What Does Embed Mean?

Add visual appeal and make sites easier to read by embedding content

Embedding means to place content on your page/site rather than only linking to it. This way readers don't have to leave your site to consume additional content. Here's what you need to know to understand how embedding works for a variety of platforms.

What Does Embed Mean?

A man embeds content in a website at the direction of its owner.
This image is embedding in this page. Jean-Philippe Ksiazek / Getty Images

You've probably seen content embedded on other websites. It's not uncommon to see Twitter cards embedded in news articles, or even Instagram or Facebook posts. So, instead of saying, "Go read this tweet, it's super funny" you could simply say, "I found this funny" and embed the tweet so it shows up right on the page. It will display as a Twitter 'card,' which looks much like the actual tweet looks on the Twitter site.

The purpose of embedding content is to keeps reader on your site, make the experience better for the reader, and ideally, to gain more loyal readers. Rather than sending your site visitors off to someone else's site, you keep them where your content is and keep them engaged so they stay with you longer and return more often.

How to Embed YouTube Videos on Your Site

Most major social media and video platforms give you the option to embed their content on your own site, usually in exchange for a built-in link back to the original source. Just look for the option to "embed" the content somewhere on the site.

Be aware of the possibility of copyright infringement when you're sharing content from YouTube and other social media sites on your own web pages. It's best to get the content owner's permission before embedding it on your site. If you don't, the owner can demand you take you take it down, and can possibly exercise legal action if you refuse.

To embed a video from YouTube, for example, you copy the HTML code they provide for a specific video and paste it into the HTML on your site. You'll find the YouTube code under the Share icon.

YouTube makes it easy to videos from their site.

If you are explaining a complicated idea and have a video that can help illustrate your point, embed that video—don't just link to it. A reader is more likely to click the play button than they are to follow a link. 

How to Embed Other Types of Content

Facebook allows users to embed individual posts onto other sites, too. Not all Facebook posts can be embedded, but if it is your own post, or a post that someone else has shared publicly, you should be able to embed that on your site. To do that, click the three dots at the top-right of any post and then select Embed from the list of options that appears. You will be greeted with a pop-up box containing code that starts with <iframe src=.

Not all Facebook posts can be embedded onto your page. Whether a post can be or not depends on the individual user's privacy settings.

You can also embed content without using a platform's built-in code generator, like those used for YouTube or Facebook. The W3 Schools page on the <embed> tag is a great place to start and shows you how to write your own HTML code to embed any content you can think of into the HTML for your own page. Remember, though, copyright laws do apply to content belonging to other people or companies.

If you own your own website, ecommerce store, blog, or another content-focused site, learn to embed images and video into your own content. You will attract more viewers, visitors will spend more time on your pages, and you're likely to see more success than a similar site without embedded content.