In this article I will explore how video content can increase SEO for your website. If a video is hosted on YouTube, how will that affect my SEO? What if I host it myself?
So a video production company has just created you fresh, new marketing content. Good news!! It’ll make your website look great, keep it and your social media current, attract new customers, generate more business, and boost your SEO. Because as we all know…
Google ❤️ fresh content ❗️
‘Do I just put my video on YouTube, and Google magically rates my website?’
What of the fabled ‘video is good for your SEO’ myth? Will video help you ascend the ranks of Google? How do you actually make that happen?
LexXxi_Thick Flickr via Compfight cc
The preferred and easiest route for a video to take onto your website is to host it on YouTube and/or Vimeo, then embed that link into your website – rather than hosting it yourself.
Hosting it yourself can mean creating various different versions to playback on different screen sizes, and various versions for different browsers.
YouTube is a nice and easy option, but does Google link that video to your site? Can you get the benefit of improved SEO, and use YouTube?
Ultimately, how does Google know that your video is indeed yours?
Or can I just embed anyone else’s video from YouTube and help my SEO that way?
What’s so useful about video, anyway?
Videos offer a unique opportunity to captivate visitors, boost engagement metrics, and improve overall SEO performance. Here’s how video content can positively impact your website’s search rankings:
- Increased Dwell Time: Videos tend to keep users on your website for longer durations, reducing bounce rates and increasing dwell time—a factor search engines consider when evaluating a website’s relevance and quality.
- Increase in Back Links: The presence of video on a page enhances the user experience, is highly effective at delivering information, and so incentivises external backlinks to your page.
- Improved Social Signals: Engaging videos are more likely to be shared on social media platforms, generating backlinks and driving traffic to your website. These social signals contribute to higher search engine rankings.
- Rich Snippets: When properly optimised, videos can appear as rich snippets in search engine results pages (SERPs). This visually appealing feature not only improves visibility but also increases the likelihood of attracting clicks.
So where should I upload my video then? Do I need to put it solely on my site?
Hosting it Yourself
There are good arguments to hosting the video yourself over hosting on YouTube:
Hosting on your own website:
- Will mean people link directly to your domain when quoting your video (so make it good, otherwise why link to it at all?), rather than to YouTube.
- Improved performance – hosting videos on your website prevents slow loading times caused by embedded YouTube players. Fast-loading websites are crucial for SEO, as search engines prioritise user experience and page load speed.
- Complete Control: Self-hosting videos allows you to maintain complete control over the viewing experience, eliminating external distractions and directing viewers to other relevant content on your website. YouTube, on the other hand, may well tempt viewers away with alternative content.
Z via photopin (license) photo credit: @XHOSAKO
(license) photo credit: markus spiske
But there are downsides to hosting yourself:
- Limited Exposure: While self-hosting gives you control, it restricts the potential reach and exposure compared to hosting on a platform as popular as YouTube. Your videos may not reach as large an audience or generate as many backlinks.
- Technical Considerations: Self-hosting videos requires a reliable hosting provider, sufficient server resources, and optimised video formats. Proper video compression and file formats are essential for fast loading times and seamless playback.
But the main point to remember here is that Google does not actually mind whether or not the video is physically hosted by you or YouTube, it’s all the other stuff mentioned here that goes with it. In fact, Google probably like you to host it somewhere else…
Hosting it On YouTube
- By doing hosting on YouTube, you could gain massive exposure on a very important search engine in itself, where you can drive traffic back to you own website.With over 2 billion logged-in monthly users, YouTube offers immense exposure and potential for reaching a wider audience. Leveraging its popularity can boost your brand visibility and attract more visitors to your website.
- Optimised SEO Features: YouTube provides various tools for video optimisation, including titles, descriptions, tags, and closed captions. These elements can help improve your video’s discoverability within the platform’s search results.
- YouTube videos can be embedded on other websites, creating backlinks that contribute to your website’s authority. These backlinks are valuable for SEO and can improve your website’s organic search rankings.
- Video Rich snippets. 92% of these regular search snippets are dedicated to Google’s partner in crime, YouTube, the only other mildly ‘significant’ players being Daily Motion and Vimeo; and overall numbers have been cut significantly in recent years. These days, video rich snippets on the regular Google search appear to be populated solely by YouTube, it’s only on the video search page where others might get a look in.
- Last, and by no means least. Google is far more likely to prioritise YouTube hosted video in its rankings. Case closed!
Here are a few nice stat’s to support the YouTube option:
- According to Cisco, 80% of all internet traffic was represented by video in 2022, up from 73% in 2016
- A billion hours of video is consumed on YouTube every single day.
- YouTube content reaches more adults during prime-time TV hours than any television network
- YouTube is the fastest growing search engine among people under the age of 25
- It reaches over 30 million people per day
- YouTube is also the most likely way you will gain a video rich snippet for your company on a Google search
Points to be aware of when posting on YouTube:
- Add a link to your site in the description. This is very important, here is a free backlink, use it!
- Careful with the name, make sure it is something that will stand out, and that the keywords are carefully chosen to reflect what people might be searching for in relation to your product or business.
The ultimate question is
‘Do the added IT complications of self-hosting provide significant and worthwhile SEO benefits?‘
Except for a few very select circumstances it’s a ‘no’, and hosting on YouTube will suit you best. Not only is it easier, but you gain added exposure, and most importantly the page will actually be prioritised in the Google search rankings.
But… it’s not only YouTube where we should be uploading our video content:
Private Publisher Flickr via Compfight cc
You can for example gain huge numbers of likes and exposure on Facebook.
Our video for a small, local, kids’ party company, Enchanted Events, gained 7.6k Facebook views on their page.
That’s a lot of exposure, and a video on Facebook gets 135% more engagement than a photo.
There’s a strong correlation between higher shares on social media and higher positions in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
It’s not just Facebook of course, the likes of Twitter and Instagram are a must. Social Media posts can also drive traffic to your website, maybe by offering a discount code, or to see further or more in depth videos, or find other resources and information.
- Hosting on YouTube only will not directly improve your personal SEO, you need the links and embeds on your site.
- What you can do is add your own backlink to the YouTube description.
- Exposure on YouTube could be hugely beneficial, essentially by using YouTube as the search engine instead of Google.
- It’s far, far easier to get YouTube to do it! Which counts for a lot if you are regularly uploading videos.
- And if you use YouTube, don’t stop there. Create shorter versions and put them on social media to drive traffic to your site.
photo credit: hunnnterrr
- Keep videos short. Or grab a viewer’s attention quickly – that is to say put your best stuff at the top of your video. A study from Microsoft revealed that people have shorter attention spans than goldfish: eight seconds! And for social, I’d say this holds up.
- Quality not quantity. The higher the quality, the longer people will watch for, and the better chance you have to convey your message, set yourself apart, and demonstrate your quality. A better video will also get more links, and more exposure on YouTube.
This blog was originally published November 2019 and has been updated since.
If you would like to provide feedback, if there is anything I have missed, or even get a quote for a video production job, feel free to get in touch.