Can Video live without Music?

Google New Logo For YouTube :)
Image by dannysullivan via Flickr

I was reading and article about site ranking on the Inman Report today. Here’s what Bernice Ross had to say about video and Google ranking:

“Google’s algorithm (the mathematical formula that determines Web ranking) seems to assign higher rankings to sites that have video. Consequently, use video to improve your ranking. Please note that virtual tours that scan still photos do not rank as highly as actual video. Furthermore, Google recently started using software that allows it to convert the voice track of a video into search-able text. This means that if you are using music on your videos, it’s smart to dump the music and replace it with a voice track. The music does nothing to improve your search-engine ranking, while the voice track does. Also, don’t forget to add plenty of still pictures, as this helps your ranking as well.”

I am heartened by some of these points. It was only a matter of time before Google’s sophistication at indexing video improved with the help of SEO fields on 3rd party hosting sites such as YouTube and WellcomeMat. Yet would I be sacrificing a key element at the altar of film-making by taking off my carefully syncopated soundtracks? ┬áSound and music is crucial to the narrative flow, even something as dry as a virtual house tour. It provides editing ‘beats’ and color. I personally am not going to strip music out of story-telling pieces. Straight up interviews might be another story, but I want viewers to enjoy watching my videos and feel like they are skipping along with purpose. Often, good music that is strategically placed provides a motif and further identity to the contributor.

Ultimately, it’s a decision about what you want a video to achieve on a site. If it’s to make it as engaging and watchable as possible to keep visitors on the site and communicate something, then think about using of music and sound effectively. If what is being said is keyword rich and part of a strategy to get seen by as many people as possible, then leaving off a soundtrack would be something to seriously consider.

Feel free to offer your feedback on this issue or on my use of music for some of Union Street Media’s video content!

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