Tag Archives: blogging

Smart YouTube Video Captions Improve On-Page SEO

YouTube added automatic captions this year and it’s an important feature for several reasons.  If you’re not familiar with video captions, it is basically the transcript of the video dialog or narration shown at the bottom of the screen.  In the past you would have to supply the caption copy or pay someone to do it. Now YouTube automatically creates captions when you upload videos.

Why Video Captions are Important

Video captions were created for hearing impared but have a huge amount of digital utility.  By capturing the transcript as text you can append blog posts and webpages that have video embedded on the page.  The transcript copy provides additional on page SEO value.  By placing that trascript copy on the page and optimizing for links and search you’ve enhanced the page with what Google likes to see:  authentic, original content with rich media and a scannable text of the video content.

Using YouTube video captions you can boost your blog SEO.
Video captions now appear in the video manager on the Captions tab.

The first step is to review and clean up your transcript.  YouTube will attempt to understand your narration or spoken word but it’s not 100% accurate.  In fact depending on your sound quality, background music or any noise that is happening on the footage you may find it to be total gibberish.

Now come the time intensive part of the process, cleaning up the gobbly-gook speak.  Depending on the length of your video and how much of it is narrative versus music or other non-spoken noise this can range from 15 minutes to a few hours.  Short 1-2 minute videos have taken me about 30-45 minutes to clean up and review.  The process is basic in that you have to review the captions while listening to the audio.  Where there are errors you can edit the copy in the captions window.

Once you’ve updated all the captions, review it once again.  After the copy is clean here comes the easy part.  YouTube offers you the ability to download the captions as with timecodes formatted.  I download the file and then open it in a simple text editor and clean out the timecodes and extra spaces and line breaks. See the video below for an overview of the process.

Video Captions SEO Benefit

Simply copy and paste this text into your blog post or page.  Where you put it depends on the page.  For blog posts I typically put it below the video with a heading of Video Transcript.  Sometimes I use blockquotes and you can even add names and titles if you want. Here is the blog post about Managing Multiple Twitter Accounts that I used in the video demo above.

Final touches include links within the transcript copy to other pages, partner sites, social profiles, blogs, etc.  Now your page had not only the rich media of video but the underlying message is more SEO friendly to attract organic search visitors.

But the benefits of the captions don’t end there.  Some organizations, public institutions and others are now requiring captions on any content they approve.  So if your video is a user story for a public sector company or government agency, you may be required to show captions or have them turned on automatically during playback.

There are probably other great uses for the captions once  you’ve cleaned them up.  If you’ve found any other uses please share in the comments.

Content Marketing Automation and Integration

With all the digital media channels out there you can spend a huge amount of time curating and sharing content across multiple social networks and channels.  Integrating content across networks and channels via an automation strategy can save time and money spent doing repetitive tasks.  But I want to note that this is not an all or none strategy and should not be adopted for all your communication.  Instead I approach content automation as a strategy to integrate original content with curated content in order to develop a stream of content.

Some of the basic tactics necessary to deploy this strategy include establishing a digital diet of content.  Content aggregators and curation tools are a great way to do this.  Creating great content day in, day out is a challenge.  There’s no reason why you should not view curation as a way to keep your social media streams active and healthy.  Every social media expert will tell you share great content in addition to creating your own.
Think of your content marketing automation as a daisy chain, whereby each event links to another.  There are several ways to do this.

Search to Syndicate

Search queries on Google and Twitter allow you to create an RSS feed.  These RSS feeds can be displayed on your blog or can feed a social media account like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.  You can also use email to syndicate content via email to add articles to a queue.  So here is how I do it.
I use content curation tools on my iPhone and iPad like Zite, Flipboard, Pulse and other sources.  Articles that I read and think my friends and followers are interested I share by sending via email to Buffer.  Buffer allows you to schedule and share content on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and set up a schedule according to what day and times you want to share for each network.  My buffer feeds my personal Twitter, LinkedIn and the Square Jaw Media Facebook page.
Remember the daisy chain I mentioned earlier?  Here’s where that comes in.  Buffer only hits 3 sites but I want to also share to my Square Jaw Media Twitter as well as save to my bookmarking account on Pocket.  Here’s where my trigger tool comes in.  If This Then That (ifttt.com) is a trigger based tool that allows you to daisy chain your content automation to several networks.  So I have one trigger that is activated when my Facebook page shares a link and post it to Twitter and a second that bookmarks the article on Pocket for archiving.
Here’s where the daisy chain effect comes in.  I don’t want my personal and brand page to push out the same link at the same time.  So I use IFTTT to push out my Square Jaw Media tweet at a later time by staggering my Facebook fan page Buffer queue.  That way there’s some time distance between the two tweets.
At a less complex level Facebook, YouTube and other tools allow you to port links to other networks when you add or bookmark content.  For example when you you add a video to YouTube you can have it post a tweet and status update on Facebook.  At the same time you can also do this for content that you save as a favorite.  This is a great opportunity to share content that is relevant to stakeholders.
Another great syndication tool is NetworkedBlogs. If you are reading this post on Facebook, NetworkedBlogs did that!  NetworkedBlogs allows you to syndicated your blog to your Facebook page and profile when you publish.

