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Metadata is one of those slippery terms. If you’re not particularly technical, the concept might feel a little intimidating.

However, understanding a bit about video metadata is key to getting traction with organic traffic. It can also provide helpful tools for your viewers to search for and discover your videos, allowing them to more quickly watch the ones they want.

On the SproutVideo platform, we’ve provided several ways to alter the metadata for your videos in relatively simple ways. 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. This will help search engines index your content properly, and drive more organic traffic your way.

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. This ensures they can quickly identify relevant webpages and deliver the requested information for a given search term.

A webpage contains many types of metadata. For instance, 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 associate with search terms you want to target.

Edit the title of a video hosted on SproutVideo

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.

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. That could result in more people sticking around longer on the page.

This behavior indicates to Google that visitors to your website are engaged. Importantly, that’s a signal your content was relevant to them. This in turn increases the chances you’ll rise through the rankings for those search terms.

Edit the description of a video hosted on SproutVideo

Video Description

What you type in your video description will 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.

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

Tag a video hosted on SproutVideo

Video Tags

Tags (or meta tags) are another way to 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.

Tags differ from keywords in that they do not display to users on search engine results. However, 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.

We deliberately kept this post bare-bones simple. The world of metadata is much, much bigger than what we’ve covered here. If you have questions, leave it in the comments below!