We are all well aware that Google/YouTube hold the keys to entry in the video space right now. Ranked as the #1 and #2 search engines respectively, the ability to search within the site gives YouTube a distinct advantage over its competitors. But, if for some reason, you don’t want to use Google or YouTube for your video searching needs, there are a number of other sites out there that can help you find the videos you want.
When we first compiled a similar list back in 2007, there were an incredible 27 sites that we recommended you could use to search for video content. Since then, most have disappeared, or have been acquired by, or have merged with, the 9 sites below. I encourage you to bookmark this post as I'll be updating it every now and then.
Top Video Search Engines and Video Search Sites
#1 YouTube: YouTube is still the absolute best place to search for video content. Nothing to see here, let’s move along. Except to say that there are many tips and tricks you can use to dive deeper into YouTube's search results to find the exact content you are looking for.
#2 Google: I might as well have just included this with YouTube since Google tends to serve YouTube results for video first and foremost. But the fact of the matter is you get distinctly different results when searching video on YouTube versus Google, so its worth using both to find the video you are looking for. Oh, and YouTube results now appearing on Google Trends so that's a handy tool to check out too.
#3 Yahoo Screen: Originally called Yahoo Video, this video search engine was renamed Yahoo Screen in 2011 and works with a Yahoo account to customize options. The viewing experience is consistent across all video content, with the Yahoo menu displayed across the top of the page and video options/categories displayed along the left hand side of the page. Video is the main focus on this site, with either your video selection or a suggestion from Yahoo being prominently displayed on the page. Aside from the video categories, there is a standard search box at the top of the page to look for the right footage. Yahoo video does not allow user generated content, a feature that was removed in 2010. All user generated content was removed from the site in 2011. Yahoo has struck deals with various video producers to fill out the site, which uses its own video as the primary source for content.
#4 Bing Video: Unlink Yahoo, Bing video uses the internet at large in its searches. That leads to a very interesting search based experience that includes YouTube, Yahoo, Vimeo and just about any other video hosting site. Whether you use the search box at the top or click on a suggested category or video, the page populates with a never-ending search results page. If there is a primary video in the results, it appears as slightly larger than the rest of the videos in the results. Search results can be hovered over to get an actual playing preview of the content with audio and once a result is clicked you are taken to a video player that includes both related searches and videos to further help you in your search.
#5 AOL Video: If you search for video using the bar at the top, the results are very similar to a traditional Web search. But if you scroll to the bottom of the page, past the top picks and featured partners, the SEARCH AOL On box provides a very powerful search tool. Much like Bing it searches many video hosting sites and displays the results. One unique thing about AOL On is that it plays the video in the AOL player, using the video from the hosting site as the source. The site also has browsing capabilities for the top picks and featured partners as well as a handful of channels that sort content based on common themes like tech or pets.
#6 eHOW: One surprising source for a video search engine is eHOW. Of course, it tends to work better when searching for a how-to type of video, but it can display some other results as well. To use the search engine simply type your search query in the box at the top of the page and on the resulting search, click on “Videos” on the left hand side of the page to see video results related to your query. One drawback to eHow is that it only shows results for videos posted on the eHow site, not the internet at large. So while it doesn’t have the same sponsored content or breadth of content as other search engines, it does a great job at searching for relevant how-to content.
#7 MeFeedia.com: MeFeedia is a site that has persisted, despite the large number of other sites that have disappeared or been bought. If you just want to search for video content, no problem. You can type your search request into the box at the top of the page and get various results. Those results appear as a video posted by a MeFeedia channel. You can also browse on various categories with this site as well. If you want to add content to the site, you must have an account. This will allow you to add content to your channel, much like YouTube, but rather than actually hosting the video, MeFeedia uses externally sourced content, much like AOL On. Content can be added via a direct URL or imported from a YouTube, Blip.tv or Vimeo username. MeFeedia only displays content that has been added to the site but if you click on a playing video you will be taken to the original page for that video on its host site.
#8 Blinkx: Binkx is another of the old search engines that is still surviving. It has some suggested categories at the top, but much fewer than other sites. If you use the search engine, you get some high quality results. The results are primarily from YouTube, but there is a sprinkle of video content from other sites as well.
#9 Veoh: Veoh works, but it’s pretty far down my list of sites. It’s essentially one of the YouTube clones that is still around and kicking. It has a video box on the front page that autoplays when you visit the site. That’s probably on my top ten list of things that will make me immediately leave a site. But if you can look past this feature, they do have an active user base that uploads content to the site. The search results only appear to be of Veoh content though, so if your favorite content creator isn’t using the site, the likelihood that you’ll find their content there is pretty low.