How Long Does It Take for a YouTube Video to Be Searchable?

By Laurel Storm

YouTube's search function allows random people interested in your topic to find your video.
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Unless you're uploading private family or business videos that you want to share with only a select few, your goal when posting a video on YouTube is likely to be noticed as quickly as possible. Because a great part of your audience will find your video only by running a search for keywords, it is in your interest to ensure your video is searchable through as many relevant keywords as possible.

Indexing Delay

Depending on how much traffic YouTube is undergoing at the time you upload your video, it may take up to eight hours for your video to become searchable. The same waiting time applies whenever you change any information for a video you have already uploaded, such as the thumbnail, tags, description and title, as well as when you make a formerly private video public.


Adding relevant tags to your video when you upload it can help it appear in searches: although they no longer show up on a video's page, they still influence search results. While your video is uploading, think of as many tags as possible relevant to its contents, then type them in the tags section on the video settings page. While you can modify tags after your video has been posted, you will have to wait additional time before those tags affect your video's placement in search results.

Title and Description

Your video's title and description also affect whether it will show up in search results for a particular keyword, so you should ensure they are relevant to your video's contents. Keep the title short and to the point, avoiding decorative characters, smilies and other irrelevant information, and ensure the description is as detailed as possible. Avoid simply cramming as many keywords as you can in your description, however -- that's what tags are for.

Warning on Irrelevant Tags

It may seem like a good idea to add information that doesn't match your video's content to its tags, title and description, to make it appear as a result in more searches. However, YouTube considers this spam and will remove your video, as well as potentially close your entire account, if you are found out.