We Analyzed 1.3 Million YouTube Videos. Here is What We Found About YouTube SEO

We analyzed 1.3 million YouTube movies to much better comprehend how YouTube’s search motor is effective.

Especially, we appeared at the correlation between ranking variables — like sights, responses and shares — with YouTube rankings.

We acquired a lot about YouTube Search engine optimisation. And I’m confident you will far too.

Listed here is a Summary of What We Found:

1. Responses show up to be an influential position aspect. We uncovered that a video’s comments strongly correlates with better rankings.

2. Lengthier movies considerably outperform shorter video clips. The regular size of a YouTube video is 14 minutes, 50 seconds.

3. We found that video views have a substantial correlation with rankings.

4. The variety of shares an online video generates is strongly tied to a videos YouTube rankings.

5. There is a reasonable correlation between a channel’s subscriber dimensions and rankings. This suggests that even tiny channels have a chance to rank their video clips on YouTube.

6. Video likes are substantially correlated with increased rankings.

7. “Subscriptions” has a reasonably powerful correlation with rankings. As a result, movies that more often result in new subscribers have an edge in YouTube rankings.

8. We found a pretty modest connection in between search phrase-prosperous video clip tags and rankings. This could represent the fact that YouTube can now comprehend online video articles without the assistance of metadata.

9. Video clips that consist of an exact match keyword in their online video title show up to have a slight edge more than movies that do not. This indicates that like a keyword in your title may possibly enhance your rankings by a slim margin.

10. We identified zero correlation among keyword-optimized video descriptions and rankings.

11. High definition movies dominate YouTube’s look for final results. 68.2% of films on the first webpage of YouTube are in Hd.

I have in-depth data and information of our findings down below.

Online video Remarks Have a Pretty Solid Correlation With Rankings

YouTube encourages creators to publish videos that maximize engagement. Needless to say, remarks are a robust indicator that men and women are engaging with your online video.

But does YouTube use opinions as a ranking signal?

Our information suggests that they do:

youtube comments chart

As you are able to see in the chart previously stated, the more responses a movie has, the bigger it is likely to rank. Thinking about YouTube’s focus on customer engagement, this final outcome is not a tremendous surprise.

Essential Takeaway: Films with loads of remarks have a tendency to rank most effective in YouTube.

Lengthier Movies Outrank Shorter Videos

When it is going to come to video clip Website positioning, must you make little videos? Or perhaps are you outstanding off with longer films which review a subject in depth?

We analyzed the details of ours to get out.

Our knowledge exhibits that for an extended period films are prone to substantially outrank reduced movies.

video length chart

In point, the common duration of a video ranking on the first site of YouTube is 14 minutes, 50 seconds.

What’s taking place listed here?

YouTube has publicly verified that a video’s total observe time is a vital position sign.


Also, in 2015, Google was granted a patent for an algorithm that works by using “watch time” as a ranking sign.

In a nutshell, YouTube wishes to endorse movies that hold people on YouTube for a prolonged time. Longer video clips finish the largest, consequently the desire to have lengthier movie content material.

An additional idea is the fact that much more time video clips present a much more general benefit in a single video. This’s true for how to films as perfectly as for content designed to entertain. The bonus which for an extended time films supply may inspire a great deal more interaction alerts (including responses and also likes) that ultimately impact rankings.

In actuality, in case you perform a cursory search of well liked keywords, you would be hard pressed to attain a restricted video clip (< three minutes) ranking seriously in the search engine results.

youtube search results 2

Key Takeaway: Longer videos perform best in YouTube search. The average video on the first page of YouTube’s search results is 14 minutes, 50 seconds long.

Video Shares Are Strongly Tied to Higher Rankings

Google has consistently denied the fact that social signals play a role in their algorithm.

Nevertheless, YouTube’s algorithm works independently of Google. And so there is a chance that YouTube applies shares from social media networks as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter as a ranking factor.

Actually, we did discover that shares have a powerful correlation with increased rankings in YouTube:

total video shares

It’s important to note that we used YouTube’s public share report for this analysis.

video shares

Exactly why is this critical?

Among the primary problems of utilizing social shares as a rank signal is they are very easily gamed. Anyone can will be able to hand someone a couple of bucks in return for posting a portion of information hundred times on Facebook.

