Video Hosting: YouTube or Vimeo?

By Ryan Norman| 8 Min Read | December 26, 2019
video hosting youtube - vimeo video hosting - youtube vs vimeo

When it comes to video hosting sites:

  • YouTube is tops for sheer reach
  • Vimeo provides a better venue for gated content
  • Do both if you can

If the decision was that easy, you wouldn’t need to research it, would you?

Below, we are going to take the long story approach to tell the short story about which platform you should choose for video hosting.

  • Why Should You Choose YouTube
  • Why Should You Choose Vimeo
  • How Video Hosting Can Impact Your SEO Strategy

Trust us when we say there is more to this decision than what our introduction suggests.

First Things First… Why You Need Video Hosting

Suppose you are a dog trainer (named something perhaps like Mesar Cillan) and are looking to grow your business with video.

You’ve already got a website. You’ve already created engaging videos that show your training prowess. Now how do you get these videos onto your site and in front of dog owners interested in obedience classes for their fur babies?

Video Hosting Is Often A Necessity

Putting videos directly on your site is one option. However, unless there’s some exceptional horsepower under your site’s hood, you probably want to host your videos elsewhere and embed links to them on your site.

Videos are generally large files. They require a great deal of storage space and bandwidth to function properly, a luxury few site owners have on their own. That’s why most videos on the web are hosted at sites specializing in video hosting. You create a channel on the video-hosting site and then embed links to the hosted videos on your business site.

YouTube Isn’t the Only Fish in the Sea

YouTube and Vimeo may be the first video hosting platforms that come to mind. They aren’t the only players in this space, though. There is a pack of video hosting sites out there: Brightcove, Dailymotion, JW Player, SproutVideo, Vidyard, Vzaar, Wistia…

Even Facebook can function as a hosting site!

YouTube Is the Best-Known Video Hosting Fish, Though

Why is YouTube the first name in video hosting in most people’s minds? Well, it’s free and Popular. (It’s popularity really does warrant that capital P.)

The two main benefits for using YouTube as your video hosting platform are:

  • Free: in that users don’t pay anything to have their videos uploaded to the video-sharing network.
  • Popular: in that YouTube is often colloquially and statistically the web’s No. 2 search engine. (Google being No. 1 of course.)

Video Hosting On Vimeo Allows For Greater Control

So why look anywhere else for video hosting? Why, for instance, go with Vimeo, which isn’t nearly as free nor as popular?

For greater control, that’s why.

Vimeo provides tools to keep content gated and privacy protected that YouTube doesn’t.

vimeo video hosting benefit

Another advantage of opting to shell out a few dollars for video hosting on Vimeo is that your video won’t be surrounded by ads. By comparison, this will always be the case on YouTube. The premium service and ad-less presentation of your content might make paid hosting sites like Vimeo the best venue for your videos.

Now, regardless of whether you are looking to put your content on the web as quickly as possible for free, or whether you want a more exclusive, curated platform for your videos— hosting on YouTube and Vimeo both have SEO benefits to your digital marketing strategy.

There Is SEO Value to Every Video Hosting Landing Page

Landing pages on YouTube and Vimeo are indexed just like any other webpage. That means they present SEO opportunities.

Video titles, video descriptions, tag selections — all of these fields are available on all major video hosting sites in one guise or another.

And optimizing these fields for SEO can help the individual landing pages for each one of your videos rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and

  1. Increase the number of referring domains linking to your domain
  2. Increase the visibility of your video content in Google SERPs
  3. Increase the number of people clicking through to your website from third-party publishers

How We Used YouTube Video Hosting To Become The Cream Of The Crop

For example, check out what happens when you Google “digital marketing for exporters.” The fancy footwork of DOM’s SEO team placed one of Justin’s blog posts in the top organic result ranking position. In addition to that, a video of Justin’s hosted on our YouTube channel is the 3rd video displayed in a YouTube video carousel, placed two spots below our top SERP ranking position.

DOM barnacle SEO case study - youtube video carousel

Depending on your preference for buzzwords, you might call this universal search optimization. You might also call it “Barnacle SEO.” Around our offices, we prefer the latter to the former.

Barnacle SEO And Your Video Content

The idea behind Barnacle SEO for as a content publication strategy for your video is pretty straightforward – leverage the top rankings of other sites for increased exposure and views.

As Google strives to become more of a provider of knowledge and information in the organic search results – and less of a provider of sales pages – the degree of difficulty for ranking transactional webpages is only going to increase.

Today, in addition to competing with other service providers around the globe for your top keywords, you also have to compete against online content publishers.

Want to get a behind the scenes look at how we pulled off this barnacle SEO strategy using a blog post and a video hosted on YouTube?

  • First, we performed on-page SEO best practices on the video Justin uploaded to the DOM YouTube channel back in 2013.
  • Second, we embedded the video into the blog post that we updated earlier in 2019 (screenshot below).

DOM barnacle SEO case study

  • Finally, we also placed a call to action link inside the YouTube video description to read more about the topic at the blog post.

Youtube Barnacle SEO example - almost all video hosting sites permit long descriptions

In most cases, this same series of steps can be recreated on YouTube alternative video hosting sites like Vimeo.

When you present your videos like this on multiple platforms, you’re going to start building more and more barnacles between your video and your website.

Reposting your video content on other video sharing domains that rank in the top 100 of Google for your targeted keyword phrases is not a required SEO strategy, but for the amount of time and money you invested in creating your video, it only makes sense to create as many opportunities as possible for people to view it.

Free Video Hosting Alternatives To YouTube And Vimeo

The list below is far from comprehensive, but here are five of our favorite free video hosting alternatives to YouTube and Vimeo to post your video content to as part of a barnacle SEO strategy:

  • Dailymotion
  • Flickr
  • Photobucket
  • The Internet Archive
  • The Open Video Project

The value of links from these domains to help boost your search rankings is debatable. However, the referral traffic opportunity from all of them is great, and the frequency with which content on these sites gets indexed and ranked in Google results is high.

Plus, presenting your video on multiple platforms is a great way to build more and more connections—barnacles—between the video, your site content, and your brand in the process.



So YouTube Or Vimeo… Where Are You Going To Share Your Content?

choosing video hosting sites feels like an elephant of a task

To acknowledge the pachyderm in the place (ahem) Google loves ranking content it can trust. Google owns YouTube. And Google trusts itself.

Therefore . . . well, you get it. Google is more likely to crawl and index YouTube content more quickly and thoroughly than other sites. If no cost and maximum visibility are the goals you have for your videos – YouTube is the hands-down best choice for your video hosting needs.

If you are aiming to keep your content gated, you prefer an ad-free experience, or you want to avoid Google-owned properties – you’re better off hosting on Vimeo. Other paid video hosting platforms like Wistia have their own merits and give you the same control over how your videos appear.

If you want to maximize the benefits of your video creation to your SEO campaigns – we strongly recommend using both YouTube and Vimeo for video hosting. Also, you should repost your videos on as many hosting platforms as possible to populate the search results with your content and increase the chances of viewers engaging with your brand.

If you can devote time to optimize the SEO opportunities provided to you by each platform you host the video on, you can start to grow your own healthy community of barnacle SEO properties.

Want more insights on how your existing social media accounts can support your SEO strategy? Check out these posts analyzing how social media and SEO work together to grow your business online with confidence.

To get more information on this topic, contact us today for a free consultation or learn more about our status as a Google Partner Agency before you reach out.

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