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Videos are a powerful tool for generating leads, when used correctly, because you can engage with your audience in them and cultivate your brand at the same time. YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine for good reason!
Some newcomers fear doing a video because they don’t want to be on camera. Well, guess what? You don’t have to be on camera to make video work for your photography business. You already have an image portfolio that gives you an “unfair” advantage: Simply repurpose your photography work and the make it the star of your video content.
The first step is to convert your images to videos using video creation tools like animoto.com (use the pro version for longer videos because a 30 second clip isn’t enough time to get your message across). Record yourself as you talk about your photos and add both your scanned photos and audio at Animoto. Presto! It’s that easy. After just a few minutes you’ll have a video where potential customers can hear you talk about your work. Upload it to YouTube and you’re on your way.
After your new video is created you need to make sure it lands on the first page of Google and YouTube searches. Here are 9 quick sequential steps that will help your videos rank better on YouTube so that clients can find your local business:
- Optimize Video Tags
- Rename Your Video File
- Optimize the Title
- Link to Your Website from the Video
- Add Keywords in the Description
- Choose 5 Tags
- Link Back to your Video
- Geo Tag Local Videos
- Add Closed Captions
Let’s look at an example for a video optimized for the keyword phrase “Wedding Photographer In Coventry.” You obviously can replace the city or niche with one that’s specific to your business.
Optimize Video Tags
Note: Do this step before uploading your video to YouTube. All the steps in the series, except for steps 1 and 2, are done after uploading your video.
Uploading videos and doing nothing more — just hoping people will find them — is a common mistake. You can do better. If you’re an expert at creating viral videos then kudos to you, but if you don’t want to leave your hard work to chance you need to ensure people find the videos you create. This starts with tagging your video before you upload it. Doing this one little thing will give your video an the extra advantage in search rankings.
Tags are like small labels hanging on the sides of your video. They help YouTube identify what your video is all about. Taking it a step further, the tags you use within your videos also can be keywords that are currently being searched for in your local area, which is how people will find your video and local business when typing into an online search engine.
Therefore you can use tags and keywords interchangeably, and I will do so moving forward in this article because they serve the same purpose.
Let’s look at an example and take a short breather from all the web theory I’m giving you.
Example of 5 tags/keywords I used in our example video:
- Wedding Photography in Coventry
- Wedding Photography Coventry area
- Wedding Photography Coventry Warwickshire
- Coventry Wedding Photography
- Wedding Photography in Coventry UK
If you’re on a PC (or on a Mac with Parallels) you can add tags when you upload it by:
- Clicking on the video on your desktop with the right mouse button and selecting properties.
- Selecting the details tab in the window that is open.
- Entering all 5 tags for your video in the title, subtitle, tags and comment areas.
- And saving with “Apply” and “Ok.”
Note: We use 5 tags so that our video is laser focused and so that we can rank for 5 well-chosen keywords.
Use common sense when selecting your main keyword. Google AdWords Keyword Planner can help identify additional related keywords, but you might need an expert to assist you.
This is a very powerful step in the optimization process because YouTube indexes these keywords immediately.
Rename your Video File
Note: This step also needs to be taken before uploading your video to YouTube.
The next step before uploading your tagged video to YouTube is probably the easiest step and involves renaming your video file name on your computer. Again, get your keywords ready. For example, would want to rename the video from noname.mov/mp4 to wedding-photography-in-coventry.mov/mp4
Search engines always place more value on keywords toward the beginning of the file name.
For example, my-video-on-wedding-photography-in-coventry.mov/mp4 is less optimized since the most important keywords are are at the end of the filename.
Renaming the video file name and adding video tags are the two optimization steps that should be done before the video is uploaded. Now we’re ready to look at the steps that are done after your video is uploaded to YouTube.
Optimize the Title
After you’ve uploaded your video (preferably in Private Videos mode so that you can make changes at your own pace), it’s time to optimize it on YouTube.
The keyword you want to rank for should be included at the beginning of your video title – just like we did in steps 1 and 2 above.
Include your keyword, “Wedding Photography in Coventry,” in the front of the title.
