YouTube SEO Study

YouTube is a dynamic platform that has changed over time. The introduction of the algorithm, and its constant change, makes it difficult to know what will be successful on YouTube today. There are ways we can analyze videos to see which content performs better than others in order for us to optimize our strategy accordingly so we can rank higher without sacrificing quality.

The “youtube seo tool” is a study that was done by YouTube. The study shows how to optimize videos for SEO.

With over 2 billion monthly active users, it’s rather astounding to watch something that began as a video-dating website become the second most-used search engine (and website) behind Google.

YouTube is now a full-fledged search engine in addition to being a video platform for casual entertainment and music videos. Consider how pandemic-related changes on YouTube coincide with our earlier Google findings:

  • YouTube searches for videos with the title “home office” increased by 210 percent in March 2020, “home exercise” views increased by 515 percent, and videos involving doing anything “at home” received 700 percent more daily uploads.
  • These demand patterns are identical to what we uncovered in our studies that assessed the pandemic impact on Google searches: Home Decor and Sports & Outdoors were the fastest-growing ecommerce categories back in 2020.

If YouTube is a search engine, it has ranking algorithms that influence organic video exposure.

We’ve conducted significant research with Tubics, a Webinomy App Center developer partner, to unwrap YouTube’s ranking algorithm and provide you with critical findings and practical suggestions to possibly have your videos ranked at position one!

Key Takeaways from a YouTube SEO Study

We’ll get into the nitty gritty of YouTube SEO further down, but first, here’s a sneak peak at some of the key findings from our research:

  • More than half of the top-ranking videos include a description that is more than 50 words long.
  • More than 100 words appear in the descriptions of 52 percent of videos ranking for “how-to” keywords, compared to just 31 percent in the total sample.
  • While just 33% of videos ranking for “how-to” keywords are longer than 5 minutes, 52 percent of videos ranking for “how-to” keywords are.
  • Only 8% of videos with Timestamps appear on the first page.
  • The match ratio between title and keyword is equal to 1 in 55% of videos.
  • According to the Model of Machine Learning we utilized for this study, the most relevant criteria are title similarity with keyword ratio, number of views, and video runtime.

What Is YouTube Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Before we go into the details of the research, it’s important to note that YouTube SEO is distinct from traditional SEO, and video makers must fully understand the algorithm in order to rank high in search results.

The following elements play a big role in YouTube’s ranking decisions: 

  • The dynamics of channel growth (number of Subscribers and views);
  • Signals of engagement (likes, dislikes, and comments); 
  • Highlights from the video (video length, metadata, descriptions, etc.).

We looked at each element to find data-driven insights that can help you get the most out of your films on YouTube.

Methodology of Research

We used our Google Keywords Database to retrieve 15,000 keywords, which resulted in a Featured Video result on the SERP. Then we looked at the top 10 search results on YouTube for each of these phrases to see how various video attributes impact their search rankings. We collected a variety of indicators based on this information to see which ones had an impact on video performance. 

We looked at the success of “how-to” keywords against generic keywords, the search placement of videos depending on engagement metrics (likes, comments, views), and the main features of a video, among other things (description, title, tags). 

We compared metrics for various positions using median values rather than average values since they are more robust to outliers.

Model of Machine Learning

We used a Model of Machine Learning to identify what features of a YouTube video were most important for ranking. By using decision tree models, we identified that title similarity with keyword ratio, the number of views and the length of the video were the most important factors for this model.

We also looked at non-engagement-related indicators like title length, tag similarity ratio, and description length, which had an influence on rankings.

We utilized the Levenshtein Distance Similarity Partial Ratio to compare search phrases, titles, descriptions, and tags. This measure ranges from 0 to 1, with 0 indicating completely distinct terms and 1 indicating a match. 

Examining YouTube’s Ranking Algorithm 

We were able to identify some broad similarities across the primary criteria impacting video appearance on YouTube by looking at the top 10 results for the investigated Keywords.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that influence YouTube’s unique ranking algorithm. 

Do Growth Dynamics Matter When It Comes to YouTube SEO?


