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Youtube Video Sitemap Great for Skateboarding Cats

Posted: July 19th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

Google uploaded a video to talk about video sitemaps.  Note that video sitemaps are nothing new, as they’ve had them for years.    As far as we can tell, nothing has changed or been added to them.  In fact, the case study they highlight about Discovery Channel is from 2008.  I’ll let you know if we find anything has changed in the service.  But for now, they have a nifty new video.

Despite hipper marketing, IMHO, Google continues to favor an algorithm that surfaces Youtube pop-culture content over any other regardless of sitemap best practices.  This is a huge problem since not all video searches are to find the funniest, most viral video available for your keywords.  However, as the owners of Youtube and not as video producers themselves, I can imagine why Google would have developed that skewed point of view.

EXPO uploads full transcripts of our video, which we do not do when we upload to Youtube, and yet our Youtube videos will come up higher in visibility almost every time.   Despite using specific keyword searches to try to find our sitemapped content, other less relevant content on Youtube will surface first on Google.  Whether they go by recency, plays or other Youtube-dominant metrics, publishers are much more likely to get surfaced on Google if you upload to Youtube and simply fill out their limited metadata requirements.

This path is being exploited extremely well by Demand Media, where they continue to upload videos to Youtube at a Deepwater-Horizon-in-the-Gulf rate.  With Youtube being the #2 search engine, and Google being #1, their lock on the video search market requires publishers to conform to Google’s version of a successful video…which includes being available on Youtube.

While I don’t dispute that Google’s video search algorithm may be unbiased in terms of their engineers’ ethics, I question whether their algorithm is anything near helpful when it comes to informational video search.  What makes a great entertainment algorithm does not necessarily make a great informational algorithm.  (And don’t get me started about what whether you can make a great entertainment algorithm in the first place.)  If Google is learning to optimize video search based on what’s on Youtube, we’re doomed to never be able to find relevant, helpful, informational video.  If you search for “Cancer” and click on “video” you will get:

I have no idea how “euronews.net” snuck in there, but you’ll notice the videos are dominated by youtube, and also dominated by pop culture, fresh off the press videos.  You’d think “cancer” videos would rank Mayoclinic’s Youtube page highly.  But, alas, I would guess the play count is much higher for “Cancer Prevention Pill.”

It’s not Google’s fault that people love entertainment video and especially love it on Youtube.  But it is Google’s fault for not working to better understand that a good video search result is not always the latest viral video.  The development of a great text search might have been a narrower band because it was almost always an informational search.  But despite Google’s experience with Youtube, the best video is not always an entertainment result.  We need to ensure that the vast needs that can be satisfied with video are captured in an algorithm that doesn’t just feed off a single destination’s experience, but accounts for the true breadth of a video search.

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One Comment on “Youtube Video Sitemap Great for Skateboarding Cats”

  1. 1 Twitted by samirb said at 10:23 am on July 19th, 2010:

    […] This post was Twitted by samirb […]

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