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Video: Embedded Youtube Vs. Self-hosting


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26 replies to this topic

#1 cswilliams

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 09:27 AM

Debate going on here in my company on the following scenario.

We have a site on, say, "bicycle repair" - with various pages on that topic/sub-topics. Optimized content, blah blah. We also have a set of videos on repairing bicycles, which have been uploaded already to YouTube. Now we want to put the videos on our site.

One side wants to just embed - via YouTube - the related video (say, the "fixing a flat tire" video on the "Flat Tire?" page). This is easier from a production standpoint.

The other side wants to host the videos on our site, and create an video index page, and then either put the video on the related page or create a new stand-alone page for each video (linked to and from the relevant topic page). This, however, would be more difficult production-wise (don't ask why).

My feeling is that from a pure SEO standpoint (and I should stress that it's the content/topic page we want to rank well, not necessarily the video, although that would be nice as well) the latter choice is best. We create additional, related and linked topical content for the spider to read.

Is my view correct?
Does anyone know if embedded YouTube videos create any SEO benefit for the page/site that's embedding the videos?
Are there other considerations (such as the loss of video views if we don't embed from YouTube - thinking being that increasing the video views might help the video on YouTube show up via YouTube search)?



#2 Gerry White

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 09:53 AM

the host or post debate - both have merit, I am not sure I am allowed to do this, but take a look at ReelSEO (google it) it should take you to the reelseo.com website, that is an amazing collection of SEO for video articles.

My feeling is that both have merit - if the video is what you want people to see then post it (youtube etc..) if its the site then hostit and use a video sitemap...

Gerry

#3 cswilliams

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 10:11 AM

Thanks Gerry, I'll take a look at that.

However, unless I misread your reply, it's not exactly a "host it or post it", as we've already posted it to YouTube. It's an "embed it or host it" for publishing on our pages.

#4 Jill

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 11:40 AM

QUOTE
Does anyone know if embedded YouTube videos create any SEO benefit for the page/site that's embedding the videos?


We did have another recent thread on that topic where some seemed to think that hosting it on your site was better than embedding, but I'm not sure I've seen any proof of it just yet. I started to do some of my own research, but got busy and haven't completed it yet.

I'd say to start looking at which pages show up for different keywords and look at where the videos are hosted and you can make your own determination.

My guess is that it shouldn't matter where they're hosted. But that's simply a guess.

#5 BBCoach

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 12:19 PM

Question. Do SEs index videos? No they can't. So whether you host or embed a video on a page, is there any benefit? No. Whichever method (embed or host) is moot from an SEO stance, but what an intelligent individual would do is write copy describing the content of the video.

#6 Jill

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 12:49 PM

My thoughts exactly BBCoach.

#7 Randy

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:21 PM

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Do SEs index videos? No they can't.


But they're getting smarter and better all the time BBCoach. wink1.gif

In fact they even give you ways to create timelines where you can link to specific places in the middle of video now, and those links and anchor text they apparently do index based upon my limited testing of the subject. So in essence while they may not index the content of a video speaking in a strict sense, you can get them to index the content of the video. Effectively connecting the content to a video and the page on which is resides.

I'll have to fire up my testing on this subject again as soon as I can find some time. Like Jill I've been a bit lax in following through with some things I had in mind to test from being too busy with other stuff lately.

In my mind, as things stand today, the question comes down to do you want consumers of your video to end up at YouTube where they'll likely never see your actual site, or do you want to use the video content to attract consumers to your site so that they can take additional action before or after viewing the video.

It's not a question that can be asked in a vacuum either, unfortunately. Because if you produce some videos that attract a fair amount of traffic you have to be prepared to take the bandwidth hit. Just with the relatively small niche test I had running with really cheesy videos burned through 400 gigs of bandwidth in just a few weeks. We're talking minimal traffic for my little test. It really doesn't take many video consumers to burn through a huge amount of bandwidth in a hurry.

There are other options to (possibly) utilize to host video, so that it doesn't burn through your normal hosting plan. That was going to be in my next round of testing. Namely I wanted to see if using a service like Amazon's S3 storage and embedding video from there could still get it closely associated with a page. My guess is it will, since unlike something like YouTube the author controls exactly where it appears and when. FTR, I chose Amazon S3 to be my test subject is because they don't embed any of their own ads like the other free video hosting services, they have a huge datacenter so connectivity should be a non-issue and because it's quite reasonably priced.

Of course if I really decide to do a lot more with video in a big way I might just snap me up one of those unlimited bandwidth - unmetered servers my hosting company always wants me to lease. Being the control freak I am... lol.gif

#8 Jill

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 03:50 PM

QUOTE
In my mind, as things stand today, the question comes down to do you want consumers of your video to end up at YouTube where they'll likely never see your actual site, or do you want to use the video content to attract consumers to your site so that they can take additional action before or after viewing the video.


