How to Properly Link to Your YouTube Channel for Maximium SEO Link Equity [Creator's Tip #43]

How to Properly Link to Your YouTube Channel for Maximium SEO Link Equity [Creators Tip #43]

This week on Creator's Tips we're going to be talking about the best way to share and link to your Youtube channel's URL in a way that may boost search rankings for both your YouTube channel and its videos.

A Quick Boost

This trick/best practice that I'm about to show you I just recently learned myself. It's a small one, but it can have some big benefits when it comes to building up your channel and video rankings. As I'm sure you all know, there are several ways for you to share your Youtube channel's URL. Some of them will help you by boosting your rankings, while some do nothing. Unfortunately for most of us, we tend to use the latter method.

Most of us just say something like "Here's my Youtube channel: Youtube.com/reelso." While that technically works, it won't build any link equity for you. The reason it won't is because Youtube doesn't actually look at your URL the same way you do. While you see it as "Youtube.com/reelseo" or whatever, Google and Youtube see it this way: "Youtube.com/user/reelseo." That extra bit is what registers the whole link, and what will actually start building "ranking juice" and all that good stuff for your Channel's URL, as well as all the videos that are on that channel.

Here's some Expert Clarification

Here's how our founder, Mark Robertson, explained it.

How to Properly Link to Your YouTube Channel for Maximium SEO Link Equity [Creators Tip #43]For SEO link building best practices, it's important that when linking to an asset, you're linking to the single dominant version of that content, so as to not dilute your link juice/equity through linking to multiple versions/URLs (canonical).  It's a diffult issue to explain in a short answer, but essentially, unless you're 301 redirecting mulitple versions of your content to the original version, search engines will treat the various versions of your content as unique entries, often identifying those duplicates as duplicate content.

Because YouTube does not 301 redirect /username to /user/username, and because all links within YouTube to your channel, point to the latter as a default, links that point to the former may pass "link juice" to the main version of your YouTube channel, which already has significant equity from internal YouTube links. There's a caveat here in that YouTube does properly include a canonical URL meta tag, but it's still best to link to the canonical URL

Therefore, you might as well link to the same version that YouTube links to so as to build more link juice to the version of your channel that is likely already dominant in Google's mind.

BTW - if you want to learn more about what canonical/canonicalization is, SEOMoz has a great primer post all about that here.

Building the "Juice"

With that in mind, it is much more advantageous for you to use that whole Youtube.com/user/youraccount name format when you post anywhere online. I know it doesn't look as neat and pretty, but that's how to start building up some real link equity.

So how effective is this little trick? According to some reports, videos that were previously ranked around 25-30 jumped to the top 3 in a matter of weeks, once their owners switched to that format of linking. It definitely makes a difference. Give it a try, and let us know how well it worked for you in the comments below.

View The Full Video Transcript:

This week on Creator's Tips we're going to be talking about the best way to share your Youtube channel's URL in a way that boosts search rankings for both the channel and its videos.

This trick that I'm about to show you, I just recently learned myself. It's a small one, but it can have some big benefits when it comes to building up your channel and video rankings. As I'm sure you all know, there are several ways for you to share your Youtube channel's URL. Some of them will help you by boosting your rankings, while some do nothing. Unfortunately for most of us, we tend to use the latter method.

Most of us just say something like "Here's my Youtube channel: Youtube.com/reelso." While that technically works, it won't build any link equity for you. The reason it won't is because Youtube doesn't actually look at your URL the same way you do. While you see it as "Youtube.com/reelseo" or whatever, Google and Youtube see it this way: "Youtube.com/user/reelseo." That extra bit is what registers the whole link, and what will actually start building "ranking juice" and all that good stuff for your Channel's URL, as well as all the videos that are on that channel.

With that in mind, it is much more advantageous for you to use that whole Youtube.com/user/youraccount name format when you post anywhere online. I know it doesn't look as neat and pretty, but that's how to start building up some real link equity.

So how effective is this little trick? According to some reports, videos that were previously ranked around 25-30 jumped to the top 3 in a matter of weeks, once their owners switched to that format of linking. It definitely makes a difference. Give it a try, and let us know how well it worked for you in the comments below.

