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 the videos. YouTube’s search ranking system does just that by sorting through a vast number 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. These three elements are given differing importance based on the type of search. 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. YouTube doesn't accept payment for better placement within organic search results.
In addition to those three main elements we strive to make search results relevant for each user and we may also consider your search and watch history, if you have it turned on. 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 how users’ similar searches can differ based on these factors.
YouTube Kids is a separate app that is a filtered version of YouTube with a much smaller set of content available than YouTube’s main app and website. Our YouTube Kids policies outline what kind of content is eligible to be part of YouTube Kids. Content must comply with these policies for it to appear in YouTube Kids, including in YouTube Kids search. YouTube Kids also has a full suite of parental controls so parents can customize their kid’s experience, including turning search on or off. Learn more.
Over the last few years, we’ve been working to implement products and policies that help us connect families with high-quality content on YouTube Kids. In collaboration with child development specialists, we established a set of quality principles to help guide our kids and family creator ecosystem. On YouTube Kids, we identify and include videos and channels that are age-appropriate and adhere to these quality principles. Read more here.
Generally, search ranking in YouTube Kids works similarly to search ranking in YouTube, but with additional factors for content quality and safety. We’ve taken various precautions to try and make sure families searching for content will get results that are appropriate for younger audiences. For a channel or video to be included in the YouTube Kids app, the content must first be deemed to be family-friendly by automated filters (in addition to feedback from users and some human review). We’re also continuously making improvements based on new technology, research, and user feedback. If you allow your kid to search on YouTube Kids, when they search for content, results are filtered based on the content setting you have selected for them. If you do not pause watch history, search results may also include recommended videos based on what your kid has previously watched and terms they’ve searched for.
Note: YouTube handles tremendous breadth, depth, and scale of content. So while we work hard to get it right, there’s always a chance your child will find content you don’t want them to watch. If this happens, you can report the video. We use this information to improve YouTube Kids for everyone.
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. However, when it comes to news, politics, and medical or scientific information, we know that authoritativeness is key.
When searching for news-related topics, you may see a Top News section near the top of search results if we have relevant content from news sources that follow Google News content policies. This Top News section raises relevant results from authoritative voices, such as CNN and Fox News. A Top News shelf may also be shown on your homepage if you watch or search for news content. Learn more about authoritative news and information on YouTube.
In some countries, if you search on YouTube for a topic related to certain physical or mental health conditions, you may notice a shelf with health content in your search results. This health content shelf will include videos from authoritative health sources related to the health topic you searched for. Similarly, when you search on YouTube for some health-related topics, you may notice a health information panel in your search results. These panels show information like symptoms, prevention, and treatment options from authoritative health sources like the World Health Organization and other medical institutions. Learn more about health-related content and how YouTube identifies authoritative health sources.
Our fact check information panels provide additional context by highlighting relevant, third-party fact-checked articles above search results for relevant queries. There are many factors that determine whether a fact check information panel will appear for any given search. For example, we consider the quality, relevance, and recency of the fact check to the search query. When there are several fact checks from different publishers, we may surface multiple fact check articles, which show based on relevancy. Learn more about other information panels providing context on YouTube.
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.
Our goal is to give you the resources to help you understand factors we take into account to provide the best search results for users.