Is Video Metadata Powerful?

Think of metadata as data about your data.

In the context of using metadata on the internet, it’s a short excerpt as to what your webpage is about. Normally in the standard presentation of title, short description and some keywords to help categorise the content. Keywords used to be a major ranking factor, but they aren’t now – we won’t go down that route just yet though!

Meta is, and has been used by developers and designers for a long time. However, more recently, the importance of video metadata has been brought to light with content creators and marketeers seeing the growing value of video online.

Let’s do a comparison of two media items and we’ll explain why Video Metadata is a game changer.

With embedded images, you rely on the name of the image, the alt tag and the caption (if applicable) to serve the meta. An image is a static resource, so a single caption will likely be perfect in this case.

With video, it’s not a static resource. A single video can cover many topics and surely your meta should reflect that.

Enter the html5 ‘track’ attribute.

The track attribute supports one type of text track (ie subtitles),

Video Metadata tracks allow web devs to sync any information they want to with timed points within a video. When the time point specified within the cue is hit a JavaScript or JQuery event will fire, and the text contained in the cue is passed to the script.

Let’s break this down.

A simple example could be a particular team member or presenter from a show on the BBC for example. When the presenter is on screen, it would correspond to certain time points within a cue. The could listen for these cues, and update webpage content within the site, pulling in that particular presenters bio onto the page, or filtering the page to load more items by the presenter.

The use cases for tracks are pretty much limitless, and we’ll explore some of these in more detail in future posts.

The power of the HTML5 track attribute doesn’t end there…

From an SEO standpoint, search engines (like Google) can use the information contained in the track to relate search queries to specific cues within in the video, based on the video metadata. The tracks are separated, so a search engine can prioritise results based on the length of a related segment, the amount of times with which the term appears in the video, and whether the subject of the search term appears visually in the scene, regardless of whether or not the word itself is spoken. Combine this with multiple translations and you’ve got yourself a pretty powerful piece of content, readable worldwide. Watchable worldwide and indexible on multilingual search platforms.

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