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August 12, 2009

Video Improves Search Engine Rankings Over 50x

Video is the new king in search engine optimization (SEO), and without it on your site, you are selling yourself short – very short.

With the web already vastly overcrowded with text pages a billion times over, it is much easier for a company to land at the top of the search rankings with video on its website. In fact, according to a Feb. 12, 2009 story that ran on, video has an 11,000-to-1 chance of making it onto the first page of results, while a text page has a 500,000-to-1 chance of appearing on the first page.

According to a recent report by analyst Nate Elliott, now with Forrester Research, “already a fourth of U.S. Google searches return videos in the results” and “Videos are 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of search results than text pages.” Furthermore, comScore reports that in December of 2008, Google Sites recorded 5.9 billion videos viewed. When combined with YouTube and other video viewing sites (and search engines), this represents 78.5 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience that viewed online video during that same month.

Fortunately, it is not nearly as difficult as it once was to put video content on a website. It can actually be done in mere seconds today with the use of some inexpensive and very easy to use video publishing tools. Using such software, all a website owner or administrator needs to do is navigate to a video on his/her desktop or network (using a familiar Windows Outlook-like format) and click “Publish”. It really is that simple now.

Universal Search Drives Viewership

There is a relatively new search engine ranking methodology that large sites like Google and Yahoo are using that is helping to drive online video proliferation. Called “Universal Search”, this content ranking algorithm gathers keyword-search results from across multiple mediums (text, images, video, etc.) and presents the most relevant content to the searcher, regardless of whether it is text, image or even video.

With universal search becoming ever more popular across the web, video is playing a very critical role in terms of search engine optimization strategies. No longer is keyword optimization on text pages and link-back approaches the name of the game. Sites must also now consider publishing video on their sites and tagging them with searchable keywords.

Sites that continue to be largely text based, run a greater risk now of being left out of targeted keyword searches. Furthermore, the more “content” you have on your site that you can associate with keywords, the better search engine optimized your site will therefore become. In essence, you have more darts to throw at the board, so to speak.

New Video Publishing Tools

There are software-based tools available today, like Onstream Media’s Streaming Publisher solution that make the process of adding and managing online video content quite easy. These full-service web publishing solutions enable even non-tech savvy users to easily upload, manage, transform, delete, syndicate and report on rich media assets. This puts the full power of video publishing in the hands of a website owner or administrator without needing prior publishing, Flash or HTML coding knowledge.

Leveraging large and high-speed content delivery networks (CDN), these solutions enable users to quickly upload new video assets to the CDN and instantly retrieve a destination URL and associated HTML code so the videos can be embedded into web pages. When a site visitor clicks on a video, it will be played in TV-like quality as it is streamed directly from the CDN.

Using a very familiar Windows Outlook-like environment, publishers can manage all of their videos with simple drag and drop capability and even convert videos from one format to another (e.g. from .wmv to Flash) in mere minutes and upload to the web or download to the desktop. Users of these video publishing solutions also have the ability to generate asset usage reports to gauge how well a video is doing.

As we grow closer and closer to what Tim Berners-Lee called the “semantic web”, which is the notion of truly personalized search based on previous individual online activity, the time is now for taking your site and corresponding SEO strategy to the next level. With such video publishing tools available on the market, video can be published on a site the very same day the owner chooses to do so.

With website video pervasiveness still in its infancy to a large extent, the ability to steal search engine listing mindshare and industry market share is there for the taking by the early entrants to the online video ballgame. After all an 11,000-to-1 hit ratio is much better than half-a-million-to-1 odds any day, but this opportunity is limited, and one day soon the door may close. Therefore, online video publishing must become an imperative in the new equation of web-based business success.

By David Glassman – Senior Vice President – Onstream Media Corporation (Nasdaq: ONSM)