Adding audio, video (including YouTube, Vimeo, Snapchat, etc.) and full-blogging (and other advanced functionality) gives a whole new flavor to your Solo Build It! site. This is the place to help or be helped for these topics.

Moderator: Paul from Somewhere, out there...

#1391477 by Sharon from Maple Springs
Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:41 pm
So I want to up my youtube game. Not for advertising so much as gaining traffic back to my website, I'm told it bumps up SEO and since I now have a video course I think it would be good to presell myself with free video.

So.... I started moving a bunch of my fb live video that I"ve already recorded into youtube. (My son downloads it and then uploads to YT) I then am embedding those into appropriate web pages.

I've figured out a fair system.... except the darn thumbnails are such a pain.

My question is... how important is creating custom thumbnails. Do they really make our videos stand out more? I did a youtube search on canning to see what top videos have and many are just the thumbnail that yt picks out. Time is at a serious premium for me.

Should I keep on with this irritating little task?

Here is a link to my youtube channel. You can see the videos where I have created a title custom thumbnail and not. https://www.youtube.com/user/SimplyCanning
#1391518 by Paul from Somewhere, out there...
Tue Jan 30, 2018 12:36 am
Hi Sharon,

It's good to see you here! I have long admired your development in this area and you are a fabulous role model for anyone who wants to start developing video as part of their PREselling and Selling strategies.

I think your thumbnails are great. I would generally have a title in there - as you mostly do but I see no reason to have a title on all of them. The rule of thumb is that they stand out, someone knows what the video is about (using the word canned or canning) and is captivated by what you have shown. I love all the face pictures and expressions . They (mostly) all convey the enthusiasm and energy of the video and those that don't have faces, balance it out to create a display of normality.

What also really works is that the videos work, so someone clicking is not disappointed. This means your watch time will be good which YT always loves!

Re ramping up YT. Before you do - may I suggest you see how much traffic you are actually getting from YouTube to your site? Check your GA stats. It seems that you haven't been uploading for a while so it will have dropped off but past years could be a good comparison, as will be the YT watch times.

YT strategies work in many ways but it's risky to assume that more videos assumes more visits - or more meaningful visits in terms of monetizing!

In my opinion, you are right to move the FB videos. FB is an even wilder tiger to ride that YT. (Never link to YT from FB - your videos will just not show up in people's timelines!)

As to how much SEO benefit there is from YT embedded on your page, that's a whole other conversation. In the end, YT is about YT - not your site so you are dancing with the competition, a little, so to speak.

Embedding YT videos on your page is competing against the very same videos you have hosted on YT, which display at the top of the SE results in Google so can be competing against yourself. There are ways to mitigate that but its too much for here.

I do have a question which is off your topic but I'd appreciate if you would answer. I notice the most recent videos seem to only be maybe 640 wide. Is there a reason for this? They also look as if they may have been compressed before uploading. You have stopped creating 1280 x 720? I was pretty sure you used to. (Compare https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGQ5MYNsiuc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yt3-NG-P3UM&t=47s

It MAY be - I'm actually not sure - that your son is unable to download the original file from FB. Some hosts don't enable the download of the original file but I don't know if FB is one of them. Either way, thats what you want and if possible I'd simply upload the original file you have on your computer to YT.

A bit long but I hope this helps
Paul
#1391521 by Sharon from Maple Springs
Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:25 am
Hi Paul, Thank you much for the nice compliments.... although I'm not sure I deserve them! LOL

As for as the new videos. They are all facebook live videos. My son downloads them from FB then uploads that file to Youtube. I did notice that the quality is not very good. As far as size... all that baffles me so I don't know what size they are. :) If you know a better way I'm all ears... and I'll have my son read this too.

I've considered doing my live videos on youtube... but FB live is so very easy and I have a bug audience there.

And analytics...uhg. If I have to do that I'll go crazy. How long do you think it would take you to look at my analytics and give me your thoughts as to whether this is worth the time? I'd be willing to hire that out.

