YouTube as “The 2nd Largest Search Engine”

On the last episode of Internet Marketing This Week, Paul Colligan mentioned that YouTube is now the second largest search engine on the web.

This is exciting news, and has everyone rushing to upload videos and also take advantage of YouTube's new pay-per-click advertising option. But before you drop everything and invest all your chips in YouTube ads & optimization, let's talk logistics for a second...

Very cool that YouTube can now claim the title "The 2nd Largest Search Engine". Good for them! But let's be honest... search volume is irrelevant.

Let's backtrack and drill down to the actual searcher. Have you ever searched for a video on YouTube? I have - and probably do it on a weekly basis. Ask yourself: What do I search for on YouTube? What do I do once I find what I'm searching for?

It's all about the intent of the searcher.

If I do a search on Google, I intend to find and click on something specific in the search results. If I do a search on YouTube, I intend to consume the content I was searching for - right there on YouTube.

Out of all of the searches you have done on YouTube, on how many of those would you say you clicked an external link that took you outside their site?

Out of all the searches you have done on Google, what percent result in a click-through from you? For me I would say at least 98%. The exception being when I ask a direct question, such as "how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?"... and Google answers it at the top of the results.

Again, I say search volume is completely irrelevant (outside of YouTube's bragging rights). What we are interested in is the intent of the searcher, and CTR - which stands for Click Through Rate.

Obviously you can use YouTube to get traffic to your website. I'm certainly not suggesting that you cant. We even discussed that on the podcast, so be sure to listen in to the last episode to hear that conversation - including Ed Dale's results with video marketing.

Video can be used in two ways - as a means of driving traffic to your website, or as a means of achieving a higher conversion rate on your website.

If you plan to capitalize on YouTube's search volume (and you should), you'll want to make sure that you give your viewers a reason to click through or visit your website. Try this simple YouTube tip for creating a visible hyperlink (and NOT to your homepage - click to find out why, and see a screenshot example).

But you'll have to do more than that to compel your viewers to visit your website. Consider the fact that your video may be syndicated, or may "go viral" and be published on related blogs & websites across the web. What with your link then? And so you must also include a text overlay or annotation so that viewers can still see your website address.

In addition to making your link visible to video viewers, your video must include a reason for them to visit your website. This is referred to as a call-to-action and is simply a compelling invitation to click through for more information or a special offer on that same topic.

As with all things marketing, the goal is to get targeted traffic. Keep your marketing strategy streamlined, and know exactly who you want to reach and what you want them to do - or what action you want them to take next.

Be smart, get creative, stay focused... and funnel some of that YouTube traffic your way strategically 😉


p.s. In case it seems like I missed the mark with my point here, let me add this:

Google is the #1 search engine in regards to search volume. Yahoo would rank next, with MSN trailing 3rd. Interestingly traffic from MSN converts highest, with Yahoo coming in 2nd, and Google last.

This varies by niche and you'll have to conduct your own tests to see if the results are the same on your end, but it was worth pointing out that the numbers can sometimes be deceiving...

All I'm really saying is that you shouldnt drop everything you're already doing to focus on YouTube 110% (ie jump on the latest bandwagon). Test it out, track your results closely, and figure out what works best for your e-business.

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. I think you are right on with "It’s all about the intent of the searcher. " Doesn't matter how much something is searched if it doesn't convert.

    I do think that this is at least a step in the right direction for Youtube to try and solve the "monetization" problem. It will be interesting to follow this and see how it turns out and how users respond to it.

  2. Alan (new baby help guide now available) says:

    Hey Lynn,

    I think there's another point to mention about YouTube.

    Whenever I've gone there, even if I look at a video related to my original search, I always end up watching far too many other videos that are rarely related.

    If you're looking to capture targeted traffic, YouTube is too distracting to be of much use.

    Thanks for a great post.

  3. Carol M. Adams says:

    Thank you Lynn,

    I was not as excited about PPC on YouTube as others and your insight puts some reality around it.

    I expect that the big bidders in Google will also become the big bidders in YouTube and drive the prices up and create tough competitive budgets for the small companies. I experienced this first hand at my last Marketing job.

    So, I think that video email has some very interesting potential as an adjunct to YouTube at less expense. It can be very targeted AND be used as a tool to sustain customer loyalty and retention.

    I've just gone through 4 products to see what is offered. What do you think?


  4. ShriNagesh says:

    You have a critical insight and very rare quality to look through a mirror than at the mirror.

    I wasn't excited about ppc on youtube, as I don't do lot of videos, as of now. This post can be very useful for serious video marketers. I'll pingback to this post.

  5. It's funny that YouTube got the title as “The 2nd Largest Search Engine”. I don't think that YouTube is a search engine, it's moreover a platform where you can watch and upload videos.

    If I try to get specific informations about something, I will use a search engine like Google, because i won't find something interessting on YouTube... hm.. perhaps a funny video? So in my opinion YouTube is a video platform.

    But all in all it's a really great post.

  6. Thank-you so much for the video email tip, I am trying to encourage the use of Newsletters and emails and their potential in Marketing.

    Great article and responses!

  7. I've been using newsletters for a while now and to some great effect as well.

  8. Youtube is currently encouraging , and maybe financed, information-based video files uploading. So, whosoever wanted to have an online video demonstration or visual illustration of anything one wanted to know, Youtube is the perfect spot. but this is just merely an extension, the fact that entertainment industry is a big business and drives more fanatics, You tube is also a perfect spot to gain popularity. More and more people are wanted to see and picture out directly on a particular topic rather than exhaustively read an article or two.

  9. Hi Erak
    Do you find that by adding promotion/ad content into the newsletters draws them to your site?

  10. Lynn,
    Very relevant article on one of the revolutionary phenomenon of the decade. YouTube is become the television for the next generation as internet is become this generation. It will only be a matter of time before Youtube becomes ranked in the top.

    Forex Autopilot Editor,
    Mike Tran

  11. Why doesn't amazes me? Of course YouTube acts like a large search engine, it has milions of vids!

  12. no one can deny. you tube became a search trend today even on film

  13. You tube is great! Thanks for the nice article!

  14. Traffic Matters says:

    It was only a matter of time. Is it just a coincidence that the second biggest SE is owned by the first biggest?

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