We analyzed 1.3 million YouTube videos to better understand how YouTube’s search engine works.
Specifically, we looked at the correlation between ranking factors — like views, comments and shares — with YouTube rankings.
We learned a lot about YouTube SEO. And I’m sure you will too.
Here is a Summary of What We Discovered:
- Comments appear to be an influential ranking factor. We found that a video’s comment count strongly correlates with higher rankings.
- Longer videos significantly outperform shorter videos. The average length of a first page YouTube video is 14 minutes, 50 seconds.
- We discovered that video views have a significant correlation with rankings.
- The number of shares a video generates is strongly tied to first page YouTube rankings.
- There’s a moderate correlation between a channel’s subscriber size and rankings. This means that even small channels have a chance to rank their videos in YouTube.
- Video likes are significantly correlated with higher rankings.
- “Subscriptions driven” has reasonably strong correlation with rankings. Therefore, videos that result in new subscribers have an advantage in YouTube search.
- We found a very small relationship between keyword-rich video tags and rankings. This could represent the fact that YouTube can now understand video content without the help of metadata.
- Videos that contain an exact match keyword in their video title appear to have a slight edge over videos that don’t. This means that including a keyword in your title may improve your rankings by a slim margin.
- We found zero correlation between keyword-optimized video descriptions and rankings.
- HD videos dominate YouTube’s search results. 68.2% of videos on the first page of YouTube are in HD.
I have detailed data and information of our findings below.
YOUTUBE (via Wikileaks):
YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. The service was created by three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries. The site allows users to upload, view, rate, share, add to favorites, report and comment on videos, subscribe to other users, and it makes use of WebM, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, and AdobeFlash Video technology to display a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media videos. Available content includes video clips, TV show clips, music videos, short and documentary films, audio recordings, movie trailers and other content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos.
Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals, but media corporations including CBS, the BBC, Vevo, and Hulu offer some of their material via YouTube as part of the YouTube partnership program. Unregistered users can only watch videos on the site, while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos and add comments to videos. Videos deemed potentially offensive are available only to registered users affirming themselves to be at least 18 years old.
YouTube earns advertising revenue from Google AdSense, a program which targets ads according to site content and audience. The vast majority of its videos are free to view, but there are exceptions, including subscription-based premium channels, film rentals, as well as YouTube Red, a subscription service offering ad-free access to the website and access to exclusive content made in partnership with existing users. As of February 2017, there are more than 400 hours of content uploaded to YouTube each minute, and one billion hours of content is watched on YouTube every day. As of April 2017, the website is ranked as the second most popular site in the world by Alexa Internet, a web traffic analysis company.