When you embed a video on your website from your YouTube channel, are those views counted by YouTube?

The short answer is, yes.

The long answer is a little more complicated.

Any embedded video hosted on YouTube will count as a view when that video is played, with a few exceptions.

Embedded Video Views That Don’t Count

There are a few sources of views that don’t count, and a few things that will disqualify a view from counting:

  • Views from an embedded video set to autoplay may or may not count. This has varied over the years, and there are many conflicting reports available. In general, however, a video set to play automatically is an annoyance that drives users away. Allow them to load the video on their own terms; don’t force it on them.
  • Views from the creator of the content typically count, to a limited degree. YouTube has no way of knowing, for example, whether you’re showing the video to other people on your computer or not. However, refreshing the page dozens of times to inflate the view count will cause those views to not count.
  • Repeated views from the same user over a short period of time typically don’t count. Repeat views are legitimate in some cases — typically music videos and tutorials — but they often take place in a single session. If the user is reloading the page each time they view the embedded video, they’re probably trying to game the system, and their repeat views won’t count.
  • Views from known spam IPs or the IPs of known view sellers. It’s possible to go to a site like Fiverr and purchase hundreds of views, but those views do nothing for you. They may count, temporarily, but when YouTube audits your view count, they will disappear.
  • Views from robots. A search engine crawler – or a robot designed to earn more views – isn’t going to trigger the code that counts a view. If it does, that view will likely be removed.
  • Views from sites where the embed code is broken. If the embedded video is loading partially and the user refreshes several times trying to get it to work, those views don’t count. The video has to load cleanly and completely for a view to count.

Additionally, some embedded views don’t count, typically due to the users doing the viewing. Some users enable extensions to limit how their browser talks with other sites, and restrict the information they give out. In these cases, YouTube wouldn’t be able to recognize the view.

The Infamous 301

Another view count glitch that plagued YouTube is known as the 301 views bug. Videos with fewer than 300 views incremented their views in real time. But videos that reached a number above 301 were frozen in place while a script audited their records to weed out any robot views. The process often took days or weeks, depending on the traffic to the video and to the site. YouTube announced in 2015 that they had fixed the bug, however, by modifying their process: “Now we count views we’re confident come from real people … and keep reviewing the rest.”

Earning More Legitimate Views

Views are important to ranking on YouTube itself, and a high ranking on YouTube will make your video more visible in Google search results, if those results include YouTube videos. So it’s a good idea to try to increase your views. Here are some things you can do that will help:

  • Optimize your videos. Apply SEO techniques to the title and description of the video. Make sure your description links to your website. Add video tags that describe the video and your industry. Create and upload a transcript of the video.
  • Create compelling video content. You need to have a video worth watching if you want users to watch it.
  • Encourage users to explore your channel. Do this with video endcaps and by creating playlists to load the next video in a series after the first one is done. When using text links, link to the playlist rather than the video, even if the video in question is the start of the playlist.
  • Interact with users on the site. YouTube is a social media site, after all. YouTube has cleaned up comments in recent years, so it’s easier to engage with active, valuable fans and easier to demote and ignore spammers and trolls.

So, embed your videos on your website and link to them on Facebook and Pinterest. Don’t forget to share them on other social networks whenever relevant. In general, do what you can to put your videos in front of as many people as possible.

When you share videos on other sites, make sure to apply SEO principles and advertising to promote those secondary impressions as well.

As long as a user watches the video for a long enough time, and the video is visible, embedded videos will count toward your view count. If the visitor is a low quality visitor (such as a bot or a proxy); if the same visitor views a video over and over; or if a visitor views your video for only a couple of seconds, it won’t count toward your view count.

Bottom line: Embedded YouTube videos are fine, and they’ll definitely increase your YouTube view count.

Here’s a short documentary we shot in Africa that’s gotten a ton of YouTube views.

Til next time,

Bill Haley

P.S. Have a topic you’d like to see discussed? Let me know and I’ll try to get to it in a future post.