Best practice: Updating videos on YouTube
It’s not actually possible to upload new versions and “update” a video clip on YouTube. As someone who helps managers a number of websites for various clients, it’s not unusual for me to receive an email that says “Can you remove from our YouTube account. We’ve got a new version to replace it”.
The problem is that your original video has become a social content. When you posted it, it became alive. People starting viewing it, commenting on it, liking it, sharing it, embedding it.
Deleting the video ends its life. You break links, you remove comments, you will even lose some “video juice” as YouTube uses number of video (and channel) views as part of its ranking algorithm – you other videos could appear lower down in search results as a result of deleting.
What should you do?
Deleting content always has an impact, so most of the time you want to avoid it. Especially so in cases like YouTube where you have no control over where deleted pages redirect to.
Best practice tips
Here are my best practice tips for updating a video:
- Upload your update video as a new video
- Tag it the same way as the original, paying some attention to improving the tags at the same time.
- Use a similar description as the original, again taking the chance to improve it during the process
- Add it as a video comment to the original
- Add an annotation to the old video with a message saying it’s no longer up to date and give a link to the new version
- Promote the new version in all the ways you would normally promote a new video
Why is that best practice?
By following the above best practice you don’t lose your total “views” or the position of that video in search results. At the same time you provide useful and relevant information to people who happen to view the old video clip – you give them a link to a newer version. You’ve helped them. You’ve used the ecosystem of the web in a much better way than just deleting the old, out of date, video.