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Optimizing Multimedia Files for “Blended or Universal Search”


With the advent of Google Universal Search, Ask 3D and other “blended” search services, images and other multimedia files will increasingly be appearing in search results. If you’re not optimizing these files on your website, you’re missing out on capturing some of this increasingly valuable real-estate.

So, what is this all about? Well, if you realize that while search engines are good at “seeing” text – they cannot “see” the contents of a multimedia file. They can’t “see” images like photos, they can’t “play” a flash file, and they can’t “see or hear” a video when it plays. So, proper file optimization is basically a way to tell the search engines what they’re missing – and guide them on how to index and rank these files as part of your overall SEO. Not sure how to optimize multimedia files for search engines? Here are some quick tips:

  • Use keywords in file names. For instance, if your page is about Pomeranian dogs, then instead of naming the video clip of this year’s Westminster winner “winner.wmv”, name it “pomeranian-breed-winner.wmv”.
  • Include keywords in the image ALT Tag. An ALT tag is HTML code specifically used to clue the search engines into what the file is all about.
  • Limit the overall number of images per page, as too many will dilute your keyword mix.
  • Provide a keyword optimized summary or recap of the file as text on the same page – and put the text near the file it relates to.
  • Submit your video files to YouTube and/or Google Video. As of now, Google is not crawling websites for video files to include in search results, so you can rely on these two to get your video files noticed. (This applies to video files ONLY, not to image files – which ARE crawled and indexed.)