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How to Optimize your Product Videos

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

YouTube today has become the most sought after and popular video sharing forum despite its lack of a coherent business model. It accounts for almost 81.9% of all the linked and embedded videos on the internet, and has over 2 billion views per day. It is interesting to note that according to the YouTube report by Sysomos.com, the average length of the videos is approximately 4 minutes and 12 seconds.

How to Optimize your Product Videos for Staying on Top of YouTube Search Results?

Millions of users share videos on YouTube each day in the hopes of becoming overnight and gain widespread fame. However, most of the time, the difference between good and bad quality videos can be clearly seen. Also, while searching for a video, it is ideal to have your video come up in the first few pages because that is about as far as most viewers are willing to go.

So for most YouTube bloggers, the biggest concern is to optimize their video in such a way that it ranks high on YouTube search results and generates maximum viewership. The obvious inference here would be that a good-looking video that’s shot using a high definition camera is necessary. However, in the blogosphere, the source barely holds any importance as long as you can edit and encode it as per the pixel and upload requirements. This first step is comparatively simple as long as you have a good quality video encoder such as Adobe Premier Pro, iMovie or other similar programs.

The tricky part comes next, when one wishes to upload the video. The video ranking comprises of factors such as duration, title, tags, description, and video responses. Besides adding keywords and tags to the video, the key to stay on top of YouTube results is to optimize your product video in the formats that are acceptable to YouTube. The key elements of uploading a video are size, codec, audio, the quality of the video and appeal to the audience, which are the basic search engine optimization characteristics.

Before a file is to be uploaded, the first step is to make sure the video file is no more than 2GB for a standard user. The video should preferably have a .mp4 format even though YouTube accepts various other video file formats such as .flv or .mov. Next, the user would need to have a file aspect ratio of 4:3 for standard definition and 16:9 for high definition videos. Once this is done, it should be kept in mind that the bitrate of the video should not be over 1200 kbps as this would take it longer for YouTube to process the video. Ideally, it should be between 700kbps to 1000kbps. Lastly, after the sound formatting is complete in MP3 formatting, the video can be previewed and uploaded.

It is also important to note that the YouTube encoding and flash streaming is done by YouTube itself. Lastly, for any video to be on top of the search list, it must have appealing content and interactive tools that would guarantee it maximum viewership.

This is a guest post by Samantha Kirk of mytechhelp.com, a site that offers savings and current information on Toshiba Support.

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JW Player doesn’t play youtube video – fix for Error #2036

I have a love/hate relationship with JW Player.  When its working, it is great. But its those nagging issues which drive me completly nuts.

We were trying to get a single youtube video to show on one of our moving strap pages.  The xml playlist section was working fine, but were having trouble getting a single youtube video to play.  It would consistently give me the “Error #2036”.

The solution was as easy as downloading the new version of jwplayer.  As soon as I upgraded – the error went away.  (It appears they were having an issue with that very action.)

The good news is this is fixed.  Good luck – if you have more issues, please contact me and I will try my best to help.

JW Player is not working or slow loading

We’ve been moving from externally hosting videos with YouTube to self-hosting them with the killer little video player called “jw player“.  I just could figure it out, JW player was not working, it appeared to be slow loading.

I was converting one of our landing pages (see it here – it is for our tow straps page) to use the new player when I ran into an issue with Chrome.  The video was working fine with Firefox – but chrome would spin and spin, then eventually choke out.  Another symptom was Chrome would crash the shock-wave plugin.  All bad news.

I finally found this post over at the jw player site – it turns out if you include the jwplayer.js file more than once – it will cause this issue in chrome.  That is exactly what I had done.

Bad code monkey.

My particular issue came because I was using a “tag” in a program called Netsuite.

Tags is kind of like a variable – I had already included the code in a different variable and then I re-included it.
So – if you find yourself where JW Player is not working or slow loading was hanging up or causing an error on chrome – see how many times you included the javascript file.

YouTube Stats

YouTube Videos – Are You Getting Your Fair Share of the 2 Billion Daily Views?

