The Easiest Way to a First-Page Ranking on Google

[UPDATE, 8 AUGUST 2012: As much as I appreciate seeing this research continue to circulate online, I'd like to note that these findings are now almost 4 years old, and are almost certainly no longer accurate. Just as you wouldn't rely upon Nielsen ratings from January 2009 to tell you what's popular on TV today, nor can the data below tell you how Google is handling search results today.]

If you're like most interactive marketers, you probably don't think much about search optimizing your online video content. Less than 20% of marketers tell us they insert keywords into the filenames of the videos on their site, and even fewer use more advanced tactics like writing keyword-rich captions and annotations, or creating online video libraries.

But if you're not optimizing your videos, you should start. "Blended search," the practice in which search engines display videos, images, news stories, maps, and other types of results alongside their standard search results, has become increasingly common on major search engines. And optimizing video content to take advantage of blended search is by far the easiest way to get a first-page organic ranking on Google.

Recently, we conducted a little experiment to learn more about how search engines respond to common queries. We created a list of 40 of the most-searched keywords -- pulled from the search engines' own lists of popular and fast-growing search terms, like Google Trends -- and ran those searches on Google in the US and the UK, as well as on MSN UK and Yahoo UK.

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