YouTube and Google recently announced the ability for video content creators to link their channel identity to a Google+ page. Last year, the video service started prompting users to change clever nicknames into full names and link directly to Google+ profiles, but has now changed direction. “While using a full name from a Google+ profile might work well for a creator who wants to build their brand as an individual,” said YouTube’s David Boyle in a recent blog post, “this simply doesn’t work if you don’t want a full name on your channel.”
Whether lack of Google+ profile linking or because of user requests, YouTube will soon permit account holders to link their channel to a Google+ page without the need to create a profile. With the search engine’s new authorship options, linking should make it “easier for your audience to find and connect with you on YouTube,” again according to Boyle.
Google Me This
Not everyone rejoiced at the initial Google+ profile and YouTube pairing. Actor Wil Wheaton took to the online social universe with a rant about Google “forcing” its social network onto users in May 2012 when he tried to post a video and got a “join Google+” prompt instead.
Aside from the rather obvious push for Google services, the larger problem came from pressure to convert nicknames into real-life versions. Video game maker Blizzard found out first hand what happens if you try to force this issue – in 2010, the company told players their real names, not character or account names, would appear in any online forum post they made. The angry cries of 15 million fans rose up, with players concerned their real names might be used to find other personal information. Blizzard quickly changed their tune. Google seems to have gotten the message: users, not user names, make the difference.
You Seem Trustworthy
All of it – authorship, the linking of YouTube and Google+, and changes in Google’s search policy to trawl for fresh, quality content has the same aim: find trustworthy users and reward their efforts.
For content marketers, this means a shift away from generic email blasts and dime-a-dozen blog posts; companies can (and should) create their own YouTube channel and link it to a Google+ page under the same name, especially now that a full-on profile isn’t even required. The search company wants brands and companies connecting via Google+ and YouTube and if Google pushes for content, marketers should happily oblige. Consider a recent MarketingWeek report, for example, which found that 70 percent of the top 100 Google search listings over the last year included video results.
But knowing how to use video, not just linking accounts, is also critical for any SEO effort. Andrew Smith of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations social media panel says that while “Google is starting to look at search and the quality of content available,” including video content consumption in terms of minutes viewed, and if users stay on a linked page or return to the search screen immediately, marketers still aren’t using video search effectively. “There seems a surprising lack of knowledge and investment in basic video SEO techniques,” says Smith.
This is good news for content marketers hoping to capitalize on the upcoming YouTube/Google+ page option, because it means the market isn’t saturated – Google still trawls mostly for text and multimedia search engines like Blinx are just finding their feet. Unlike blog and guest posts, both of which offer far lower SEO returns than even a few years ago, video is largely untapped resource. Marketers who develop content customers want, author the work properly and then socially distribute it stand to see substantive gains under both emerging and established search frameworks; the recent Google+ page change simply makes this an easier transition.
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