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Joe Schwartz

Joe Schwartz CMO

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The Sixth Commandment of Automotive Video Marketing: Implement Linking [Expert-Level Tips]

Eighth Commandment | Automotive Video MarketingThe SEO Benefits of Video Content

When Google crawls your site they are looking for several indicators including page quality, relevance and keyword instances. Multimedia objects add value to all three of these metrics. Videos also increase a user's Time On Page, an important indicator of page quality, which seems to becoming more and more important every day. Not to mention people are more likely to link to your content if it contains multimedia content.

Dealer sites should also seriously consider placing videos in other locations such as VDPs. Aside from the added stickiness and quality added to your VDPs, they also help you stand out on the SERP with the addition of a video thumbnail. Zappos churned out 50,000 product description videos in a single year and doubled their linking root domains because of it.

Getting Links Back to Your Site from YouTube [Pro Tip]

At the moment, if you embed a video from YouTube, you get a link back to the page on YouTube where the video is hosted.  But no link to your own site, that kinda sucks.  Here is how to get around this.  This is actually really simple, its just the standard embed code with some HTML attached with our link.  The link above goes to the users YouTube channel, but you could have this going wherever you want.

How to do it

1 – Grab the YouTube video embed code


2 – Add paragraph HTML tags to the start and end of the code


3 – Add a line break tag after the closing object tag


4 – After the break tag, enter your text, in this example we added “Video by”


5 – Add your link code and target URL


6 – It should look something like this, you can see the HTML tags that I’ve added in red:

7. To create a place where someone can copy this code, place a <text area element that has the javascript and selects all the text as soon as you click on the text area:

 <textarea onclick=”this.focus();;”> </textarea>

 8. Inside the textarea code, place the HTML for the YouTube video, replacing all the following characters:

    < characters with &It;

    > characters with &gt;

These are HTML encoded special characters which mean the code will be seen by the page as a plain HTML string and not just render the video inside the textarea.  Here is an example with the replaced characters highlighted:


9. It should look something like this:


Surround Your Video with Great Content

When Google crawls your page it's looking for signals to indicate that your content is related to a given query.  A page with an H1 title and an embed code isn't sending Google the message that this page is full of awesome, related content. In fact, Google isn't able to decipher your video at all so why not send better algorithmic signals to the Big G by surrounding your already awesome video with equally awesome images and text. This also gives you another opportunity to target the keywords you're after.

Give your visitors a resource to acquire more information on the headline they were just linked to-- give them more reasons to link to your video. Tell a story about how the video was produced or simply summarize the contents of the video.  Consider linking to other, related videos to keep the user who wants more as engaged as possible. Make your page the authority on the topic at hand and a, rich, linkable resource that people will continually reference in the future.  Note that this is a great way to exploit the SEO potential of explainer videos.

Where to Host

Due to its absolute ubiquity, astonishing multiplier effects and Google's unabashed favorability towards their own video outlet, many choose to host their videos on YouTube. If you've gone this route I suggest you consult an expert to make sure you still receive precious link juice from your YT videos. There are of course paid services that can host your video on their servers that make it seem to Google as though the video were on your domain. Wistia and Vimeo Pro  offer such packages for as low as $24/month and they'll even generate and submit video sitemaps for you (more on that later). Vimeo Pro might be a more affordable video hosting option at $199/year if budget is a concern. 

Remember the Second Commandment 

One way to get more content on your page with video is by providing a full text transcript. You can either use a program such as Wistia's transcript service ($5 per video) or have an actual human being watch the video and type it out by hand. CaptionTube can also transcribe your YouTube videos as well. This will also help users who might not be able to otherwise hear the video for whatever reason (at work, on a bus, deafness, surfing on an odd device type etc).

Title, Meta Description and File Name

This is of course a major piece of the video link-building / SEO puzzle that we have covered at some length in our previous ADM post, 12 Need-to-Know Tips to Get You Started with VSEO [Automotive Video.... Suffice it to say that to enhance the power of any backlinks to your video, particularly those catchy branding videos, you want to make sure your video has a strong, viral, catchy title that could include keywords but not at the expense of the quality of the title itself. Be aware that people also tend to throw the word 'video' on the end of their searches. A bit of keyword research around some of your target keywords and the word "video" couldn't hurt when trying to form an effective title. YouTube has it's own keyword research tool that could be used even if you're hosting your own videos as this data is indicative of what videos folks are searching for in general.

Doing this type of research beforehand will help you target high traffic keywords for both your title and meta description. If you've decided to host the video via YouTube or some other video hosting service be sure to include the proper 'tags' as well. 