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About the Author -
Tim Schmoyer is the host of ReelSEO's Creator's Tip and the author of "30 Days to a Better YouTube Channel". You can see some of his personal videos on his Family Vlog Channel. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • BlogAid

    Sweet tip, thanks!

  • robkates

    How would you apply this when linking to individual videos?  What is the best url to use to get the most link juice for an individual video?

    • timschmoyer

       @robkates It's probably best just to stick with the full YouTube URL when you link to your videos.

  • KenRyan

    I have the same question as robkates.  If, as you say in the video, this only applies to your YT channel's URL, how does it affect the ranking of individual videos?

  • http://www.kyleclouse.com/ Kyle Clouse

    Tim, this is great new info!  Here is something that I have been doing and I would like to get your feedback on it as well.
     
    When I create a video for a client I also embed that video on their website and then using the key term that I am targeting for that video I will use that in the blog post on their website and link right back to the YouTube video....here is the point that I am getting at:
     
    I only use the REAL YouTube URL.  Here is an example:
     
    Example 1: If I am on a channel and then click on a video it gives me this URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTzNMtpLvdY&feature=plcp
     
    Example 2: If I am in a playlist and then click on the video it gives me this URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTzNMtpLvdY&list=UU-gH72BJi7ga4cIgtlwie9Q&index=1&feature=plpp_video
     
    Example 3: If I click share on the video and then copy the URL provided it is a shorter version and yields this URL: http://youtu.be/sTzNMtpLvdY
     
    Example 4 (and the true URL):  This is the URL that I ONLY use when linking back to specific videos in posts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTzNMtpLvdY
     
    Sorry for taking the long way around the barn, but the question that I have is, is it more advantageous to use the true video URL when linking back to a specific video or does it even matter?

    • timschmoyer

       @Kyle Clouse That's a great question. I always just assumed that using the full URL is best since that's what YouTube and Google use.
       
      If there's stuff after the YouTube's video ID string (following the & in the URL), I doubt that makes a big difference since those are either modifiers to how the original URL is displayed/functions or they're for tracking purposes on YouTube's end.
       
      As for the shortened video, I assume those are permanent redirects and thus linking to them is not generally recommended, but won't hurt you too badly. However, I can't confirm that either way. Maybe Mark Robertson knows.

  • MarcusKrieg

    I have a question about this strategy. Do you get link juice if you add the YouTube channel link on the individual videos or does the link need to exist elsewhere on the Internet?

    • timschmoyer

       @MarcusKrieg All links in your description text are rel=nofollow so there's no link juice from there at all. The links would have to reside elsewhere on the Internet without nofollow tags for any juice to pass to your YouTube channel's URL.

  • MarcusKrieg

     @timschmoyer Thanks for the follow up Tim, that's really good to know. Great article!

  • julian_jippidy

    How you guys notice these minute details, I will NEVER know, but I'm extremely grateful that you do! Tips like these are why you guys are the experts in Online Video!

  • http://www.KatesMedia.com robkates

     @timschmoyer Thanks Tim.

  • JasonForthofer

    This is not true from what i see in the code. if your at youtube.com/username and you view the source code you'll see the rel canonical tag being used which ties the canonical url to rel="youtube.com/user/username" so that is then tying all your juice to that base url.

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

       @JasonForthofer You probably know then that Canonical doesn't always pass page rank, but we did mention that in the article.  You're probably fine either way but why not make it solid, right?

  • http://www.KatesMedia.com robkates

    How would you apply this when linking to individual videos?  What is the best url to use to get the most link juice for an individual video?

    • timschmoyer

       @robkates It's probably best just to stick with the full YouTube URL when you link to your videos.

      • http://www.KatesMedia.com robkates

         @timschmoyer Thanks Tim.

  • KenRyan

    I have the same question as robkates.  If, as you say in the video, this only applies to your YT channel's URL, how does it affect the ranking of individual videos?

  • http://www.kyleclouse.com/ Kyle Clouse

    Tim, this is great new info!  Here is something that I have been doing and I would like to get your feedback on it as well.
     
