When it comes to embedded video content in search result pages on the major engines, it still seems like the engines have the easiest time indexing and ranking YouTube content, with some other video content occasionally sprinkled in. The engines will likely start including more video results as publishers get better at optimizing their content and spiders get better at understanding it. But for the time being, the best chance publishers have in getting their videos listed in search results by the major engines is to upload content to YouTube.
Syndicating video to YouTube not only gives publishers a better chance to rank for that content, but also gives them YouTube exposure and an ad revenue share, assuming the publisher becomes a YouTube partner. However, some major publishers still aren’t taking advantage of the YouTube channel, perhaps with good reason. I thought I’d explore how four different content publishers use (or don’t use) YouTube to get their video content in front of eyeballs. These publishers include CBS television, the Barack Obama campaign, Major League Baseball, and the NBA (screenshots below taken on July 14th, 2008).
Case study: CBS television
CBS is a YouTube partner, meaning that they have their own YouTube CBS channel. They get some sort of ad revenue share from YouTube. CBS has 7,000 videos uploaded on YouTube and ranks as the number three most viewed YouTube channel with over 205 million views. Not only is CBS extending their brand and reach within YouTube, but their YouTube videos appear embedded on the major search engine results pages. For instance, I performed a Google.com search for CBS Late Late Show host “Craig Ferguson” and saw two embedded YouTube results from the CBS YouTube channel in the Top 5. Performing the same search on Yahoo, I also saw a CBS YouTube channel first page result.
CBS would probably make significantly more ad revenue if users searching for “Craig Ferguson” ended up on CBS.com rather than YouTube. However, it’s still tough to make an argument that CBS syndicating their content to YouTube is a bad idea. Clues that indicate CBS is making a smart decision include:
- CBS gains the ability to connect with millions of consumers within YouTube
- The search engines aren’t yet embedding direct CBS.com video content into the search results (perhaps because spiders can’t understand the content or it isn’t optimized)
- The incremental search results page listings for the CBS YouTube channel; if you include their YouTube channel, CBS has four of the top five listings on Google for the “Craig Ferguson” keyword
Case study: The Obama campaign
The decision to upload video to YouTube is a no-brainer for the Obama campaign, seeing as their main concern is not ad revenue. They’ve uploaded over 1,000 videos to the Obama campaign YouTube channel. Searchers can find exactly what they’re looking for by either searching on YouTube or searching on the engines. For example, I performed a Google.com search on the query “Obama race speech” and saw two YouTube Obama channel results in the top three listings for the exact speech I was looking for. Over at Yahoo, I also saw two embedded first page YouTube Obama channel results for the video. Google.com and Yahoo search traffic have surely contributed to the 6 million views the speech has gotten in the Obama YouTube channel.
Case study: Major League Baseball
Not all publishers choose to upload their video content to YouTube. Take Major League Baseball for example. If I go to YouTube and search for “Manny’s 500th home run,” I’m not going to find the quality content I’m looking for. I can watch video of the epic homer from a fan with a cell phone who was there that night, or I can watch someone being interviewed about the homer. MLB does not syndicate its content to YouTube and anyone posting that content would be in violation of copyright laws. The content would quickly be flagged and taken down. MLB’s decision not to take advantage of YouTube may have to do with ad revenue. Perhaps driving the most traffic possible to MLB.com is the most effective way to gain more MLB.TV subscribers. Either way, Major League Baseball is currently making the business decision not to have a YouTube channel.
So what if I Google “Manny’s 500th home run?” Although not embedded, the number one result leads me to a landing page on MLB.com’s Red Sox site that has video of the homer. I’m served a high quality video and given the option to watch related Manny Ramirez home run videos. MLB.com shows me ads around the video, audio and other content on the Manny 500th landing page. It seems as if MLB.com has not only made the effort to make sure the engines can index and effectively rank the page the video is housed on, but they also offer a great user experience that may lure habitual baseball video consumers back to their site. Falling right behind the MLB.com search result are two cell phone YouTube videos of the homer.
Case study: National Basketball Association
Unlike Major League Baseball, many of the other professional sports have gone the YouTube way. Because of the playoffs, the NBA YouTube channel was the most popular channel for the month of June. Performing a Google.com search for NBA Finals’ MVP “Paul Pierce,” I saw a first page embedded YouTube result from the NBA YouTube channel. Including the first page NBA.com result, the NBA and their YouTube channel are occupying some prime first results page real estate for the keyword “Paul Pierce,” which is showing a large spike in volume lately according to Google Trends.
The point is that YouTube can do wonders in helping publishers’ video content appear on the search engine results page. And if a publisher has a good reason not to syndicate their content to YouTube, they’ll need to put a much greater effort into optimizing their video and hosting page to have any shot of ranking well in any major search result. The choice is theirs.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.