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How to Improve the Search Engine Ranking of Your Videos and Images

Ranking in a vertical search engine is a lot like ranking in a general search engine. One way to maximize your chances of getting noticed is to optimize your video and images. You do this by tailoring your listings so that certain attributes, like keywords, metadata, and alternate text, are even more specific.

Optimizing video files for search engines

With the advances in streaming technology and faster Internet connection speeds, video is becoming more and more popular as time goes on. Like increasing the rank of your Web site, you can use similar techniques to make sure your video has a chance of achieving a high page rank.

Getting search-engine ranking for your video is as simple as this:

  • Place keywords in the metadata of a video. Metadata is descriptive text, containing mostly keywords, that can be placed in the HTML of the video file. You want this text to both describe the video and give the spiders something to look at.

  • Place keywords in your video’s filename. Remember to keep your keywords for both the metadata description and the filename specific and relevant.

  • Use YouTube (www.youtube.com) to host your video. YouTube was acquired by Google a couple of years ago, so any video on YouTube gets spidered and indexed a lot faster than it would on other video hosting sites.

  • Link from your video to your Web site. This could help drive up your site’s traffic and ranking. Of course, you especially benefit from this strategy if the video you post becomes popular (but don’t ask what makes a video popular, because not even Hollywood can predict accurately what people will like).

    Your video on YouTube.
    Your video on YouTube.
  • Include text about the video in the page area surrounding the video link, if possible. Keep in mind that video, along with images, can be spidered. Spiders can read and index the metadata and the text surrounding the video, as long as the text is descriptive of the video, full of keywords, and relevant to a user’s search. In the above figure, note the description box and the list of keywords, which are all hyperlinked. Remember, Google loves this.

Keep in mind that because YouTube.com is a separate site, the video is not considered "your" content. You want to host the video on your own site as well so that you get credit for it as part of your content. Always link back to your site in the description of the video and in the video file itself.

Optimizing image files for search engines

Many of the above tips apply to images, as well. Images and video can be identified by topic as long as the text surrounding them relates to the image or video. Spiders are also looking at the filename, so instead of naming your image file 00038.jpg, call it redporsche.jpg or something equally descriptive. Definitely include Alt attribute text for every image on your Web site. Alt attributes are used to describe an image for users who are using screen readers or when an image does not display. In some browsers, this text becomes user-visible when they move their mouse over the image. Spiders also read and index this text. With so many eyes looking at it, it’s worth the effort to write something meaningful. For example, the HTML of the image of the red Porsche could look like this:

<img src="redporsche.jpg" ALT="Red 2005 Porsche with leather interior">

A short, simple, descriptive phrase is all you need for the Alt attribute. Stuffing it with keywords, however, is considered evil and might get your site dropped. Keep it simple, keep it short, and keep it to the point. Consider the size of the image as a guideline: Smaller images probably only need a couple words to explain what they are. Larger images might require several words. Don't go overboard. If you have paragraphs of information about the image, consider putting that on the Web page as content.

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