Thursday, March 20, 2008

SES New York: Video Optimisation

Woo-oo. Daring stuff; am writing this straight into Blogger rather than Word. This is daring because all my howlers will be captured and because the wi-fi is super shaky. Bring on Google Gears for Blogger!

Gosh. Look at the names of the speakers: Belanger, Markel, Mauvais and Papczun. Glad I don't have to pronounce any of those.

Mr Blonde aka Markel

Mr Blonde is speaking first - people like videos. I notice that the increase in female viewers is just shy of twice the increase of male viewers. I think Mr Blonde is either Markel or Papczun; probably Markel.

ComScore stats suggest that Google is the most popular video site (YouTube). Wow. Shocking. Then it's Fox, then Yahoo, AOL, Viacom and then Microsoft.

People tend to watch news, comedy and then music. In that order. Audience doubts only 6% (as figures suggest) watch adult content.

Recommended is as it's the video version of Google Trends.

Mr Blonde explains he's pitching currently to the marketing people to show them that video is important and they should spend money in it. I reckon he's got video marketing interests.

He notes that Ask has rolled back on some of their video integration whereas Google's pushing Universal Search (gosh; flash back to Tuesday's Keynote where comScore pointed out clicks are down on Google when Universal elements are included).

Mr Blonde should be in a shampoo advert. He has great hair and keeps of flicking his fringe.

Mr Blonde recommends a video strategy as part of brand reputation management. Brittney Spears is his example of someone who might benefit from this.

So, the secret sauce:
  • Video File Metadata and page optimization
    • (Your video is found on your site by crawlers like
  • Upload Optimization
    • (Most common now. YouTube, Yahoo, AOL, etc)
  • RSS Optimization
    • (Yahoo, Blinkx, etc)
Video SEO is very labour intensive; title, description and tags are important. If you're not in a hyper competitive market then these three can sometimes be enough to move the needle - according to Mr Blonde.

Here's the next tip: once you've uploaded the video then go social; tag, rate, favourite, embed and link to your videos. He notes that manipulation is common but doesn't recommend it as you can get banned.

He recommends TubeMogul and "hotlinking" in the description field in YouTube.

Mr Blonde runs out of time and gives us a whirlwind tour of his remaining slides. I notice a lot more images of Brittney Spears. Hmm. Is it wise mentioning her on this blog? I'm going to get super-scraped now!

Mauvais from Truveo

I'm sulking because Truveo isn't using the official SES PowerPoint presentation format. I used it. The default bigmouthmedia PowerPoint format is prettier! :)

We get going with some high-brow stuff. Engage brain. Think hard.
  • Text based searching is different from video searching
Hey! Come on! It's the last presentation and I don't think I can cope with such complex ideas. I wish he'd come back to explain this point further.

The audience is asked... is video search getting any better? Let's look at people like Scour and SingingFish. In the old days these engines would look for .avi and .mpg sites. Suckers.

These days sites like Truveo, Blinkx, Yahoo and Google are better. They can, for example, look for videos in Flash sites (well, Truveo can anyway; Google can't, he says). These days these engines study things like metadata and clickthrough streams.

Ah. I was joking about coming back to discuss how text search was different from video search. D'uh. However... that's what we're doing.
  • Different format
  • Less content (millions of web pages, thousands of videos)
  • Text per record fields different (text: 1000 words, video 100 words)
  • Fields per record different (text: 5, video 50) (I'm sure Google captures more than 5 fields per text record... but, heh, that's my my opinion)
  • Other points I missed by pausing to write snarky observations...
In video search GUI the most important bit of metadata is the thumbnail. Users use this to decide whether they might want to watch the video.

Turkish Truveo user (Izlesene) is a website where Truveo captures users behavior as a way to help rank videos. If people clickback quickly then Truveo notices.

On to good stuff: How to make your video searchable
  • Create a mRSS feed for your video
  • Submit the feed to major search engines
  • Include detailed and accurate metadata
  • Populate as many fields as available
  • Update your mRSS regularly
  • Steer clear of tag spam
Ah, but what if you're using a third party service like VideoEgg or Maven?
  • Your service provider may already be integrated with video search engines
  • If they don't... suggest that they do
Oh. Great.

We're told that if we use search engines on our own sites then our own videos may be more highly ranked. I presume this is down to the way Truveo uses user data to help rank videos and therefore can rank videos with more confidence if they have some user data about them.

Papczun from DoubleClick Performics

Oh no. I just published this post... and a third speaker rushes in. DoubleClick guy says that his PowerPoint slides had been corrupted... he didn't blame Microsoft but I know he thinks it.

Oh; this guy's the Director of Natural Search at Performics. So in the "Natural"or "Organic" debate does this mean Google perfers "Natural". Anyone want to bet whether he'll be with DoubleClick this time next year or whether Google will sell Performics?

Papczun begins by showing us that video is popular. This is what he gets for missing Mr Blonde's (ah-ah; he mustbe Markel) presentation.

Roadmap to success
  • Train editors to think like video searchers
  • Encode for the right keywords
    • Title, description and keywords
    • Remove the metadata noise
  • Use keywords in filename (hyphens)
  • One video per URL (and avoid Flash and pop-ups)
  • Add tagging
  • Keep videos in one directory
  • Surround video with on-page relevant text
  • Crosslink to videos using keywordsin anchor text
  • Create an optimized video sitemap / mRSS feed
  • Upload videos to search engines
  • Add in-format metadata
He suggests having a seperate public facing sitemap for videos and putting videos as close to root as possible.

Next up is a screen shot of some guy called "Barack Obama". He looks dynamic. I think he'll go far. DoubleClick's point is that this is a live speech which was recorded and then uploaded. Google Trends showed how people heard about the speech after the event, were interested in it, searched for it and then found it online.

Papczum suggests that Universal Search is still involving. If we look at SERPs for 'Obama speech' we end up with results which include a speech from last year. That's the difference between 'a speech' and 'the speech'.

We move onto the corrupted slides; wow, PowerPoint's really made a mess of them. I'm susprirsed they show at all. Currently giant black squares dominate the slide and there's a little bit of snow noise too.

Heehee. Pictures of the drunk Hoff. I notice that 3243 people have favourited the video on YouTube. His daughter did that too him. That's why I like my xbox 360. It would never treat me like that.

Hehe. The brand management slide is also corrupted. Irony.

- fin!