As a video SEO focused company, during the development of our video optimization platform, we asked ourselves this question multiple times: in order to do video SEO, do we have to optimize videos on YouTube?
As the most popular video sharing platform, the answer might seem quite obvious, if you want your video to be found, YouTube video optimization is the way to go. Many researches seem also to validate this. For example, searching on google for “video seo”, the first results we see are videos from YouTube!, other blogs or pages on the first Google page say things like “Rank your videos #1 in YouTube”, “How to Rank YouTube videos...”, “YouTube SEO 101” and things like these.
Checking on Google Ads Keyword Planner, searches for “video SEO” have between 1k and 10k monthly searches, “google video SEO” has 1 to 100 searches, while stuff like “youtube SEO” has 10k to 100k.
So the answer is obvious: video SEO is YouTube SEO...Mmm, really?
To use a quote attributed to H. L. Mencken (someone else said it was from Mark Twain) “There is a solution to every problem: simple, quick, and wrong.”
Let’s dig a bit deeper on this and ask ourselves a couple of simple questions:
Where do people search online?
Where do people search online?
Google is still the first search engine in the world, followed by YouTube in the 2nd place. Also, many other platforms are used to look for information, depending on age, country, gender, even mood and many other factors. All the major social media have adapted to the gain in popularity of videos, and the thriving of the platform TikTok is a prove of this. So, while it looks like it is very important to engage in YouTube SEO, it might not be the only important video platform.
Next, let’s see what Google says about video optimization best practices at:
First of all, the first sentence gives us a confirmation on the huge importance of engaging users through videos: “Of the billions of Google searches done every day, many are looking for video content”.
Specifically to YouTube content, the article says that video posted on YouTube are always crawlable, but sitemaps and structure data are very useful to tell Google more information about your video, and, we can reasonably assume, the more structured data you have, the more your video looks legit at Google’s eyes. Google offers a free tool to check on structured data, and it easier to spot the different between the number and quality of structured data present in a video uploaded on YT and on a platform like Luxyfer.
Another good way to compare the optimization that can be made on YouTube compared to other platforms, is the Rich Results test. By simply copying and pasting different video URLs you can see the number of elements in the code, and even someone who is not an expert can have a good idea about on the level of optimization, based on the length of the results.
Finally, the best activity to perform to see what video has the best optimization is to simply write a query on Google and see the results. As the best search engine, we believe Google is the best test to see if Youtube SEO is the best investments for video SEO. And for many campaigns, we saw that Luxyfer got a better positioning than YT videos, here just a couple of examples:
All the above, not to say that YouTube SEO is not important, but that focusing all your energies in YouTube video optimization might not be the smartest move for a successful video campaign. After all, video SEO is not (only) YouTube SEO.