The answer to this question USED to be "no," but I've heard that google is starting to crawl youtube comments (or it's a feature in labs or the like), which might change things. Can having strong video content actually improve your SEO?

It seems like it depends on where and how it's hosted. I don't see how getting even a million youtube hits helps you if no one visits your site. The youtube video has to have some kind of funnel to your homepage, and even then -- does that count for any more than just a single backlink in google, yahoo, et al

Any thoughts or inside info on this?

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Well, if the video is interesting, this can drive traffic to your site.

Well, if the video is interesting, this can drive traffic to your site.

Right, right, that's kind of what I was referring to as the "funnel" the example of the voicemail provider gotvmail and their youtube campaign with Gary Busey recently. It generated (or so the bloggers have said) truckloads of traffic with the laughs. But that's not really SEO, right? I guess what I'm asking is whether strong video content will improve your ranking for specific queries. My guess is that it will not, but if google crawls youtube pages with comments and everything then it's a possibility, I guess.

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