Why Embedding YouTube Videos is a Bad Idea

Video embeddingEmbedding YouTube videos on your blog is a very, I repeat very bad idea

My good friend Adrienne Smith recently wrote a post related to this topic that got me thinking about the dangers of this.

As you appreciate from the shenanigans of Facebook and Google, working on platforms and with policies you have no control over is not an ideal situation.

Yet we tolerate it for the benefits we get from this relationship.

Which brings me back to YouTube.

Perhaps creating videos is not your thing or perhaps you have found one that really complements the message you are delivering in your post.

Or even you just want to jump on the latest trend or buzz.

So you embed that video.

Which is as I have said a very bad idea.

But why would giving your readers access to a great video be a bad idea?

The main reason of course is that you have no control over that content and rather than being on Facebook its now on a site where the buck stops with you.

So what could happen due to your lack of control?

Perhaps the video gets taken down

Well hopefully you have the broken link checker plugin installed as that will be your first line of defense in this instance.

By checking this as part of your maintenance routine you can take steps to resolve this issue.

However that is not as easy as it sounds.

If the video was the core element of your content, you could of course find an alternative but then you will have re-write at least some of the surrounding text to fit in with the new video.

I don’t know about you but I know I prefer creating content than maintaining old content, as I find that tedious and very uninspiring.

Of course if the video does not get taken down but instead is either swapped out for other content then you have a bigger problem as unless you watch the video you will never know.

But there is a far simpler solution.

You could just delete the post.

However what will happen to all those people following the links to this post, I am sure they are not going to be impressed to see your 404 page.

You could of course use the post URL as a redirect to an alternative post. Great, problem solved, well not quite as Google now considers you a sinner of the worst kind.

All those people coming to your site looking for that video are taken instead to content that was not what they were promised and indeed may not even be what they were looking for.

That is the biggest sin you can inflict upon Google, forcing people back to Google to repeat their original search.

Google has actually stated they are pretty relaxed about 404 pages because it goes with the territory of the digital age we live in. However they are most definitely not cool about their customers being misled.

So what are you supposed to do if you cannot create your own videos or do not have the time.

You could of course outsource their creation but then I guess you were expecting that answer so lets move onto a better one.

Become a better blogger!

Ok so that is about as bad as my outsourcing suggestion but remember a blog is primarily about the words with all the other media there as side attractions.

Therefore if you cannot create a video and you are wise not to embed that viral video then you need to paint a better picture with your words.

  • What is the main message and call to action in that viral video?
  • What is you take upon that message?
  • How would you recommend people rise to that call for action?

You can of course mention the video in passing which includes a hyperlink to the actual video, perhaps like the example below and the one in the second paragraph of this post.

I just watched a great video by Mike Filsaime in which he revealed 5 principles of marketing…

Of course should either that blog post or video  get taken down all I need to do is remove the hyperlink and my post remains able to stand on its own merits.

Now once you are ready to publish your posts, its important to note that you need to calm yourself down when it comes to writing the meta description, the text that appears in the search engines, below the post title.

You should never hint they can watch the video in your post because that will be a reason for people to abandon your post instantly and repeat their Google search which as you now know is a bad thing.

Rather highlight the benefits of the post and its relevance to the videos message.

Remember embedding popular videos on your site is a great way to piggyback on the buzz surrounding a topic however as we have seen it comes with a cost that we now appreciate is too high.

Thankfully the solution I recommend is simple and low risk.

By creating content that links in a throwaway manner to the video and discusses the major points raised, you will no longer have to worry about old posts damaging your site.

Instead you can focus on creating content and moving forwards with perhaps only the odd requirement to remove a hyperlink or two.

This becomes possible because you took the wise decision to start creating posts that are not dependant upon the continuing existence of another person’s content.

You can of course mention the high profile person and the video title to generate some SEO effects but always do this in a style that clearly indicates SEO is never the major driver in your content.

Google hates gamers but loves people who love people which is why you should focus on creating content for your readers and never just for Google.


