Google SEO vs YouTube SEO

In order to compare Google SEO and YouTube SEO, you need to first compare their algorithms.

Google and YouTube are the 2 biggest search engines in the world. Both of them are owned by Alphabet. 

Is the Google algorithm similar to the YouTube algorithm?

No.  Not even close.  

Even though both algorithms are constantly changing, I’d say they are getting further and further apart over time.

Being good at Google SEO is a completely different skill set than being good at YouTube SEO.

Why are Google search results so different from YouTube search results?

There are many reasons for this.

One reason is that Google and YouTube are completely different beasts.

When you go to the Google homepage, you get this:

When you go to YouTube, you get something like this:

In a nutshell, Google is just a search box.  If you want to visit any website, you need to search for something.

YouTube already has a bunch of videos lined up for you, based on your viewing history and preferences.

Note:  That isn’t my personal YouTube homepage.  I logged out and went in “incognito” mode to get a general homepage.  I don’t have the same viewing habits as a 14 year old kid!

70% of the time  people spend watching videos on YouTube are from AI recommended content, not from YouTube search.

So Google is a pure search engine, and YouTube is more of a discovery platform, like Instagram.

Another major difference between Google and YouTube are incentives.

When Google sends you to a website, you leave Google and spend time on some website they don’t own.  

When you watch a YouTube video, you are still on YouTube!  The more you watch YouTube, the more money YouTube earns from advertising.

So if YouTube is good at recommending videos and showing you search results that you like then YouTube earns more money.  

If Google is good at showing you the best websites when you search, then good for you, but Google doesn’t earn extra money from that.

Note:  Of course Google does have some incentive to show you good search results, because then you will like Google and continue using it.  Market share is very important to Google.  But the point stands that YouTube has more of an incentive to show you the videos you want to watch.

I think the financial incentives YouTube has to keep people on the platform are the main reason it is a better search engine than Google.

I explain here why I think Google’s algorithm is terrible 

Google also now cares about WHO is writing the content more than HOW GOOD the content is.  This is why websites need to learn how to improve E-EAT scores if they want to do well on Google search.

E-EAT stands for:

This basically means how trustworthy the website and author of an article is.  It means nothing about the quality of the article itself.

YouTube doesn’t care as much about who is making a video.  If its algorithm feels that a user will want to watch a video, then that video will be shown.  

If a video has illegal content, YouTube can remove the content if it chooses.

If Google sends you to a website with illegal content, then there is nothing they can do because they don’t own the website.

That is one reason that Google’s algorithm seems more risk averse than YouTube.

What about the search results of YouTube and Google?

Again, they are totally different.

In the article I linked to above, I gave the example of a Google search:

“How should I invest my money?”

The first search result was a boring article written by a major bank.  This article was even giving poor advice.  For example when talking about mutual funds they didn’t mention the high fees.  The bank sells mutual funds and makes a large profit from them.  

When I do the same search on YouTube:

“How should I invest my money?”

I get vastly different results.  None of the people in the top search results are financial professionals.  None of them work at a bank.  They are just people who make videos on investing.  Each of these videos had millions of views.

With a search like this, Google cares so much more about WHO is writing the article than the quality of the article.

YouTube just wants to show you a video that you will want to watch.

In addition to E-EAT, Google’s algorithm also has a bunch of SEO ranking factors need to pay attention to.

YouTube is able to collect much more data while you are watching a video than Google can collect while you are reading an article.

YouTube can see how long you watched a video, if you liked it or disliked it, if you shared it, what else you watched after, if you subscribed to the channel, etc.

When you read an article, Google will learn a few things (especially if you use the Google Chrome browser), but it won’t learn nearly as much as YouTube does.

Tips for YouTube SEO:

Make videos that people want to watch.  This is the most important thing by far.  The YouTube algorithm will show your videos to people if people click on your videos, like them, share them, and watch them until the end.

You can do some basic keyword research to get some ideas of what people are searching for and what to put in the video title, but you don’t need to go crazy with it.  

For the best keyword tools to help you with this, go check out the best AI tools to grow your YouTube channel

You may also be interested in how to make more money from YouTube.  

Tips for Google SEO:

Focus on improving your E-EAT score.    

Yes, that is the second time I linked to that article here, so go read it.

The point is you need to build the trustworthiness of your website or Google won’t rank your content well.

Make sure you have a clear “about us” page and be transparent about who you are.

Make sure that you cover each topic in detail, across many different articles.  This is called building “topical authority”.

Link those articles together (interlinking) in appropriate spots.  (You can see how I’ve done that in this article)

Link out to other credible websites to show Google that you are trustworthy.

Author Andrew Best


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