Everyone understands that video is a valuable component of modern Internet marketing. However, few understand how video content translates into SEO value. If you really want to maximize your video content, you need to know how it works in relation to search engine ranking factors. In particular, it's important to understand the differences between website-hosted videos and YouTube-hosted videos. 

The Power of Video

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, what about a video? Can you quantify how many words a video is worth? According to Forrester research, you can. Their findings claim that watching a one-minute video has the impact of reading 1.8 million words, or 3,600 web pages. 

From a marketing perspective, this is an incredible statistic. How much time and money would it take to craft 3,600 pages of copy? Now compare that with how long it would take to produce a single well-crafted video. The potential value of video is far higher than standard text-based content. 

Okay, so video holds more value than traditional content - but what does this tangibly look like? Well, consider the following statistics from this Animoto infographic on the power of video for small businesses:

  • 96 percent of customers say they find video helpful when making an online purchase decision.
  • 73 percent of customers say they are more likely to purchase a product after watching a video.
  • 94 percent of consumers watched an online video this past week.
  • 40 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 watch 10-plus online videos per week.
  • 83 percent of viewers prefer videos to be five minutes or less.
What do all of these statistics prove? Quite frankly, they show that the power of video lies in the marketplace's affinity for consuming easily digestible video content in an effort to make educated and informed purchase decisions. If you aren't respecting this desire, you could be missing out. 

The good news is that many businesses began respecting the rise of video last year; in 2015, video marketing saw a major breakthrough. Locally-based small businesses to multinational B2B organizations made hefty investments in video content. 

"Marketers have learned that video is good for more than attracting attention," writes Tyler Lessard, video marketing expert and CMO of Vidyard. "It enriches the customer journey at all stages, and it is more effective than other content at converting buyers." 

Your Video Hosting Options

From a business perspective, it's imperative that you understand the value of video and actively pursue opportunities for leveraging this valuable customer engagement strategy. In your pursuit of education, you'll undoubtedly come across two different video hosting formats: YouTube-hosted and website-hosted. 

For the purposes of this article, YouTube hosted will refer to any video that's hosted by a third party website or platform, while website hosted will refer to video content that's actually hosted and published on a company website. 

When you hear most marketers and business owners discuss video marketing, they're typically referring to creating video content and publishing it through a third party platform. One of the reasons marketers revert to YouTube is that it's a streamlined publishing platform with a large audience. YouTube has more than a billion regular users and extreme brand recognition, so marketers are able to tap into this existing audience when publishing through YouTube.

However, unbeknownst to many, there is a way to avoid third party platforms altogether and actually host video content on your own website. Why would you want to bypass the audience YouTube has already assimilated, you may ask? That's what we're going to discuss moving forward.

Make On-site Video a Priority

Believe it or not, on-site video is incredibly powerful. Just as YouTube hosted video has certain advantages, so does website-hosted video. Here are three reasons why:

1. Enhanced Page Content

As the aforementioned statistics show, video is appealing and engaging to consumers. By including video content on website pages and product listings, you can enhance your existing page content and increase conversions. 

Take this page from the travel company Peru for Less as an example. While the page is well designed and strategically written, it wouldn't gain nearly as much traction without the video included on the left hand side of the page. The video visually brings to life the textual content on the right hand side. 

Albeit through a different technique, many websites are now leveraging website-hosted video in the form of homepage background videos. You can see what this looks like by checking out the following examples from IUQO and Airbnb. By taking the traditional homepage layout and making it more immersive, these companies are enhancing website experiences from the very moment that visitors reach the site.

2. Increased SEO Clout

Perhaps the most tangible benefit comes in the form of SEO. When you host videos on your own website, you gain an additional opportunity to secure valuable positions in organic search rankings. On-site video allows you to secure greater visibility and traction than referring all of your traffic to a third-party website. 

Think about it. When you host your videos on YouTube, you're investing in a tradeoff. You're essentially giving your content to someone else in exchange for more upfront visibility. While there's something to be said for having a potential audience of millions, there's also something to be said for keeping control and ownership of the content you work hard to produce. 

Hosting videos on your own website ensures all visitors go through your website in order to consume your content. This increases your views, bolsters the average time-on-site, reduces bounce rates, and forces anyone who wants to share your video to link to your website. And as most readers know, inbound links are the primary factor in the ranking algorithm. 

3. More Control

The third major benefit of on-site video hosting is that you gain more control over the viewer's experience. Instead of competing with other videos on YouTube, you get your audience's full attention. If they like what they watch, you can gently push them through the conversion funnel. This on-site progression is a much more natural experience than asking a visitor to watch a YouTube video and then click a link in the description box to visit your landing page. 

In other words, hosting video on your website gives you more control over the user's experience. You can eliminate distractions, guide the viewer strategically, and gain insights on user behavior that would be impossible to monitor on a third party hosting platform. As a marketer, this is a powerful position to be in. 

Video Marketing in 2016

In 2016, brands should focus on expanding their video content strategy, including both YouTube-hosted video content and website-hosted video content. 

"You want to be there; you just need to think strategically about what content belongs there and how to move beyond YouTube on your own site," writes Darin Archer, one of Adobe's lead marketers. "As consumers browsing your mobile applications and Web experiences increasingly desire video to learn about your brand or product story, you need to move beyond the embedded video from YouTube and take full advantage of this medium in your digital customer experiences."

Are you prepared to make video a priority in 2016? As a marketer with aspirations of staying relevant and engaging, it's a good bet to pursue an on-site video content strategy this year.






Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.






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Search Engine Guide > Jayson DeMers > What is the SEO Value of Website-Hosted Videos?