I was pondering this preference Facebook is giving to video, especially live video, in terms of organic distribution. Engagement with video content is relatively high vs other types of posts so you’re rewarded for helping Facebook keep its users/your audience engaged.
It’s no secret that YouTube also is favoring live video in the search algo. Two different newsletters to which I subscribe have been hammering their lists about a cute little hack for YouTube Live with Wirecast. Create placeholder video pages–a lot of them, it’s easy!–with titles and basic tags targeting long tail keywords for local SEO or affiliate products, then just put production dates in the future. If the page is ranking well enough when it’s indexed go ahead and upload your ‘live’ video using Wirecast at that time….I have my doubts abut the SERP rankings longevity of videos produced this way, but it’s an idea.
Anyway, so it’s no surprise marketers are adapting and getting clever, and no doubt ways to make more money faster using video will surface. Same old story. Once we’re aware that the game has changed our only edge is to move as fast as possible.
I was thinking that this situation feels somehow familiar to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Since I don’t yet have a process in place to efficiently scale video production it feels a little uncomfortable to me too, I’ll admit it. Today I realized when I’d felt like this last.
Remember Panda and Penguin?
There had been times previous to these two algo updates in February 2011 (Panda) and April 2012 (Penguin) where seemingly everyone’s rankings fell off a cliff at the same time, but if you weren’t active in SEO at the time I can tell you, these were big. Oh the gnashing of teeth, people convincing each other that this was criminally unfair, that Google had taken the rankings to which they were entitled and flat-out given them to other people/pages! How dare Google call my unsound methods too unsound!
The world kept spinning strangely enough, but still many SEOs were dismayed when we collectively looked at content that was still ranking and it became clear very quickly what wasn’t going to work from then on. That crap links, thin content, over-reliance on exact-match domain names and **many** other marginal methods might not be quite enough to rank you any more, or might actively hurt your rankings. That rather than making crappy sites that looked to Google like authority sites, maybe it was just going to be easier to make authority sites!
Ironically the methods you were going to have to change was mostly the stuff you didn’t feel great about doing in the first place.
It took no more than a few days for people to see that to succeed at SEO going forward, quality content would be more important than ever.
(Of course didn’t mean that links mattered any less, just that tying to rank for competitive terms without very good content–and a content strategy–would be hobbling yourself.)
But back to my point. Let’s look at the way things have happened in the last few years with Facebook.
First Facebook decides long ago, as a response to engagement slipping by some amount and users getting overloaded with commercial content, that organic reach would be tweaked so that you’d see more content from friends and family. This meant if your business or client wanted to reach the huge swath of people you’d formerly reached that you’d have to buy the attention, God forbid.
Now another change is upon us as relative to video usage patterns. Facebook is rewarding those who make videos part of their strategy more aggressively.
If, like me, you still feel behind the curve as far as video, or even a live video strategy goes, you might find your inner toddler protesting against the new lay of the land: I am text-oriented, and how dare Facebook make it a condition of gaining an advantage in the algo to use video more aggressively. How dare they! And Google with their YouTube Live!
The point is that we have similar challenge today in trying to get favorable placement both in Facebook and in the Google SERPs against the way the SEO game changed many times in the past.
Just because we won’t wake up tomorrow and behold the drama of disappearing pages from the SERPs doesn’t mean the threat isn’t there in the next year or two. It is. Evolve or flip burgers.
Find a way to leverage video (ideally live video) for you or your clients, or get seriously hobbled.
How? If you’re doing lead-gen or affiliate stuff, how will you get your content and offers visibility at scale if the task can no longer be accomplished as easily (or in the same way) as we formerly outsourced a ton of written articles?
How do you help a client leverage live video if they certainly won’t take to it with the enthusiasm of a 16 yr-old on Snapchat?
I’ve got some ideas and I’ll bet you do too.
Go make some mistakes, find a seam, conjure up a process and get that SOP created.