No, but Randy, that doesn't make sense. When you embed the video on your own page, it's just like it's on your own page. People don't end up at YouTube. They are at your site.

It's just like having an image on your site that's hosted elsewhere.

#9 Randy

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 04:28 PM

I'll agree with you up to a point Jill. With a huge but in the equation.

If you host the video on YouTube you must realize and recognize that you're giving up a certain level of control. In this same vein of thought, if lots of people or even a few people who happen to run High Authority sites either start pointing links to the YouTube page where the video appears or start embedding it themselves (hey, you gave up that right by uploading it to YouTube!) the chances are at least 50/50 that either YouTube or these other sites who are embedding your YouTube hosted video on their own highly optimized page.

Bottom line, I don't think there is one right answer, nor wrong answer to the general question. I think it depends largely upon what your motivation is as the content provider, how much control you need over the video and how much bandwidth you've got to burn if or when the video's start going viral.

#10 BBCoach

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 04:31 PM

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In fact they even give you ways to create timelines where you can link to specific places in the middle of video now
Who are they? I assume you're talking about the video software editing tools. Actually, the latest SilverLight stuff does a whole lot more with its tie-in to C#. Been testing it off n on for the past six months, but haven't came to a conclusion on the best implementation. Like you said about the bandwidth issue, we discovered that 10 people simultaneously watching videos on the site tanks the bandwidth of a 20meg fiber line big time!
QUOTE
and those links and anchor text they apparently do index based upon my limited testing of the subject. So in essence while they may not index the content of a video speaking in a strict sense, you can get them to index the content of the video. Effectively connecting the content to a video and the page on which is resides.
Now you've made more work for me. I haven't noticed this, but then again the few videos we have don't have links or anchor text embedded. Work, work and more work. Thanks Randy.

BTW, we plan on using YouTube and embed the videos on pages describing the content. That's a HUGE project coming down the pike. Also, I doubt any product demo videos that we're making would go viral, but who knows?

#11 qwerty

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 10:24 PM

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Who are they? I assume you're talking about the video software editing tools.

Nope, he's talking about a way to link to a particular point in a video on YouTube. The only thing you have to edit is the URL. See Matt Cutts on how to link to a specific part of a YouTube video
QUOTE
If you want to link to a specific part of a video on YouTube, you can. For example,

http://www.youtube.c...azfZWI#t=31m08s

Notice the #t=31m08s on the end of the url? That link will take you 31 minutes and 8 seconds into that video.


#12 ogormask

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 11:51 PM

well Google just tossed a wild card into this equation because just a few weeks ago they started throwing out thumbnails for youtube videos. Its not just in the top rank spot either. I have seen them on the #9 spot and on the 2nd and 3rd pages. I think the thing you miss out on if you post a video on your own is that you dont get the huge audience that youtube can offer. I also think that yes they can index video now. There is some strange stuff going on just in the past couple weeks.

#13 Gerry White

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 05:17 AM

QUOTE
"...Question. Do SEs index videos? No they can't. So whether you host or embed a video on a page, is there any benefit? No. Whichever method (embed or host) is moot from an SEO stance, but what an intelligent individual would do is write copy describing the content of the video. .."



Kind of wrong - they can if you have a video sitemap, its not a complicated thing to produce - and you will often find that it appears in the index, with a link to your hosted page.... I don't think you can do that with a youtube hosted video, but you can with your own hosting... I am working on a site which down the line will have a few hundred videos so will hopefully be a little more expert (personal project) my employers are also working on a video project hence why I have done a fair bit of research into it ... Unfortunately I have rarely seen videos turn up that aren't on one of the 3 or 4 major video hosting sites (try a search for whiteboard friday).

SO - yes, there are benefits to hosting your own video, providing you can and its not too costly, and you can produce and submit a video sitemap, but its a genuine gamble...

#14 BBCoach

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 09:35 AM

Thanks Qwerty! I'll check that stuff out. I was thinking editors because of what is possible with C# and SilverLight.

#15 frances

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 01:06 PM

This is just one example so doesn't really carry much weight.

This is for a client site that already ranks well for - say - bicycles. We decided to host the videos with well optimized pages, video sitemap and thumbnails, mainly because the videos weren't that sexy and I didn't imagine they would do that well on youtube.

A year later - our video page is the first video in the Google results for bicycles and with a thumbnail. The highest ranking youtube videos are about six spots lower. And no way would we have beaten then on youtube.

So for us, hosting worked better. Though who knows how long it will last...





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