Michael Hong CEO / Co-Founder of Digital Media Rights LLC

April 25th, 2015

Have several thriving Roku video channels. We are revamping those as well as our websites (which didn't support our videos, mostly marketing) which we intend to blow up, to equal and enhance our "lean-back" roku experience with bonus features that OTT presently can't accommodate such as extras, incentives for engagement, etc. 

While we had no trouble gaining traction on Roku, going literally from New Apps to Most Popular Apps section in a matter of months, I anticipate a much harder challenge of discovery on the web for my channels. Driving my Roku customers to the enhanced web experience should be a good start but I wonder what is the most cost-effective way of driving customers on the web with our beta or present MVP sites which are hardly getting any traffic.

For a site at this level, should I expend all my energies on SEO or should I begin spending some dollars on SEM? Also, does it matter if the site is primarily positioned as a video streaming site?

Thanks for any feedback.

Michael Hong CEO / Co-Founder of Digital Media Rights LLC

April 25th, 2015


I may be wrong, but I don't get the impression FD forums are mostly for people trying to create one-page website. If it is, as a newbie to FD, I am in the wrong place.  And while I may be more established as a content aggregator and Roku channel operator (which are apps at the end of the day) I am at the very early stage of my web buildout.

Geoff Schwarten Growth Marketing at IDEO

April 27th, 2015

Hi Michael,

Good question. I see it as relevant to founders and start-ups because a key question for start-ups is where to focus your limited resources - time and money.

If you are starting from zero traffic from paid or organic, I'd start with paid search. With paid search you can try out all sorts of keywords and direct traffic to different video properties and get immediate feedback and results. If you set up goals and conversions, then you can understand which terms are the most effective at hitting your goals (your business objectives). Those successful keywords are the ones you'd want to go out and optimize for. If you start with SEO, you may optimize for keywords that aren't valuable to your business.

Not sure if that makes sense, but that is how I would approach it.


Blair Austin

April 27th, 2015

Hi Michael, 
Good question indeed. I agree with Geoff ^^ but take a slightly different schedule. 

My recommendation: start SEO so you have content on your pages and a Call to Action (CTA) plan to convert them from a visitor to a quote requester/buyer. A very close second step is to add SEM to test keywords. Make content adjustments based on audience behavior with paid keywords; start to own these so you can migrate away from those keywords to new ones (hopefully having growing revenue to maintain this paid method). *Tip* Seek insights from a rank tracker in your Marketing Automation (MA) platform or use Google tools to identify what keywords your competitors rank for & the difficulty rate for your site to rank for each word.

Why: You need relevant, contextual content for SEO to work, with (as Geoff states) keywords that your audience uses. Paid search (SEM) is a great way to test keywords with your audience, but you must have the content on the page you send them to so they engage/stay and a solid way to convert them / for them to take action. This also requires testing via best practices, A/B testing, and managed trials + resulting changes to adopt the winning conversion methods. If you only have money for one - spend it on SEO so you have content working for you and a little $ left over to continually improve it with the results of your response testing. 

It's great that you have an audience to send to your site. 
Idea: If you have ANY keywords currently that give you a page 1 response rate on google - give your contacts 2 ways to visit: 1) click the link you provide (easy breezy), and 2) ask your audience to type "x keyword" into google to find you in the middle/end of the first page of results. This will instantly help you rate for that important keyword. 

It's a maddening discipline and it's constantly in beta, but even the free side of it pays big.

I welcome other marketers to add to or oppose this advice. It's simply what I've collected in the past few years and applied successfully with a small budget. 

  Blair Austin

Jacob James Jacob James is a Research Manager at 10seos.

December 14th, 2016

You need to do them all...

At the same time ideally.Let me explain. SEO is a good thing to do but it relies on a few other things being in place in order for it to really have an affect.Firstly, search is only about 5% of a users daily activity. We don’t wake up in the morning and start plugging in random search terms to Google before we get out of bed.Invariably a search is a response to a stimulus – an ad, a conversation, a knowledge gap, a moment of envy or a general wonderment.

Regardless of the origin, when a user performs a search it’s to satisfy a specific need.Secondly, Google ranks webpages not websites. There is no amount of SEO that will shoot a static website to the top of the SERP.Unless you are Wikipedia, a boring static website will not rank well over time. Actually, that’s a little harsh on Wikipedia. Its boring to look at but the content is being constantly refreshed and added to.Google search rankings have evolved from being about quantity of keywords to being about helpfulness, relevance, security and trustworthiness.In the case of Wikipedia they execute SEO perfectly. As an online encyclopedia they want to score well for reference type queries.But...

Don’t be WikipediaIf you type in a search term, generally if Wikipedia has a page on that topic, it ranks well. Why?The first line of any Wikipedia page has the search term, what is, what it does and how you’ll find it type information. For example if you search for Johnny Depp, the #1 on the SERP is… his Wikipedia page.The opening paragraph of the Wikipedia page is “John Christopher “Johnny” Depp II (born June 9, 1963) is an American actor, producer, and musician. He has won the Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor. He rose to prominence on the 1980s television series 21 Jump Street, becoming a teen idol.”The first sentence has the search term, what he is and what he does.But unless you are an encyclopedia…

Don’t do a ‘Wikipedia’ on your website.Creating Killer Content is the best form of SEOBefore you get concerned with you page rankings you should be asking yourself things like who are my audience? What are their pain points? How does my product/service provide a solution? How can I meet them when they search?Answering these questions should be the goal of your content.

SEO is a ‘best practise’ for good websites but a little misunderstood as to what exactly it is and how its done. Creating killer content is the best SEO exercise you could perform.Once you have killer content that has been SEO'd for the appropriate keywords that you want to get found for...

Now you hit social and share your content. Make sure you follow up on all engagements, reach out to influencers in your field and maintain a consistent level of output.

Simon Abushaban IT Projects & Program Manager | IT Delivery Manager | Technologist

April 26th, 2015

Hi Michael,

I have barely minimal experience on video streaming platforms.

Have you tried to get brand ambassador? have a look at www.getambassador.com

For other options:

Let me know your feedback if used any of those

Michael Hong CEO / Co-Founder of Digital Media Rights LLC

April 27th, 2015

Thanks Geoff and Blair for these thoughtful comments. This is exactly the type of feedback I was seeking. How best to drive initial traffic with a modest budget. SEO, while it may not require any out-of-pocket expense to an ad platform, still requires expertise while SEM often requires both. This is crucial for me to develop my next phase of development for the site.