For years my standard protocol for maximizing video SEO (search engine optimization) had been, put your video everywhere (i.e. YouTube, Vimeo, blip.tv, etc.) then embed the most appropriate player (usually Vimeo or YouTube) on your site. I talk about this in my “Definitive Guide to Choosing Between Vimeo and YouTube.” However, lately my eyes have been opened and I’ve come to the realization that just blindly putting yours (or your clients’) videos everywhere then embedding Vimeo (or YouTube) may not be the best way to maximizing SEO. In fact, you are most likely hurting it. The guest post by Shawn Lam on video SEO addressed this, but I didn’t really get it or the full ramifications until recently.
To that end, there are three myths to debunk about video SEO.
Myth #1: Good Video SEO Is Getting As Many Views as Possible
Most of us filmmakers want our videos seen as many times as possible. The higher the stats on our Vimeo or YouTube, the better. And I see a lot of video producers writing blog posts and telling clients that video SEO is about “making a video and putting it on YouTube.” That’s all and good, but that ISN’T SEO. Remember, SEO is about optimizing the number of people who find you and your business. Depending on the video, lots of views may be a good ego boost, and it definitely can help with brand recognition, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into good SEO. Are those views leading people to your site? Are they converting into business? This is not to minimize the positive effect of lots of views. Just don’t confuse it with SEO.
Myth #2: Putting Your Videos on YouTube Increases Your Search Rankings
Just because Google owns YouTube, YouTube videos in and of themselves do not make your videos have better search engine results. Neither does embedding a YouTube video increase the chances of your page getting ranked higher. The rankings of your page on Google are based on a whole host of factors (e.g. relevance of content, keywords, link backs from other sites, etc.) Whereas having a relevant video CAN help boost search engine results overall since rich content like video is a plus for search engine optimization, all things being equal, a YouTube video won’t rank your page any higher than any other video.
Myth #3: YouTube is Good SEO Because It’s the Second Highest Search Engine
You often hear people proclaim that because YouTube is the second largest search engine (second only to Google itself), that is reason alone to put all your videos on YouTube. The problem with that thinking is that when people are seeking out a product or service, they usually don’t start on YouTube. They start on Google. That means, if your promo video that is uploaded on YouTube does come up in a search engine result, the link to that video will go to YouTube. Once there, your video will be competing with loads of distractions from other related content (not to mention ads). The goal of a good video SEO strategy is to get the search engine result to link to your page, not YouTube.
What is Good Video SEO?
As I’ve come to learn, the primary objective of an effective video SEO strategy is to maximize the traffic to your website via the effective production and distribution of video. You accomplish this three ways:
- Host your video on a self-hosted, professional platform
- Create a video sitemap that tells Google your site is the official home of your video
- Know when and what kind of videos to use on YouTube and Vimeo to capture the audience that is there
In part 2 of this series I address how to do #1 and #2 and why it’s important. Then in part 3 I’ll talk about strategies that you can use to effectively utilize YouTube and Vimeo.