Yesterday, our friends at Wistia launched a small, but significant new feature which helps to ensure you're able to get link attribution any time someone chooses to embed one of your videos on their site.
The new functionality, termed "Video Backlinks", is a minor augmentation to the recently launched "customise" framework which allows you to adjust the settings of an existing embedded video embed on the fly, directly through the Wistia interface, rather than forcing you to manually fiddle with embed codes. The feature ensures that whenever someone decides to embed one of your videos on their site, the embed code they receive in the button provided by the Wistia player will automatically include a link back to the original instance of the video on your site.
Why does it matter?
The web is a multimedia environment and very often the most engaging pages are those that choose to communicate across media types - using images, text and video to tell a story. As such, it's very common for authors to embed videos as part of blog posts and articles, frequently including content that wasn't originally created by them. However, in the vast majority of instances, these embeds don't typically provide any sort of attribution link back to the website of the content creator, meaning video makers are missing out credit they are rightly due for their own creative content. While a credit link is important on it's own terms, the potential such a link will have to drive traffic and provide link equity, is critically important from an SEO perspective.
When you embed a YouTube video, the iframe code just links back to the instance of the video on YouTube.com.
This can help to boost the ranking of the instance video on YouTube.com in both YouTube and Google search, but won't do anything to improve the rankings of the website belonging to the publisher/creator.
Similar is true with Vimeo embeds. While, as default, Vimeo embeds include attribution links underneath the video - these links point to the instance of the video on vimeo.com and the vimeo homepage.
And.... the same is true for the vast majority of third party hosting platforms out there - attribution links will either be absent from the embed codes, or the default attribution links provided pass credit, traffic and PageRank to the hosting platform, but not the actual video publisher.
Wistia have solved this problem by allowing users to set the inclusion of an attribution link as default, ensuring it automatically points to the page it was originally embedded on. If you're trying to leverage an investment in Video to build links, this is a fantastic addition to the Wistia tool-set.
How does it work?
Essentially, when customising the settings of your embedded player, you can choose whether or not to include an "embed" button underneath the video and then determine whether or not you want the code provided by this button to include an attribution link back to your site - either to the page the video is originally embedded on (recommended), or another page of your choosing (useful if you have multiple instances of the same video across your site and want to consolidate link equity).
The video below explains how to set it up, as well as how to ensure you get your video indexed in the Google/Bing results pages - so that search engines see your video as the "canonical" version of the content, which can help to prevent other sites outranking you should a lot of people decide to embed your video.
Do I need to host with Wistia if I want to build links with my video content?
Absolutely not, though Wistia currently automate the process better and more effectively than the other hosting platforms on the market. If you're keen to use video as "link bait" in this way, but don't wish to switch hosting providers, then you can just disable the default embeds buttons and customize your own embed button/box - ensuring an attribution link is included in the code provided, as below:
I've built a tool which will allow you to automate this process, all you need is the embed code provided by your video hosting platform of choice.
Should I register for a Wistia account?
If you're keen to start using video as part of your link building strategy, then there's no better tool on the market right now than a Wistia account - especially given the Google Analytics integration available. However, it's not an absolute must; you can still ask use good old fashioned outreach to ask for "credit" or "attribution" from anyone who has embedded your videos without a link, irrespective of what platform they've originally embedded them on. While this technique won't be as surefire as having the link included as default, it can still generate good return.
Note: Neither Distilled nor I were compensated by Wistia for this post - we just wanted to highlight what we think is a killer feature that may go unnoticed by the majority of users. Should any other hosting platform decide to follow suit and offer similar functionality, I can promise that we'll be sure to cover it.