According to our research, the majority of YouTube search results come from the channels with the most subscribers. However, 18% of the videos were shown on channels with fewer than 1,000 members. As a consequence, even tiny channels might rank within the top ten search results.


When searching for terms such as “how to apply thermal paste” or “most obnoxious sound in the world,” we can see that smaller channels are at the top of the list. Tech Illiterate, with 6.43K members, outranks Linus Tech Tips, which has 13.7 million. 


If we were to explain why, we might refer to the fact that Tech Illiterate has a lower hate percentage and a more detailed video description. Do such variables, however, actually important and have an influence on rankings? Continue reading.

Tip: Don’t concentrate on your competitors while attempting to rank for Keywords. It’s not necessary to have millions of subscribers, but it certainly helps. Concentrate on producing high-quality, interesting material. The nice numbers and following will arrive eventually.


The average number of views for a video in second place on YouTube is 74% lower than the average number of views for a video in first place.

However, the causality may be inverted. Simply said, the top video on the list is more likely to be seen. So it’s possible that this is more of a chicken-and-egg situation. 

However, there is one view-related component that has a significant influence on ranks. YouTube calculates the average viewing time for each video for each keyword and recommends the ones that are most likely to be watched all the way through.


If you search for “baking tips,” you’ll see that the first-place video from Scrumdiddlyumptious has 3.9 million views, while the second-place video from Claire Saffitz x Dessert Person has just 446K views. Because the first video is 9X shorter, it has a greater chance of being seen all the way through.

Tip: Don’t wait for YouTube’s ranking algorithm to take effect. When your film is new out of the oven, actively promote it and share it across many networks to get more early traction and reach a larger audience. 

Examining the Effects of Engagement Metrics on YouTube Rankings

YouTube has said publicly that it encourages creators to communicate with their audiences in order to increase engagement and ranking.

We could have taken YouTube’s word for it, but we wanted to examine how and to what degree involvement influences video ranks.


The average amount of likes for the second place on YouTube’s search results is 72% lower than the first position. 

This may be seen in the case above, when Scrumdiddlyumptious’ video received twice as many likes as Claire Saffitz x Dessert Person (24K vs. 12K likes).

The distinction between the first and the other places is fairly striking. However, this understanding may have a chicken-and-egg meaning. 

Videos with a higher rating get more views and, as a result, more likes and dislikes. The amount of likes and views are highly correlated, with a correlation value of 99 percent. 


The average number of dislikes for the second place is 70% lower than the first position’s average number of dislikes. The rationale is the same as with likes.

Things are easier to understand when it comes to remarks. 

We saw a pattern: the more views a video had, the more likely it was to get comments. This resulted in a 99.9% correlation, with a median* number of comments of 259.

Tip: While viewing YouTube, are you tired of hearing “like the video and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel”? The makers do this for a purpose. To demonstrate audience involvement, encourage viewers to like your video and make comments with any ideas or thoughts, and respond within 24 or 48 hours. Comments and perspectives from your followers may spark lively debates, and responses to your video and comments can help increase engagement. 

The Influence of Video Features and Elements on YouTube Rankings

What we mentioned above had to do with the “external” elements impacting your videos’ ranking success, which ranged from promotional efforts and engagement signals to channel size and growth dynamics. 

The video’s interior quality may also make a major impact.

the length of the video

A video’s length can play a role when it comes to rankings. Our results show the distribution of the length of the video by percentages where 45% of videos in our study had a duration of 3 to 5 minutes, and 5% had a duration of less than 1 minute. It’s important to note that some of the results (0.4%) are live streams, which have no duration parameter.


Every creative is faced with the decision of whether to be brief or detailed. And data may provide us with some estimates.

Almost half of all YouTube videos that reach the top ten search results are between three and five minutes length. The next most popular video formats are 1-3 or 5-10 minutes in length.

When we look at video length in a dynamic way, we can observe that the median video duration grows as the video moves across the screen. However, there isn’t much of a difference.