I've been told that embedding you tube videos is good for seo because google owns you tube. So they look favorably to youtube videos on our sites rather than FB videos? Is that not what SBI has found?
#1391535 by Paul from Somewhere, out there...
Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:20 am
Sharon from Maple Springs wrote:Hi Paul, Thank you much for the nice compliments.... although I'm not sure I deserve them! LOL
You totally do. I have cited you to quite a few people so take the credit. :lol:

As for as the new videos. They are all facebook live videos. My son downloads them from FB then uploads that file to Youtube. I did notice that the quality is not very good. As far as size... all that baffles me so I don't know what size they are. :) If you know a better way I'm all ears... and I'll have my son read this too.

The size of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yt3-NG-P3UM&t=47s is 640 x 360 which is about half what you have previously uploaded to YT. I suggest you get him to check what configurations are possible but for a business page I am pretty sure a HD version is possible. It may be that he mistakenly chose a default but either way, the download choices warrant further exploration.

You want the best possible version uploaded to YT.
I've considered doing my live videos on youtube... but FB live is so very easy and I have a big audience there.
Totally understand.
And analytics...uhg. If I have to do that I'll go crazy. How long do you think it would take you to look at my analytics and give me your thoughts as to whether this is worth the time? I'd be willing to hire that out.

I'd allow a couple of hours. First, I'd look myself but I'd like to spend some talking to you about them and getting you to not be quite so ugggh! I haven't yet seen a website that gets good traffic from YouTube but that is not to say they don't exist. .It also doesn't mean it's not possible and often it has to do with how the videos are setup but often it also has to do with the fact that the audience has found what they want, gone to another video and moved on!
I've been told that embedding you tube videos is good for seo because google owns you tube. So they look favourably to youtube videos on our sites rather than FB videos? Is that not what SBI has found?
This is not an SBI answer because I am not sure SBI! has a specific position on YouTube.

So, with a full disclaimer, this is my experience....
I'd firstly ask the person how much experience they have in this field and how much evidence. A sweeping statement like that can be very misleading! It's a bit like the experience where a potential SBI! client gets woowed by Wealthy Affiliate or Wix. They don't know what they don't know so, as a result just go with what it seems that 'everyone is doing'.

Embedding videos IS good for SEO if it is done right. But different hosts have different levels of SEO functionality and effectiveness. For example, JWPlayer is a terrific service but has minimal SEO functionality without extra legwork by the user. FB and YT are all about their own business. The very fact that Google own YT is not particularly a help to your on-page traffic as your videos end up being shown at the top of the results, pushing you down the page and sending visitors to YT.

So - if they click back to your page. Good...but how much that happens is the question..

Go to your GA and look at the last year. In the left hand column, select Aquisition, Source/Medium, and see where YT comes in the ranking. That will be a good start :)

Hope this helps
Paul
#1391537 by Sharon from Maple Springs
Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:32 am
You tube is around 15th on the list.

And no it was not an SBI source that told me that. But it did make sense to me. But I'm certainly no expert.
#1391538 by Sharon from Maple Springs
Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:32 am
Sharon from Maple Springs wrote:You tube is around 15th on the list.

And no it was not an SBI source that told me that. But it did make sense to me. But I'm certainly no expert.


I'll have to see if there is a different download option from FB live.
#1391539 by Paul from Somewhere, out there...
Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:36 am
Sharon from Maple Springs wrote:You tube is around 15th on the list.
And no it was not an SBI source that told me that. But it did make sense to me. But I'm certainly no expert.

Hi
I wasn't implying it was an SBI source - so sorry if I made that impression. As for 15th. I don't know your traffic but it may be worth looking back a couple of years when you were more active as a comparison. That may give you a truer result. Nevertheless, for as many subscribers and views as you have that seems low.
Something to think about!
Paul
#1391540 by Sharon from Maple Springs
Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:38 am
oops actually I forgot to set the dates so that was actually this month.

Last year my youtube is 21st on the list. So that is worse. Doesn't that mean I should be promoting yt more? Since that is such a good medium for my topic? Or maybe not worth my time?
#1391542 by Wendy C (EelKat) from La Puente
Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:00 am
>>Not for advertising so much as gaining traffic back to my website


I have found the revease to be true.

