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How to Use Video for Link Building

Learn the best practices when using videos for link building and get inspired by some real-world examples of video marketing done right.

How to Use Video for Link Building

I first wrote about using videos, specifically on YouTube, for link building back in 2010. Here is my opening paragraph from that piece:

“Nylon Magazine (and yes I know that I’m a bit too old to be reading it) has started to put a YouTube link in every article in their print magazine. It’s a fantastic way to mix media and use offline methods to promote online marketing. Jamie Oliver sends out emails to his subscribers with video messages in them. This goes to (you guessed it) his YouTube channel.”

If you’re reading this today, that probably doesn’t sound like anything too unique does it?

In fact, it seems pretty basic.

Back then it was new.

Now, video is everywhere.

  • YouTube isn’t the only player these days but it’s still a strong one. Vimeo, Vivo, Daily Motion, and Twitch are four competitors and surely more will emerge.
  • Videos are commonly embedded in email newsletters and websites.
  • Webinars happen on a nonstop basis and can be watched live or replayed.
  • We’re all hanging out on Google Hangouts or having meetings with GoToMeeting.
  • We see our friends on Facebook Live.
  • We’re certainly all sharing videos from every possible source on every possible social platform.

Look at these statistics from Cisco:

  • Live Internet video will account for 17% of Internet video traffic by 2022. Live video will grow 15-fold from 2017 to 2022.
  • Internet video to TV will increase threefold between 2017 to 2022. Internet video to TV will be 27% of fixed consumer Internet video traffic by 2022.
  • Consumer Video-on-Demand (VoD) traffic will nearly double by 2022. The amount of VoD traffic by 2022 will be equivalent to 10 billion DVDs per month.
  • Globally, IP video traffic will be 82% of all IP traffic (both business and consumer) by 2022, up from 75% in 2017. Global IP video traffic will grow four-fold from 2017 to 2022, a CAGR of 29%. Internet video traffic will grow fourfold from 2017 to 2022, a CAGR of 33%.

It’s quite clear that video isn’t going away.

Creating Videos for Link Building: The Basics

Do Your Homework

As with any content, your first step before creating a video needs to be conducting intensive research to see what is already out there.

  • What videos do well?
  • Which ones get the most shares and views?
  • What sets them apart from everything else? (There are various ways to get this information but two popular tools are Ahrefs’s Content Explorer and BuzzSumo).

It’s important to remember that you can’t measure success simply by the number of links that your videos get.

Maybe a video gets 3 links but gets shared 500 times on Twitter, watched 5,000 times, and then 4 people who want to use your product or service come to you after seeing this video.

Wouldn’t you call that a success?

Bring Something New to the Table

Originality will always be one of the main concerns in using videos to build links.

Just like any other content, you must consider how to make your videos stand out.

If you are marketing gardening services and you see that there are 500 videos about pruning rosebushes, make a video about the tallest or longest-lived rosebushes in the country, or make a video series where each video is specific to a region of a country.

Always think about having good lighting and sound. It sounds ridiculous to have to remind anyone of that, but I’ve seen plenty of poor quality videos.

If people can’t see you well or the audio is too low/there are background noises, people aren’t going to sit through it.

video blogging
Make sure your videos look OK on mobile. With so many mobile users this is something that has to be considered. Don’t forget to make it easy to share your videos.

This is done for you on YouTube but you need to ensure it’s done on your site if you’ve embedded the video there.


First, let’s check a few statistics:

  • Each month there are over 1.9 billion logged-in YouTube users.
  • Every day people watch over a billion hours of video.
  • YouTube has been launched in close to 100 countries and with 80 different languages.
  • YouTube is currently the second most popular site in the world, after Google.

Going back to my pruning roses example, we see that two out of the three video results in the first page of the SERPs for a “pruning roses” search are YouTube results. In many cases, all three are YouTube results.

roses SERPs
Simply put, without video you lose the chance for more SERP real estate and, in my opinion, you lose the chance for the visibility that can lead to some potentially great links.

Let’s look at Search Engine Journal on YouTube. There are currently 6,800+ subscribers and hundreds of videos.

Obviously, as a columnist for Search Engine Journal, I’m a bit biased but this is some fantastic content. As a link builder, fantastic content is my dream.

SEJ YouTube
As you can see below, the YouTube channel for this very site pops up as one of the 10 listings in the SERPs on a brand search for [Search Engine Journal]. So it’s a great way to take up more real estate for your brand on the first page.

Each of these videos, like any piece of content, is a chance for a link. Because we’re interested in links here.

Why Video Is So Useful

Videos can be embedded on a site to make the content more appealing. Each can be used as a resource to point someone to when you’re trying to build a relationship that will lead to a link.

Playlists can be created and offered as resources. Transcripts and timestamps can be added to sites where the videos are embedded.

Each of these videos can appear in the SERPs in a regular search or a video search.

When you send out your email newsletter, you can point your subscribers to specific videos. You can let everyone know that you have a new series.

You can ask for questions that people would like to have answered in your next video.

If you’re a fan of the Skyscraper technique where you find a piece of content, make something better, then reach out to the people who currently link to the original content, video is a great way to stand out.

A Real-World Example

A few months ago I was involved with a video where I spoke about old school link building. This video is part of an ongoing series with Siege Media, which is catalogued on YouTube and on the website.

For the first time, clips of the videos were released instead of just the full thing, and they were released weeks apart before the entire episode was released.

With a video piece you can do the same thing you can do with a large content piece and break it up and market those pieces on their own, then do the same thing with the full piece.

Take a look at how this video appears on the site:

Siege Media
You have the timestamps, which are very useful for people who want to get right to a specific point. The two video clips are linked within those timestamps.

There are Show Notes, which reference the discussion we had along with how to follow us on social media. The social share buttons are right there.

There are links to the podcast version of the episodes as well as the brand channel on YouTube. There are also more internal links to keep a visitor on the site.

All of this adds up to a great user experience. That’s an important point to note, too.

When we think about building links with videos, it isn’t just about getting links to your actual videos.

That’s great if it happens, but it’s more about using videos to generate interest in content that will attract links, directly or indirectly.

I’ll close with another quote from my original piece:

This type of link building won’t work with every demographic or every niche. It may be a fantastic way to generate more traffic for a fashion site, but not a great way to get more traffic to your site about retirement benefits. Some target demographics just aren’t really using a lot of social media sites yet.

That’s no longer true.

From what I can tell, just about everyone has realized the power of social media and video.

It’s fascinating how quickly things change.


Timeframe: Monthly I’d expect 1-2 links, but I’d expect lots more social shares. In 6 months, I’d expect 10 links minimum.

Results detected: Hours after implementation you could see conversions of some sort whether it’s a contact form filled out or an email asking about services. Within a month I’d expect the video to rank well for key terms.

Average links sent per month: 2 or more

Tools needed:

  • Ahrefs
  • BuzzSumo
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Vivo
  • Daily Motion
  • Twitch
  • Google Hangouts
  • Facebook Live
  • GoToMeeting

Benefits of using video for link building:

  • Using video for link building is a great way to add more visual interest to your content as well as simply add more pieces of content to your marketing toolkit.
  • With the fierce competition that we’re seeing today, using videos to help build brand awareness and get eyes on your content is something that everyone should consider.

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, June 2019

VIP CONTRIBUTOR Julie Joyce Owner at Link Fish Media

Julie Joyce owns the NC-based link building company Link Fish Media, is one of the founding members of the SEO ...

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