Online video has become an increasingly important marketing tool, not least because it offers the ability to engage with the consumer much more than previously possible. In the coming years, the trend for online video is set to explode, with a new report from Cisco citing that IP video will account for 79% of all internet traffic by 2018. Of course, this will be coupled with increased fixed broadband speeds and an increase in networked devices globally.
However, the explosion in online video also brings with it a number of unique challenges for video search engine optimisation (SEO).
Video vs text
In terms of marketing benefit, video opens up a wealth of opportunity to engage in a way simply not possible through simple text. However, when it comes to SEO, it is much more challenging to get right. Text is indexed from the beginning, meaning that search engines can scan for search terms from the entire text. This of course will also mean that any given page of text will likely appear in countless different searches, using a whole host of different terms.
For video, marketers face the challenge of getting the video seen with very little to play with, often relying on a well thought out title and a few keywords tagged alongside it. The chances of it appearing in a search are therefore much more limited, and will only happen if someone searches for more or less the exact words contained within the title.
Getting the words right
It is clear, therefore, that putting the right keywords alongside your video is so much more important than for almost any other type of content. It is also much more time-consuming, as it will generally involve someone within the organisation watching through the completed video, possibly several times, picking out any relevant words to tag. Given that the same person has most probably watched the same video several times for different reasons, and quite possibly has a whole heap of videos to repeat the process on, the chances are that a number of relevant keywords could quite easily be overlooked.
The other problem with this process is of course that it is so time-consuming that it slows down the process of getting the videos out there, and may even reduce the amount of videos you are able to release.
Drowning in a sea of content
Quite simply, the more video content bursting onto the internet, the more finding your particular video becomes akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. There is already a huge amount of video floating around the Internet, covering a multitude of different topics, and as mentioned above, that is only set to explode further, with the vast majority of Internet traffic likely to be attributed to video in just a few years.
This will only serve to make discoverability for each of those videos that much harder, and even a carefully worded title could see your video somewhere down the list in the search engines.
As video becomes more and more important, this will also mean many companies may be producing many more videos than previously. Keeping it all well-catalogued will be just as important for internal organisation purposes as it will for getting the right videos out there and discoverable by the right people. If the internal organisation is lacking, this will also make the process of finalising and approving videos that much slower and less efficient.
Addressing video SEO
Having worked with a number of large media organisations to improve their video content management, I've witnessed the challenges they face with organisation of those assets, as well as ensuring fast publishing, and a good level of SEO for those videos. I've therefore been able to identify several tips that can help anyone releasing videos on the internet.
Companies seeking to streamline how they handle video should look out for tools that provide automated indexing and easy sharing from within one platform. This will help users to improve the internal organisation of video assets, increasing the dialogue between team members, for example. It will make the process of editing and approval more efficient, and ultimately speed up the publishing process, something, which users taking part in our beta test have said has been extremely useful.
Optimising search engine results should also not be forgotten. As discussed above, one of the unique challenges faced with video SEO, rather than text-based files, is that you often only have the title and maybe some keywords to play with. Therefore try to find a tool that is able to automatically turn subtitles, manual tags, speech, logos, and even faces, into time-based web video text tracks format (WebVTT-format). For the video publisher this means that suddenly the video can benefit from the same advantages usually reserved for text files, with the entire content of the video being analysed, both in terms of what is being discussed, as well as visual images displayed.
Also, as well as being able to share the video from within a platform with any team members, once the video is approved, it can be shared to the Internet from the platform, along with all the associated generated text.
It is clear that we are at a very exciting time for online video. If managed well, the opportunities for engagement with a huge global audience are endless. We truly believe in the opportunities that new technology will bring to video management and publishing, and we look forward to being part of the rise in online video over the next few years.
Erik Åhlin is CEO of Vidispine.