My youtube channel is rather small, under 3k subs and most videos get 30 views the first week, then take a year or more to reach 1k views. And while they do send SOME traffic to my site, in most cases, it's my site that sends traffic to my videos.

For example I have one video that'll cross 200k views soon.

Why? Most of my videos take months the reach 100 views, so why does this one have 200k ? Because it's embedded into 2 pages on my site, each of those 2 pages have more than 10 million lifetime views.

That video about the real Christine, the World's Most Haunted Car, a side show car that belongs to a group of carny Gypsies and that inspired Stephen King to write several books and movies based off of it, (Christine, Thinner, Maximum Overdrive, Trucks, Buik, etc) and the car and the Gypsy family that owns it (and is the same Gypsy family that is seen in the Thinner movie, because Thinner was filmed on the Gypsy farm) is the topic of both those pages and that video. But people looking to find information about the story behind the story, usually end up on my site first and find the video from finding the site.

Interestingly, this video gets a lot of views because of the movie Christine and people are generally there looking for info about the car itself. Though this video gets huge amounts of views, it rarely translates into subs or views to other videos, as people are their because they are looking for info about Stephen King, his books, and his movies, and there is no info about King, his books, or his movies on my channel. The channel is focused on Gypsies and Gypsy life, thus, why this car that is owned by Gypsies is featured in the video. Once people look around the channel and find it's about Gypsy life and not Stephen King, they leave, thus this video ends up being the oNLY video to get high rate of views.

But anyways my videos gain more traffic from my site, rather then my site gaining more traffic from my videos. But traffic does go both ways, so it does help my site to have it's url linked to in the description of the videos. I suppose if my channel were larger, it might drive traffic more substantially to my site, so perhaps it depends on channel size?

Then again, it could also be a matter of chanel topic as well. My own channel is very niche, the basic topic being "Gypsy Vlogs/Gypsy Interviews" and generally only of interest to anyone looking to find out more about Gypsy lifestyle, Gypsy culture, etc. As a general rule not a lot of people interested in finding out about Gypsies so over all, the channel does not gain much traction.

>>My question is... how important is creating custom thumbnails. Do they really make our videos stand out more?


I'm a daily vlogger and a part-time gamer on YouTube and I'm constantly switching things up to see if this works better than that. So, I've got about 400 videos that I made thumbnails for but 1000+ that just have whatever YouTube slapped there at random. And I haven't noticed that big of a difference in traffic between going with thumbnails to going without them.

What I have noticed though, is that the videos with the most traffic are always the ones with a large up close picture. Either my face (for the vlogs), my car (for my car videos), or the face of the character from the game I'm playing if it's a gaming video.

Brighter images get more views then darker ones.

When I do use a thumb, the ones that get more views, are the ones that have, very big, very bold, very simple, and VERY BRIGHT YELLOW text.

It'll be like 3 or 4 words, with a much smaller sized sentence undernederneath. Something like: "HEALTH UPDATE:" filling up the entire top, with something like "Hospital, Parkinson's, MRI, And Other Stuff That Happened" in small letters under it. The top line will be in 125pt Arial Bold, and the 2nd line will be in 48pt arial.

I've tried this same style with different colours, and after Yellow, Red is 2nd best for traffic, and Lt Blue 3rd. Orange, White, Pink, Green, and Purple, did not have any effect to change traffic.

Overall though, it didn't seem to me that there was that much of a difference with a thumbnail to without a thumbnail, so for the past 6 months or so, I don't bother with thumbnails at all anymore and now only add a thumbnail, if the random screenshot that YouTube slapped in there was blurry or weird for some reason.

ETA:

I think we can embed videos in our posts? Let me try it and see. If I can get it to work, I'll show you what my videos look like so you can see what I mean.

Ah! Yes! That worked. Okay... I'll add more then, so you can see what I'm talking about.

Okay, here is an example of a thumbnail I made for part of a series where I answered reader questions about my novels. This one about a wizard who keeps sheep in his pockets, Thus has pictures of his sheep on the thumbnail.



