Question: If we’re hosting videos on a private server, aren’t we missing out on the SEO benefits of YouTube?
The answer to this is complex, but the short answer is: not necessarily.
There is certainly a time and a place for YouTube – which we can post to, by the way, as determined by our marketing strategy for your piece – however it’s not the site for everyone.
The general assumption is that because YouTube is owned by Google, and because Google is such a dominating force in the search engine world, that we need to post every video we’ve ever made to our YouTube channel so that it’s found in general search results. Right?
But what happens when you search for “how to attract honeybees”, and the video you find is from a great honeybee conservation and advocacy group, and it’s hosted on YouTube.com?
Well, you click the video, and you’re redirected to YouTube.com, where you see the video.
Maybe you notice that the video was posted by World’s Greatest Honeybee Conservation Group and you find their website in the video description, and then you happily visit their site, find buckets of gloriously useful content, get inspired, become a member, and start a new life of honeybee bliss.
What is more likely to happen is this: you watch the video, never visit the World’s Greatest Honeybee Conservation Group site, but you’ve certainly learned something about how to attract honeybees.
That in itself is super awesome, of course. You might have luck with your honeybees, but you’ve never left YouTube.com.
What happens instead when you search that same query, and the very same video you find from that same group is embedded exclusively on their website? Well, you click the video, and you’re redirected to the World’s Greatest Honeybee Conversation Group’s website.
But wait a minute … how does that work?
Our videos are full of the same SEO keywords and metadata that YouTube allows for, so your video is just as easily accessible via search engine and it drives traffic directly to your site, rather than YouTube’s. The YouTube method counts on the viewer taking an additional step to locate your website’s hyperlink in the video description, visit the site, and then poke around. That is, of course, if they’re not distracted by the “related videos” or ads that follow (oh yeah, and relies on the viewer to patiently sit through an ad at the front of your video). And that’s really the ticket here – YouTube benefits from viewers consuming as many videos (and, subsequently, ads) as possible. If all the bee folks hoped to do was raise a general awareness of how to attract honeybees, their YouTube video has likely done its job. However, if they were hoping to provide other (non-video) related resources, recruit new members, sell a product, etc. the likelihood of converting that lead is a little smaller.
Well, couldn’t you have both?
Yes, you certainly could … and we recommend a bit of strategy if you’d like to go down that road. You see, having two of the same video hosted both on YouTube and on your website with the same SEO strategy puts the two videos in competition with one another. Therefore, it’s possible that your YouTube video will “out-rank” the video hosted on your site, driving all traffic right back to YouTube again. This is still valuable to those organizations that simply are trying to generate brand awareness, but again, if you’re hoping to drive traffic to your website, you could be short changing yourself.
But if your videos aren’t on YouTube, will they be shareable on social media?
Absolutely! Videos hosted on our private server have full sharing capabilities on your social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter, plus embed codes for emails, and more. Furthermore, the top social media sites have now incorporated native video players, meaning that your content can be uploaded directly to each site as needed – and you’re able to download a version of your video in a full range of sizes, depending on the destination, right from our site. Plus, we have some pretty cool customizable features and analytics tools that we think you’re going to like.
What if you want to start a video series that you believe people will subscribe to, and you think you’ll have so many viewers that you can actually make money through monetization?
Well, you’re totally right, you should probably develop a YouTube strategy – and quickly! If your goal is to get people to view your videos and take no immediate action, YouTube is great. Your viral video could be trending in no time, and perhaps you’ll be making your mortgage payment with income you’ve collected through monetization. The reality for most of us is that we’ll probably keep our day jobs, and we’ll stick to developing video content to market our products and services.
So, what’s the moral of the story here? Do we just hate YouTube or what?
We do not hate YouTube. We love YouTube. We’ll happily create a YouTube account for you and help you develop a strategy to manage it, if that suits your goals best. We know that “YouTube” and “internet video” are nearly synonymous, and we don’t want you to be afraid to host your video elsewhere, if that suits your goals best. There are many benefits to hosting your videos on our private server, and certainly a key benefit is having a clean look to the videos embedded on your website, and then having those videos drive traffic to your website.
Either way, we have your back, and we’ll help you develop a video marketing strategy that works.