Sunday, January 31, 2010

Online Video Platform Summit: Optimizing Video Search and Discoverability

One of the most challenging areas for online video publishers is to optimize their video to be more discoverable by search engines, and for businesses, this is critical to bring new traffic and customers to their web sites. Publishing video content in a way that it can be easily indexed by search engines has been proven to increase higher first-page Google rankings. It's not smoke and mirrors, and it's done through video search engine optimization (VSEO) which, as my good friend and publisher of ReelSEO, Mark Robertson says is, "video SEO purely an extension of SEO."

Search engine optimization (SEO) is defined as:
"The process of making a site and its content highly relevant for both search engines and searchers. SEO includes technical tasks to make it easier for search engines to find and index a site for the appropriate keywords, as well as marketing-focused tasks to make a site more appealing to users. Successful search marketing helps a site gain top positioning for relevant words and phrases." - Search Engine Watch SEM Glossary
While traditional SEO techniques are focused on text-based search, the rules are different for video search since it can't be discovered on its own by search engines. Nico McLane attempted to uncover the mystery behind VSEO in her Streaming Media article, In Search of Video SEO That Works, and concluded that the secret's in the sauce and no two recipes are the same. Mark Robertson says that despite the hype, there is still a general lack of understanding when it summed it up this way:
“Video SEO is not a means in and of itself, it is a strategy and a set of best practices that need to be combined with best practices for producing, publishing, and syndicating online video content. It is the application of SEO best practices when publishing online video content to ensure maximum visibility across search engines and ultimately, your target audience. Ultimately, the ROI depends on many factors but is similar to that which can be achieved with traditional, oragnic SEO.”
In a report by Forrester Research's Nate Elliott, he pointed out that search engines have been blending specialty search results (e.g., video, news, images, blog posts) into their standard search result pages for several years, and concluded that optimizing video content to take advantage of "blended search" is by far the easiest way to get a first-page organic ranking on Google. In fact it's 53 times more likely to generate a first page Google ranking than traditional SEO techniques.

In this panel session from the Online Video Platform Summit on optimizing video search and discovery, Mark joins Dr. Pete Kocks of Truveo, Lou Schwartz of Multicast Media, and Tom Wilde from RAMP, in a discussion moderated by Tim Siglin of Braintrust Digital. See this related post for detailed bios on each pressenter - Online Video Platform Summit SEO Panel - Optimizing Video Search and Discoverability.

Optimizing Video Search and Discoverability
Thursday, November 19, 2009 10:30 AM PST

Video discovery via search has seen rapid growth over the past few years with the explosive increase in the online video market. But it's not enough to achieve a high Google ranking; making video more discoverable through video search engine optimization (SEO) is key for businesses to maximize visibility, drive traffic to their sites, and reach a targeted audience. Panelists in this session will discuss the importance of increasing user engagement with video SEO—using keywords, metadata, relevant content, media RSS, and video syndication—and social media marketing through demonstration of use-case scenarios.

Moderator: Tim Siglin, Chairman, Braintrust Digital, and Contributing Editor, Streaming Media magazine
Dr. Pete Kocks, President, Truveo
Mark Robertson, Founder, ReelSEO
Lou Schwartz, Chairman and CEO, Multicast Media Technologies, Inc.
Tom Wilde, CEO, EveryZing, Inc.

Highlights from the Panel

According to Mark, there's been a shift in how people discover video and data shows a rise in videos discovered via search engines and a slight decrease of videos discovered on social video sharing sites. Videos dominate universal search and he says the key is:
"to create unique and valuable content, and to publish that content with best practices for SEO in mind. Nothing works as well for SEO as creating good, unique, and valuable content."
Tom Wilde said that "video" as a search term dominates with 85-90% of search coming from Google web search. Users look for video through search, but Tom identified the challenge of video discoverability as one of the key emerging problems of the web, and that rich media content misses out on monetization opportunities when it can't be discovered through search engines.
"Search engines have historically had very little to work with in terms of properly discovering and indexing multimedia content. The value of multimedia content is trapped inside of files, out of view of search engines."
Tom said that including text transcripts with the video and "content optimization" helps unlock the value of online video and exposes it to the web at large. Lou Schwartz cited the Forrester report, that video is 53 times more likely than text to appear on first page of search result. He also shared how metatags within the video, show up as text in search and makes the video more visible and discoverable. Tagging helps reduce the amount of flat text that you publish as html and focuses on specific topics that the search bots can pick up.

Dr. Pete Kocks said that search is more than keywords and is more behaviorally-based. He shared two important tips to improving video SEO:
  1. Make sure your video has a fast load time.
  2. You need to have a killer thumbnail
Several key factors can play into slow load times, such as player file size, video file size, true streaming vs. progressive download, pre-rolls, network congestion, bandwidth constriction, among others. Viewers will abandon the video if it doesn't load fast, Truveo ranks the order of all the major video sites and Pete says,
"We don’t really want to send somebody to a place that is a slow moving site. That’s also true, by the way, for all the major search engines. …It’s very important that the pages load fast…"
Since people tend to click on related videos, thumbnails shouldn't be an after thought, but part of your video SEO strategy, as Pete advises,
"If you’re creating a thumbnail for your video, you should spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what that thumbnail is. First and foremost, it’s what the user clicks. …"
Mark concluded that, the goal is not to optimize for search engines but for user experience, and as long as you're providing relevant text that's useful to the user coming to that page, then that's going to help with the video SEO

Related @ovpsummit Tweets

    1. @truveo Web search is about keywords; video search is only 10% based on keywords. #ovps09
    2. @multicast videos are 53x more likely than text to appear on first page of search results #ovps09
      RT @Beet_TV: Nielsen: Time Spent Viewing Video on Social Networking Sites Up 98% Year-Over-Year In October
      from TweetDeck
    3. @multicast video drives people to take action #ovps09
    4. RT @llcrowe: Challenge of driving video "discovery": Starts with transcrpt...? Ovps09
See these related videos:

See these related posts for more Video SEO tips:

Be sure to check out the Ooyala webinar on "Reel" Video SEO Strategies & Best Practices, February 4, 2010 at 11:00 am PST, featuring Mark Robertson, Pete Kocks and Sean Knapp
Here's what Mark had to say about the upcoming event,
"Video SEO has become somewhat of a buzz word these days for internet marketers and online video publishers alike. Having videos that rank well within search engines is certainly an attractive proposition.However, the true value of video SEO lies in positioning video content in front of a growing number of internet users who are actively seeking out that content using search. Just as with general SEO, Video SEO is about publishing content in a way that follows best practices to ensure and maximize indexability and discoverability. Join myself, Pete Kocks, and Sean Knapp as we discuss Video SEO strategies and best practices.To register for the webinar please click here."