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SES London 2009 and Video in Search 2009

Alex Christie

25 February 2009

The after lunch-time slot presenting to a sleepy search marketing audience requires an engaging presenter and a subject worthy of arousing interest from dwindling attention spans. Cue Amanda Watlington to stand up and reel off statistics like she is firing warning shots from a pistol. 27m in the UK watched videos online in June 2008. 3 billion videos watched online in same month. 161m hours of video content watched.

The message is clear.

Video in search will be big in 2009 and it’s time search marketers sit up and start to pay attention.

Amanda’s checklist for optimising video when hosting on your site: Create an mRSS (media RSS) feed to create a video sitemap for your videos (which should then be submitted to Webmaster Tools).

  • Clear titles and descriptions for your videos.
  • Encode meta data and tags to identify video’s subject
  • Create a landing page for each video and optimise this page
  • Create clear navigation on your site for your visitors to easily find your videos.
  • Provide a video player as videos can be in any format.
  • Offer viral marketing opportunites for your video.
  • Point links to the video.

Ok, I’ve done all that, what else can I do?

Joseph Morin, CEO of start-up Storybids.com, spoke next. Search conferences are sometimes accused of allowing speakers opportunities to give company sales pitches rather than offering new insight into an area, but Joseph provided some useful tips.

  • Offer your video in multiple video formats   
  • Add ‘video’ to your video’s filename
  • Use an embedded player on your site
  • Upload to Blinkx, blip.tv, Metacafe, Revver, Viddler, Crackle, Sclipo (may sound like Rice Crispie characters but effective sites), Digg Video, not to mention a little new site called YouTube.
  • Use TubeMogul to upload your video to 13 main video sites and use their analytics to monitor your video’s performance.

In terms of factors that affect YouTube, ‘freshness’ of a video is important. Other factors in YouTube’s algorithm are the video's popularity – the number of views the video has received, the number of subscribers it has, viewers' ratings, even the comments left by viewers.

Having listened to varying opinions, I think the future of video in search lies in a small but fundamental change in how marketers begin to use video. Rather than dispatching their video into the already overcrowded world of YouTube to fend for itself, marketers need to understand their market, produce a quality video that effectively engages with their market, and THEN optimise it for Google. Quality will always generate popularity and Google will reward popularity accordingly.

Here are some other opinions…

Stewart
Stewart Snow, CTO, VideoNews, AdFero

Where do you see online video in 2009, and in particular its effect on Search?

Naturally video is going to go “big” in 2009, especially via organic search results in universal search. There are already a wealth of statistics out there proving the benefits of video and video results with Google SERPs and other search engines. As the quantity and quality of good video results increase, specifically non-YouTube content, the value of having quality video on your site is going to become far more important than before. As such I see a gentle slide of content moving from video sharing sites such as YouTube, which is ultimately a more consumer and entertainment arena as opposed to business and real world return on investment, and towards appearing more within sites as high value content enabling greater SERPS positioning on key terms and phrases.

What would you like to see happening with online video in 2009?

Google to utilise more fully the technology that they already have to properly index video results. We know that they have the ability to perform Speech-to-Text conversion following the successful demonstration of this technology within YouTube during the American Presidential Election. We know also that they have the ability to perform facial recognition and add meaning to common faces within pictures and video – now in use within picasaweb to indentify common faces within your photo albums. We also know that they can now return the results via Universal search into the Search Motorway of standard Google search results. As such put this all together and Google can provide proper indexing of video content on top of the existing crawling of meta data and associated text and links to provide some really high value video search results alongside existing non-video content.

If you had to give on piece of advice to companies optimizing a video for Search, what would it be?

Perhaps a bit controversial, but essentially focus on getting good quality video content hosted on your own site. By all means upload to YouTube, MetaCafe, Blip, etc, but expect to get actual results and ROI from the content on your own site, rather than when alongside a bunch of skateboarding animal videos. Think about video pieces as potentially high value text pages within your site, and try to build libraries of quality video content that contain mentions of the key words and phrases you want to optimise on. This is after all the theory that we have been following for over a year now whilst building our “VideoNews” product that allows a client to receive daily streams of fresh video news items covering any topic that they wish, branded to suit their site, and be fully embedded alongside the rest of their content. P.S. Use Google Video Site-Maps!!!

