Can you tell me which video hosting platform is best for SEO? This is the question I get asked most frequently on the topic of video SEO, and it’s worth stating up-front that the categorical answer, like everything else in SEO, is “it depends.” Let’s discuss what you need to consider when choosing the video hosting platform that best fits your needs.

It’s also the case that no platform is necessarily “better” for video SEO, in the sense that you can get a video indexed and ranking on your website with any video platform – with no ranking preference accorded for using a specific hosting provider.

Table of contents

  • Google owns YouTube, so will my videos rank better if I use YouTube?
  • What are the video hosting options for my website?
    • Three approaches to video hosting
  • Platforms in review
    • YouTube
    • Facebook
    • Vimeo
    • Wistia
    • Brightcove
  • In summary

Google owns YouTube, so will my videos rank better if I use YouTube?

No, this is a prevalent misconception about video SEO. Google doesn’t offer ranking benefits for further adopting its product suite (you also don’t get preference for using Google servers or pay more on Google ads). 

YouTube does have certain advantages as a platform for video SEO, in that videos uploaded to YouTube will be automatically and almost instantly indexed in Google search. However, it does have disadvantages, in that YouTube videos will frequently rank for their instance on YouTube.com, rather than the location of the embedded video on your website.

What are the video hosting options for my website?

There are three essential approaches you can take for video hosting on your website:

  • a social video platform,
  • self-hosting,
  • or a third-party host.

Three approaches to video hosting

Social video platformSelf-hosted with free video playerPaid video hosting platform
ExamplesYouTube, Facebook, InstagramVideoPress, VideoJS, Plyr.ioVimeo, Wistia, Brightcove
CostFreeSmall hosting & CDN costs, that scale with bandwidth usedFrom $20 a month, dependent on features, storage and bandwidth
ProsFree to use and ubiquitous across the web.Full control over the presentation and delivery of your video content.Includes additional features not present with the other two options e.g. player customization, gating options and analytics.
Typically faster to load and stream than the other options. 
ConsOften slow to load, as lots of advertising scripts are loaded with the video (Yoast Video SEO fixes this for YouTube).
Sometimes ads and related videos are forced on embedded videos.
Content is usually also indexed on social platforms; this can cannibalize traffic to your site (pro or con, dependent on your use-case).
Can be complicated to set up, with unpredictable costs if you have a lot of video content.
It can also be slow to load if adaptive bitrate streaming is not implemented.
Can be expensive, especially if you have a lot of video content and require a great deal of bandwidth.

For much the same reason that it’s generally better to pay for a dedicated web host from a specialist company rather than set up your own server, it’s preferable to use a specialist third-party host than to host things yourself. You benefit from a third party maintaining and updating the product as well as economies of scale.

Therefore, most website owners’ essential question becomes – paid video hosting platform (e.g., Vimeo, Wistia) vs. social platform (e.g., YouTube, Facebook).

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