SEO & Video: Technology that will Change the Way We Search

For those web developers and search engine optimizers that are looking to utilize the power of video on your websites, besides creating a quality video the second most important aspect of video on web is having people all over the internet easily find it.  As video gets more and more popular on the web, searching through the piles of video is getting more and more difficult for the average user.  YouTube alone receives about 13 new hours of video each minute and while YouTube is perhaps the largest video site on the web it is only one of perhaps millions of sites that offer some kind of video file.  With video obviously becoming a huge force on the web, it is imperative that search engine optimizers and web developers know how the current and future process of video search works and how it will ultimately evolve in the near future.

Searching for Video Today is Inefficient

Today, when you search for video, you are not necessarily searching for specific images, but doing a search for videos uploaded with specific descriptions or tags.  For instance, if a person uploads a video of a baby laughing, he or she might call the video “Baby Laughing”.  A person searching for a video of a baby laughing would have to type in the keywords: baby + laughing or something very close to have a good chance of finding that video online.  And while this method of video search is a decent way to find many videos that are on the topic of what a person is looking for, searching for videos can dramatically be improved.

For instance, while we often search for a major theme, such as a baby laughing, wouldn’t it be great to be able to increase the power of search by being able to pull up instantly all videos on the internet that have a baby laughing holding a red ball.  With most of today’s search tools, it would be nearly impossible to find this information, because today we mainly search for images using text.  However, this method of searching for video using text and tags is soon to be outdated, replaced instead by a more sophisticated and powerful group of search tools, many of which are starting to appear on the scene.

New Improvements for Video Search:  Speech to Text Technology

One innovation for video search that is already taking place is using speech to text technology.  You may already be using this technology if you use programs such as Dragon Dictate or some email services that translate your speech from a phone call into text (and vice versa).  With this type of technology, the audio track of a video is analyzed and any speech in the video is deciphered into text providing the individual with a better way to search for videos.  For instance, using this technology, you can pull up every single video in which your local TV network anchorman mentions Hurricane Ike in a video.

Advanced Video Search Innovations

While speech to text video search is definitely exciting and offers lots of opportunity for finding statements made by TV personalities, political officials, pop stars or company CEO’s another type of video search promises to revolutionize the way we search altogether- Scanning and Analyzing each image in a video.

The ability to scan every image of a video and analyze its contents will not only be a game changer, but requires an enormous amount of computing power.  While the current methods of searching for videos can be hit or miss to say the least, with the ability to scan and analyze each image in a video for its contents this innovation can easily revolutionize the way we search for images and video.  One company that is on the forefront of scanning and analyzing video images is VideoSurf- co-founded by a former Yahoo executive.  This form of search takes raw processing power and a variety of high performance algorithms to look at each video, analyze the people and the backgrounds into each frame and then create a thumbnail of the image.  Using this technology, you can search through movies, TV shows and other videos on the web to find exact scenes, characters or characters saying favorite lines instantly

As more and more people watch TV shows and other forms of video online instead of on a TV set, this type of scanning and analyzing video images becomes much more important to help people find exactly what they are looking for.  With popular TV show sites such as,, Comedy Central, etc the technology that VideoSurf uses can profoundly help web viewers.

Throw Google, MSN and Yahoo into the Mix

As we stated above, scanning and analyzing each video image clearly looks like the most effective method for searching web videos in the current and near future.  The only problem is that many of the smaller sites that currently host videos do not necessarily have the processing power to conduct thorough analysis- this is why the big search engines will definitely have the advantage in the beginning.  Companies such as Google, MSN and Yahoo have immense data crunching abilities.  Google, which owns YouTube has perhaps the best opportunity to enhance their visitor’s video search with not only a huge database of videos stored on their servers, but the data crunching abilities to analyze their video data instantly.

Strategies for SEO’s & Web Developers for the Current and Near Term

So now that we have an idea of where video search is going, it’s time to think or rethink current SEO & Web Developer strategies for maximizing your video content on your site.  First off, since the vast majority of video services including YouTube still use meta data and tags, it is imperative you continue this method of describing and listing tags and text that describe your video best.  Make sure your description, the video file name, the tags and any other data the video uploading site requests is on topic and logical.  For instance, for the baby laughing, you don’t want to call the video “Johnny Laughing” or even “Baby Laughing” due to the fact that it may be too generic, instead, you may call it “Baby Laughing with Red Ball”.

Text To Speech Considerations

Since text to speech is currently being used, you may want to enhance your video with special “keywords” that you would like to be found easily by viewers searching for a video.  For instance, if you have a video on your jean repair site that shows visitors how you repair classic jeans, it will be beneficial to match the words you say in the video with tags and the description of the video along with meta data on your site.

Scanning & Analyzing Considerations

Since this technology is still new, your best bet to optimize your video for this technology is two fold.  First keep up to date on any innovations and broader use of this technology and secondly, create videos which are high enough quality to make out the person, items in the video and the background.

Since SEO is usually on the forefront of search technology, it usually takes some time for research to be completed and verified to ultimately understand which is the best way to proceed, however videos online are growing at an exponential rate and it is practically guaranteed that video search will be a huge component of a comprehensive SEO strategy in the near future.