While it may seem like 3-5-minute movies are the way to go, the obvious (and maybe correct) response is “it depends.” Users looking for “crunch workout” and “The Sopranos” conclusion explained” are looking for various amounts of information.

When we search YouTube for “crunch workout,” we usually receive a list of videos that are on the shorter side of the spectrum:


In the case of “The Sopranos’ ending explained,” we get more complex video pieces that truly answer the question, i.e., they go all-in on explaining the series’ conclusion:


Make videos that strike the correct combination of duration and quality. Keep consumers interested throughout the video with a compelling start and outro. End-screens may be used to create a smooth viewing flow. 

Descriptions and titles

Our study shows that when it comes to Descriptions and titles, there are two things to tackle:

  • There is a word restriction; and
  • Keywords. 

The average number of words in the title of 54 percent of all studied videos is eight. And, based on the statistics, it’s clear that being extremely wordy isn’t a popular strategy among YouTubers.


However, you may be more liberal with video descriptions. They provide additional information for both YouTube and consumers about what to anticipate in a video, as well as extra opportunity for keyword insertion, as we’ll see later. 


The top-performing videos include 11-30-word descriptions in 31% of cases. However, it seems that you have greater leeway here.

We discovered that the average amount of words in a description was 107, and that 17 percent of movies in position one had a description of at least 250 words.


By mentioning the phrase that your video is optimized for, YouTube will quickly recognize that your video is relevant to the user’s search term. 

According to our research, 30% of video descriptions had a keyword similarity of 1, indicating that the primary keyword was referenced in the video description. The average keyword description similarity was 0.42.


Tip: According to our study, the best films have lengthier descriptions. Make sure your description appropriately matches the substance of the video so that viewers know what to anticipate. The same headline recommended practices apply to YouTube. Without keyword stuffing, try incorporating the primary goal term in the title of your video. To persuade people to click, use numbers in your headline (e.g., ‘5 Ways to Change a Flat Tire’).

In the description, the number of links, hashtags, and tags

According to our research, the average number of links in a video description was three.


Including references and links in the description of your video is a great method to guide viewers through their customer journey by guiding them to other videos on your channel or even back to your website. 

When it comes to adding links to video descriptions, attempt to utilize branded links (e.g., instead of, we’d use since they can boost CTR by up to 39 percent.

In one of its posts, YouTube Creator Academy explicitly said that video makers should incorporate hashtags in their descriptions. 

According to our findings, 36 percent of videos in position one feature them. The use of hashtags drops to 24% from position two onwards.


Some YouTubers go all out and include as many hashtags as they can. However, YouTube will only show three hashtags, and if you use more than 15, all of them will be ignored. As a result, it’s preferable to keep things fair and follow YouTube’s rules. 

Let’s have a look at the effect of YouTube Tags now. 

Tags should not be confused with hashtags, which appear underneath videos. These are the secret messages that come with a video, and it’s up to the author to include them when they post it. 

According to our research, top-ranking videos utilize an average of 13 tags. Their use seems to have a strong relationship with rankings: films with fewer tags tend to rank lower.


Because this is a feature created for crawlers and not for people, tags (like with our’regular’ metatags) should be strongly linked with keywords. 

According to our findings, the average tag similarity to keywords was 0.58, with 0 indicating that the keywords are completely different and 1 indicating that the keywords are identical.


Obviously, the better the ranks, the closer the tags and keywords match.

If it’s relevant, provide links to other videos in your description. Consider the keywords you found using Webinomy and your YouTube traffic source report when using hashtags. Finally, don’t overdo it with the tagging. To locate all the tags on a video, use this Chrome addon. Your first tag, according to Brain Dean, should be your goal keyword.


Timestamps enable video makers to connect to certain “moments” in a video, allowing viewers to quickly browse to specific sections. With the video, timestamps even display on Google’s SERP. 


Timestamps have sparked a lot of debate among YouTubers, with some claiming that they reduce the duration of watching and others predicting an increase in involvement.

According to our research, videos containing timestamps account for 8% of all videos that rank first. 


The total number of videos

At the same time, share all of the videos.

