Looking to find a solid list of SEO benefits to using YouTube videos on my site vs. flash video or anything else for that matter? Clearly YouTube is owned by Google so that is a plus. YouTube is also a huge search engine in and of itself. YouTube also has built in features to help share it with others which could tie in... Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this!


There are many good reasons to host your content at YouTube (chiefly, bandwidth costs and YouTube's high availability) and some drawbacks to be considered (it doesn't benefit you if your competitors' ads can appear in content accessed from your site) ...

Search Engine Optimization, however, has traditionally been confined to proper server administration, text, and textual metadata with the goal of improved ranking in search results - though image search technologies (like tineye.com) now exist, I think it's safe to say that where your media files are hosted has far less to do with SEO than the text that appears adjacent to the media displayed on your site.

  • Thanks! YouTube videos do show up in search results so there is that benefit as well.
    – chainwork
    Sep 29 '10 at 16:29

First, some clarification: YouTube videos are Flash. Adobe Flash is the technology used to play video on YouTube and most other sites.

Now for SEO, it depends on what your aims are. Do you only want users to see the video, or do you want them to come to your web site as well?

If it's a video promoting your company or web site, then YouTube is a great way to go. You can set up your own branded channel, and get plenty of eyeballs on your content. Your videos have a higher chance of appearing in Google search results. One downside is that anyone can embed the video on their own site, bypassing both your site and your YouTube channel (if that's a problem).

On the other hand, if you want to be more like a CollegeHumor type of site, where your business is posting interesting or funny videos, perhaps self-hosting is the best way. The main drawback of self-hosting is bandwidth but you can probably get a reasonable price using a Content Delivery Network.

Another advantage of using your own site is that you can create a good page surrounding the video with plenty of (non-YouTube) content, which can aid SEO. You can get your video to appear in search results with video sitemaps.

You can still use YouTube as well - it can be a great method for additional promotion and to get more visitors to click through to your web site.

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    Not entirely true. YouTube is now doing some html5 content per youtube.com/html5 Sep 29 '10 at 15:49
  • Thanks! Another consideration is the iphone and ipad both of which will not allow flash but do allow Youtube. This may change in the future of course.
    – chainwork
    Sep 29 '10 at 16:28
  • @bpeterson76: I know that, I was trying to keep things simple ;) The choice is "YouTube-hosted vs self-hosted", not "YouTube vs Flash". Sep 30 '10 at 13:32
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    @chainwork: YouTube uses the HTML5 method for iPhone/iPad I think. I don't think that will change in the near future (I mean, the chances of Apple devices supporting Flash are very minimal). YouTube does seem like the easiest choice for bandwidth/compatibility/search. It really depends on how/if you are branding yourselves. Sep 30 '10 at 13:36

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