Search engine optimization is far from dead. It is simply evolving, and doing so more quickly than ever before (and I’ve been doing this a LONG time). As Internet search is such a fundamental channel for getting your content discovered, it is critical for film, TV, web series and transmedia producers to understand where it is headed. In this issue of From Search to Screen, I take a look at the four key touchpoints you need to be addressing as part of any SEO strategy:
1. Accessible, Unique, Relevant Content
Do you create content that is relevant to your target audience and cannot be found anywhere else? Content is still the most important element you need for any successful search strategy. Content is the lifeblood of the Internet. It is what people engage with and what they share. You need to make sure you are creating the content people are looking for (which you can do through strategic keyword research and connecting this to audience behaviour and intent), that it is not hidden inside any problematic technology like a frame or flash programming and that it is accessible via any device/platform your audience is using. The good news for screen media creators is that the visual web is exploding and so not only do you need to have text content but images and video are critically important as well to feed the content beast. Just make sure you are strategic and have a reason for every piece of content you create, and that it fulfills and matches the desires and needs of your audience as much as possible.
Are you a leader in your field? The search engines want to return websites that are authorities in their sectors/subject matter (because they are authorities for a reason). This is why big brands and broad content authorities like Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Database get favouritism. However, it is possible for smaller companies and individuals to gain authority, especially if they can establish themselves as thought leaders in their field. One way is to get links from other authority sites and another is Google’s new Authorship program. The latter is definitely something you should investigate further, especially if you are using a blog or any kind of regular content publication strategy.
3. Customer/User Experience
Do you provide your audience with a great experience? Google and the other engines have always wanted to return the best possible websites for search queries and this also means the best possible user experience. Indications of this started back in 2010 when Google started including page load times as part of its ranking algorithm, although website usability elements like intuitive structure and navigation have always been a part of SEO best practices. External cues such as reviews will also continue to be a part of identifying good user experience, which means online reputation management has never been more important.
4. Engagement Cues
How well does your content engage your audience? Does it drive them to fully experience it and share amongst their own communities? Cues from social media, of course, are one of the highest engagement currencies, especially those that go beyond a simple like. Do your videos and other content get watched/read through to the end and then shared and commented upon? Does your audience contribute their own content to your online ecosystem in some way? There are indications Google may also be looking to onsite metrics like bounce rates, clickthrough rates and average time spent on site to better understand which online properties are the most engaging (although this is still being hotly debated).
I will delve deeper into the above SEO touchpoints in future posts, but would love to hear if you have any specific SEO questions that you need answered to better inform your digital marketing strategy for your TV, film, webseries or other online video project. Share your thoughts, ideas, questions below or send them to me at annelise (at) veria.ca or on Twitter @veriatweet.
Or revisit the previous issue: Defining Digital (and what it means for the screen media business)