Why Viddler WAS Bad for Website Video SEO – UPDATED

Why Viddler WAS Bad for Website Video SEO   UPDATED

Certain video hosting/streaming platforms are excellent choices for video SEO (automatic sitemap capabilities, metadata exposure, etc…), some are OK (few platform features but still able to optimize), and then there are a handful whereby if you're interested in optimizing video for your own website, you might as well cross them off your list.

UPDATED: I wanted to let everyone know that I spoke today with Viddler and advised them as to the proper robots.txt protocol to allow for Googlebot to index and crawl their player. AND, they have already fixed the issue.  As a result, there should be no issue in optimizing viddler embeds for website video SEO.  I'm going to run some tests to make sure and then I will either update this post or write a new one with instructions on how to go about optimizing Viddler videos for your own domains.  YIPPEE - I am throughly impressed with Viddler – less than 24 hours after this post, they have fixed the problem.  SO – please ignore the "Viddler is a no-go" conclusion. :-)  Thanks Viddler.

Unfortunately, one of those platforms that flat out will not work in terms of getting video search results for your own site, is Viddler. I use the word "unfortunately," because for the most part, I truly believe that Viddler is a nice solution with some fairly unique features that would otherwise lendWhy Viddler WAS Bad for Website Video SEO   UPDATED themselves well to video marketing, including: timed comments, timed tags, video commenting capabilities, custom logo, and more… At $100/mo for the "Business" version (commercial license), Viddler offers some excellent value. However, because you cannot optimize Viddler video embeds on your own website, you may want to think about whether those unique features are still worth $100/mo for you.

Why Can't You SEO Viddler Video Embeds?

Just to clarify, what I am talking about here is the ability for those that have Viddler accounts, to take their videos, embed them on their own website, and then optimize their own website for video search results treatment in Google and other search engines. Viddler.com itself does appear in Google video and universal search results quite well – but again, videos embedded from Viddler will never show in Google for the domain that embeds them.

This is a technical issue, but there is a simple reason why this is the case. Viddler has blocked robots from accessing the player using robots.txt on their CDN which tells the search engines that they should not crawl or index Viddler player URLs. So, a typical video embed looks like this:

<object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" width="437" height="370" id="viddler">
<param name="movie" value="http://www.viddler.com/player/VIDEO_ID/" />
<param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" />
<param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" />
<param name="flashvars" value="fake=1"/>
<embed src="http://www.viddler.com/player/VIDEO_ID/" width="437" height="370" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowScriptAccess="always" allowFullScreen="true" flashvars="fake=1" name="viddler" >
</embed></object>

Their player – http://www.viddler.com/player/VIDEO_ID/, has a 301 redirect to http://cdn.static.viddler.com/flash/publisher.swf?ref=&key=VIDEO_ID. If you look at http://cdn.static.viddler.com/robots.txt, you will find the following:

User-Agent: *
Disallow: /

If you were to create a video sitemap for this video and submit it to Google, you would discover that within your Google Webmaster Tools account, under "Labs -> Video Sitemaps," the following error appears:

Why Viddler WAS Bad for Website Video SEO   UPDATED

As a result of this, no matter how you embed your video, no matter how well you optimize your video landing pages, etc… You will never be successful in getting a Viddler video embed indexed with a thumbnail for your own site.

Can Viddler Fix This? Will They?

I've advised other companies about robots.txt files and often times there are good reasons to block access using robots.txt. Additionally, some CDNs have this enabled as a default feature and so the company may not initially be aware of the exclusion. Can this be fixed? Absolutely! In fact, it is quite easy. All that needs to be done is to change the text in Robots.txt to:

User-Agent: *
Allow: /player/
Disallow: /

However, with Viddler, it is a different story. They are completely aware of the robots.txt exclusion. In fact, I found this thread in their support forums where the have basically stated that they are going to leave it as is for now.

While I understand their desire to drive traffic back to Viddler.com rather than to your own website (especially for videos that are not part of the "Business" package), it is unfortunate that this is true for paid accounts as well.