Optimization always is important. But at the end of the day you want potential clients taking action, whether it be clicking on your video links to go to your website or calling your business via a telephone number. It’s a good idea to include a business telephone number within your title to help potential clients reach you (especially if you’re ranking the video for a local business). Put the local number toward the end of the video title.
As a rule of thumb, always try to include something in the title that motivates people to click on your video. Typically the best way to come up with catchy titles is to ask yourself this question:
“If I were a person typing on the keyword with a list of videos to choose from, what would I want to see in a video?”
Naturally it goes without saying that you should be honest here and provide content that matches your title. So an example of a catchy title could be: “Wedding Photographer Coventry – Call 02476-123456 (FREE Family Album Included)”
Coming up with an effective video title is easier when you put yourself in the shoes of those who will be watching your video .
Link to your Website
When all is said and done, most likely you will want to drive the video traffic somewhere. Do this in the first line of the video description. Once again, make sure to have a clear call to action in the video description and TELL people what to do.
YouTube is one of the most distracting platforms for users — there are tons of buttons to click on — and chances are you’ve experienced this firsthand bouncing from video to video.
How often do you look at the video description if not told to?
Using call to action messages in your videos AND in the video description box is essential if you don’t want to lose your viewer. Unfortunately you will lose their attention if you don’t do your homework!
That’s why it’s just as important to include a call to action message in the video description (e.g., “Call XYZ”) like I did in the video title explained in the previous step.
In your YouTube video description make sure to:
- Include a clickable “http://” link, preferably to a “squeeze page” where you collect emails of those wanting to see your portfolio work and/or learn how to get a free album when they visit your photography business.
- Try to have your keyword somewhere in the website link. Notice in our example how we included our keyword “SEO services Coventry” in the link?
Using keywords in your website name — either in the domain name itself or as a suffix link like the example above — is highly recommended to improve the chances of your video ranking well on YouTube.
Add Keywords in the Description
The next step is to sprinkle keywords into the description box of your video.
The important word in that last sentence is “sprinkle.” The last thing you want to do is spam the description box with 20 or more keywords. Remember that viewers will be reading the description, so always put your best foot forward. Write informative text within the description box of your video and make sure the description is informative enough without looking “spammy.” Also include a list of related keywords toward the end of the video description.
A maximum of 5 keywords — starting with your main keyword and variations below your main keyword, like in the Coventry example in step 1 — works well.
Use 5 Tags
YouTube needs to know what your video is all about. This is where keyword tags come in handy. You can add keyword tags after the description box by simply entering the keywords you want to rank for and separating them with commas.
Experts recommend limiting to 5 keyword tags.
Make sure to keep your optimization short and limited so that YouTube knows EXACTLY what your video is all about.
Link Back to your Video
At the end of your video description, include the http:// reference of the YouTube video page. This may seem redundant, like you’re linking users to the video page that they’re already looking at, but this is a clever way to get links from other sites.
Many sites on the web simply scour and scrape video descriptions from YouTube. So if you include a link to the video there’s a chance to get additional links across the web. Thus, adding the video link of your video to the description box can help improve your YouTube ranking.
Geo Tag Local Videos
This step is required only if you want to rank a local video and is done by:
a) Going into the advanced settings of your YouTube account.
b) Entering your local address in the search tab, which will bring up a map.
c) (Optional) Dragging the red marker on the map to get more precise coordinates.
d) Clicking on “Save changes.”
Add Closed Captions
The last step for optimizing your video has a double advantage in that you also can help the visually impaired discover what your video is about.
This step requires you to:
a) Select the captions settings of your YouTube account.
b) Add a caption track by selecting “Add a new track”
c) Select the Transcribe and Sync selection and add a written text passage as a transcription. This should be a transcription of what you say in the video.
Transcribing a video should not be time consuming since your videos should be short (less than 2 minutes for local videos) in order to keep the fleeting attention of someone who’s looking for a professional photographer in their local area.
All you need to do is pause and play the video and take notes of what you say in the video. If you’re creating several videos at once and are pressed for time, fiverr.com is a good place to look to outsource this work.
Just make sure to look for the top-rated “video transcribers” and you should be fine.
I hope this article helps you drive more traffic and encourages you to make videos a part of your photography business. Now it’s time to take action on what you’ve learned!