This is not the situation on YouTube.

Unlike sharing content by using a webpage’s social sharing icons, YouTube knows what users share video content…and exactly where they discuss.

youtube social share icons

This tracking makes this signal much harder to manipulate.

Combine that with the point that YouTube motivates publishers to produce highly shareable content (and that YouTube reports shares in YouTube Analytics), plus you’ve a good chance that the connection between shares plus positioning is much more than an opportunity correlation.

Key Takeaway: Highly-shared videos outrank videos with fewer shares.

A Video’s View Count Is Significantly Correlated With Rankings

Video views were once YouTube’s #1 ranking factor.

The idea was that: lots of views=popular video=quality video.

Nevertheless, YouTube learned that views frequently serve as a poor sign of video quality.

So they changed their algorithm to emphasize factors like audience retention and engagement:

youtube emphasize watch time

However, we discovered that a video’s total view count continues to have a significant correlation with rankings.

video views rankings chart 2

It appears that you still need a critical mass of views to rank in YouTube. (In fact, a YouTube engineer stated that, while views aren’t as important as they once were, YouTube still uses them).

That is since, with no views, your video cannot create additional indicators which YouTube utilizes to assess your video’s quality (like complete watch time and comments).

But at a particular point, views have diminishing returns.

That is exactly why you frequently see top-quality videos rank above lower quality videos (even when the lower quality video has a lot more views).

example of low video view video ranking

Key Takeaway: Video views are considerably correlated with increased YouTube rankings, but higher ranking will obviously result in more views due to traffic.

A Channel’s Subscriber Count Is Moderately Correlated With Rankings

We found a moderate correlation between a channel’s total subscribers and rankings:

channel subscribers chart

This is good news if you run a small or new channel.

Unlike Google, which seems to have a preference for big brands, YouTube is more likely to rank content from “the little guy”.

For instance, for this famous keyword, videos from 2 small channels outrank a video clip from a channel which has more than two million subscribers:

ranking with low subs

This type of result isn’t uncommon on YouTube.

(Of course, channels with countless members have an advantage. But our data demonstrates this particular edge is not as substantial as you might think).

Key Takeaway: Channels with lots of members have an edge in YouTube. Nevertheless, clips from smaller channels consistently outrank video clips from well-known channels.

Videos With Lots of Likes Outrank Videos With Fewer Likes

It’s no secret that YouTube prefers videos that engage their audience.

And video “likes” function as a great engagement signal. All things considered, likes certainly are a crowdsourced means of evaluating the way the YouTube group thinks about the video of yours.

That’s the theory. But what does the data say?

Our study revealed a significant correlation between likes and video rankings:

youtube likes and rankings chart

This suggests that YouTube may use likes as a ranking signal.

However, as you know, correlation doesn’t always mean causation.

Videos with a lot of likes are also very likely to be high quality. And high quality videos generate additional ranking signals (like audience retention) that YouTube values.

Key Takeaway: YouTube might use likes as a direct ranking factor. Or maybe it could be that heavily liked videos generate other indicators that YouTube really cares about.

Videos That Result in New Channel Subscribers Rank Higher Than Videos That Don’t Generate Subscribers

If someone really enjoys a video on YouTube, what are they likely to do? Subscribe to that channel so they can see that channel’s future videos.

In other words, a video that encourages lots of new subscribers is a sure sign of quality.

Not only that but getting new subscribers is an extremely hard metric to manipulate at scale.

Sure, you can get a few people (or bots) to subscribe to your channel after watching a video. But it’s much more difficult than generating thousands of fake views or likes.

Knowing that its likely that YouTube uses “subscriptions driven” as a ranking factor.

Our data did indeed show a significant correlation between “subscriptions driven” and higher video rankings.

subscriptions driven rankings

As they do with shares, YouTube displays the amount of subscriptions driven underneath each video:

subscriptions driven

(Publishers can choose not to show this information publicly).

Like with many metrics, you are able to increase the amount of members your videos generate by developing world class video content.

Nevertheless, you are able to in addition ask viewers to subscribe:

subscribe CTA

I’ve found that a clear call-to-action to subscribe significantly boosts my “subscriptions driven” on each video.

Key Takeaway: “Subscription driven” has a reasonably strong correlation with higher YouTube rankings.

