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In Search of Video SEO That Works

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There are plenty of other search engines for video, such as blinkx, which features methods for indexing and associating metadata with video content by including transcripts. The power of its solution lies in using every characteristic of the video itself to understand the content. For example, blinkx listens to the soundtrack using speech-to-text technology, looks at the images on screen using advanced video analytics, and reads other information embedded into the file using media-analysis plug-ins to extract things such as closed captioning. In this way, blinkx is processing as much information as possible to enable both extremely accurate search and more advanced operations, such as automatic hyperlinking of related content or implicit query, that understand the content a user is producing and viewing. But the real SEO for video is making sure it is organically discovered by the people who are searching for it, so the question here is, "Will the end users learn to go to video search sites, or will they continue to go to Google, Yahoo!, or Ask.com?"

What Flavor Is Your Secret Sauce, and Why Won’t You Let Me Taste It?
The major search engines are working to integrate online video into their native search results working with their own native technology and third-party aggregators, but regardless, there are two approaches—old-school and new-school, if you will.

—Old-school approach: Video search engines such as Truveo incorporate metadata-based keywords and use linking structure that is all manually entered into upload forms or extracted from the metadata of a video file itself during the encoding process and used like any other XML or embedded metatag to sort and categorize video content.

—New-school approach: Search engines take a step forward by allegedly indexing content by what a given "artificial intelligence technology" is able to derive from a video/audio file, which is then put into context. Examples include products such as blinkx, with its ability to create full textual transcripts of speech content that it claims to ensure that video is accessible and indexed by text-based search engines such as Google and Yahoo! with a deeper level of relevance.

According to blinkx, this automatically generated transcript is supposed to be displayed as part of a detailed tab that enables advanced users to navigate the content on a word-by-word basis.

This all sounds great in theory; however, the only "deep" video indexing I was able to find when searching blinkx resulted in the old-school metatags such as highlighted in Figure 2 (page 40). I couldn’t find an example in the real world of this contextually indexed video without downloading its BBTV player, which is not an option—seriously, I am not downloading yet another plug-in or player that will constantly need to be updated and attended to.

Figure 2
Figure 2. Searching for the transcript tags in blinkx

The fact of the matter is that the company didn’t make it easy for me to get its player—why wasn’t it put in a ZIP folder? Anyway, the claim is as follows:
The Web is the largest repository of connected information in the world——on any subject and from myriad sources. blinkx BBTV delivers television over the Internet, but it also connects that TV with the wealth of information on the Web, rather than appearing as just another layer floating above it.

I wanted to see its transcript indexing technology in action; however, on the website for the BBTV player, in the body of the FAQ it reads as follows:
Can I upload my own videos?
We have no immediate plans to offer this feature.

The mission of this search for video SEO has everything to do with today, total transparency and ease of use today. We all know what it means when salespeople tell you how great their product is but don’t let you take it out on the road and kick the tires. Or, better yet, only special drivers can take it out on the road and you can watch.

I am not saying that the blinkx technology doesn’t work, but how is video SEO-friendly if the methodology for distribution places the burden on the end user, especially if this effort involves installation of something new onto the end user’s personal computer?

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