From time to time YouTube likes to test things on the site like a sneaky little ninja, here one day and gone the next. Not only has it just launched YouTube Red, but it recently came to my attention that YouTube may be testing out segmented search results for specific types of user queries.
I have not been able to duplicate the results, but other members of the ReelSEO team are seeing them, and if you head out to YouTube and run a search for Halloween makeup tutorial you may be able to see just what I’m talking about. If your account is a part of what appears to be a random test, you should get something like 17 results for the original key phrase, another 4 results for 'halloween doll makeup tutorial', and 2 results apiece for 'halloween makeup tutorial for teenagers' and 'halloween makeup tutorial scary'. This is all on the first page of the site for that one search query.
We've never really seen this before - it appears to only trigger when signed in to certain Google accounts, we're not seeing it on mobile for the same search phrase, and we haven't been able to replicate it for other search terms queried. That's usually a pretty good sign of something being tested in beta before being rolled out to all users. There also appears to be an option to show more video content for those topics, as you can see from the screen shot below.
New YouTube Search Results: More User-Friendly?
Perhaps there is just a gremlin lurking in the search algorithms or perhaps YouTube is on to something bigger here. I know that I rarely leave the first page when doing a search on YouTube or Google. Users generally find what they want on the first page of search results. Take this study from 2014 on Google click rates. It concluded that over 71% of searches resulted in a page one click while just over 5% of clicks resulted in a page two click. If that’s all the action page two is going to see, it makes perfect sense for YouTube to not only offer up the top results for the main search terms, but to offer top results on similar search terms as well.
If this is, in fact, a legitimate test being run by YouTube, it could be an indication that it is trying out new methods of improving discovery on the site. One of the biggest assets on YouTube are the communities that form around a single topic or passion. A change like this could be a great way to give some additional exposure to other related creators in search.
It also wouldn't surprise me if this was an opportunity for YouTube to make more money through advertising. If a change like this were to go site-wide, it could open up additional avenues for getting to page one of popular search terms.
If this feature were to go live on YouTube, would it be a welcomed change? Do you see it as a non-factor or are there big opportunities with search results displayed this way? Let us know what you think in the comments!