Conclusion – Viddler is a NO-GO for Video SEO

I think there are a couple takeaways from this. Again, just so that I am uber-clear, I am not saying that it is a bad idea to syndicate your videos to Viddler. Certainly they have a captive audience from which you can garner some views from and their videos do appear prominently in the major search engines. So, from a "Posted VSEO" standpoint, Viddler is an excellent platform. Additionally, if you don't care about optimizing Viddler videos on your own website, and you merely want a platform that allows you to customize your player a bit and then publish videos to your website, then this post is irrelevant.

That being said, if you do want to utilize a video hosting platform to publish and optimize videos for your own website, I have to say that Viddler is a no-go. There are many others out there that are not only capable of being optimized, but have actually worked to release features specifically designed to enable or enhance website Video SEO. While not a complete list (we do plan to update it in the near future) – here is a list of video hosting platforms that provide functionality to help with Video SEO .

Lastly, I would encourage those of you that are using Viddler to reach out to customer service and tell them that this presents an issue for you. I don't know if they will budge based off the support forum request cited above, but I always think it is worth a shot. Many of the online video platforms out there started implementing Video SEO features only after their customers began to ask for it. Perhaps with this post and with enough requests, they'll adjust their model to allow for this. For now, I'd recommend looking elsewhere for a hosting platform for website video SEO.


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Posted in Video SEO
About the Author -
Mark Robertson is the Founder and Publisher of ReelSEO, an online information resource dedicated to the fusion of video, technology, social media, search, and internet marketing. He is a YouTube Certified, video marketing consultant and video marketing expert, popular speaker, and considered to be a passionate leader within the online video and search marketing industries. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Sunward

    why do you still need another company to stream your videos? Use you own website.

  • LouiseM

    I agree with Sunward. Unless you have a really tiny amount of webspace, then why not just host your own videos? But if you're paying $100 a month then that could be a dedicated server for all your content, optimised how you like.

    Louise
    working for http://www.ossian.tv

  • http://cdevroe.com/ Colin Devroe

    Hello everyone. I wanted to send an update and let everyone know that we're going to fix this issue. Not only that, but we hope help to make Viddler the very best at providing good SEO for our customers.

    We've long cared for our customer's websites and brand. We consider them "more important" to us than our own. We've proven this with a completely rebrandable video player, allowing all clicks on the player go back to any URL of your choice, and our entire platform being completely white-label. All of this is available for all accounts Personal or Business. We care about our customer's brand and website.

    This doesn't change that we've obviously made a mistake in the way we handle this issue. So, I'll be back soon to update everyone on exactly what we're going to do to solve this issue.

    Thanks,
    Colin Devroe
    Technology Evangelist – Viddler.

  • Josh Miles

    Mark great article, and I agree if the robots cannot crawl the embeds there is no "on page" SEO benefits to hosting video on Viddler. In contrast, as far as "off page SEO" goes I think they are a great resource for posting videos as they allow "follow" links with anchor text within the video descriptions of their website. This is unique among larger video hosting sites. Two ways to use this for "off page" SEO are to upload your videos to Viddler and include HTML anchor text that refers back to your website using the target keyword for the page that you are referring to, or you can use it to create inbound links to a video that you have uploaded to YouTube in order to help that video place higher within the YouTube search results on that domain, as well as in Google's universal search results on the SERPs (search engine results pages).

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

      Josh completely agree. Overall, I think Viddler is actually a great solution for video marketers, the problem is only with when you want to host and optimize the Viddler embed on your own site.

  • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

    Mark,I see that you stated Viddler has fixed the issue… but just for clarification: Is this on a "Business" version of their site? In other words, with their regular free version, aren't they just like YouTube in the fact that placing an embed of a video hosted by them onto your own site does not lead anyone to your own site if any of your Viddler posted videos get shown in a SERP? (man that sounds complicated, but I gues I'm having issues with words tonight!!)Perhaps in their "special" paid-for service, they will host the video on your behalf and let you place an embed on your site, but then it is supposed to act as if it were hosted by yourself. Is that what is being fixed? Is this sorta like a hosted solution? I see that their business pkg starts at $100/month. see: http://www.viddler.com/signup/Bottom line though is that their Free version is no worse than YouTube as far as SEO for your own site, right? Its the paid verson that is supposed to work better and that is what they have fixed – right?
    Thanks for watching out for us Mark!

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