Viral video: Titles and keywords

Right now, keywords are the meat and potatoes of finding videos online. Search engines right now only keep track of written words online — they cannot see patterns (like moving people, words, light and shadow, etc) in videos, like people can, and they’re mostly not searching for patterns in sounds or pictures, either. Because search engines are “stupider” than most people right now in that way, the only information that a search engine will find from a video is text you add when you upload it — the title, description, and keywords. If a video doesn’t have keywords, it’s less likely that people will find it using a search engine.

We use a LOT of keywords. The key elements of the script — ads or products we talk about, shows we refer to, events that happen, names of video styles like “parody” or “science fiction,” etc — get written in to the keywords. So do some keywords for shows we think our show is like — Mystery Science Theater 3000, the Muppet Show — because we hope people looking for those shows might find our show and like it as well. In general, though, search engines seem to rank titles more highly than keywords.

Some of our videos get more search engine traffic because of keywords than others. Take a look at the view statistics from a number of our videos. Which videos seem to be getting the most search engine traffic? Why do you think they are ranked so highly? (Hint: take a look at how many hits a search turns up on different engines.)

Do you think it is OK for a video to put up keywords about things which are not actually in the video? What keywords do you think The Media Show should include that it is not currently using? When you’ve thought of a few, do a search for those words on YouTube and other search engines. Try them in combination with a few words we are already using. Then respond: how effective do you think your search words would be in helping people find our videos?