  1. Hi there Igor,
    Interesting post – you raise a very good point. While I haven;t actually embedded a video in a post, I have often thought I would – obviously without thinking about the consequences.
    I kinda like the idea of using a link to a video as this addresses the issue you raise and makes recovery very simple – also the video doesn’t dominate your post which is something that puts me off.

    Could you elaborate a little more writing the meta description? I’m interested in your views on what it should contain and what the tricks are to getting the details correct.
    Thanks in anticipation
    Best regards

    1. Well hello Wayne, thanks for popping over and leaving a comment. I use a plugin called WordPress SEO, which adds below the post creation area a section where you can add in the focus keyword and the meta description which will be added to the search engine results snippet.

      The best advice for this description is to think like a guest, who and why should they read this, what is the benefit of reading it. The description for this post was “Embedding YouTube videos on your blog comes with a cost that you may not realize, let me explain…”, so this is for bloggers who wish to embed youtube videos and I raise an issue about this that is answered in my post.

      I hope that helps to answer your question.

  2. Hi Igor
    Thanks for this post, it has been very informative to me. I am not yet at the stage of using video, whether it be mine or someone else’s, however I shall think twice now before sharing a video, or basing a blog post around a video I have seen. In a way it offers up the challenge to become a better blogger, as it is, in my opinion, the WORDS within your blog that makes your blog.
    Looking forward to reading more informative posts from you 🙂

    1. Well hello Victoria, thanks for taking the time to pop over and leave a great comment. By making our posts more like a discussion than a presentation it all seems more natural, its unlikely in a conversation with friends that you would stop, whip out your tablet, play the video then expect to resume your conversation from the point before the video, instead its important to stick to the core message you want to get across.

  3. Igor

    Been there, done it and lost the video!

    I think that your suggestion of adding a link is probably the easiest and best way to deal with the problem of videos being withdrawn.

    And thanks for pointing out that there is the possibility of a black mark from Google for redirecting a link so definitely looking to use your suggested method to keep within the guidelines.

    Thanks for the post


    1. Well hello Dave, glad you found the post useful, Google keeps a close eye on your bounce rate because that is a reasonable indication of how well your content matched the expectations raised in the search result snippet.

  4. Hey Igor,

    Well you wrote that post I see and you have a good point but here is something else to consider.

    Back when I first started blogging I was doing only affiliate marketing. I was promoting products and writing reviews. Fine, no problem up until a little over a year ago when I was going through my site and cleaning up all my broken links for the first time. I ended up deleted 42 posts and trust me when I say that no one has linked to those so that was nothing for me to be worried about. I cleaned all those up with Google and moved on.

    My point is the the products I was promoting were no longer available so you could really say that about anything. I think as many times as I’ve inserted videos in my posts I’ve had way more broken links and so far not one video has been an issue.

    I think it’s like linking out to a post to help your readers with. There is always a possibility that it can be taken down for one reason or the other at any given time but that wouldn’t stop me from linking. I’ve referenced a lot of posts throughout mine where I’ve had to just delete the link because the post was no longer there but since it’s an older post I would just hope that people will realize that that’s something just out of my control. It served it’s purpose at that time.

    If you happen to have some bad luck where this happens a lot then I might be more leery but for the most part it won’t stop me from inserting links and anything else for that matter. I’m hoping to find a better way to remove these broken links too! I’m on a mission. 😉


    1. Well hello Adrienne, thanks for popping over and leaving a thought provoking response. We are certainly singing the same tune when it comes to managing and avoiding broken links, my point with the ideas about not embedding video is that ideally we want our content to stand on its own merits and if we need to either remove link or an embedded video then our post can still remain valid, of course with embeded video the process can get more complicated.

  5. Very interesting post Igor,

    I’ve never really thought about vids being taken down or anything,

    Pleased I read this before I start embedding too many!!


    1. Well hello Kim, thanks for popping over and I am glad you found the post useful. I have had to rework content due to embeded videos being taken down and reworking old content kills me inside, so I would rather avoid it where I can.

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