Treat the description of your video (on YouTube or otherwise) the same way you would a meta description. Use keywords but don't over do it. Write a paragraph that will convince someone that this video is both relevant and something worth watching. Remember that these terms show up in bold on the SERP if the search query contains the same terms found in your Meta Description.

As with images, the video file should have a keyword rich file name with hyphens in place of spaces. 

Implement Schema for Video

At the moment it is a bit unclear how Google will choose to use schema data for video. The protocol is in place but Google doesn't seem to take any of it into consideration as of yet. It couldn't hurt to future proof your site by deploying at least the very basics of's recommendations for video objects sooner rather than later.

Create a Video Sitemap

As your collection of videos continues to grow it is important that Google be able to crawl and index them all. This can be assured through the creation of a video sitemap. Much like a normal sitemap the video flavor mostly just points to the URL of each video with the addition of properties such as duration, family friendly (Yes/No) etc. Here are a couple of simple templates that can be used to get you started. Also be sure to check out Google's Video Sitemap Guide or grab a Wordpress plugin if that would better suit your needs.

A video sitemap not only solidifies your inclusion in Google's index, they also help Google grab the video thumbnail to be utilized on the SERP page, which in turn should help boost click-through numbers.  It would also be prudent to include the following line in your robots.txt file pointing at your new video sitemap.

sitemap: http://yourdomaincom/video_sitemap.xml

Other Technical Considerations 

However tempting it may be, avoid using iframes as Google likely won't crawl them. If possible, use an HTML5 video player with a flash video as a fallback. No one likes a video that starts blaring audio when they enter a site. Give users more control over their experience (and ear drums) by disabling autoplay (Note that this does not always apply, especially where CTA video landing pages are concerned). And finally if you've decided to give your users a choice between HD and standard video quality be sure to set the default play setting to HD. Users may not know they even have the option to upgrade so why not give them the best you've got up front?

Remember the Fourth Commandment

Implementation of social media icons on the video page in question should go without saying but if you're using Wordpress I'd recommend the plugins Digg (which gives you a floating social bar similar to Mashable's) or Shareaholic (which gives you the 'Sharing is Sexy' banner you've probably seen before). If you're just looking for the basics I'd recommend just grabbing the appropriate code from TwitterFacebook and Google directly or throwing the AddThis widget on any page.

Comments are a great way to build up keyword rich, user-generated content on a page and nothing starts up a conversation like a good video! They also keep visitors returning to your domain if only to see if anyone has responded to their witty, hilarious, totally original comment. This is particularly effective if you set up a system whereby users receive an email when their comment has been replied to. Comment Reply Notification will do that for you're running a Wordpress CMS. Even if a user doesn't participate in the conversation the presence of real user interaction on a page adds stickiness and authority to the page much the same way YouTube star ratings and comments help keep a video popular. Users often love when the video creators jump into the conversation themselves so don't be afraid to join in on the conversation. You may have a few reservations and I'm certainly an avid subscriber to the 'Internet Dickwad Theory', but for SEO and link-building, user engagement and stickiness benefits outweigh the unpleasentries that come along with the responsibility of moderating an open forum.

If a video is controversial, generating unsavory responses or you simply don't want comments on your video for whatever reason this is always an option but I've often found comments to be a great way to keep people coming back for a second look.

Remember the Fifth Commandment

If you're going the YouTube route then there's no reason not to submit your video to the other video hosting sites that might get your creation some much needed exposure. After some time, if your self-hosted video isn't gaining any traction you may want to consider submitting to YouTube as well as other outlets such as listed below. 

Some Additional Sites to Submit Video to:

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Think of automotive video marketing the same way you would any other piece of original content.

Here are just some of the places you should consider pitching your video content:

  • Blogs whose audience might be interested in your video
  • Email Lists
  • Your dealer Social Media Accounts
  • Powerful, on-topic Twitter accounts found via services such as FollowerWonkKlout or MuckRack
  • Learn how to Market to Reddit and then post to
  • Thinking Local? Target local newspapers, radio stations and magazines
  • On-Topic Community Forums
  • Target blogs who often post video to their homepage
  • StumbleUpon
  • Got a funny video? Submit to 'bored' sites such as Bored At Work, At Work and Bored, or
  • Leverage current relationships with bloggers, influencers, community leaders and other affiliates
  • If you've used YouTube and someone's linked to the YT version, contact them and ask for a link to your domain.
  • Depending on the nature of your video; consider utilizing paid video advertising on FacebookGoogle, etc.
  • Submit to a Video Directory ( etc)
  • Send personalized, genuine emails to prospects, customers, publications and influencers that might post your videos

I hope you've found some of the above to helpful in your quest to build links, bolster social media metrics and future-proof your dealer’s domain through the production and marketing of incredible video content.

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