4 Ways to Optimize Rich Media Search
At first, it's difficult to fathom what slapping Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh has to do with optimizing rich media for search. Difficult, that is, until typing "shoes" into Google pulls up an organic listing with Zappos in second, usurped only by the word itself - Shoes.com.
Similarly, a YouTube video of a kitten chasing a remote-control mouse may not seem to tie with the search placement of the device's retailer, catalog and Internet pet supplier Drs. Foster and Smith.
But experts at both companies say making sure rich media can be searched and quickly associated with their sites absolutely does provide value. So they provided four tips to marketers who are interested in achieving similar success.
1. Optimize all kinds of rich media. The smacking YouTube video titled "Slap Our CEO!" serves as more than mere entertainment. Zappos.com Search Engine Marketing Manager Darrin Shamo says the Henderson, Nev.-based company optimizes all kinds of rich media, from still images to customer reviews and from its own video - Zappos.TV - to customer video hosted by YouTube.
Independent sites such as YouTube and Wikipedia enhance Zappos' organic search positions on Google, he adds.
"Our goal is to get as much content [as possible] in all of these areas and tag everything and just get it out in front of everybody," Shamo says.
Every page on the Zappos.com site also boasts customer reviews. "We position it that way so that it can be crawled easily and found in many different locations," he says.
2. Keep an open mind about how to optimize rich media. "Don't get so focused in one area - in paid search or organic search - that you miss the boat on some of the other rich media platforms that are all around us," Shamo says. "It's so easy to become so focused in one area and try to perfect it that you might miss an opportunity."
3. Make sure to have high-quality proprietary video. "Optimizing for search is meaningless unless what people find when they search is worthwhile," says Gordon Magee, Internet marketing and analysis manager for Drs. Foster and Smith of Rhinelander, Wis.
Shoot in high definition with an on-set art director, notice the spoken line delivery as well as the audio quality, ensure that good content is portrayed compellingly, and think in terms of how the video will be a reflection on the brand. "Like it or not, once you use video online, you are instantly competing with multimillion-dollar productions," Magee says. "You don't have to spend a million to get a good production. You just need your video to look like you did."
4. Make videos supremely search engine friendly. "Search engine readable content is still king, and normal SEO principles still apply," Magee says. He advises companies to:
- Use keyword-rich captions and copy near videos.
- Point links to videos using appropriate keywords in the anchor text for inbound links, or links to the company site from another site. The keywords will help the search engines know what the video is about.
- Attach meta-tags, which let search engines know how to classify the Web page.
- Build out a wrapper, which groups keyword phrases for search. Make sure it's not an image and that it contains search engine readable copy.
- Use keywords in the "alt text," or text that will appear for customers who don't want to or can't access the video image.
- Title the video file using keywords.
- When a video transcript can be attached, do so.