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Video SEO: Focus on Self-Hosted Videos Rather Than YouTube

Digital Marketing

Video SEO has been a buzzword in the online marketing world for some time now. People have been trying to figure out how to rank well within the video search engines ever since sites like Vimeo and YouTube started getting recognition for driving decent traffic and interactions for websites and brand names. While a video going viral on YouTube can skyrocket your business to the next level like it did for Dollar Shave Club, this is the exception rather than the rule for YouTube stardom.

The viral video that shot Dollar Shave Club to fame.

In reality, over 72 hours of video are uploaded every minute which means that your videos on YouTube goes up against a lot of competition. Not to bash on YouTube too much, but if you want to drive more quality traffic to your site by using video, then you may want to look at self-hosting videos on your website.

Advantages of Self-Hosted Video

Granted, starting up a YouTube channel and posting videos is easy to do, but the benefits can end up stopping there. Any traffic the video gets is isolated on YouTube, and in order for that traffic to get to your website an extra step needs to take place. Viewers either need to search for you (probably in Google), or click on a link that directs them to your site; all while not getting distracted by the billions of other YouTube videos (ask any college student writing a paper how likely that is). At the end of the day, your best content should be featured on your own domain and be used for these main things…

Rich Snippets in Google SERPs

You’ve all seen them – images that appear along with the links in search engines that give searchers a better idea of what they can expect to find if they follow the link. This is an example of Google’s Authorship markup that appears for the search query video SEO.

Video SEO: Focus on Self Hosted Videos Rather Than YouTube image google rich snippet

Ms. Christensen’s headshot makes the link pop when compared to the rest of Google’s otherwise bland links but, since you can only have one rich snippet show up in the Google SERPs, an Authorship markup won’t do much good if you want your videos to show.

Now people are getting used to seeing something like this in Google SERPs…

Video SEO: Focus on Self Hosted Videos Rather Than YouTube image video snippet google

This is an example of a YouTube rich snippet which links directly to the video. It features a wider image than the Authorship markup, as well as the video’s time with a play button image to show the viewer that this is indeed a video. This is great if you want to drive traffic to your YouTube videos, but it doesn’t help much if you want to drive more traffic to your website. Luckily, you can still get the video rich snippet when you host videos on your own site:

Video SEO: Focus on Self Hosted Videos Rather Than YouTube image video self hosted snippet

As you can see here, Yoast has the same type of video rich snippet as the YouTube example above, but it is going directly to Yoast’s page that features the video. Rich snippets catch the searcher’s eye and have been proven to improve click through rate and, if paired with strong content, higher conversions. This Google Webmaster page explains the markup for video rich snippets in more detail.

Build Natural Links

When a YouTube video goes viral it can create thousands of links from social shares and people posting the video on their own websites, but all of these links are pointing back to YouTube. If you host your best video content (and are exclusive with it) on your site, then you can build natural links and traffic to your site as people share the video and embed it within their own blog posts. Including rich, keyword anchor text within the video embed code gets you natural backlinks that can help your entire site climb the rankings for your keywords. This natural accumulation of links feeds itself as the site begins to rank higher in Google SERPs and more natural traffic comes in from search queries.

Don’t Discount YouTube Completely

While it may have sounded like this article is bashing on YouTube, that was not the intent. You should merely be aware that targeting your entire video campaign on YouTube may not have the desired effect for SEO since you’ll mainly be promoting your YouTube channel, rather than your website. A full video SEO campaign should feature videos on your site, and sites such as YouTube. After all, YouTube gets over 1 billion unique visitors a month which is a huge bus to throw your content in front of. While your site may not see a drastic increase in numbers from videos on YouTube, you can still build your brand and reach a much wider audience than you might have by only focusing on self-hosted content.

Please note all guest posts are the opinion of the author and may not be reflective of the views of Conductor.

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  1. Silke says:

    Another advantage of hosting the video on your own website is that visitors can watch it without any interruptions through advertisement. Also, don’t forget to create a video sitemap in order to fully benefit from video SEO.

  2. Hi There Daniel,

    Thanks for this post. I’d like to start with a disclaimer and say that I’m part of the team at http://Treepodia.com – We’re the leading provider of automated video for ecommerce. Our clients include Walmart.com, Dell.com, Buy.com etc.

    The questions that comes to mind is “Why do i need to choose? Can’t I have my videos on Youtube AND self hosted?”

    Would love to get your response on that one.

    Our experience with this issue, and the type of questions we were getting from our clients, led to the eventual development of one of our platform’s most popular add-ons – the Video Distribution service.
    In a nutshell what this service does is distribute the product videos generated by our platform, not only back to the original product page, but also to most major video portals (including , guaranteeing our clients the best of all worlds.

    Would love to have you weigh in on this : )

    Best,
    Mike
    @treepodia

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