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What Is Discoverability?

Holmes and Watson seated in a train car, Paget 1892

You've spent hours (maybe days!) working on your great video and now you want the world to see it. Since your video will be hosted on a service like YouTube or Vimeo, most viewers will find it either via a search for a particular subject, or as a recommendation given by the host website itself. 

How can the website (or a search engine like Google) know what your video is about?

In order for your video to be found, or in other words discovered, there must be information attached to the video beyond the audio-visual content in the uploaded file itself.

It is remarkable how many excellent videos get very few views. This can be from poor discoverability.

The topic of how to drive viewers to one's content is call search engine optimization. (SEO) It is a major concern of professional web content creators. 

A file hosted on the web, particularly sound or video, is not easily searchable as search systems are built to discover text. In this section, we will cover some tips to help make your video easier for potential viewers to find.

Improving Discoverability

While a video itself may not provide much information that a search engine can find, metadata attached to the video can provide clues to search engines that will reveal the content, making your video discoverable.

Metadata is extra information attached to an online asset that helps to classify and explain the content so it can be found. If you've ever searched for a book at the library—or remember the card catalog—every book has information like Author, Subject, Dewey classification, year published, etc. that helps you find the right book. Online content works in the same way.

For videos hosted on YouTube or social media, we can add a title, keywords, hashtags, description, and a script to help improve discoverability. 

It is important to think of keywords and metadata before uploading since new videos are prioritized in recommendations. 

This short video covers basic discoverability concepts.

Improving Video Discoverability on YouTube (UC ANR)

Most of the basics are covered in this video.

If you desire more in-depth coverage of the topic, this fact sheet will be helpful: Optimizing Video Discoverability .

More Tips

There is a wealth of information about SEO and discoverability on the web. As you would expect, it can be found with a Google search. :-)

By virtue of posting on one of UC ANR's main channels, your video will be more discoverable since there are thousands of subscribers. Keyword-rich descriptions and good title help, but there are other methods.

There are many opinions about techniques to improve views. It is not an exact science and only Google knows how the recommendation algorithm actually works.

Here are some current sources of information about improving views on YouTube and on SEO in general. 

These can enhance your video's success, but just following the basic guidelines covered in the video above will represent a great improvement over just posting a video.