When’s the last time you visited YouTube.com? Was it yesterday, two days ago or 30 min. ago? Did you know that YouTube.com gets over two billion views each day? That my friends, is a bucket full of traffic and it’s traffic that you could be tapping into.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Now I know you’re probably thinking “I don’t know anything about video” or “my site is all about router tables not entertainment, it just isn’t appropriate for YouTube.com“. But if you’ll bear with me I’ll show you just how simple it is to get your own video up and start getting your share of that traffic.

It probably won’t be an Academy award winner but…

For starters you don’t have to be Steven Spielberg or Cecil B DeMille to put together a great video. You don’t need fancy cameras and you don’t need a degree in cinematography. You do need to know how to organize your video so that it tells a compelling story and keeps the viewer engaged. I’ll share with you just how to do that in a little bit.

As far as the appropriateness of our website is concerned, YouTube is way more than goofy user content and film trailers. In fact for some people YouTube has become an alternative to Google when searching the web. Think about it for a moment. Video is a fantastic medium when you want to demonstrate something to someone. And that “something” can be almost anything and it will find an audience on YouTube.

That wood routers site that I used as an example earlier on… enter “how to use a wood router” in the YouTube search bar and you’ll find a video with over 165,000 views. The owner of that video is one happy webmaster. It really doesn’t matter what topic your website is on, YouTube is a great place to connect with an audience that has an interest in it.

I’m ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille

Okay now you know there’s a huge audience out there just waiting to see your first video production so question is how do you do it? Well, just like everything else in this business it starts with a plan. You need to know what you want to say and in what order you want to say it. Once you have that storyboard put together you’re ready to start shooting. I said earlier that he didn’t need fancy cameras to do this and I meant it. You can get a flip camera, which will give you great quality, for less than $175. That’s it. Now your video business.

There are a few tricks that you want keep in mind when you’re shooting. Steven Spielberg said that there are really only three shots when you’re making a movie and we’ve followed his advice:

  1. Establishing Shots – This is the “big picture” shot that sets the tone for the rest of the video. If we stay with the wood router example, the establishing shot for this video might be a wide shot of the workshop.
  2. Mid-Shot – This shot is where you invite the viewer in for a closer look. You’ve already established what the topic is so now you want to engage the viewer with a meaty part of the message. So we’ve shown them the workshop now we want to cut to a shot of the router itself and all the bells and whistles to go with it.
  3. Close-up – This is the nitty-gritty. This is the shot that gives the viewer the “aha” moment. For example if this video was titled “how to use a wood router” this would be a tight shot of the router making a groove in a piece of wood.

A few other tips I have learned from reading and shooting my videos include:

  1. Shoot Sequentially – You want to minimize the amount of editing you’re going to have to do on this video so plan your shots so that you are filming in the same sequence that you want the video to appear in.
  2. Avoid Zooming – Zooming rarely adds any value to a video and screams out “amateur” and that’s not the label you want for your video.
  3. Length of Video – How long should your video be? It should be as long as it takes to tell engaging story. Length has nothing to do with the way that YouTube ranks your video so don’t worry about being too short or too long. People bailing on your video does impact on the way that YouTube ranks you. Make sure your video is tight, compelling and tells the story that the title promises.
  4. Editing – If you plan ahead and shoot your video sequentially as mentioned above editing the video will be quick and easy. If you’re so inclined you may want to edit the video yourself or if you prefer you could find an inexpensive professional editor at Elance like I do to handle it for you.

Once you have your video and you are ready uploaded to YouTube and this is where you can do some great stuff or some great damage. Just like we want our websites to rank on Google we want our videos to rank on YouTube.

On-Page optimization

Here are 6 tips that will help you not only get your video listed in the top results but also drive some incredible traffic to your site.