Yet, here is my most trafficed video ever, (Meet The Real Christine aka The World's Most Haunted Car - The Car That Inspired Stephen King) (yes the same video I was just talking about that is about to cross 200k, here it is...) which is a slide show about my car, and doesn't have a thumbnail, instead just had the screenshot that YouTube slapped in there, which happens to be one of the photos of the car itself.



THAT is my top video. It has a crappy thumbnail, and ironically, was also a "test video" that I made when I was first trying to figure out how to use YouTube. It was not intended to go live and only went live so I could post it on my FaceBook and ask my friends to watch it and give me advice on how to make future videos better. And now today, this incredibly poor quality video that I literally tossed together in about 15 minutes, has gone on to be my top video. Go figure. *shrug* :shock:


Okay, see here's the Thumbnail type like what I was talking about before. When I do use a thumbnail, this stye seems to be the most effective. You can see how I've done it slightly different on different videos, changing colours and fonts and stuff, but the same basic style:



































The 2nd most effective thumbnail style I've found is the one with no image at all, and simple words on a coloured background, like this:

















But then the bulk of my videos are without thumbs and like these here, are just whatever YouTube put there:


































>>My question is... how important is creating custom thumbnails. Do they really make our videos stand out more? I did a youtube search on canning to see what top videos have and many are just the thumbnail that yt picks out.

Yep. That does seem to be the trend for the bulk of YouTube.

I know people are always saying to do the Thumbnail thing, but I've seen a lot of people put a lot of time into fancy thumbs and then it do nothing for their channel, and then I'll see people on the same topic with million+ subs, and they do no thumbs at all and just got with YouTube's choice.

I don't know. I'm on the fence about thumbs myself.

As you can see from my thumbs, I don't use thumbs that often.

I can tell you though, that one thing I have noticed on a site wide level (my SBI site) that may be useful to you.

I have noticed that when I embed a video on my site, if it DOES NOT have a thumb, it won't get many views ON MY SITE (as opposed to views it gets from YouTube's site directly).

On the other hand, if I embed the video on my site,, then give it a thumb with a "descriptive text". either te text over an image, or the text over a colour ground, when I do that, the video starts getting MORE views ON PAGE of my site, then it does directly from YouTube.

So, while, I've not seen much difference with videos watched ON YOUTUBE, I have seen a difference with videos watched ON MY SITE PAGE. If people are on YouTube searching, the title, not the thumb, seems to influence viewing. But when they are on my website, the thumb not the title, seems to be the influence. (Keep in mind here that this could be a niche thing, specific to my niche alone and not all youtube videos in general, though. I don't know.)

In the end, I just let YouTube pick the thumb, only changing it is what YouTube picked turns out to look funky for some reason. And then, if I embed the video into an article, I'll then made a thumb that reflects the article, and may seem out of place on YouTube itself, but makes sense for those on my page reading the article.

But like I said, all this could be just stuff that is specific to my own niche. I don't do a wide enough range of videos to know how other niches are effected by these things or not, so all this is just my own results and observations with my own videos and may or may not be useful to other videos with different niches.


>>I've been told that embedding you tube videos is good for seo because google owns you tube. So they look favorably to youtube videos on our sites rather than FB videos? Is that not what SBI has found?

I remember reading that as well. I don't think it was an SBI study... but I remember reading it somewhere, someone noticing a change in traffic because of embedding video. I remember at the time I read it I wasn't yet embedding videos, so I remember thinking: "I'll have to embed some videos and see what happens." Not on SBI, but rather on blogs and such I've seen several various SEO "gurus" claimed that if you embed videos, to NOT use FB or Vemo, etc, and instead use YouTube because of Google owning YouTube and favoring sites that helped promote YouTube. Don't know what studies they had behind them though.

I went and did my own "self test" to see. And I did find that every time I embedded a YouTube video on a page, that page would start ranking higher, and would quickly outrank my pages that did not have videos embedded. This could be because people were now staying on those pages long, because now in addition to reading the page, they then stayed 10 to 15 minutes to watch the embedded video, and I think Google counts page time when they consider rank don't they? So it's possibly in my case, seeing a boost in rank after embedding videos was not because of any SEO boost you get from videos, but rather just it changed how my readers interacted with my site in general? I don't know and I have no idea how to even find out.

