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Including video on your website

With the explosion of dedicated video sites like youtube.com and video.google.com, and the increased availability of high speed internet, including video on your website is becoming more and more attractive. Whether you are simply sharing quick videos of the holiday you were on recently, or including a sales pitch on your business website, video as a medium is much more powerful than simple images and text.

But while including images and text on your site is very straight forward, including video can be a little bit trickier. This is because video files can come in different file formats (.mp4, .flv, .avi etc) , video formats (MPEG-4 or H.264 are the more common), can be displayed using different techniques/viewers (YouTube viewer, Flash viewer, Quicktime viewer etc) and some options above are compatible with some broswer but not others. Also, video files are greatly larger in size than images so bandwidth is a major consideration.

When designing your website, you will want to code it to work with the broadest audience possible. And when you are including video on your website, a little more work is involved to achieve this. For example, Flash (which is a very popular choice for implementing video) is not compatible with iPhones/iPads/iPods and Apple have plans to remove built-in support in their Safari browser. And the major browsers (Internet Explorer and Firefox) do not offer across the board support, but this can be remedied quickly with addons and plugins. Up and coming browsers like Google Chrome do offer across the board video support, but with only approx. 10% market share it isn’t wise to bank solely on this option. The good news is that you can code video on your site to be viewable to more than one of the above options. Code to suit different browsers/platforms can be used in conjunction to offer cross-browser support.

So now that you have your video on your site and have set it up to be available to the broadest market, your next step is to make sure people can find it. Ensuring search engines can find your video is called video SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and follows many of the same techniques of standard website SEO. You might be familiar with the usual keywords, descriptions, descriptive file names but what is also helpful is having a transcript of your video (search engines cannot search the contents of a video, but they have no problem searching through text), including links with the video to allow your visitors share your video on their website/social network, including a thumbnail image with descriptive file name – there are many tricks to make your video search engine friendly.

The internet is fast becoming a lot more interactive (with the incredible popularity of networks such as Facebook and Twitter) and websites are very media/content-rich so it’s important to be able to keep the attention of your visitors. And just as important, you need to ensure your traffic increases, or at least continues, and to do this you will need to have your video content search engine friendly.