Embedded Videos and Web Page Load Times: How to Optimize On-page SEO for Video

Improving web page loading speed is one of the most reliable ways to improve conversions and generate sales.

According to a 2018 Google report, just over half of all mobile users leave websites that take longer than three seconds to load.

At the same time, Mach Metrics’ reports that the latest 2020 Speed Index is 4.7 seconds for desktop users and 11.4 seconds for mobile.

The vast majority of web pages online today are losing more than half(!) of their potential leads just because they don’t load fast enough. SEO experts know that page load speed has been an important ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. It has been so for many years.

The bottom line is simple: Making your web pages load faster earns you better results across the board.

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Do embedded videos slow down page load time?

Here’s the short answer:

It depends.

The fact is that there are many ways to embed videos on a web page. The way you choose to go about doing it will have a significant impact on your web page load time.

Here some examples of the different ways you can embed a video onto a web page today:

  • Self-hosted: You own a website, so why not put the entire video directly on the web page? (Hint: it’s a bad idea)
  • YouTube embeds: YouTube is optimized for streaming and owned by Google, so it couldn’t possibly hurt, right? (It can)
  • Custom video hosting: Hosting videos on a purpose-built platform with your own branding must be the way to go. (That depends on the hosting service!)

Each of these three options comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks.

Self-hosted videos are the worst offenders in terms of load time.  They essentially  force every user to load the video directly from your website server. There are very few reasons to take this route other than nostalgia for the 1990s.

Embedded YouTube videos will certainly run faster than self-hosted ones. However, YouTube is happy to compromise page load speed for the sake of monetization.

 

YouTube will weigh down your website. It does so with unnecessary scripts being run by ad-saturated video content and collecting data on your users. Most importantly, it attempts to draw them away from your site and onto YouTube.com.

 


Custom video hosting can give you an optimal balance between page loading performance and marketing features. It’s important to note, however, that not all video hosting providers are equal. Some will capitalize on speed, while others will make the same compromise YouTube does. The only difference will be that they’ll share their marketing data with you (something YouTube doesn’t do).

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YouTube Vs. custom video hosting

While YouTube offers a free and easy way to get video content onto websites, it will weigh down your website and keep resulting insights for itself. Other hosting providers will use their own technology to achieve similar results.

 

A custom video hosting platform that collects data on users will be able to tell you important things. You’ll know where your users are located geographically, or what parts of your video content generate the most engagement.

 

 

You can discover a great deal about your audience by leveraging this kind of data towards developing new, highly-targeted videos.

YouTube also collects this kind of data, but it fails to divulge the most valuable insights to its content creators. Instead, it focuses on monetizing the content as much as possible through advertising. As a result, your brand ends up advertising for YouTube’s sponsors. You  have no control over who those sponsors may be or how their messaging impacts your users.

According to Backlinko, removing as many third-party scripts as possible is key to optimizing your page’s search engine ranking. Google has focused intently on page loading speed for organic search rankings since 2018.

Nevertheless, there are ways to speed up page loading time for embedded YouTube videos. Lazy loading is one of the most popular strategies in use today. It commands users’ web browsers to only load the part of the web page currently showing on the screen. Everything else is left to load later, when (or if) the user decides to scroll further.

You can also set your website to limit outgoing HTTP requests. This will force YouTube to spend less of your valuable web resources trying to monetize your users. However, this is an incomplete strategy, at best.

 

If you want optimal web page load times, a custom video hosting provider is the ideal option.

 

Finding a video hosting provider that can reliably decrease page load times will require a discriminating approach, however.

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How to find a pagespeed-friendly video hosting provider

If your search engine marketing campaign is stuck with slow web page load times and you have a great deal of engaging visual content to show to users,  start searching for a fast video hosting provider. The latter will offer the greatest benefits to your overall strategy.

Finding the best video hosting service for web page speed can be tricky. Not all video hosting providers explain exactly how their technology works. They may not be upfront regarding the ways they help users generate marketing insights from their videos.

When considering a video hosting provider, think of how your video player will actually be displayed to users online.

Feel free to ask the following questions before committing:

  • Does your platform support all video formats?
    Choosing the right video file format can make a big difference when it comes to your page load speed. Larger files will obviously take longer to load, which will increase load times. Choosing a hosting provider that can host a wide range of file formats is key. It will help ensure you can encode your videos into a lightweight form before streaming it.
  • Are your physical servers located near my users?
    A video hosting service that hosts your content in a data center located close to your users will be able to offer better load times than one located halfway across the globe. Content delivery networks can address this issue. They copy server data to multiple data centers, strategically located in multiple territories and connecting each user to one closest to them.
  • Do your marketing tools apply to each video individually, or all together?
    Marketing tools weigh down embedded videos, but they are too valuable to give up entirely. However, there are lightweight, optimized ways to leverage marketing tools between videos (like applying them to an entire user account all at once). There are clumsy ways to go about it (like applying marketing tools to every single video individually).

 

 

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Test your web page load speed & see for yourself

All too often, video marketers neglect to realize how embedded videos impact page load time speed. That killer video you created won’t earn any conversions if users aren’t patient enough for it to load.

YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion all offer free hosting services. Most professional video hosting providers also offer free trial periods to new users. Take advantage of this to run a small comparison on one of your web pages. Use a web page speed testing tool to see which video hosting service offers the best performance.

 

GTmetrix, Google’s PageSpeed Insights and WebPageTest are all great tools. they can help you identify the video hosting solution that provides the most reliable page load speed benefits to your users.

 

 

Experiment and find the hosting provider that offers you the best combination of web page loading speed and powerful marketing insights. Uniting these two elements in your overall marketing strategy is going to deliver compounding returns. The kind that are far greater than what you can achieve without them.

 

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Embedded Videos and Web Page Load Times: How to Optimize On-page SEO for Video

by Austin Jesse Mitchell time to read: 5 min
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