SEO and YouTube – Link Building On The Web’s 2nd Biggest Search Engine

Just in case you didn’t see this elsewhere on our website, YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine on the Internet with more than 1.6 billion searches per month. Obviously, there’s a big opportunity in placing and optimizing videos for YouTube…but that’s not the only reason that businesses should get involved. YouTube is also a nice source of links that can help your website rank for organic terms, making it a slam dunk in terms of SEO.

Put another way: Not only can placing videos on YouTube get you noticed, it can also help your website rank.

Here’s how you can build your presence on YouTube and get some links too:

1. Upload a video to YouTube. It’s my firm belief that video will soon become a standard component of all online marketing efforts. Video works for a lot of reasons (I covered the ROI of online video fairly extensively a few months back, from the value of one view on YouTube to tracking video calls to action), but there’s one important aspect of online video to consider when it comes to SEO:

Online video is an indicator of a website’s quality. Quality websites are more likely to have video than “spam” websites. Therefore, all things being equal, a website with video should rank higher than a website without video.

If that makes sense to you, it’s time to start thinking about getting business videos online.

2) Place a link prominently in the video description. There are two places you can get links from a YouTube video:

Link to your website in the yellow highlighted areas for a solid SEO boost

Link to your website in the yellow highlighted areas for a solid SEO boost

The first place to gain a free link on a YouTube video page is in the video description text (top right in the image above). The recommended best practice is to place the actual link in the very first line of text when you upload the video. This is the best link available, and it’s reserved for the person originating the content.

The second place to gain a free link is in the “Statistics and Data” section of the video page. These links are sort of hidden, but if you click on the little arrow to the left of the title, you’ll see a few sections of data including one that says “Links” – see below.

Links that appear in the "Statistics and Data" section of every YouTube video page.

Links that appear in the “Statistics and Data” section of every YouTube video page.

These links point to any website that has embedded the current video on one of their pages. The first website to embed the video gets the best link placement, so if you’re the first to discover a popular video and embed it on your site, you might enjoy an SEO boost.

3) How these links can help with SEO. Think of link-building with YouTube as a popularity contest:

  • I upload a video to YouTube. I place a link to my site in the text description. I immediately embed the video on my website. If I do both of these things, I’ll get two great links to my website (the text description link + the “first to embed” link).
  • Others who like my video will embed it on their website.
  • Each embedded video is considered a link to (or vote for) my video’s YouTube page.
  • The more my video is embedded, the more links point to my video’s YouTube page.
  • Each link to my video’s YouTube page increases the value of any outbound links on the page.

Put simply – if I upload a popular video to YouTube and I link back to my website, I can gain a great link.

4) NoFollow is just a guide. A lot of SEO’s are likely going to raise their hands and point out that any link on YouTube is “nofollowed.” True. You can read a post I did on SEOMoz about nofollow to see why that doesn’t necessarily matter in this case. If the video is related to your business and popular, you’ll get a good link regardless of the “nofollow” tag.

5) Rinse, wash, repeat. More videos on YouTube = more links to your company website.

Pretty simple.