Keyword-Rich Tags Have a Weak Correlation With YouTube Rankings

In the beginning of video that is internet, platforms as YouTube counted on metadata to comprehend your video’s subject.

For instance, YouTube will evaluate your video’s name, description, tagseven your video’s filename. Basically, the more text you might connect to the video clip of yours, the greater.

Today, YouTube can “listen” to every word of your video (without needing you to upload a transcription):

youtube automatic transcription2

Realizing that, does YouTube however work with video tag metadata?

We discovered a weak correlation between keyword rich video tags and rankings:

keyword in tag chart

While tags do not seem to be as vital as they once had been, our data suggests that they continue to create a little dent. So it is practical to utilize them.

(Also, YouTube recommends that you use descriptive tags. This suggests that they still use tags to understand the content and context of your video).

Key Takeaway: Using your target keyword as being a tag might help with rankings. But the entire impact of tags seems to be too small.

Keyword-Optimized Titles Are Slightly Correlated With Rankings

Traditionally, your video’s name was a portion of metadata which YouTube put a great deal of focus on.

Nevertheless, we discovered that like an actual keyword in your video name just carries minimal likely effect on rankings:

exact match title

These findings could mean a few things:

It might be YouTube has de emphasized the benefits of video titles. Nevertheless, that seems less likely as YouTube has stated that: “Titles contain valuable information to help viewers find your videos in search results.”

What is much more likely is YouTube has created a much deeper understanding of a title’s meaning (beyond basic keyword matching).

In other words, they might utilize a less sophisticated version of Google’s semantic search. In case so, YouTube would not have to see a certain keyword in your name to position you for that query. A synonym would perform the job.

Actually, it is typical to see video clips ranking nicely in YouTube for favorite keywordseven whenever they do not include the actual phrase in the name of theirs.

youtube search results example

Key Takeaway: Using your target keyword in the name of yours could enable you to position for that phrase. Nevertheless, the relationship between keyword rich video titles and rankings is incredibly vulnerable.

There’s No Correlation Between Keyword-Optimized Descriptions and Rankings For That Term

Does including a keyword inside your video description help you position for that phrase?

According to the data of ours, keyword optimized descriptions do not have some impact on rankings:

keyword in description

This finding contradicts a common “best practice” of video optimization: keyword-rich descriptions.

There are a few possible explanations for this finding:

First, like with titles, YouTube might not demand an actual keyword in your explanation to find out what your video is around. For instance, let’s say your target keyword is: tips on how to produce tomatoes. Using terms in the description of yours like developing tomatoes and the most effective way to produce tomatoes might do the job just too.

Second, there is the chance YouTube uses “keyword is found in a video’s description” as a ranking signal, though it is very compact that we were not in a position to evaluate it. Actually, we discovered a few movies without description at all ranking seriously on page one. This means that the video explanation of yours is not almost as crucial as user generated signals (including views and “subscription driven”).

Third, it might be that YouTube today ignores video explanations as a ranking factor. This’s not likely as YouTube states that: “Well written descriptions with the proper keywords are able to raise views and also watch time since they assist your video appear in search results.”.

Despite this finding, I still recommend writing keyword-rich descriptions.


An optimized description allows you to turn up in the suggested videos sidebar, that is a tremendous resource of ideas for many routes.

Key Takeaway: There is no correlation between keyword optimized information and rankings for that phrase. Nevertheless, I nonetheless suggest composing keyword rich information as they are able to assist your video rank for relevant terms (and show up as a “suggested video”).

HD Videos Dominate The First Page of YouTube’s Search Results

Do standard-definition or high-definition videos perform finest in YouTube search?

We found that HD videos look much more frequently compared to SD video clips on YouTube’s initial page:

HD videos

This data could be interpreted in 2 ways:

For starters, it might be that YouTubers that produce the very best video content also often shoot in HD. Therefore, this’s an example of correlation only telling a part of the story.

Next, there is the chance that YouTube has an inherent preference for HD video content.

It is hard to establish the complete effect of HD vs. SD from our correlation information alone.

Regardless, the vast majority of videos that rank well in YouTube are in HD. In fact, 68.2% of all videos on YouTube’s first page are in HD.

Key Takeaway: HD videos are significantly more common than SD videos on the first page of YouTube’s search results.

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