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Optimizing For Google TV

Google TV is here! It includes a full web browser, so if you have a lot of video content, you might want to optimize for larger screens and audiences who are sitting on their couches. Fortunately, Google has published some optimization tips.

In a blog post, they suggest optimizing for the “10-foot user interface” and a remote rather than a mouse, which they’ve done with YouTube videos with YouTube Leanback. The post links to their TV viewing design guide and recommends ensuring:

  • The text is viewable from the “sofa-to-TV” distance
  • Navigation can be done from the arrows of a remote rather than a mouse

The post also provides details on how to test via web browser what the end result will look like.

How to Show The “TV” UI to the Right Viewers

The Google TV Web Site Optimization Guide describes how you might implement the 10-foot UI in practice and provides site architecture and URL structure recommendations. As with designing for mobile devices, you first have to decide whether to use a device-specific stylesheet with a single piece of content and URL or if you want to create separate pages for different device experiences. For instance, if you are planning not to show substantial sections of content for a the TV version, you may not want to slow down the performance of the page and load that content. In either case, Google recommends keeping the different versions on a single domain.

Using CSS to Display TV Content

If you use this approach, the URL stays the same whether users are viewing the content on a computer or Google TV. You would include stylesheets for each media type that would determine how the page renders in each case. The referenced style sheets in the source code of the page would look as follows:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="my-existing-css.css"
type="text/css" media="screen" />

<link rel="stylesheet" href="tv.css" type="text/css" media="tv" />

Redirecting Google TV Viewers to a Different URL

If you use this approach, when the server detects the Google TV user agent is requesting a page, the server redirects the viewer to the TV version of the URL. Google recommends using a 302 redirect and including the rel=canonical attribute in the source code of the page to point to the original version of the URL. This consolidates all link value and ensures that the original version is indexed.

Google recommends detecting Large Screen and Google TV in the user agent strings when determining which viewers to redirect.

Ensuring Your Videos Are Well Indexed

When viewers do Google searchers using Google TV, the search results are the same as those found doing a web search on a computer. Make sure that you optimize your video pages and submit a Video Sitemap to increase visibility.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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