Jon
Jon Myers, Head of Search, MediaVest

Where do you see online video going in 2009 and in particular its effect on Search?

Online video is going from strength to strength in 2009. At SES London last week there were a lot of people talking about it and the uses of it. From a search perspective I think people are finally starting to see the impact it can have for them and the traffic it can drive for their search campaigns. With the ability to integrate the videos from YouTube into the natural SERPS you now have some fantastic options.

I think the barrier until now has been that people are aware of it but don’t realise how you optimise for it. It really isn’t that difficult, key requirements are:

  1. Use YouTube – this is a must!
  2. Get your keywords you want to target tagged well in the Title and Description
  3. Comments about the video matter a lot and the keywords in the comments should be relevant to the words you want to rank for plus the frequency of the comments says to Google that there is interest in this video
  4. Make sure lots of people view it and more importantly they watch it all the way through to show interest and relevance to the Search Engine
  5. Get links to the video
  6. Importantly embed the video into your own site you want the traffic not YouTube

What would you like to see happening with online video in 2009?

I think people and the Search Engines are still trying to understand where to go with it at the minute. It is getting used in many different ways such as SEO, Online News Broadcasts and even as a display ad options with banners in YouTube in and around the video.

I think what I would like to see is a more defined advertising model for Video content. Search is by far the most potent win and it is great to have the Universal Search option with Google. But as we know and have seen we cannot guarantee when the video will display.

Some sort of integrated option within Google Paid Search Advertising would be a great win and make for very potent and compelling ads. I know Yahoo has tried this in the US and is looking at UK options at the minute.

If you had to give one tip to companies optimizing Video, what would it be?

 I think there are a key few tips I would like to share:

  1. Frequency – make sure you are getting a steady flow out and optimising them as discussed
  2. Create a video sitemap. Such a quick win to make Google aware of your content to crawl. Google has a tutorial here.
  3. Distribution – Use Tube Mogul. It is by far the best a quickest way to get the message out there. It gives you a specific video distribution plat form with great targeting options.

Amanda
Amanda Watlington, London SES Speaker, Owner, Searching For Profit

Where do you see online video going in 2009 (in particular with Search in mind)?

Even though the growth of online video in the past year has been explosive, it is still in its infancy. With the inclusion of video in the main search results, there is a stronger impetus for marketers to use video as part of their content/search strategies. If I could give my personal crystal ball a quick rub, I would see in the future more video, but there are some questions and clouds in the answer. The quality of the video will continue to improve and more professionally developed video will compete for audience with user-generated video. So too we will continue to see more optimized video as marketers learn how to optimize their video content. The real question that will have to be answered for video to really take hold is what is the value? We really need lots more case histories of how the addition of video has driven improved sales results. There is a real dearth of concrete examples to illustrate the positive impact. During these hard times, marketers will demand real measurable performance from video.

What would you like to see happening with online video in 2009?

I’d like to see more examples of how video has helped boost sales for firms. Right now there is too much anecdotal success stories to really convince the most skeptical of marketers that this is a valuable strategy.

If you had to give one tip to companies optimizing a video for online search, what would it be?

My tip would be to learn everything that you possibly can about how to optimize video then apply it. If you take the time to create and edit the video, take the time to do the SEO that will ensure that it is found.

Henry

Henry Ellis, Head of Social Media, Tamar

Where do you see online video going in 2009 and particular with regard to Search?

With the proliferation of universal search, we’re going to see more and more searches returning videos in their results. So it’s going to be more and more important for brands to understand a) where those results come from, b) how they can influence them and c) when do they appear.

 

What would you like to see happening with online video in 2009?

There are so many different types of video hosting, video playback formats and video recording methods – I’d love to see this become a bit more standardized. Just like all the mobile phone makers have agreed to move towards using the same chargers, I’d like lots of the video-related people to try to move towards the same formats and methods.

If you had to give one piece of advice to companies optimizing a video for Search, what would it be?

Don’t be spammy!

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