what is video metadata and how to use it

Metadata is one of those slippery terms that, if you’re not particularly into the back-end side of programming, might leave you feeling confused and/or completely disinterested.

However, understanding a bit about metadata can be helpful as you develop and disseminate your videos through our platform, so in this post we’re going to give you a solid basic overview of the key metadata you can set for your videos on our platform to help send search engines index your content properly and drive more organic traffic its way.

On the SproutVideo platform, we’ve provided a few ways to alter the metadata on your videos in relatively simple ways. Here’s how.

What is Metadata?

In simple terms, metadata is “data about data”: it’s information that’s used to label and organize other information. Similar to the traditional card catalog at your local library, used to describe and locate the books the library contains, metadata makes it possible for search engines to analyze and understand webpages full of rich content, ensuring they can quickly identify relevant webpages and deliver the requested information for a given search term.

A webpage contains many types of metadata, such as the title of your website and webpages, page descriptions, tags, and other information that search engines use to find and display your content in response to related search terms. SEO or “search engine optimization” is basically the practice of polishing and structuring metadata to make your site or webpage as easy as possible to find for search terms you want to target.

Video Title

It may seem inconsequential, but the title you choose for your video will affect whether search engines find it and how they index it. Consider this the label for your library book: the more it describes the content in a way that will be easy for search engines (and internet users) to understand, the more often it’s going to get chosen.

Edit the title of a video hosted on SproutVideo

Also, a properly selected title will help viewers determine if they want to watch the video or not. With the right title for your video, you might increase your video play rate, meaning more people are sticking around longer on the page. This behavior indicates to Google that visitors to your website are engaged, and that your content was relevant to them, increasing the chances you’ll rise through the rankings for those search terms.

Video Description

What you type in your video description will not only display in text in search engine results, it also helps search engines find and display your video when people search for related terms online, or keywords.

Edit the description of a video hosted on SproutVideo

A good way to make sure your video gets found is to optimize these terms — in other words, to use language that is frequently searched for. Here’s a post on how to use keyword research to target converting traffic with video.

Video Tags

Tags (or meta tags) are another way that you can help search engines and individuals find your videos. Use the Tags function to enter in words and phrases that describe your video and are likely to be searched.

Tag a video hosted on SproutVideo

Tags differ from keywords in that they do not display to users on search engine results, but search engines factor them in when indexing your page or video to a certain extent. It’s worth noting that meta tags are likely to be less important in helping search engines find your videos than the title and description.

Just a reminder that we deliberately kept this post bare-bones simple; the world of metadata is much, much bigger than what we’ve covered here. If you want to know more or have questions, leave it in the comments below or tweet it to us!

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted May 8, 2015

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