Yes, getting video on your site can help search engine optimization (SEO) and visitor experience, but done wrong, it can hurt SEO and the impression you give to visitors. This post will hopefully answer frequently asked questions about using video on a website.
You may also be interested in our post on creating your own YouTube Channel – a must. As soon as you have a video for your site, also post it to your YouTube Channel.
(See the videos in our header graphic at: http://www.hayesvalleymed.com/coolsculpting-body-contouring.)
The best code to use to play the video on your site is your own. But this requires development time and money.
Many developers save time and money by using YouTube’s free embed code. It’s very fast to copy and paste this into your site, but there’s a big downside. Once the video finishes playing, recommendations on other related videos hosted on YouTube will be displayed. This can drive visitors away from your site, and even worse, it can recommend video by your competitors, driving visitors to them.
As you can see, we recommend avoiding YouTube’s embed code for a good reason. But we know that budget also has to be taken into account. One idea, if budget is an issue, is to use the YouTube embed code and then as soon as the budget allows, switch to your own site’s code.
WAYS TO USE VIDEO ON YOUR SITE
We’ve ranked five main ways video can be used on a website – number one is the optimal and most beneficial – to number five, the anti-SEO, bad, bad way.
ONE – OPTIMAL
Develop your own, original, and unique videos, upload them to your server, and place them on your site using either of the code options mentioned above.
Unique content reigns as the king of SEO due to the high ranking search engines (including YouTube) give it. It’s also going to provide your visitors with a true idea of your business and add credibility. Of course, the downside is the high cost of video production, although with an iPhone/Pad and basic video editing software, just about anyone can produce their own video content.
TWO – GOOD
Use video with permission, upload them to your server, and place them on your site using either of the code options mentioned above.
An example of this is using the video created by a vendor and downloaded to your possession with permission – say with granted access to their brand box. Since the content is not unique, the SEO value is slim.* But it is still valuable for user experience and adds credibility and caché to your site.
THREE – NOT SO GOOD
Use YouTube video without permission. Using YouTube’s “embed” feature, grab the video code and place it on your website. (Note that some video content producers turn off the embed feature completely so this might not even be possible.)
This opens you to lawsuits – or at least a cease and desist letter. YouTube does actually seek out and punish copyright infringement. Since the content is not unique, the SEO value is slim.* You’d have to feel strongly that the content will have great user value before following this path.
FOUR – NOT SO GOOD, AND COMPLICATED
Use non-YouTube video without permission. It is possible to “lift” video off of other websites, but it usually is not easy and requires advanced HTML and video skills.
Again, this opens you to lawsuits – or at least a cease and desist letter. You’d have to feel really strongly that the content will have great user value before following this path.
FIVE – DON’T DO IT!
Linking to the video on another site, including YouTube.
By doing this, you are driving visitors off your site. Who knows what they may be distracted by on this other site – including your competition. You also have no control over the page containing the video. If the video’s URL is changed, you’d have a dead link on your site. If the video is moved, you could lose the content. Out-going links have no SEO value.
Did we miss something? Still confused? Ask John.
*One way to help SEO if you go this route is to put the video on a separate web page, rather than putting it in-line with other content. At the least, that additional page will increase the size of your site which can help SEO.