Last week at PubCon, I spoke on a panel titled Video Engines – New Kids Rocking the Web. The discussion focused on what was new in the online video space in production, optimization, and search. For those that weren’t there we felt it would be good to share the presentation and some additional information on video search. Be sure to run some of the demo queries you can find in the presentation below.
Where do we get all those videos?
One of the big questions during the session was, “How do we get our content indexed?” The truth is that most webmasters may not know how Live Search gets videos into the index. You may notice as I did that the videos in the results come from a wide variety of sources on the Web. In addition, we are always looking for more.
If you own a site that regularly publishes videos, search is mission critical, given the explosion of demand for video on the Web. ComScore reported in 2007 that nearly 75% of all Internet searchers watched over two hours of online video, and this is only expected to grow. We have noticed this trend at Live Search as well. Video search is our second most popular vertical (after images). This means consumers are looking for your videos. For publishers of video, this is a no-cost channel to distribute and drive traffic to your site.
Today we have many sources of video, but as the technology has improved and demand has increased from Internet users, we have been ramping up our ability to collect more videos and include them in the index. Videos on Live Search will be exposed to the millions of MSN and Live.com users, while still being able to generate stream traffic and be able to monetize when searchers watch their videos.
As you may know, Live Search crawls the Web looking for all types of content. We try to provide the most relevant content to the searcher. We are always looking at different ways to include your content in our index. For video search, the best way to get your content included is with a Media RSS (mRSS) feed.
What is Media RSS and how do I get some?
When you generate the mRSS file, you will want to ensure that you include tags that describe your content to us. We use these descriptions to understand what your video is about, but not necessarily to rank your video. We look at a lot of factors to determine the rank of a video (you should look at our related post on ranking.) Here are examples of tags that we consider:
|Specifies the title of the video.
If <media:title> element is also provided for an <item>, it will override the <title> element.
|<title>Kung Foo Mascots</title>
|A short description of the video.
If <media:description> element is also provided for an <item>, it will override the <description> element.
|<media:description type=”plain”>College Football Mascots fight each other for the title of Kung Foo Mascot King</media:description>
||The URL to the actual video media (if available).
The media may be in many formats: Windows Media, MPEG, Flash, Real, QuickTime, etc. Refer to Live video feed spec for the complete list on the supported formats
|<media:content url=”http://media.foo.com/12345.mpg” type=”video/mpeg” medium=”video” height=”280″ width=”340″ duration=”243″ lang=”en” fileSize=”5000124″ bitrate=”128″/>
|The URL that is rendered when a user actually watches the video or clicks the Play button.
The <media:player> element allows hints to be given (width and height attributes) for the required display size of the page.
If <media:player> element is also provided for an <item>, it will override the <link> element.
<media:player url=”http://www.foo.com/video?vid=12345″ height=”600″ width=”800″ />
||The date when the video was first published on your web site.
||<pubDate>Wed, 26 Mar 2008 18:20:45 PST</pubDate>
||A list of keywords you use to identify the video.
tags, associated, with, video, comma, separated</media:keywords>
There are other tags in the spec as well as some optional tags that Live Search will consume. The general rule is, the more required and optional tags you provide in the Media RSS feed, the higher ranking the video could have in Live Search results page. Of course, the relevance of the information is also key to discoverability.
What about sitemaps?
Many people have asked, “Why not use sitemaps with video extensions?” The answer is that we are looking at the sitemaps with video extensions and are always considering other methods of content acquisition. However, at this time, we recommend mRSS as the best method for video inclusion in Live Search. We will notify you here at the Webmaster Center blog if we provide additional methods for consumption.
Where do I submit my mRSS feed?
So do you have a feed you would like us to consume or just want to learn more? If you are interested in providing us a feed and are willing to share some details about how many videos you have and where the feed is located, you can tell us where to find your video feed in our support form.
-Jeremiah Andrick, Program Manager, Live Search Webmaster Center