So, I don't know, I don't have any wide sweeping research, just my own results on my own site, but from what I saw it did appear to be some truth to the advice to embed YouTube videos, to gain rank boost, but it may not be for the reasons they had said. No clue if embedding videos will have any long term SEO effects or not. What I did find out though was that my own readers, were more likely to visit my SBI site then my YouTube channel and so, the videos I embed on my site ended up with more views then the ones just free floating on my channel. I asked my FB followers about it, and a lot of them replied back to say they were more likely to look to my website for updates, and watch my videos there. Most of them seemed to think of YouTube as "for kids/teens" and were not in the habit of going to YouTube (most of my readers are in the 50+ age group).

In the end is wasn't an SEO incentive, but rather just asking my readers what they prefered, that resulted in my decision to start embedding videos on my site. Which is why I've since started making a vlog to match each of my pages on my site. Sooner or later every page on my site will end up with it's own matching YouTube video. That's the current goal at least. Don't know how long it'll take me to achieve it.

But perhaps, you could ask your own readers/viewers about it? You mention live streaming on FB, so maybe, do a question and answer livestream to get their feedback on what specifically they want to see you do?

I know for me, when I'm given the choice of doing what is seen as "recommended for SEO" vs what my own readers have told me they would like to see me do, I chuck the SEO advice out the window and do what makes my own readers happy.

I look at it this way: Sure, my youtube channel is small and my site readers are likewise not a big crowd, but they are already here and I've more incentive to keep them here, then I do to bring in more. So rather then trying to please the masses, I focus on the loyal people who are already here.

That's why you'll see me make weird site changes like when I removed my nava bar last month and replaced it instead with large font text links instead. This was a result of asking my FB followers about site changes, and being told by one of my 98 year old male readers, that he couldn't grasp how to use a nava bar. He tried to click, and it'd drop down a menus, then he'd move the mouse to read the drop down and it'd vanish. He was very frustrated by this. Then a few women in their 70s chimed in to agree, stating they too avoided site that used the drop down style nava bars for the same reason.

Now, sure if I was aiming at teens and young adults, maybe removing the nanabar would have been site suicide, but, the bulk of my site visitors are readers of my novels and I write Monster Porn and the bulk of Monster Porn readers are women 65 or older. I've meet many of my fans in person, even been on some of their 50+ Group bus trips with them. So, I know for a fact that a lot of my readers are 70s, 80s, and 90s. and they are not computer savy like the 20 somethings. They are not cruising youTube search, they are not quickly zipping the mouse around. They struggle with basic site maneuvering. So the navabar went bye-bye, and a list of great big giant bold text links replaced it. And now they are much happier, said they can move around my site better now and are glad that someone took the time to actually listen to their concerns and do something o to fix issues that were frustrating them.

So, yeah, a bit off topic from videos, but, you can see my point, right? What is good for SEO, may not always be what is good for your site's target audience. So while doing things to improve SEO is always good, it's far better to know your audience and get their feedback instead. It's possible that doing a thing that improves SEO, might make their user experience not so good, and in the end, SEO don't mean squat if it hampers your target audience's ability to enjoy what you are offering.

It's like how Ken keeps telling us not to be numbers bound with keywords, and saying to focus on the people not the robots. I think it applies to everything in our sites, not just keywords. And so, in the end, I keep hearing how embedding videos is good for SEO, but, at the same time, I've also asked my long time readers, what they wanted, and in the end, it became not a choice of: "Do I embed video to make Google happy?" but instead "Do I embed videos to make my readers happy?"
#1391583 by Mary from Mico
Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:50 pm
Sharon, I am so glad that Paul is posting here. His caution about YT as a traffic source is my experience as well.

Wendy! Thank you for sharing so much of your YT stats and experience.

I agree that I, too, would MUCH rather see Sharon's videos on her site (or buy the course) rather than watch them on YT as I often have children who happen to see the stupidest "related videos" before I even know that they're on the screen. Perhaps that is a consideration from a different perspective, not having so many distracting choices at YT would be another reason.

