YouTube SEO
How Google Indexes YouTube Videos

Video content continues to rise, but you need to optimize them for search results to get more views, subscribers, and traffic.

How Google Indexes YouTube Videos

Ulistic shares insights on YouTube SEO and why YouTube SEO is very important for MSPs to consider in 2022 and beyond.

Key Points from The Article:

  • Video content continues to rise, but you need to optimize them for search results to get more views, subscribers, and traffic.
  • Nearly every YouTuber knows they need a winning strategy, create great videos, and know-how to optimize their videos around keywords that people care about to rank in the search engine.
  • However, a recent video we did for our client ranked second on the search engine results page, shows Google's unique way of indexing YouTube videos.
  • We analyze every aspect of the video, and here's what we learn about how Google index YouTube video on their result page.

When you think of SEO, it is easy to think of written content ranking on Google. However, you can get more YouTube views directly from Google search engine results.

While getting a YouTube video indexed and ranked in Google search can be pretty straightforward, ranking top for relevant keywords is quite a task.

Recently, we did a video for our client and ranked second for the keywords the client was targeting. However, we noticed that Google used a unique metric to index the YouTube videos — depending on the search query.

We analyzed every video aspect to understand how Google index YouTube videos. Specifically, we examined the relationship between the title tag and the headline Google pulled out in the search engine result.

Let's get started.

Taking a YouTube Video from Scratch to the First Page of Google

Recently we did a video for a client about how Russians are hacking WordPress sites, injecting malware into them, and using it to target Ukrainian companies, assets, and the government.

In the video, the client targeted the keyword "Russians hacking WordPress sites." We optimized everything for the video, including:

  • Ensuring the video is high-quality and will keep viewers watching
  • Including the client keyword naturally on the video title
  • Renaming video files using target keywords
  • Optimizing their video description
  • Tagging the video with popular keywords that relate to the client's topic
  • Categorizing the video
  • Uploading a custom thumbnail image for the video result link

We keyed in the client's keyword on Google four hours later, and their video ranked second. However, one factor was unique with the video result that Google returned.

Google is Selective on YouTube Video Title It Displays on Search Results

We searched for the keyword "Russians hacking WordPress sites" on Google. While the client was ranking second, the video headline that Google displayed was "Injecting Malware to Ukraine."

The link took us to our client's video about Russians injecting malware into WordPress sites to target Ukrainian assets. The video description part on Google was self-explanatory. The big question was:

Where did Google pull out the headline it displayed on the search engine?

Wondering where Google got the title tag to rank the video, we went back to YouTube to analyze the video and its description.

Google Appears to Pick and Display The Part of Video Title Tag that Matches Search Queries Best

On examining the video title tag, we found that it had two parts, "Russians Hacking WordPress Sites | Injecting Malware to Target Ukraine."

Google pulled out the second part of the title tag and left the first one on their search engine result page. The search engine giants appear to have algorithms that can pull out whatever text they want from the title tag, depending on the search query.

The observation is similar to what Google does with website title tags and descriptions. We can conclude that Google will select the text to display in the headline on the result page from the title tag description.

How Can Your MSP Leverage New YouTube Video Indexing Metric

The headline Google pulled out is still confusing because our original query on Google was "Russians hacking WordPress sites." However, Google returned the result with the headline "Injecting Malware to Target Ukraine."

We would readily understand what Google did if they pulled out the entire text in the title, but they only took the second part and left the first one that matched our search query better.

While it's difficult to establish the exact reason  why Google didn't return the results with the full title or the first part, you can optimize your YouTube video for indexing by doing the following:

Include Your Target Keywords Naturally in the Video Title

The YouTube title tag has 100 characters. Ensure you include your keyword and related keywords because Google will pull out anything that matches the searcher query.

While Google might not display the exact keyword on their result page, it's helpful if the title closely matches what the user searches for on Google.

You need to optimize the title tag for search engines.

However, while including the target keyword on the title tag might help you rank for the term, the relation between ranking and keyword-rich video titles isn't that strong, and you should execute other optimization such as:

  • Upload a custom thumbnail image for your video's result link to send the signal to users about the video's content
  • Include your target keyword and related keyword in your thumbnail filename
  • Use timestamps in the video detail sections so that Google can put them underneath the video results — searchers can easily find any video portion they want
  • Optimize your video description — remember that Google will only display text that among to 100 characters
  • Use keywords that relate to your topic to let users and search engines know what your video is all about
  • Categorize your video in the Advance Setting to help the search engine establish what your video is all about

Ulistic Can Help You Get Google Index Your YouTube Video Faster

Like any other MSP, you want your YouTube video to rank as high as possible on Google. The higher your videos rank, the more traffic, views, and subscribers. However, to improve your ranking, Google must index your videos quickly and easily to improve your ranking.

If your MSP needs help to get your YouTube videos indexed faster, contact Ulistic today. We've helped hundreds of MSPs across the US and Canada. We can help you, too.


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