Today - Veeple, an online video platform that we've covered in the past, announced a new feature for their customers which helps a bit with the long-standing issue of Flash and SEO. They have modified their video embed codes to provide alternative text content for the search engines.
Although the <embed> tag is now deprecated, it is really the only tag that works equally well across browsers and most online video platforms as well as video sharing sites like YouTube provide video embed tags using this tag, perhaps that is why they are called embed tags ;-) Its sibling - the <noembed></noembed> tag, allows for alternative text description to be placed in between and behind the embedded videos. This is its legitimate use and search engines will see this text content so as to further help the search engines understand the context of the video landing page.
What do I mean by this? Well, let's take a look at an example from the Veeple:
The NoEmbed Tag in Action with Veeple
Old Embed Code:
<embed width="430" height="278" align="middle" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" menu="false" allowscriptaccess="always" bgcolor="#ffffff" quality="high" src="http://tinyurl.com/y9l6rre" id="embVeeplePlayer">
New Embed Code:
<embed width="430" height="278" align="middle" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" menu="false" allowscriptaccess="always" bgcolor="#ffffff" quality="high" src="http://tinyurl.com/y9l6rre" id="embVeeplePlayer"><noembed><h1>Veeple Adds SEO Capabilities to Video Embed Codes</h1><p>video SEO, SEO, video marketing, online video, HTML5 and video, HTML5, video platforms, video analytics, emarketing, VSEO</p><p><a href="http://www.veeple.com" alt="Veeple Interactive Video">Veeple Interactive Video</a></noembed>
How the <NoEmbed> Works
You might be asking yourself - "Yeah, but dont search engines frown on hidden text?" The answer is a bit of a tricky one. When it comes to providing information that is useful and relevant to the rest of the page, the search engines seem to be ok with the practice. In other words, if the "hidden" text actually describes the video and isnt just a list of spam keywords, you should be just fine.
You might also be asking, cant anyone do this? Yes, for the most part you can and doing so is a best practice to follow whenever embedding a flash element on a page. But - in terms of adding on-page text to a video landing page via the noembed tag within the video embed function, Veeple is the first that I am aware of to implement this exact functionality.
So, Does it work?
Well, I would certainly hope so - Id hate to think anyone would launch such a feature without knowing if it works? And, it does. Let me demonstrate.
Let's take the page from Veeple's announcement which uses the embed code above - http://www.veeple.com/wp/?p=382
As you can see, in the noembed tag (above), they added the following keywords - "video SEO, SEO, video marketing, online video, HTML5 and video, HTML5, video platforms, video analytics, emarketing, VSEO"
Now, there are likely few, if any search results that would have this entire, identical set of stringed keywords. So, therefore, you can search in Google for this entire string using exact match and sure enough you see the blog post URL:
If you take a look at the cached copy of this page in Google and look at it in "text-only version," you will see that the text within the noembed tag is visible.
There is one minor problem in that some CMS platforms like WordPress will strip out the <noembed> tags, but there are ways around this.
Is this Video SEO?
So, is the new feature something that is a complete "video SEO" solution as I would define it? Not yet. Adding alternative text is certainly one step, and an important one for Video SEO, but it will not assist with getting the actual videos indexed (note to Scott - I'm available for consulting ;-). What it WILL do is help the search engines better understand the context of the URL that hosts the video embed tag.
I spoke with Scott Broomfield (CEO of Veeple) this past weekend about the new feature and he made it clear to me that this was just the first step that they are taking towards providing a solution to customers that will take full advantage of Video SEO - music to my ears.
Here is Scott's video about the new functionality:
In the above video, I added some alt text using this method. If you search in Google for "Veeple Loves ReelSEO" (without the spaces) - you should find this page indexed. Give it a few hours.
Congrats Scott and Veeple.