    When I create a video for a client I also embed that video on their website and then using the key term that I am targeting for that video I will use that in the blog post on their website and link right back to the YouTube video....here is the point that I am getting at:
     
    I only use the REAL YouTube URL.  Here is an example:
     
    Example 1: If I am on a channel and then click on a video it gives me this URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTzNMtpLvdY&feature=plcp
     
    Example 2: If I am in a playlist and then click on the video it gives me this URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTzNMtpLvdY&list=UU-gH72BJi7ga4cIgtlwie9Q&index=1&feature=plpp_video
     
    Example 3: If I click share on the video and then copy the URL provided it is a shorter version and yields this URL: http://youtu.be/sTzNMtpLvdY
     
    Example 4 (and the true URL):  This is the URL that I ONLY use when linking back to specific videos in posts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTzNMtpLvdY
     
    Sorry for taking the long way around the barn, but the question that I have is, is it more advantageous to use the true video URL when linking back to a specific video or does it even matter?

    • timschmoyer

       @Kyle Clouse That's a great question. I always just assumed that using the full URL is best since that's what YouTube and Google use.
       
      If there's stuff after the YouTube's video ID string (following the & in the URL), I doubt that makes a big difference since those are either modifiers to how the original URL is displayed/functions or they're for tracking purposes on YouTube's end.
       
      As for the shortened video, I assume those are permanent redirects and thus linking to them is not generally recommended, but won't hurt you too badly. However, I can't confirm that either way. Maybe Mark Robertson knows.

  • MarcusKrieg

    I have a question about this strategy. Do you get link juice if you add the YouTube channel link on the individual videos or does the link need to exist elsewhere on the Internet?

    • timschmoyer

       @MarcusKrieg All links in your description text are rel=nofollow so there's no link juice from there at all. The links would have to reside elsewhere on the Internet without nofollow tags for any juice to pass to your YouTube channel's URL.

      • MarcusKrieg

         @timschmoyer Thanks for the follow up Tim, that's really good to know. Great article!

  • julian_jippidy

    How you guys notice these minute details, I will NEVER know, but I'm extremely grateful that you do! Tips like these are why you guys are the experts in Online Video!

  • JasonForthofer

    This is not true from what i see in the code. if your at youtube.com/username and you view the source code you'll see the rel canonical tag being used which ties the canonical url to rel="youtube.com/user/username" so that is then tying all your juice to that base url.

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ reelseo

       @JasonForthofer You probably know then that Canonical doesn't always pass page rank, but we did mention that in the article.  You're probably fine either way but why not make it solid, right?

  • JohnHill76

    Hi there - really helpful article on youtube seo. You touched on 301 redirects -  I have a webpage with some good quality inbound links. Is it fine to put a 301 redirect to a Youtube video instead? I'd keep the link-juice if possible.F

  • http://www.customsoftwarelab.com/ CustomSoftwareLab

    Very helpful insight to youtube video seo techniques.

  • Lushand Verdant

    I am not sure I get it. Are you saying that if your channel is squash then you should use youtube/squash/squash? I am not sure what should go where your reelseo fits into my personal equation. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.penass Gary Penass

    Ok this is my Link LOL... UFC http://www.youtube.com/user/mmahypepredictions

  • BrentGoodale

    When sharing a Youtube link to create backlinks and to share in general, I was told to not use the short youtube.be link becuase its a redirect.

    Correct:

    Full Youtube URL HERE

    Incorrect:

    Short youtu.be link from the "Share" section

    I was told that with youtu.be links you're pretty much wasting your time and people don't realize is that the shortened URL is a 302 redirect which doesn't pass link juice.

    Is having the youtu.be link the wrong way to share links? Should i use the Full URL?

  • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

    I believe it's a 301 redirect vs. 302. Always better to link to the canonical URL (full URL) as that will best ensure passage of link juice, context, etc..

  • moonice

    That's really great information! Thanks a lot

    this is my Link https://www.youtube.com/user/XMenMoviesX

  • http://www.makemoneyonline-free.org/ K.Aisersouzee

    So in your example we would use https://www.youtube.com/user/jennsyoung as opposed to https://www.youtube.com/jennsyoung is that correct?