silently in timelines.
Also, instead of depending on people searching specifically for the keywords you’re targeting, social sharing of video lets your audience do the heavy lifting for you. Instead of just search, it’s about discovery and referral, too. As an added bonus, people watching your videos on social might be more likely to have confidence what you have to say, because it came from a source that they know and trust (a friend).
For platforms, this means they can charge more for this kind of advertising, because it’s likely to be very successful. For marketers, it will be important to stay on top of the data and ahead of the curve as different options on these platforms evolve, so you can continue to benefit from these changes.
How to Take Advantage of These Social Search Trends
Creating shareable content means creating an emotional connection with your viewers. Whether you inspire laughter, empathy, or even anger, people will be more likely to share your content if they respond to it on an emotional level.
It’s all about grabbing attention, too. You only have a handful of seconds to convince people to watch your video, so use them wisely. Clever video editing, intrigue, humor, or boatloads of personality can all help.
As mentioned about, consider optimizing your videos for playing with no audio. Use text or dramatic editing techniques to get viewers past the initial few seconds, and to prompt them to tap and hear your video. This great article by Troy Dreier has several more great tips for hooking your viewers.
It also definitely makes sense to ensure your videos can be easily shared. Make sure the video hosting platform you use for your videos supports open graph tags and integrations with different social sharing platforms, like SproutVideo does. This will help any viewers on your video landing pages share your videos with ease, and ensure the video will playback in the timeline.
How are you optimizing your videos for social discovery? Leave us a comment or tweet it to us!