Repurpose Content

The concept of repurposing content on social media should not be overlooked.  One way to accomplish this is to use the Tweet Old Post WordPress plugin to share older posts along with more current content.  As long a your content is relevant and timely this works well to drive traffic to your site.
RSS feeds have so many uses in content automation it’s hard to list them so I’ll mention a few.  If you host events or blog about them many times you want to include links to other blogs and sites that reference your event.  In the past this meant going back to articles and adding links.  But you can use In Post RSS Plugin to update a post without having to login to your blog.  By adding a link to a bookmarking site like Delicious or Pocket it will add the link to the post dynamically.  Remember to use tags to separate and segment content so you don’t spam our post or feed with unrelated links.

Don’t Forget the Sidebar

Sidebars are a great place to display content on our website or blog.  Videos, slides, photos, links and other curated content can be shared on every page of your site or segment the content and share only the specific relevant links for specific vertical markets like health care, technology or manufacturing if necessary.
In conclusion, these tactics are not a replacement for interacting and responding with users on social networks. If you try that you will soon find out that your readers will call you out and you will lose some level of trust with your audience. Instead employ a content automation strategy to augment your content marketing efforts.

Blog Talk Radio Interview | Digital Marketing

Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Damond Nollan (@damondnollan) and the Room 3026 crew on Blog Talk Radio about Digital Marketing.  I’ve known Damond for a few years now and was excited to be a guest on his show.  My interview starts around the 24 minute mark.  Thanks again for Damond Nollan for inviting me to be a guest.

Click here to listen to the episode.

More WordPress Plugins: Keywords, Performance and Social Share

I love discovering WordPress plugins that work and help with marketing your website. My first WordPress plugin post listed 3 awesome plugins for search engine optimization (SEO), link tracking and personalization. This time I’ve found 3 more awesome wordpress plugins for keywords, site performance and social share.

Keyword Statistics

Keyword Statistics helps optimize your WordPress blog for search engines. It can automatically generate meta informations (like keywords and description for example) needed for the SEO of your blog. What I like about this plugin is that it scans your content on the page or post for keyword density and updates it every few seconds. The most common keywords are presented in lists of single words and optionally 2- and 3-word phrases.

Keyword Statistics WordPress Plugin
Keyword Statistics WordPress Plugin

Keyword Statistics also will generate meta tags and page titles for a single page or the whole site. It features options for canonical URLs, 404 pages, robots, no follow, and the ability to turn on/off the setting so they don’t interfere with other plugins. The way I use it is to research the keywords and then write the meta tags using WordPress SEO plugin.

W3 Total Cache

Wordpress plugin W3 Total Cache Page Speed Report
Page Speed Report dashboard widget

W3 Total Cache bills itself as the most complete WordPress performance framework that can improve site performance and user experience via caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support. W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration. With page load speed now a factor in search engine rankings this plugin is invaluable. The dashboard widget gives you a quick analysis of your page speed report listing areas for improvement. The dashboard report clicks to a detailed report with specific areas to improve load speed and performance.  From there you can make the adjustments to your site to improve performance. W3 Total Cache promises at least 10x improvement in overall site performance.  As you can see from my report above, I still have some work to do to improve performance, and now I know exactly what items to tweak.

AddThis

I’ve tried most of the social share WordPress plugins and have finally settled on AddThis for a couple of reasons. First they have all of the networks with the ability to customize the buttons and the order they appear on the page. All you have to do is list the account codes in the order you want them to appear. They list what services perform best on their services directory page. Sign up for a free AddThis.com account to see how your visitors are sharing your content: which services they’re using for sharing, which content is shared the most, and more. The dashboard widget allows you to view stats for current day, past week and past month.

AddThis WordPress Plugin Dashboard Widget
AddThis dashboard widget shows social sharing stats

I’ve also found AddThis to work well on iPhone while testing for my site.  Some of the other social share plugins performed poorly in this area so that was a big factor in using this plugin.  Other features include bit.ly and Google Analytics integration.

WordPress vs. Joomla vs. Drupal Infographic

With the choices in open source content management systems (CMS) this infographic from Devious Media compares WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. I’ve used WordPress and Joomla to build sites and found both of them robust with many features available. WordPress I favor for its greater ease of use and wealth of plugins and available knowledge base on the web. I’ve only dipped my toe very reluctantly into Drupal and found it to be more complex than I’m willing to invest. It seems to be a strong platform for ecommerce as well as custom applications. If you choose Drupal you want to get a professional. Even entering data into the system seems a bit spooky to me. Joomla has a flexible framework but I found the plugins to be cumbersome and not perform as well as expected. Some of the Joomla sites I built a few years ago have been migrated to WordPress. Overall as you can probably tell I’m a big WordPress fan.

Open source CMS platform comparison
Source: Devious Media