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SES: Your Video Wants A Meta Tag

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During an early session at SES Chicago 2006, the speakers on the topic of video optimization all made a similar suggestion – keep that meta data identifiable so your video will be too. Chris Richardson of WebProNews was on hand to pick up the details.

SES: Your Video Wants A Meta Tag
SES: Your Video Wants A Meta Tag

It’s a cold morning in a lot of places, Chicago among them as Chris assured us. Inside the SES Chicago conference, the agenda is heating up quickly, starting with a look at the hot video space and how to optimize one’s video content for search.

Specialized engines like AOL’s Truveo scour the web for interesting video content. Unlike plaintext search engines, the context of a video resides in its images and audio. That presents a challenge for the crawler and the content creator, because unless the search engine can “read” the audio content, it will be hard to index the video without quality meta data in place.

Jon Leicht of Intuit commented on the aspects of meta data some may miss when prepping a video for the Internet. The file name itself is critical, he noted, saying poor names equal poor indexing.

Chris Says…
The main point of the morning session was relaying the importance of meta tags. Make sure your video content is identifiable via its meta data. Various video search engines have meta information that can be filled out while submitting. Metas should be added during the encoding process.

The content of the page containing the video should obey the two-word mantra repeated frequently at SES sessions: quality content. Videos need pages that will attract search crawlers when they arrive.

During the encoding process, meta information needs to be added, and if the video is encoded from one format to another, the meta data also needs to be reencoded too.

Even though broadband has increased and continues to grow, producers should be aware of how to properly optimize their videos. Compress to suit the audience, not just for the sake of compression.

For some uploading sites, compression doesn’t pose as much of a concern. YouTube and Google Video convert what they receive to Flash, making it available to some 98 percent of the global web-using audience.

That still leaves the challenge of finding the video to the whims of search, and by making better meta data available with the video, the chance of it being found increases. The flood of content to YouTube in particular makes quality meta data a necessity for video creators.

Performics’ Eric Papczun noted how a roadblock to effective indexing of video comes from the dependence on associated text content. The quality of the web page containing the video can make or break its ability to be found.

He recommended using a sitemap for videos, as in a regular sitemap and not an XML sitemap for crawlers, to make content easier to find. Using good keywords in text links to a video can help overcome search engine blindness to video content.

Infuse Creative’s Greg Markel echoed the themes of encoding meta data for each file type being used for the video, and ensuring web page titles and descriptions accurately reflect the creator’s desired audience.

Markel suggested thinking of keywords that are relevant, but similar ,to very popular video content to grab query traffic. Videos should be “branded” with a watermark, and should end with a prompt like YouTube’s “share” button to encourage sending it to others.

As always, emulating successful operators in the space can help. Look at videos that have managed to grab attention, and creators whose sites draw traffic, and learn what has worked for them. Especially with meta data, if it works for some people, it might work for others who create quality video content.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

SES: Your Video Wants A Meta Tag
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