Anyone that has been using Google to search for pretty much anything since 2007 will be familiar with its Universal Search Results feature. Also known as 'blended results', this is the way Google returns many different search listings for a query, whether that's images, news, or shopping results, or videos - all based upon the particular key phrase and the intent behind it. Not every query will trigger Universal Search Results, but a new study from Searchmetrics, states that 85% of search queries in the U.S. do, with video content now appearing for around 65% of user queries. 54% of those video results are YouTube videos.

Highlights of the Report: Universal Search Results for Google U.S.

Among the data contained in the Searchmetrics Report "Universal Search Integrations in Search Results for 2013", we learn that:

  • Videos Show Up for 65% of Universal Search Results for U.S. Users
  • 54% of those videos are YouTube Results
  • Images are the most popular results to be returned for user queries, around 45% of the time.
  • The total number of Videos returned in SERPs declined by roughly 15% over the year, while Shopping result integrations increased. Searchmetrics thinks this may have been the result of a change by Google.

YouTube Still Dominates Google Universal Search Results for Video

It's no surprise that Google-owned YouTube is the main provider of video content in the Blended Search Results. Aside from the fact that it is a Google property, Google trusts the YouTube algorithm to return the right results for any user query. If it works on YouTube, then Google are confident that those same results are going to satisfy users on the main search engine. The reports states that YouTube's share is actually down on the previous year, but still have the market share when it comes to video content visibility, even with all other competitors combined.

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Videos Show Up for 65% of Universal Search Results for U.S. Users, YouTube Dominates [Study] youtube vs competitors

Video Rankings by Provider: YouTube vs The Rest

In the U.S., on average, the first video result returned when Universal Results are triggered is a YouTube one. YouTube videos are around two positions ahead of the first position of a competitor.

Videos Show Up for 65% of Universal Search Results for U.S. Users, YouTube Dominates [Study] youtube universal search results
Universal Search: All Verticals

Searchmetrics looked at all verticals within Universal Search Results for U.S. Results in 2013, and put the information together in this handy infographic. More than ever, a holistic marketing strategy is needed for any brand that wants a chance to appear before a Google user, so think about how video content can be integrated, or repurposed.

Videos Show Up for 65% of Universal Search Results for U.S. Users, YouTube Dominates [Study] Searchmetrics Universal Search Study Infographic 2014 US

  • Scott True

    Thanks for sharing this study Carla. Very interesting.

    I disagree that Google favors its own YouTube videos more than others. I also don't think they are using YouTube's algorithm. I believe they are ranking the video's with Google's algorithm that favors all videos equally.

    There are 2 big reasons why we don't see non-YouTube videos in the SERPs: 1. There are simply a lot of YouTube videos. It's in the numbers. and 2. People don't optimize other videos making it very difficult for Google to know about them.

    This is an important thing to discuss because, if done right, non-YouTube video can be used to drive more traffic to websites and convert visitors.

    I'm not saying not to be on YouTube. It's a great Social Media like platform and a popular Search Engine. Most business should have a YouTube strategy.

    In addition to that, businesses can take advantage of a lesser used marketing strategy that involves optimizing non-YouTube video. This is done by using optimized embeds, preferably not in an iframe, preferably with a transcript in the embed, schema markup, and video sitemap. The idea is to target queries that tend to be Googled (vs searched on YouTube), get a video rich snippet in the SERPs (which attracts clicks), and then provide value to the user with a video AND context (which is difficult to do in YouTube). It's the context that provides the value that is likely to win the conversion.

    In this method, we bypass YouTube, where users can get sidetracked or (like in many cases) do not click through to the conversion page.

    With all of this said, it should actually be EASIER to rank a non-YouTube video because of all the context you can provide on the page. You will be competing with a strong domain (, but I have seen time and time again that relevancy can be a stronger signal than domain authority and trust, which are just the defaults.

    Anyways, just some thoughts. Thanks again for sharing.