You may think YouTube is the only game in town when it comes to storing and embedding your videos in blog posts, but another great option is hosting your video on your own site. There are tons of reasons why self-hosting your videos are a great idea - the ownership rests with you, you don't have to deal with pesky watermarks from other companies on your content and when users find your video in search engine results, they'll click on your site rather than clicking straight to YouTube.

Self-hosting your videos has one big consideration - visibility. Without built-in keyword and related searches (like you'll have on a third-party hosting site), you have to put a little extra work into your videos. Here are four
tips for optimizing your self-hosted videos for greater visibility.

SEO Video Optimization

4 Tips for Optimizing Self-Hosted Videos for Better SEO

Use Google Video Sitemaps

Google uses Sitemaps, an XML list of pages on your website or blog, to discover your content and serve it to searchers. Sitemaps are especially helpful with URLs that aren't normally discoverable by Google's normal crawling process, including video, images and code. A visual sitemap of your video can include a bevy of information, including running time, category, content type (i.e. family-friendly or adult only) licenses, metadata and keywords. Google offers tutorials on manually writing your sitemap, and requires the following data for each video in order to display videos in search results: title, description, URL where the video is hosted, thumbnail URL and the raw video URL or URL to Flash video player.

Surround the Video with Great Content

Search engines are on the lookout for fresh, original and most importantly relevant content, and one of the best ways to optimize your self-hosted videos is to load the video landing page with content that's applicable to your video. This can help boost your search engine rankings and improve accessibility for your page - and more information is almost always better for your readers. An easy way to accomplish this is to take your video script and develop a transcript for your video, use a relevant headline in your title and link your video landing page internally on other pages in your website.

Be Social

Your readers and viewers can be your best ally when you're optimizing your hosted videos. Make sure you're allowing embedding for your video for easy sharing (if you're worried about copyright, watermark your video before you post it), submit your video to video-specific search engines (like AltaVista or Truveo), and social bookmarking sites like Pinterest and StumbleUpon. Encourage sharing and commenting among your readers. Great video will beget sharing, which helps optimization immensely.

Use Meta-Data

Meta-data is like a behind-the-scenes look at your video designed especially for search engines. Typically, information in meta-data includes transcripts of conversations, text descriptions of scenes and any music or voiceovers. The text information makes it easier for search engines to "see" your video as a free-standing file - apart from the content on its landing page. Meta-data is a rather technical aspect of video editing. Professional editing software lets you add meta-data easily, as does Adobe Bridge (for after-editing additions). There are also freeware and cost-efficient programs available.

Pat Walton works in tech industry for a Chicago-based video production agency,, and enjoys blogging about optimizing web videos.