How To Ensure People See Your Videos

You’ve made a great video. You’ve put it on your website and maybe even on Youtube. But how do you make sure people find it? And more importantly, how do you make sure the right people watch it?

I talked to online marketing expert Terri Holley of Holley Creative, to get some tips and best practices on how to make sure your videos get seen and played. Here are the highlights of our conversation:

Terri, what do people need to understand about getting their videos seen on the web?

People need to know it’s a two-step process. The first is ranking - all of the things you need to do to make sure your video ranks as high as possible when people are doing a search. The second step is making sure people are clicking through and actually watching your video.

Let’s talk about ranking first. What are some steps to make sure your video ranks?

Ranking is the process of optimizing a video for a keyword search, so that when people are doing a search using certain keywords, whatever content you have – be it a video, a blogpost or a website – ranks as high as possible for those particular keywords. Overall, the first three search results are the best place to be (they get the most traffic) but the first page of a search result can also be good.

For example, before you post a video on Youtube, you want to think about that video in terms of its keywords, and really, in terms of what keywords your target audience might use when doing a search for your type of product or service.

If you were a personal trainer, you might want to engage people looking for different ways to weight train. So you might create a video on how to do bicep curls and then think about who might be looking for this video and what key words they might use to find it.

The real key is to find keywords that your target market is using. When business owners think about keywords, they often think about how THEY view their product or service, not how their target market defines it. So try to get into the head of your consumer.

What do you do once you have those keywords?

  • In Youtube or on Vimeo, you want to make sure those optimal keywords are in the title of your video first and foremost.
  • Both Youtube and Vimeo will allow for you to write a description of your video, so make sure your keywords are there as well.
  • Youtube also gives you the ability to tag your videos with keywords. Since Youtube right now is the second largest search engine behind Google, this is particularly critical when people search directly in Youtube.

What are some other things to do to make sure your video ranks high?

Though this process of ranking is driven by keywords, the other big factor is getting that content shared. The more it’s shared, the higher your ranking. This goes for a video on a social platform or one hosted on a website.

Some of the ways that sharing can be achieved is through Facebook shares and likes, Twitter retweets, or other people embedding your videos on their site. So the more that video is shared and placed on different channels throughout the internet, the better chance you have for ranking.

Tell us about some of the pro’s and con’s of some of the larger social sharing sites.

Social media is definitely the way to go when sharing your videos. You just need to think about each one individually, in terms of what people do when they go there and who the audience is on each one.

With Twitter, you only have 140 characters, so for any link to be clicked, it needs to be relevant, engaging, and have a call to action. It can’t just be “Watch my video!” You have to get creative to get people to actually click. For example, I just tweeted a blogpost about how to make sure your website has a unique value proposition. So with that tweet, I posed a simple question - “Why should people do business with you?” and included a link to the blogpost. I created a little bit of intrigue. If you can get people curious, you can increase your click through rate.

Keep in mind that the average individual is trying to get quick information on Twitter and and move on, so if they have to click a link to watch a video, you’ve now interrupted their Twitter flow. (Personally, I rarely click any links on Twitter unless it’s truly engaging.)

With Facebook, on the other hand, I’m going to be hanging out there for a while, and videos can be embedded. So I can watch a video right there and then still go and check out my friends’ posts and photos, and I haven’t left the site. It’s a much different user experience.

Facebook also allows you to set up a separate page just for your videos. At the bottom of your cover image, there are 4 little buttons. You can customize one of those buttons to say something like “Watch our videos” or some other call to action, and then someone clicks and can see your video or videos on a separate page.

If you want to share videos on LinkedIn, keep in mind that you won’t be able to embed videos like on Facebook, but you can put it in the news feed like Twitter. Remember that this platform is mostly used to highlight expertise and share professional news, and is mostly used for networking, so it can be a bit harder to push out products and services there.

Google Plus is another big sharing site. It allows you to set up a personal profile and then attach a business page to it, where you can actually upload videos to your business page.  Having a Google Plus page can also help a business with search, so jump on!

The second step you mentioned is making sure people click through to watch your video. What are some things to ensure a clickable video?

When you go on Youtube or Vimeo, you’ll see these little thumbnails of the videos. This is the freeze frame from the video that people see before they click through. You want to make sure you choose a really attractive, relevant and interesting thumbnail.

For example, if your video is about bicep curls, but at some point in the video is a shot of someone eating a sandwich, you wouldn’t want the sandwich shot to be your thumbnail. A good rule of thumb is to choose one great image that really describes what your video is about. Both Youtube and Vimeo allow you to edit and choose your thumbnail for your videos – so choose wisely.

Having a landing page that includes a video is also a great way to help with click-through rate. A landing page is nothing more than a website page created to convert a visitor to a lead. A visitor watches the video and then can opt-in to your message. This is a great way to help with lead generation.

If you decide to use an SEO expert to help you with this, what are some other things to ask?

A big part of getting your video to rank is the proper keyword research. If you host videos on your website, there’s also a lot of on-page optimization that needs to be done. If you have your video on a social platform, ask your SEO expert about creating a video site map to help search engines find and index it more easily. (It’s a bit complicated, but here are some tips if you want to try it yourself:

For a video on a website, schema markup, which provides additional information to the robots or search engines, can be very helpful.

The bottom line: To make your videos work for you, make sure they are optimized with the right keywords and shared as much as possible.

Terri Holley is a highly-skilled online marketing professional who has helped dozens of startups and businesses successfully grow using social media, SEO and emerging technology. Having tremendous success with using online marketing to build two of her own brands, she is in the forefront of the ever-evolving world of new media. Her clients appreciate her deep understanding of online marketing and how it is used to organically build a community of enthusiasts around a brand, product or service. Learn more at