With over 500 hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute, finding what you need would be nearly impossible without some help sorting through all of the videos. YouTube’s search ranking system does just that by sorting through loads of videos to find the most relevant and useful results to your search query, and presenting them in a way that helps you find what you’re looking for.
At YouTube Search, we prioritize three main elements to provide the best search results: relevance, engagement and quality. To estimate relevance we look into many factors, such as how well the title, tags, description, and video content match your search query. Engagement signals are a valuable way to determine relevance. We incorporate aggregate engagement signals from users, i.e. we may look at the watch time of a particular video for a particular query to determine if the video is considered relevant to the query by other users. Finally, for quality, our systems are designed to identify signals that can help determine which channels demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness on a given topic.
In addition to those three main factors we strive to make search results relevant for each user and we may also consider your search and watch history. That’s why your search results might differ from another user’s search results for the same query. Pictured below are side-by-side examples showing users’ similar searches can differ based on these factors.
Controls to make search results more relevant to you
We give you tools to help you influence the factors we take into account to provide the best search results for you. If you choose to pause and clear your search and watch histories, YouTube’s search results will not take these signals into account.
Raising authoritative sources
In areas such as music or entertainment, we often use relevance, freshness, or popularity to help our systems connect you to quality content you will enjoy. In other areas where veracity and credibility are key, including news, politics, and medical or scientific information, we work hard to ensure that our search systems prioritize surfacing authoritative content from trusted sources.
Official Cards also make it easier for users to discover content by highlighting official material in YouTube Search. These cards include official videos and posts from top channels, like those of top YouTube creators, celebrities and music artists. Videos and posts are also included from content related to sports teams, movies and TV, music and special events. These cards are automatically generated and do not allow for customisation.