The Secret behind Online Video Search: Metadata

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Metadata, quantified communication, analytics

Surprisingly, Google can build a self-driving car and augmented reality glasses but their technology cannot watch videos. As it stands, search engines simply cannot “watch” a video and understand what it’s about. For now, they leave it up to you, the creator, to add the necessary information so that the video can be indexed and ranked. In online video technology terms, this means you have to enter “metadata”. Metadata is defined as descriptive text that can be easily found by a search engine.

Although using metadata correctly in videos can be time consuming, it is well worth the effort. Metadata allows videos to be found more easily, whether by users who are doing a Google search, or by you when you are looking in your own video library. What follows is a simple “getting started” guide to teach you how to make it easy for anyone to find your video online.

Luckily, most video sites make the process of adding metadata quick and easy. As you’re waiting for your video to upload into your YouTube or Vimeo account, you will be asked to supply basic information about the video. There are different fields in which you can enter a title, a description, and video tags. If you click on the “advanced settings” tab in YouTube, you also have the option of adding information on where the video was filmed and on what date.

What is the best way to fill in those metadata fields? Here are some tips to consider:

  1. The title of the video is the first type of metadata that most people will see. You want to come up with a title that draws people in and is distinct from other videos.
  2. The description of the video is the place to be the most specific. You have more space to write as detailed of a description as possible.
  3. Tags within the video are short one or two-word descriptions. These should start out as general and then get more specific.
  4. YouTube also offers other forms of metadata such as categories and thumbnails. Fill out all of the fields that are available to you. The more information you supply, the easier it will be for search engines to find your video and analyze it in order to differentiate it from the rest.

Finally, even with perfect metadata, if your video is not engaging, no one will watch more than the first few seconds and the search rank will drop. To prevent this, concentrate on creating a video that grabs the attention of your viewers immediately. According to research from The New York Times, intimacy is the crucial factor in predicting the success of web videos. Focus on close up shots, emotions, and clear lighting and sound. Combining these techniques with strong metadata is a surefire way to increase your video’s exposure.