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Gathering insight about SEO

Aiming to gain some extrasensory perception about search engine optimisation...

Gathering Vision

As a response to wanting to take my social media knowledge a bit further, I decided to take the opportunity to do some research about search engine optimisation for film marketing.

Through my university degree in Film Distribution and Marketing I got a free subscription to - an online archive of tutorials, online courses, classes and training covering areas such as business and marketing to mention a few. Here is an overview of what I learned from Danny Sullivan’s online tutorial about SEO and some thoughts about how it could be implemented especially in film marketing.

But first things first….

The key to finding out more about SEO is to first to understand how search engines provide us with results.

At first, the search engine goes out to the web and collects pages from all over the internet.That is the so called crawler mechanism. The search engines then stores all of those pages in something called the index, a big book of the web if you like, describes Sullivan.

Once they have their database, they use an algorithm to search through that database according to the works you type on the search bar. According to Google, there are about 200 different factors involved in the ranking of the search results.

Some things to consider are naturally the specific words found in the page but also what are the words other people have used when clicking the page? Weather the page has a good reputation or not? Is the page friendly for mobile? Does it load quickly?

These are all factors that relate to the ranking of the search engine results and SEO is all about trying to align your content with the factors that the search engine wants.

According to Danny Sullivan, there are basically two categories of SEO.

1. The content category

2. The technical category

This post will mainly focus on content. Sullivan’s SEO tutorial really looked at businesses and what companies can offer besides information about their products to gain clicks and shares that will automatically raise the page’s value in the ranking.

I am wondering though what can be done and has been done in film marketing in terms getting their film page higher at the search engine rankings.

The place to begin with are page titles, key words and tags. Google’s own SEO starter guide offers a good checklist of practises to apply - from the right kind of page titles and description tags to URL structure (hint..the simpler the better).

The point is to get these in order first and then move to next level - which is compelling and useful content!

According to the guide...

‘Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct others to it. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google and it rarely comes without good content.

Sullivan continues from there by saying that Google likes fresh content. So in addition to compelling content, one of the best practises to gain search results and organic shares is to implement a blog in ones website.

In the film world, regular updates are an important part of any release - ranging from Emma Watson’s dedicated Instagram outfit account on the Beauty and the Beast press tour to Ben Wheatley’s filmmaking masterclass as part of the A Field in England marketing.

What the marketing team behind A field in England did brilliantly was to identify the audience who would enjoy the film and base a blog around their interests - in this case filmmaking.

For documentaries especially, regular updates about the subject matter is a good way to offer fresh and compelling content. An example would be the Helvetica documentary in 2007. If you think about it, the film’s title is massive in terms of search results, and I can imagine a lot of work went into trying the get the film on page one in the search results.

However, at the moment, if you google Helvetica, the film comes up at number 4 in the searches. In addition to good and simple URL ( and page title (Helvetica - Gary Hustwit) the website has a regular blog about typefaces, graphic design etc. So not only does this speak to the audience directly and encourage shares, it is also quite possibly the most updated search result for Helvetica.

Here is a link to some of the early posts on the blog from 2007. The blog is quite funny too!

Another thing to consider for film marketing is SEO for youtube videos, including trailers and other clips.

According to Brian Dean from Search Engine Watch the most important Youtube ranking factors are

  • Title tag information

  • Audience retention

  • Keywords in description tag

  • Tags

  • Video length

  • Number of subscribers after watching

  • Comments

  • Likes and dislikes

He then continues to sum up a few ways to optimise your trailer’s potential to be found on searches.

- A key factor in video search results are shares, so the first thing to do would be to aim to get a good amount of views and likes and subscriptions quickly. Sharing the video to online communities that are genuinely interested in it - especially if making documentary films - would be a good place to start.

- Write super long descriptions… Sounds like something not to do really, but the truth is that Google or Youtube can not watch your videos. The descriptions are the only way to tell them what the video is about. Secondly, the search engines pick words from your description that correlates to the searches. So the more you add, the better really!

- Choose video keywords … As you know from searching on google some search combinations will show you videos automatically as part of the results and some searches show only articles. Before committing to a key word for your video, it is good practise to check if that key word brings up any videos. If it does, your video could be there on the front page of google for that search.

There is actually quite a lot to lear about SEO and I feel successfully intrigued! Next things to learn would be about voice search optimisation, mobile and tracking success....

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