One point I want to mention is that YT does a good job of letting its subscribers know that Sharon has posted a new video. Even I see it. Why do I mention this? Because I also subscribe to her site's ezine and do not remember well that she posts about her new videos there. Of course, I would post her site's page with the video, yet make the image link look like a video thumbnail (screenshot?). Elizabeth from Grammar Revolution does this very well.

Mary
#1392240 by Paul from Somewhere, out there...
Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:08 am
Hi Sharon

I wrote an answer to your last post about 10 days ago and only just realised that it somehow didn't post. :( . Unfortunately I don't even recall recall what I wrote. I think it was about strategy so I probably blahhed on too long anyway!! :lol:

Anyway - did you resolve this all to your satisfaction or are there specific questions still?

Paul
#1394913 by Sharon from Maple Springs
Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:16 pm
Hi Paul, I cam back to review what was written here and no... I guess I'm still uncertain what way to go with this. I just did another FB live and found a place to download the video that says download HD. I thought yay! That sounds like what I want but, it is still not good quality.

Here is a link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbKFgVf ... e=youtu.be

And here is a message I got from youtube when I uploaded it. "You uploaded a wide-screen (16:9) video. If your original was 720p or greater (i.e. 1280x720 or greater) we encourage you to submit your video at original resolution to enable better quality playback."

So it appears that FB is not letting me download a better file.

So, My son suggested I get a webcam. Will something like that work? I'd assume it is still going to go through facebook and be a poor quality when I try to download.

Is there a way for me to just video myself as I'm doing the live and then I'll have a copy without going through FB? Or maybe I just need to do videos offline and add to fb, yt and all the other places myself.
#1394936 by Cath, SiteSell Content Team
Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:55 am

Hi Sharon,

This...

Or maybe I just need to do videos offline and add to fb, yt and all the other places myself.

...is exactly what I'm planning to do. I've been doing some work with Paul on video generally recently (ask me who's starting work on the YT Action Guide!) and come to the conclusion that quality of both the picture and audio on video (if you know what I mean!) is becoming more important to viewers. I've also found that the quality FB allows is not good.

So rather than go "live" on either, I plan to do a regular weekly broadcast which I will have taped in advance (this also allows me to do "batches" of videos so I have, for example, a month's supply done in a day) and will put up on YT. I may then schedule it to upload to FB. It will answer some but not all of whatever issue I'm covering so that people will - hopefully - have a reason to click over to my site and either read more, or watch another, more detailed video.

At the moment, I'm getting good views on YT but not enough clicks to my site. Will this alter that? Watch this space... :D

At least, that's the plan...

Thanks for asking the questions!

Cath.

PS I second what Paul says about your YT channel - I think it's great!
#1395040 by Paul from Somewhere, out there...
Mon Mar 26, 2018 7:10 pm
Sharon from Maple Springs wrote:I just did another FB live and found a place to download the video that says download HD. I thought yay! That sounds like what I want but, it is still not good quality.
Here is a link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbKFgVf ... e=youtu.be

Ohhhh noooo.....
And here is a message I got from youtube when I uploaded it. "You uploaded a wide-screen (16:9) video. If your original was 720p or greater (i.e. 1280x720 or greater) we encourage you to submit your video at original resolution to enable better quality playback."

So it appears that FB is not letting me download a better file.

I have been tic-tacking with a couple of colleagues about this and I'm going to suggest you get a brighter lit environment before you try anything else. You can get good (cheapish) lights for about $150 but you could also get some really cool (light cool, not hip) lights at about 5,400 lumens that will fill the space. The good lights will be really good but maybe fiddly for the space. You need to experiment so you don't look like Bela Lugosi.

The light behind you with the window may not be helping either. Cameras need light, they gobble it up. Try an experiment with that.


Is there a way for me to just video myself as I'm doing the live and then I'll have a copy without going through FB? Or maybe I just need to do videos offline and add to fb, yt and all the other places myself.
Sure - use a Screen recorder. Mac - Screenflow, PC Camtasia...... You can get free trials.

Also, in the conversation I was pointed to a Mac App that I hadn't heard of...http://www.ecamm.com/mac/ecammlive/ . It could be worth a look.

Let me know?
Paul

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