How to Search YouTube Like a PRO with Google Advanced Operators

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youtube searchI love YouTube. I use it for inspiration or to kill an idle hour (which I normally don’t have). I love the variety of user-generated content: different styles, topics and perspectives. I love it that YouTube is huge.

But with the resource being enormous comes one issue: it is almost impossible to search it efficiently. And there are no official guides on how to search YouTube to actually find something.

However, not many people know how flexible YouTube’s search function actually is.

About 2 years ago (maybe more) Google started operating YouTube search — if you haven’t noticed Google Video Search and YouTube search have even identical (advanced) search options. And with Google coming into play, there turns out to be some really tricky and smart ways to search YouTube using Google search operators.

The Issue

YouTube (like Google Video Search) has some handy sorting options that allow you to find videos by:

  • Relevancy (based on your search query);
  • Upload date (to find most recent videos);
  • View count (to find the most viewed videos);
  • Rating (to find the highest rated videos).

I love using the latter two options to look through the most popular YouTube videos on any topic.

The only issue is that when you sort by anything other than relevancy, the results are likely to be highly irrelevant.

Let’s compare:

youtube search

Sorting makes results absolutely off-topic. Luckily, we do have an option to sort YouTube search results while still getting relevant results: YouTube advanced search operators.

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YouTube Advanced Search Operators

I don’t think the search operators I am listing here are anywhere to be found in YouTube’s documentation. All that is listed on the official “Advanced YouTube search” page is the set of the usual search options you see below the search field:

You can filter results by:

  • Type of results, such as Videos, Channels, or Playlists
  • Subject category
  • Video length
  • Video quality
  • Features, such as Closed captions, Partner videos, or Rentals

However, as we have seen above, filtering and sorting seldom triggers relevant results.

To bypass this issue, you need to use advanced operators which were inherited from Google search and are really very helpful:

1. Use quotes to force the exact match

This operator may come particularly in handy when you are sure which exact key phrases you want to be included into the search results, for example, the name of a movie or a music clip.

youtube video search

2. Use plus (+) sign to force a word in the results

If one of your words gets dropped out from search results, this operator may save a lot of your time. Similarly, you can use the minus (-) sign to force YouTube search to exclude any irrelevant but persistent words from the search results.

youtube video search

3. Force any word to appear in the video title with help of INTITLE: operator

This trick turns out to be very useful if you, for example, keep getting irrelevant results (video pages that only mention your search term in comments or loosely in description).

youtube search tips

Any more YouTube search tricks to force relevant results even when using sorting options?

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13 Comments - Write a Comment


Ben Lang

Awesome tips, thanks MUO!


you’re welcome

Ann Smarty

I was hoping to be useful! Thanks for stopping by!


Brij Mohan

Nice Tips!!!



YouTube has become a part of our daily life so spending some time learning how to use it better is highly valuable – excellent article, short and sweet


hey whats up





Susendeep dutta

These tricks mentioned above is also useful for our Google searches.This article has given me a short and quick new ideas to search relevant things and act smartly.

Ann Smarty

Yes, like I said in the post, these are inherently Google search operators!



Simple and nice. Cool.



is any one there that wants to talk



hey whats up



in the last three years, i noticed that google is not the same.
the quality of results is not near what it was,

i remember a time that the 5th page of google was the beginning of geeks area!
now, you may reach the 20th, and still wondering did i spell it right?
another problem… commercials!

still appreciate google position abut ads,
but, when i search for something, at least 1/2 the page result are from some chinese commercial sites.
regardless of filters or signs i used.
either google allowed them, or they beat the system, whatever
, i think the problem is in google itself,
anyway.. who are wee to blame them ?
in the end we had our happy times together? and just like everything els, it was too good to continue.
thank you.

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