Why They Matter and How to Build Them for SEO

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YouTube backlinks are external links to your site that come from a YouTube video or anywhere on the surrounding platform. Like this one: 

Building backlinks from reputable sources is an essential part of an off-page SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. And YouTube backlinks can help improve your website’s search rankings and organic traffic.

How does a backlink work? 

When a reputable website links to another website, search engines consider the latter a good, reliable source of information. Backlinks work as “votes of confidence” for search engines, who can use them to determine organic search rankings for a particular domain.

But what makes YouTube backlinks reputable?

YouTube has the highest authority score of 100 according to Semrush’s Authority Score. This tool rates a domain’s authority on an ascending scale of 0 to 100. Among other things, that score indicates how valuable YouTube’s outbound links to another site may be. 

The higher the authority score of a domain, the more weight its backlinks can have. In other words, you can assume that a backlink from YouTube will carry the highest value.

youtube.com domain has 100 Authority Score.in Semrush

A backlink strategy (or a link building strategy) refers to the tactics a website uses to secure high-value backlinks. YouTube backlinking is a great option for businesses that already create content for YouTube. 

Here’s why you should consider building YouTube backlinks to your site:

1. Enhance Your Search Engine Optimization

According to a Backlinko study, high website authority strongly correlates with higher rankings. 

Receiving links from highly authoritative sites can help improve your own website’s authority score. YouTube fits the high-authority bill, so backlinks from this domain can consequently help your site perform better on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Getting backlinks from YouTube alongside links from social media platforms and other reputable websites can enhance your overall backlink profile. 

A diverse backlink profile signals to search engines that your website holds credibility and relevance across various online platforms. This can also improve your website’s organic search rankings.

The Backlinko study also shows that receiving backlinks from diverse domains is important for SEO. And because it takes little effort to build links from YouTube if you already have an existing video channel, including a backlink from the platform is a good place to start diversifying.

2. Get More Leads and Sales

YouTube is reportedly the third-largest search engine, so many people begin their product research there. 

A Google survey calculated that YouTube guided the purchasing decisions of 68% of platform users. And in a related study, more than 40% of global shoppers said they buy products they find on YouTube. 

Google survey's data showed that 68% of YouTube users used it to help them make purchase decisions

Image Source: Google

Traffic coming from a source that consumers trust is likely to convert better. So, when you create YouTube backlinks from relevant videos to direct referral traffic to your product and service pages, this can translate into a boost in leads and sales.

A Talk Shoppe survey also found that nearly eight out of 10 consumers are happier when making purchases based on YouTube recommendations compared with other platforms. Plus, buyers are less likely to return items after seeing them on YouTube. 

Satisfied customers are three to 10 times more likely to become repeat customers, so converting customers from YouTube can also improve your revenue this way. 

A Talk Shoppe survey on YouTube users - results

Image Source: Talk Shoppe

3. Connect with New Audiences

Using YouTube backlinks to drive traffic to your website allows you to target those who may not yet be aware of your brand. 

Several studies have confirmed that visual learners process information differently. As a video-only platform, YouTube is ideal for reaching audiences who prefer visual over text-based information. And for exposing your offerings to viewers who likely don’t use other platforms to research products or services.

Not only can YouTube connect you to a new audience base, but YouTube links appear more prominently displayed than links within an article or a blog post. So they are more likely to capture a viewer’s attention. 

This means your chances of converting viewers into website visitors can be higher with a YouTube backlink.

But how does YouTube video consumption compare to videos on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok? 

In a recent survey, YouTube beat all others and was the preferred video platform for 82% of US adults. Confirming Google’s earlier finding that:

Google survey's data showed that almost 4X as many people prefer watching video on YouTube as on social platforms that are less video-centric

Image Source: Google

4. Build Brand Awareness and Equity

YouTube backlinks can contribute significantly to brand awareness by tapping into the platform’s 2.49 billion audience and directing viewers to your website. 

Plus, linking from your YouTube channel to your website can help search engines recognize that both entities represent the same brand. Which can improve your online discoverability and help you rank higher for branded searches on both Google Search and YouTube. 

Here’s an example: 

Google's SERP for "Indie Folk Central" showing a YouTube channel and website results

In the above example, the brand benefits from snagging branded SERPs as well as video results—giving it added visibility.

YouTube’s Online Video Advertising Campaign statistics reinforce the importance of YouTube in establishing brand equity:

YouTube’s Online Video Advertising Campaign statistics

Image Source: Youtube

5. Increase Your Brand Value and Credibility

Gaining a backlink from a well-known or reputable source in your industry can also instill more trust in your business.

YouTube is a source many people trust more than other platforms during their shopping journey.

When users navigate to your site through a YouTube backlink, they’re likely to associate your brand with a reliable source. Which fosters a positive brand perception, contributing to brand recognition and long-term value.

In other words, a YouTube backlink from a popular and trusted channel can enhance how the audience perceives your brand. Rendering you more credible and valuable.

Take the example of DreamHost, a leader in web hosting. One of its YouTube videos links to LezWatch.TV in the description. 

This is not just about driving traffic; it’s an implicit endorsement strategy. 

DreamHost uses its stature and credibility to bolster the trustworthiness and perceived value of LezWatch.TV.

DreamHost's YouTube video that links to LezWatch.TV in the description

6. Diversify Your Marketing

Linking from your YouTube videos to your website helps you build a cross-platform audience connected with your brand. 

Google statistics show that employing an omnichannel strategy can result in an 80% increase in incremental store visits for e-commerce. 

This means that seamlessly directing your viewers from a place where they consume information (a YouTube video)to the place where they can purchase(your website) can have a direct positive impact on your site traffic.

