Earlier this month, Google rolled out its redesigned search engine results page (SERP) with a new menu of search-refinement options on the left-hand rail. The recent modifications to Google’s logo and search results pages serve as big changes for a company whose design hasn’t changed much in years. Simply put: It’s a big deal. Google continues, however, to keep it clean and straightforward. The streamlined feel and functionality of Google’s SERP redesign presents great opportunities for marketers. While each of the categorical changes deserve the consideration of search marketers in general, video search in particular may benefit from these opportunities and provide marketers a chance to separate their brands from the pack.
The Web continues to evolve into an increasingly visual medium, and Google’s new interface offers video marketers more ways to show, not tell. Users can now begin refining video searches by clicking on the videos icon in the left-hand rail of Google’s SERP. Users can then sort video results in Google by duration, time period (past hour, past 24 hours, past week, etc.), relevance, quality, closed captioning and source. A Google search on the term “iPad,” for example, gives searchers the options to filter results for videos less than four minutes or more than 20 minutes in length, view videos in high quality, or see only videos posted on cnn.com. These features give people the ability to pinpoint the videos most relevant to their preferences and presents video marketers with new options to better optimize and manage their videos.
Although it may be too early to tell exactly how Google’s left-hand rail navigation system will affect searcher behavior, video marketers should kick the tires to glean insights on ways these additional filtering options will impact video SEO efforts. Marketers can find more creative ways to build and optimize videos by paying particular attention to the filtering options on Google and acting accordingly. Some of the features of Google’s new interface enable marketers to cast a wider net and reach more people, while others give them the opportunity to customize their video publishing specific to the habits or preferences of their target market. I’ll take a look at the opportunities to excel through customizing video publishing by duration, publishing times and intervals, reaching more consumer destination sites, and remembering that many of the old rules still hold true in the new environment.
Marketers can generate videos of different lengths for all types of searchers. By doing so, they will reach a wider audience or cater to different preferences. For example, if someone were to search for instructional video about the iPad, the user can choose between a quick how-to video or a longer, more detailed video with step-by-step instruction. Providing videos of varying durations will help meet the needs of more searchers.
Marketers can also take advantage of Google’s new interface by refreshing content more frequently to ensure it passes the various time filters. Depending on the audience, marketers should bear in mind the time of day their typical target viewers might search for video. Considerations regarding user geography or high-traffic Web-browsing periods may affect the frequency or exact timing a marketer posts videos. In an ideal world, video marketers would publish new videos every hour on the hour, but that’s not realistic due to lack of content and the huge amount of resources it would take. Instead marketers should consider what is more realistic for their operation. Can they publish videos daily? Weekly? Monthly? Once marketers make those decisions, they can optimize a video search program that will naturally develop in time.
Again, for those marketers interested in casting a wide net, it’s important to consider posting videos to more than one site for searches refined by source. Publishing a video on YouTube, Hulu and/or MySpace instead of just posting it to one site increases the chances of the video getting more views and reaching the desired audience.
Relevance remains an important factor in video search and serves as the default option on Google’s left-hand rail, so marketers should continue to make use of descriptive text to ensure their videos get indexed properly.
In short, marketers should test the various filtering options as an indication of how Google sorts through all video content on any given keyword and figure out the most effective strategies to take advantage of the new interface and best serve the user. While the addition of left-hand rail navigation may seem like one small step for Google, it is one giant leap for improved SERP usability on the industry-leading engine.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.