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November 8, 2010

Video and Google TV

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The much anticipated Google TV became available to consumers via a TV set from Sony, and a set-top box from Logitech last month. Prior to this release Google has been driving to educate the public on publishing video for the web most likely in order to increase content for Google TV.

Google TV is as Google states “Television, meet search engine.” Amongst the features of Google TV such as web browsing, apps, recording shows. Searching TV and web video will be a key core feature. So it would come as no surprise that in the months prior to fall of this year that Google has been releasing a lot of material on video sitemaps. Video publishers will want their content discoverable on this new medium. Recently at SMX Advanced in Seattle, Google’s Matt Cutts, head of the web spam team stated that Google will be looking more at sitemaps in the future especially with the coming of Google TV.

More Americans are watching TV and Internet together as seen in the Three Screen Report by Nielsen. Americans now spend 35% more time using the Internet and TV simultaneously than they were a year ago – now spending 3.5 hours each month surfing the Internet and watching TV at the same time. This growing market has not just been targeted by Google but by Apples iPad, as can be seen in Where and how We’ll Use It.

Google wants to be able to index all video on the web and this media has been increasing in importance from Google’s acquisition of YouTube to the coming of Google TV.  So it looks like there is a new market for SEO. Not only is there a focus on making all video on the web searchable through video sitemaps, websites will also be accessible for TV and Google has released a post – Optimizing sites for TV telling the differences. Current sites will need to provide users with an enhanced TV experience – the “10-foot UI” (user interface). There is also a Google TV Web Site Optimization Checklist that details technical requirements and tests. It looks like there will be versions of websites produced especially for Google TV much like there are for mobile phones.

So to the best way to optimise a video for the Google TV would be with a video sitemap. In the last 3 months there have been several posts on Google Webmaster Central Blog about this. i.e.

Video Sitemaps: Is your video part of a gallery?

Google Videos Best Practices

Video Sitemaps 101: Making your videos searchable

Video Sitemaps: Understanding Location Tags

To err is human, Video Sitemap feedback is divine!

These posts will detail the technical requirements of constructing an  XML sitemap as well as setting this up on Google Webmaster Tools for your website.

Key information needed about your video would be:

For more technical information you can see Bruce Clay’s Chee Chun Foo’s post on Video Optimisation. And one more important point: a video sitemap will get you found and indexed but if you want to rank for searched terms you will need some link juice and supporting content. A good first step would be to create a link from your blog to your new video.

If you don’t have Google TV and you want a sneak preview of how some providers will be presenting video check out YouTube’s Leanback. You will note this is a site optimised for large screens. When you go to this site you will notice that videos start playing immediately, are always presented in full screen and HD and can be easily browsed by using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

So how will advertising work on Google TV? Google CEO Eric Schmidt simply thinks that advertising on Google TV will have an advantage over regular television since it can target ads the same way as Google does online. Initially ads on Google TV will be either delivered through websites or traditional TV programming. There is a possibility of delivering ads through Android apps optimised for Google TV, which would compete with broadcast ads running on the same screen, though this is more likely to happen in the future.

Could Google overlay a paid advert on a carefully crafted and expensive viral series of videos? On looking at YouTube’s Leanback there are Ads by Google that appear in a popup at the bottom of the screen.

Google TV has just arrived and it’s going to be interesting how well the consumer and business will adopt this new technology – The merging of TV, Internet and on demand media.

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