Emma-Julie Fox enjoys writing on subjects related to social media and SEO. She works as a writer at Pitstop Media Inc, a Vancouver based company that provides SEO services to businesses across North America. To read more posts written by Emma please visit Pitstop Media’s Blog.
Want your videos to rank higher? Where should you host your videos, on your own site or third party platforms like, Youtube, Vimeo, etc? The answers depend on your goal and your target audience.
Self-Hosting Or Third Party Platforms
Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages making them suitable for very different kinds of situations. Sometimes self-hosting is a must for some people because of regulations and restrictions from third parties.
For instance, self-hosted methods allow website owners to incorporate rich content for their own domain, whereas YouTube or Vimeo provides a wider audience, though not all of them may be relevant. Self hosted videos players can be better customized to suit your need or taste, while third party hosting can’t.
YouTube videos will get a decent rank automatically, though not for your own domain, while self-hosting can build links back to your own domain through embedding.
Getting Your Videos Ranked
From an SEO point of view, a video should be able to get high ranking on search engine results. This will be able to get you more traffic and in turn, more conversions. Webmasters have to very careful as videos are a powerful source of influence and can even help create strong brand impressions or notoriety. They can even contain embedded links for diverting traffic to your domain.
If the purpose of your video is to get high ranks on search engine results, create rich bites of information and generate conversations then you fall in the largest category of users.
Search engine optimizers try to increase number of visitors to a site by creating interesting or sensational videos, which would become viral. This would increase ranking in organic search engine result pages. A well-designed video is better than any other tactic to improve conversations.
Whether self hosted or third party hosting, the location of your video should be on a page which targets keywords which are likely to receive video rich snippets.
To determine the viability of video results, you need to browse through the search engine result pages and find out which snippets are currently ranking high. Of course shopping, local and PPC results are off-limits but there will usually be a high volume of queries around any topic which returns video results.
Sample Upload Video page on YouTube
Top Tips To Improve Your Videos’ Organic Search Performance
1. Keywords build around certain theme tend to get more video hits. For example:
- What is
- How to …
2. Create a mix of images, text and other media on your webpage. This will make it appealing to both search algorithms and potential customers. Spread out your videos over your domain or host site so that you can target more terms to lure a larger audience.
3. To host your video you can either use your existing host or you can even use cloud solutions such as Amazon S3, but keep the bitrates low so that you do not incur high costs when exporting videos.
4. Contrary to common belief YouTube or Vimeo may not be the best idea mankind has ever had for video based SEO. YouTube videos are embedded in organic search engine result pages (SERP) and thus it is the YouTube domain that will rank on search results. In fact it would be a better idea to securely host the video on your domain, submit a video XML sitemap and implement the schema mark-up.
5. Make sure the video cannot be embedded outside of your domain without a backlink to your site. After all, why should others reap the benefits of your hard work? Keeping the content unique to your site leaves no option for search engines to display anything else in search results for your video. Users who wish to watch the video will invariably be directed towards your domain and thus giving you better opportunities for conversions.
7. In case you decide to self-host your videos there are a few good players available online which you can use. The most famous one is the JW player, though it is paid. If you want open source players then try Video JS or Kaltura HTML 5.
8. Submit a video XML sitemap to Google using you Webmaster Tools account. To understand the basics on building video sitemaps and getting video rich snippets on Google, you can refer to their Webmaster Tools guide which explains all sitemap elements in full.
9. Google is not biased about the video length in search results but videos lasting less than 30 seconds do not show up on search results very often. On the other hand keep you videos short and to the point, since consumers are more likely to watch their entire length.
10. On site video content is a type of inbound marketing strategy, even though many confuse it with outbound. If the content is focussing on commercial viability then it is important that they are not confused with commercials or advertisements. This is because of the fact that if a consumer has visited your website and watched the video, it already shows intent or interest. Hard-selling a product at this stage may make a potential customer defensive.
11. If you are still bent on opting for YouTube or Vimeo, then it is better that you make an informed decision. It is not to say that there are no advantages to using Vimeo, but it may not be the right option for the above mentioned needs. Vimeo does have a really good ROI (return on investment) rate and the customizable player is loaded with features. The usage is limited by views instead of bandwidth which makes it easier to analyse the ROI.
12. Both YouTube and Vimeo have their own ways to help create customized pages in form of highly attractive YouTube channels or video portfolio microsites. The version of Vimeo which is available for commercial videos is called Vimeo Pro. It is paid, unlike YouTube.
On the downside, Vimeo does not have an XML sitemap feature and the elaborate settings leave a wide scope for error, which will result in insecure content.
Videos can and should be a traffic source, no matter the traffic source is directly a search engine or from YouTube or Daily Motion. It should be a part of your SEO strategy and a matter of fact you would be better if you can diversify the traffic sources, rather than relying just on Google.