Video SEO. What it is, and why you can't afford not to do it.

Dealer Marketing Magazine - April Edition.

A customer that’s right for your dealership is looking for new car. They’re visiting web sites and doing research that leads them to video about exactly the type of vehicle they’re searching for, or is conquesting to show the benefit of another. There’s just one problem. That video is from your competitor and somehow has managed to land in front of your potential customer at exactly the moment they wanted to see it.

What happened here? Your competitor got smart and engaged in a Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO) program.

On line video viewing and streaming are seeing tremendous growth on the web right now. On YouTube alone, it is said that over 20 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute, and about 120 decades of video are uploaded each year. According to January 2011 Nielsen data, viewers streamed 28% more video and spent 45% more time watching than one year ago. Total video streams also saw significant year-over-year growth, up 31.5% to 14.5 billion streams.

Video Search Engine Optimization (VSEO) is the process of optimizing your dealerships video content to receive maximum traffic and the highest possible organic ranking on the search engines. Following are some tips and information to keep in mind to launch and maintain a successful VSEO strategy for your dealership.

(1) Make your video a good advice piece. Keep it short and sweet (no one wants to sit thru a three or four minute video on a search landing page).

(2) Make it easy for the viewer to take the next step by including a URL in every single frame with a call to action. Or, better yet, build a landing page for every video you produce. Optimize the page with the tags, content, keywords, file name. Use analytics to test how long people are staying on the page.

(3) Use a constant video description that is keyword rich across all sites. Utilize thumbnails. Show your call to action - phone number. Have your video producer put the call to action at the 1/4 mark, 1/2 mark and 3/4 mark

(4) Make it ready for TV, but see if you can add a twist to make give it a ‘viral’ component.

(5) Update your content frequently. It matters.

(6) Remember, people don't watch "one" video, they watch “batches” of videos. The real secret to ranking in Youtube is to be connected to other content. To do this, find related videos, and get connected.

(7) Get it out there. Talk about your video in social sites, press releases or go a step farther and embed your videos in press releases. Also keep in mind that video can be very effective for reputation management.

(8) Get help if you need it. As you can see, there is a lot more to this then handing a cell phone or a cheap camera to your lot guy or salesperson and telling them to ‘go shoot something’. How the videos are presented and posted is as important (maybe even more important) then the actual content (and this is critical step many dealerships are missing). If your dealership is large enough to have a dedicated person willing and able to learn these techniques great. If not, consider hiring an outside firm to help you.

Done correctly and consistently, a modest investment in VSEO will provide a strong search return component and deliver your message right to potential customers ready to hear it.

Have fun and happy selling.

Ed Steenman is owner of Steenman Associates that provides traditional and digital media services to automotive dealerships and dealer groups nationally. Ed is available to speak to 20 groups or other related events and can be reached at or his website