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Yesterday, I had a conversion with a friend who was implementing SEO techniques on his websites a couple of years ago. He also stopped this activity since then.

He claims that relevant YouTube videos are bringing more traffic than relevant backlinks, in general. Is this (still) true? I am a bit puzzled about his statement, because I don't see that many people mentioning relevant video's as a valid strategy to get traffic.

Does anyone have experience to share about this? Thanks!

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Do Videos Bring more Traffic than backlinks in General?

Yes and No.. It really depends if your page(s) are already ranking, and then the quality of backlinks you have.

Ultimately if your number one on the page then no, it simply won't. You should consider YouTube as a Social Tool to bring in more visitors to your site on phrases that you may not be ranking for. Some phrases may be simply to hard to rank good for while YouTube in effect is its own Search Engine so your results can appear top on YouTube or your Video may appear in the SERPS of Google.

Outreach with YouTube

Using YouTube is fantastic at gaining direct traffic and it actually helps your Authority as when uploading your videos your able to back link to your site adding more Diversity in your link profile as well as passing Relevancy.

YouTube uses Nofollow Links - Nofollow links are believed to Help SEO

Most people assume that nofollow links hold no value, this is completely untrue... It's proven that Google uses no follow and dofollow links to establish what your site is about and how relevant the content is to what people are searching for. So even if you don't receive many hits on the videos and much direct lead traffic from people following the Close Caption links or more information links it'll still help your site authority.

A few links where you can read about NOFOLLOW helping SERPS

  1. Why Nofollow links can still add benefit
  2. An experiment in nofollow links, links do pass value and rankings

YouTube Videos may rank very well in SERPS Vs Monster Sites

YouTube is also a great way of beating people on HIGH search volume search queries. YouTube videos rank very HIGH generally without much work - if the video is great. And will rank much better than your site with a lot of work for example if its widely dominated search phrase. This can lead to more visitors than where normally you couldn't. Furthermore as I've said you get the back-link juice.

Here's a link about Ranking Videos on the First page, though its pretty obvious to many that videos nowadays appear on most searches.

YouTube is a Video Search Engine

It's also worth mentioning that on some searches people are now adding Keywords + Youtube, so while before you might not even be found by these people you can gain these types of people. "Phrase - YouTube" is constantly raising as people are preferring videos for all types of information.

Take the Topic Web Design for example, the phrase "Web Design YouTube" is roughly searched 1,300 times. While this isn't the best example it proves the fact that if you didn't have a video on YouTube with this phrase then your potential not outreaching as much as possible, the more out reach your brand, site has the more chances your get backlinks. No one can back link your site without knowing it exists so any direct traffic is a good THING.

Above Data Provided by Majestic SEO keyword Monthly Search

Authority is Important

For Maximum Authority on your Videos to help pass back relevancy back to your own sites, you want to include the FURTHER information with a good description of the video and the content offered on the page if they go to it. Also an amazing tip is fill in the CC this gives Google the ability to establish more about the video and confirming that the Title of the video is a closer match to what people expect, again passing more authority back to you.

Google as you know loves content, for some time now Google has the ability to CRAWL close caption data within the videos. Therefor its only common sense that this will be used in some ways for video ranking since after all how else can it tell other than the title of the video? Of course you have views of videos which increase the videos but if you have 0 views? how else can you climb. Its a good thing to use, read more here Video Accessibility Closed Captions Video SEO and more about SEO Page Authority.

There's Thousands of YouTube Tips

Its worth reading tips about SEO and YouTube as the higher your videos rank the better direct traffic your get as well as more authority pass. Another TIP which many don't follow its harder to rank the ROOT domain of your site, rather than linking to the root domain link to a deeper URL which the video is about - Furthermore don't forget to embed the video on that page too :P

YouTube is a Social Platform

Finally its worth mentioning that YouTube is a social platform and people watching and engaging in comments passes back social signals to your site as Google will know what YouTube Channel is yours just as it knows if you have a Tweeter Account. Social Signals are important for Link Diversity which in effect passes TRUST back to you and rewards more on your back-links.

You can read about Social Indicators and Link Diversity here: Google Penguin Updates Impact on Anchor Texts and Text Diversity.

It's important to know a lot of this information is NOT OFFICIAL. You simply won't find official information on what ranks better! Matt Cutts the leader of the SEO team at Google is often very vague to questions to say the least, They don't want us knowing what elements is perfect for ranking but everything I have posted goes of Logic and pushes towards direct traffic to your site and therefor chances of getting additional backlinks never-mind the that in the link provides several studies have been found that nofollows help. There's more online just use the Google Search ;)

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Do you have any sources to back up your assertions? –  danlefree Jan 30 '13 at 22:31
    
Ya its called Google Search –  bybe Jan 30 '13 at 22:41
    
Updated the post with a few links for the lazys :P additionally if you want FACTS then go work for Google as the CEO of SEO. –  bybe Jan 30 '13 at 23:04
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Unless you are conducting original research, collecting data, and publishing your results, it is on you to support your assertions based on others' opinions by citing those that you're trusting for your opinion. –  danlefree Jan 30 '13 at 23:41
    
Ah right, True but to be honest most SEO is based on Opinion. Collected Data isn't much to go on either since Google changes their rankings all the time but with that Said everything in the article is based of my personal opinion and of others. Maybe I should trend carefully with words like FACT and let people know that its based on opinion more obviously. I've updated this in the article to reflect that now. –  bybe Jan 31 '13 at 0:19
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