Adobe recently announced their final release of the Acrobat Pro 9 software line, touting new video capabilities that are meant to provide a wider range of interactive publishing capabilities, along with improved engagement methods for end users. What’s unmentioned in Adobe’s press releases on the Acrobat 9 series is that there are some special benefits for search engine marketers. Acrobat 9 may be the first all-inclusive software program that can implement, distribute, and even optimize video for search results. That’s a big plus for most search optimizers who are looking to take advantage of the video space but lack video post-production technical skills.
Recently I interviewed Michael Folkers, Group Product Manager for Adobe Acrobat, to discuss more of Acrobat 9′s video features and the new advantages for SEOs with the latest software release:
Video SEO benefit – simpler production
Most SEO specialists are not highly skilled in video post-production, including taking uncompressed video files (typically from a client or 3rd party media producer) and encoding them to the Web or popular social media platform specs. With Acrobat 9, video files can now be inserted directly into the PDF and viewed by anyone who has the free Acrobat Reader 9 plug-in installed on their system. What that means for SEOs is they no longer have to understand special video conversion requirements and encoding to multiple file formats. With Acrobat 9, even Microsoft Powerpoint files and Word files with video can be turned into animated, optimizable PDFs.
“The design guidelines for how we approached this were to make the barrier for entry very, very low,” said Folkers. “By that, I mean the ‘average knowledge worker’ should be able to assemble a PDF with video very easily. The average knowledge worker should be able to drag-and-drop a video clip, trim it, and assign other quality settings to it very, very easily for distribution downstream. We have plugging this authoring capability inside common workflows today. So, I think the ability to propagate and distribute this content was made a lot easier with this release of Acrobat.”
SEO benefit – social media optimization
Acrobat 9 also allows for embedded video to include comment tags from multiple viewers. While Acrobat’s product managers confided with me that they weren’t aware if Acrobat’s comment tags had ever shown themselves indexable by the search engines, comment tags are a valuable social media asset (just check out the new comment annotations with YouTube). Providing for comment tags can increase the potential for backlinks, which translates to the better SEO of the PDF file.
SEO benefit – a strong compliment to your existing video SEO strategy
Granted, Acrobat 9′s software features are not meant to eliminate any of the current strategies that video search optimizers are currently doing. However, they can provide a highly complementary means of having indexable PDF text content around all of your video files, and may even be used as an acceptable duplicate of your existing content without incurring any search engine spam penalties.
I further pressed Folkers on what new advantages their Acrobat 9 could offer search optimizers who were looking to include video in their SEO campaign.
“To the degree that you’re making this more approachable to the person that’s interested in search marketing, the answer I believe is, to the degree that the PDF is being discovered, once people reach it, it’s going to be a whole lot more impactful than almost any other communications media that they can come up with,” he said. “The reason for that is that not only does it include video, but it also includes all of the other elements into a cohesive, branded method for delivering information that’s really quite engaging. Finding video in YouTube or other Web 2.0 environments – I can’t believe it could be any more compelling than what you could accomplish with a PDF that you deliver.”
Before you buy yourself a copy, be aware that the Acrobat Pro Extended version is the one with the full range of video features. The “Pro” version is the highest level for the Mac, and has less video platform capabilities. The “Standard” version has no video features.
One overall limitation: the video experience with Acrobat 9 is not backwards-compatible. This means that those people still using earlier versions of Acrobat Reader will just see an image in place of the video.
My recommendation: get a 30-day trial copy of either the Pro Extended (Windows) or Pro (Mac) program and test it out. Don’t use in it place of any other video SEO or video marketing activities, but do test out its indexability in the search engines and linkability in the social media space. That said, Acrobat 9 qualifies as a good complement to your video SEO strategy, which you can really start launching by the end of summer 2008.
Grant Crowell is the CEO of Grantastic Designs, a web design and search solutions provider specializing in new media strategies for B2B and B2C companies.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.