Wednesday, November 05, 2008

SMX London: Search 3.0: Video Search & Blended Results

In place in the Edinburgh room again (hmm; power and wi-fi!) for the Search 3.0: Video Search & Blended Results session. We've got Chris Sherman himself as moderator.

Chris Sherman

Predicts the explosion of video online so that knowledge of video optimisation will become paramount for any search professional.

Tom Wilde; CEO, Everyzing

Poor guy is fresh off the red eye flight from the States. I wonder if he knows who won the election.

Tom promises energy. He moves swiftly onto plugging Everyzing’s products:
  • exSEO
  • ezSEARCH
Everyzing was spun out of a company which built some speech technology for the US government.

Tom notes that users now expect multimedia in their search. YouTube is both a challenge and an opportunity for media companies.

Tom has a screen grab that shows more interest for the keyword ‘video’ than the keyword ‘god’.

A Hitwise reports that video discovery from social media is dropping whereas video discovery from search is increasing. Why? Users expect and can find video from search now. Oh; he mentions Barack Obama (3 minutes, 17 seconds into the session).

Tom notes that text still drives discovery online (keywords are text). Text is the online currency.

Ah; Tom’s product does Speech to Text – so it’ll listen to a video and product a text transcript.

Tom suggests that once you have produced lots of transcripts from many appropriate videos you can begin to perform analysis.

This can also be applied to site search. Tom has a slide showing Everyzing beating some competitors. Boston.com is a client.


Brian Marin, Senior Director, Performics

Brian quickly runs through everyone who’s bought Performics in the past – including Google. Hehe.

Some YouTube stats;
  • It’s number #1
  • 100 million+ users
On a search for [snowboarding tricks] there were 5 video results. Three came from YouTube and two from Google Video.

Brian notes that search engines can’t understand videos well enough; they can’t grasp issues like copyright issues just from looking at the video. Yet. Google’s testing GAUDI (Google Audio Indexing) as a way to try and get the spoken word picked up and indexed by the search engines. (Tom’s making faces at this). Brian notes GAUDI isn’t perfect yet.

Brian moves onto talk about images...

100 billion images captured every year and made available over the internet. Google expects over 1 trillion images online soon.

Some tips:
  • File name
  • Surrounding text (often in the same div tag)
  • Alt vs Title attribute (Brian notes they are often confused and explains why... oh, it’s Internet Explorer’s fault)
  • Page title
  • Inbound link
Search engines aim to serve up unique images. They rely on the following to detect dupes
  • File name
  • Image file size
  • Image dimensions
  • Image file type
Brian shows an image search for [Salvador Dali] and the same image is returned 4 times. Why? The file size, dimensions, etc, are slightly different.

You can opt into Enhanced Image Search via Google Webmaster Tools. This gets your images submitted to Google Image Labeller.

What’s next for image search?
  • Image recognition or “Visual Search”
  • Geo tagging
Brian notes that you sometimes find a watch face in Google’s “faces” filter and wonders if they’re still using keywords to help build that index.

Three good reasons to optimise for image search:
  • It’s relatively easy – so get it into your best practise
  • Your efforts can help your regular web rankings
  • 1 conversion from a million visitors is better than zero
Ciaran Norris: SEO & Social Media Director, Altogether Digital

He begins by thanking all the Americans in the room for not electing Sarah Palin.

Here’s his on-topic agenda:
  • Why YouTube?
  • Is It Right for You(Tube)
  • Optimising for YouTube
  • Conclusions
Ciaran runs through typical YouTube stats. It’s big.

He returns to the Forrester POST approach that he highlighted so well in my session yesterday. The point here is that YouTube may not be the right place for you.

Some points for YouTube

More views = more ratings = more comments = more views

How’s this done? Get it onto a category page. One approach to get this to happen is an “exclusive secret leaked footage you would not believe” – terminology like that tends to bait people. In fact in all the videos uploaded last week - over 5,000 videos had the word ‘exclusive’ in the title.

Ciaran encourages us to think about the thumbnail used in the video. Pick one that’ll grab the users’ attention. YouTube often takes this thumbnail comes from the middle of the video.

He reckons that people tend to laugh when keyword tags are mentioned in an SEO conference. However; for video, they are relevant. In fact he goes onto touch on the thorny issue of comma separation.

The number of comments and ratings are crucial in getting lots of view. Yes; there’s a risk that people will say negative things – in fact, the sort of commentary you tend to get YouTube are often hateful and annoying. So make sure you’re prepared to be in the space before you go there.

Unfortunately spam still works as a way to promote video search, Ciaran concedes. Techniques like creating multiple accounts from different IP addresses.

One tactic is to promote sites/pages which are driving traffic to your video. Find out who’s ripped off your video, who’s linked to the rip off and try and get them to use your original instead.

Who’s getting video search wrong? Ciaran shows the yucky videos that appear for a KFC search – we’ve got rats in the kitchen and then unpleasant conditions in the chicken farm.

So, to promote your video – decide if YouTube is right for you, do SEO, allow the conversation (so don’t turn off the comments) and don’t spam.

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