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