  1. Quality Content – The most important influence on your ranking in YouTube is the quality of your video. YouTube is interested not only in a number of times your video was viewed, but how many of those viewers actually watch the entire video. If people are bailing early on, that’s assigned to YouTube that the video isn’t a good fit for the search query entered. Take the time to make a video that has content that is useful and that focuses on the keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for.
  2. Video Title – This is pretty obvious but you want to include your keyword phrase in the title of your video. Just like Google looks at the page title for the keyword phrase so does YouTube.
  3. Video Description – On the upload page you’ll see a form where you can enter a description for the video. If you look closely you’ll see a link that says “see more” and this will lead to a much larger form which you can use to describe the video. Take this opportunity to write a description that’s really keyword rich. For example in the “how to use a router saw” video, you would also want to include keywords like router, saws, woodworking, which shop and any other word relating to the subject.
  4. Links to Site – On the upload form you’ll see a field for your URL, make sure you fill it out. You can also include your URL in the description of your site. Lastly, you can include the URL in the video encourage people to visit.
  5. Comments – You absolutely want to allow comments on the video, in fact you want to encourage people to comment and rate the video. The number of comments and the rating are two more factors that YouTube takes into consideration when ranking your video.
  6. Tags and Category – Obviously you want to make sure that you’re in the right video category. But beyond that you also include as many relevant tags as you can as this will help YouTube to find your video.

Use your video as a guide to making a better video

YouTube is owned by Google and what does Google do best… stats. You can get some pretty remarkable stats about your video from the YouTube reporting system. Each video will have a report that includes everything from the number of views, demographics, where people bail, comments and more. Use these stats and particularly the comments to build a better next video.

Rank your video on Google natural search

The good news is that because Google owns YouTube your video is automatically indexed in Google video search. But what about getting ranked in the Google’s natural search. This is where you have to start thinking about the video as a page of web content and start looking for ways to back link to the video. Use the same social media tactics for your video that you would for a new article on your website. The more backlinks you get the better the ranking obviously.

Build it and they will come

I first tested the waters with video on YouTube in November, 2007 with a short, two minute video about my dream car the Shelby Cobra. So I was brand-new at this but I put some time into planning just what I want the video to show and I did the on page optimization that I outlined above. If you check out the chart below you can see that traffic has increased each year and to date I have had 309,452 views. That’s some serious traffic for a pretty small niche.

YouTube Stats

And I learned a very important lesson from this video. If you look at the ratings section of the report you’ll see that 59 people didn’t like the video. When I dug into it, all 59 of the people who didn’t like the video didn’t like it because there was music on it that drowned out the sound of the engine. I know I’ll never make another Cobra video with music. The throaty sound of the Cobra engine is what attracts people to that particular car.

Wrapping it up

So let’s do a quick review. YouTube gets 2 billion views each day which means that it doesn’t matter what you are promoting or selling on your website whether it is a wood router, data entry services, tv stands, car insurance quotes, infrared cameras, trainings, or exotic travel …YouTube needs to be part of your marketing mix.

Can it work for you? My wife Arlene and I did a podcast on this very topic not too long ago and here’s what Jennifer Neumann said in a comment she left on the page: “Thanks, James & Arlene for covering this topic! YouTube has really helped me drive traffic to my website. Now that I’m getting into Affiliate Marketing, I hope it can continue to help me out. As you mentioned, the most important thing is to have GOOD CONTENT!”

It absolutely does work and is just too huge a source of traffic to ignore. Just follow tips with outlined in the article and you’ll be well on your way to having a traffic driving video that will keep performing four years to come.

BIO

James Martell is a recognized expert in the affiliate marketing industry. He’s been involved in affiliate marketing since 1999 and 2001 he started training and mentoring other marketers. He is frequently sought out to speak at major conventions and seminars in the affiliate marketing space. James and his wife Arlene along with their four children live in a seaside suburb of Vancouver BC. You can connect with him at JamesMartell.com.

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BigTen Network adds on-the-fly mashups

I am a big Iowa Hawkeye fan.  I grew up 12 miles from the stadium and have been black and gold from day one.  So when the @bigtennetwork tweeted about their mashups – I gave it a try.

It took me about 10 minutes to do this video.  I think there is a bunch more that could be done – some of the videos I saw were much, much cooler than mine.

But, albeit my video is very cool :) – that is not the point.  It’s the simpleness of the technology.  BigTen Network supplies the video clips – the world supplies almost free promotion for Buffalo Wild Wings (you’ll see their clip at the end – I’d get that bumped to the front!) and the teams of the Big Ten Network.

This is such a great idea – college sports nerds love to see team video, they would love to create a cool mashup…here are the tools to create it and it is game on!

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