Share the timestamps for all of the videos.









































We can deduce that timestamps don’t have much of an impact on search results. This sample, on the other hand, consists mostly of shorter movies that do not often have timestamps. They may become more important as the video progresses.

Only 4% of videos in our sample had timestamps in the description when using “how-to” keywords. This quantity does not fluctuate much depending on the location.

Because both view time and interaction are equally important when it comes to YouTube SEO, it’s always smart to experiment in this instance and observe how your ranks and other metrics change with or without timestamps.

When it comes to timestamps, there is no magic number, but don’t go crazy. Make sure timestamps are included in chronological order (based on the video’s chronology) and that the timestamp label is brief but meaningful.

Investigating the SEO Differences Between “How-to” and Other Keywords on YouTube

We looked at 1,165 keywords that began with the term “how-to.” We picked “how-to” questions because they often convey instructional purpose, and consumers typically encounter videos via searches. As a result, we assumed that search optimization for them would be more crucial than for other keywords.

The biggest variations from the overall findings are shown below.

  1. the length of the video (in seconds)

For general keywords, the median the length of the video was 16 minutes and 53 seconds, while it was at 7 minutes and 57 seconds for “how-to” Keywords. 

If the top-performing videos for generic keywords were normally of average duration, they are on the longer end of the range in the “how-to” instance. 


  1. The description has a certain number of words in it.

The average number of words in a description for general keywords was 152, whereas the average number of words in a description for “how-to” keywords was 107. 


Using YouTube SEO Insights to Expand Our Channel on YouTube

We started optimizing our own films on the Webinomy YouTube Channel over a year ago. We began the YouTube finetuning effort in order to better respond to viewers’ questions and boost our videos’ rankings in YouTube’s search results. 

As a consequence, organic views of our films increased by 37%.

Here are a few of the simplest adjustments that had the most influence on our rankings and overall channel performance: 

  • Longer descriptions (at least 2,000 symbols and 400-600 words) were included.
  • In all of the videos, we used timestamps and tags (in our instance, timestamps had no effect on view times and even improved our user engagement statistics);
  • To satisfy search intent, 2-3 primary keywords were added to video titles.

We offer our tried-and-true YouTube SEO methods in this video. 


Final Thoughts

Here’s a final checklist to go over once you start your YouTube optimization journey: Now that you have data-driven insights from our YouTube SEO study and even a heads up from our own YouTube growth experience, here’s a final checklist to go over once you start your YouTube optimization journey:

  1. Don’t be put off by the magnitude of your competitors’ channels while evaluating them. The quantity of subscribers isn’t always important for certain keywords. Concentrate your efforts on producing a high-quality video that thoroughly answers a user’s question.
  1. Share your video on different social media platforms to get the attention it deserves (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Quora).
  1. Strong engagement numbers are a sign of an excellent YouTube channel. Make sure the material you submit has a stimulating opening and outro to persuade visitors to interact.
  1. Make your titles interesting to get people to click.
  1. Make sure you have a detailed and appealing description for whatever sort of video you’re posting. 
  1. Make the most of your channel’s insights by using the power of tags and hashtags. Make the most of what you have total control over.
  1. Use free tools and browser extensions like Rank Tracker for Videos, TubeBuddy, and vidIQ to track your YouTube rankings, analyze your data, find competitors, and more.

Rank Tracker for Videos

Keep track of your YouTube rankings for the phrases you’re interested in.

ADS illustration

The “youtube seo tools free” is a study that shows how YouTube SEO can be improved. This study was conducted by the YouTube Search Quality Team and it has some surprising results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we learn SEO for YouTube?

How do I become an SEO expert on YouTube?

A: You can become an expert at YouTube SEO by educating yourself on the fundamentals of search engine optimization. Buying a course or hiring someone to help with this is one option, but there are also free resources available online that you can use.

What is YouTube SEO course?

A: YouTube SEO course is which teaches you how to optimize your videos on YouTube. It can help you rank and grow in the video search engine Googles rankings system, so that more people will find it when they type something like How to make a Beat Saber music.

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