Cross-linking could also protect you if something goes wrong on your primary platform. 

For instance, video hosting service Vine was hugely popular until it shut down in 2017. Many creators asked their audiences to follow them on YouTube so they wouldn’t lose the online following they had built.

Similarly, if your website relies primarily on SEO to get visitors, your traffic can plummet after a major Google algorithm update. Linking from YouTube to your site may continue to drive significant referral traffic—preventing you from losing your online influence entirely. 

According to Statistica, YouTube backlinks drive 24% of all e-commerce referral traffic—second only to Facebook. 

Statista's data showing that YouTube backlinks drive 24% of all e-commerce referral traffic

This traffic would be significant enough to sustain some of your brand’s equity in the event of a major drop in organic traffic. 

Further reading: How to Survive Google Updates: A Step-by-Step Guide

Getting backlinks from high-authority websites (with scores of 60-100) is challenging. But you can use your existing YouTube videos as opportunities to build easy, authoritative links. 

Considering that 46.5% of SEO specialists spend between $5,000 and $10,000 per year on link-building strategies, YouTube backlinks can be highly cost-effective. 

How?

If your brand already uses YouTube for marketing, you shouldn’t have to incur additional costs to create backlinks directly from this platform. 

With YouTube backlinks, you also control what platforms you link to and when. This level of control is impossible with other link-building methods such as guest posting, where you have to follow the host website’s linking guidelines.

Your YouTube channel offers you several opportunities to build links directing viewers to your business website. We can classify the variety of YouTube backlinks available according to their location on the platform. 

Here are the types of YouTube backlinks you can generate to grow your online presence:

Video description links are more visible than most YouTube backlinks because they appear directly below the video. 

Video description links on YouTube

They’re easy to build, too. 

Simply insert the URL in the description field when you upload the video. You can link to your home page or another relevant page or post on your site. 

Insert the URL in the description field when uploading a video under "Details" tab

Ensure your video content relates to the content on the website page you link to in the description. So viewers immediately get the connection. 

You can add YouTube profile links right below the banner of your YouTube channel page.

YouTube profile link below the banner of "Indie Folk Central" YouTube channel page

Previously, you could only include up to five profile links—but as of August 2023, you can add up to 14.

YouTube profiles typically include links to Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms brands use to connect with their audiences. 

YouTube profile "Links" section

You can use YouTube Studio to add your profile links. Once you log in to your YouTube account, click on your avatar in the upper right-hand corner and select “YouTube Studio.” 

Navigating to “YouTube Studio"

Scroll down the left-side navigation and click on “Customization.” Then, navigate to the “Basic info” tab. 

"Basic info" page under "Channel customisation" section

Scroll down to “+ ADD LINK.” 

"+ ADD LINK" button

Enter a link name (how you want the link displayed on your profile) and the URL. 

"Spotify" and "myspotifylink.com" entered under "Links" section in “YouTube Studio

The YouTube platform lets you place interactive info cards containing links throughout a video’s duration. Although these card links mainly point to other channel videos and YouTube playlists, you can use this feature to support your off-page SEO efforts.

You can add up to five cards at different points of your video. Allowing you to seamlessly guide viewers toward specific pages on your website via backlinks.

This is how an info card appears in a YouTube video:

An info card in a YouTube video

And here are the steps to add one in YouTube Studio:

1. Log in to YouTube Studio, then navigate to the “Content” section in the left-hand menu.

2. Choose the video you want to edit by clicking on its title or thumbnail. 

A YouTube video thumbnail and title highlighted

3. Go to the “Editor” option in the left menu. 

4. Navigate to “Info cards”and select the “Link” option. 

"Link" option selected next to "Info cards" in YouTube Studio

5. Add the URL you want to direct viewers to.

A comment link can help you build both domain- and page-specific YouTube backlinks to your site. 

Most creators use them to get viewers to click through to specific web pages or blog posts on external websites. Some may also add affiliate links in the comments. 

A comment link on YouTube

But although comment links are helpful, don’t abuse them. Spamming the comments section can trigger YouTube algorithms to mark your account as spammy, resulting in account suspension. 

To read more about the types of comments that are not allowed, check out this Google Support page.

YouTube directs users to “Suggested Content” at the end of videos—which can include related videos and content that may or may not come from your brand. 

To keep viewers engaged with your brand before YouTube recommends other external content, redirect them to your site via the right end-screen backlinks. 

End-screen links function as a call to action (CTA). They urge your audience to take a specific next step after watching your video.

Beyond linking to your brand-focused videos or asking viewers to hit the “Subscribe” button, if you’re on the YPP you can include end-screen backlinks for SEO and increased referral traffic. 

Here’s an example:

End-screen link on YouTube video

Here’s how you create end-screen backlinks on YouTube:

Follow the first two steps 1 and 2 outlined above for the card link. Then,

3. Click the “Editor”option from the left menu. 

4. Navigate to the “End screen” option. 

5. Hit the “Link” option and add your website or page URL.

"Link" option selected next to "End screen" in YouTube Studio

Important: We don’t recommend using free YouTube backlink generators. These tools build links unnaturally, which can result in account suspension.

If YouTube is already a strong component of your marketing strategy, YouTube backlinks give you the chance to boost your brand’s reach and website traffic through your video assets.

Semrush tools can help you identify and track YouTube backlinks while supporting your website’s overall link-building efforts. 

For instance, you can run the Backlink Audit tool to assess your backlink profile’s health and get actionable insights to improve it. Compare your domain with your competitors’ in Backlink Gap to identify untapped link-building and outreach opportunities. Plus explore new backlink sources to quickly build new links with the Link Building Tool.

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