Nearly a year ago, YouTube rolled out their “auto-generated channels,” which are channels created to curate content based on relevant topics. Think of them as YouTube-created playlists. When they first appeared, auto-generated channels were strictly limited to the “Top YouTube Collections” tab and intended for broad topics such as “Snowboarding” (see image below). However, it was recently discovered that YouTube is now taking these auto-generated channels one-step further.

Auto-generated channels are now appearing in such places as YouTube search results, video watch pages, and even Google search results. What’s even more interesting is that they are pulling some very niche topics for their auto-generated channels.

Auto-Generated Results in YouTube Search Results

As a Video SEM Specialist working at BLASTmedia, a social media marketing agency, I’m continually working with clients on their YouTube marketing strategies. Included in this is the task of optimizing videos for targeted keywords to appear within YouTube search. For one client in particular, many of the videos I’m optimizing are related to “inventory control software” (definitely not as common as snowboarding, but still equally important for small business owners). Recently I noticed an auto-generated channel appearing in the search results just below one of the videos I was optimizing for the keyword, “inventory control.”

But what’s even better is that my optimized video content was included in the thumbnail of the auto-generated channel. Now, think about the impact this has a users’ search habits: Seeing two similar thumbnails parallel to one another only reinforces the fact that your content is likely the optimal choice.

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Of course, YouTube has yet to disclose their algorithm for choosing which content to include in the auto-generated channels and its search thumbnail, but I think it’s safe to say these auto-generated channels or “playlists” contain highly relevant content based on the given topic. Here’s a statement directly from the YouTube blog:

“Lots of complex algorithms are working behind the scenes to give you the channel you’re looking for, for example, being able to tell when the word ‘Chicago’ means the music band and when it means the movie/musical. We’re still tweaking everything to make sure it works just right for you, so let us know what you think of the channels or learn more in our help center.”

Auto-generated Channels on YouTube's Video Watch Page

Not only are these auto-generated channels creeping into YouTube search results, but they also appear to have invaded the video watch page:

But what’s interesting is that this auto-generated channel is not based on a topic. No, in fact the channel was created based on the channel and its content. YouTube has pulled content from the YouTube channel itself and curated it into one single place (one that users can subscribe to as well!) Of course, this doesn’t take the place of a well-optimized and socially active YouTube channel, but it’s still worth noting.

Google Search Results

As YouTube expands the visibility of its auto-generated channels, it is not much of a surprise that they would show up in Google search as well. After a recent search for “YouTube duplicate content” within Google search, it was clear that YouTube auto-generated channel results had permeated into Google SERPS.

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Clicking on the above search result for “Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues” yielded this landing page on YouTube (note it’s an auto-generated channel centered around the keyword “Duplicate content”):

While the result above definitely proves this notion, it has yet to be seen how often this is occurring, as the other keywords like “inventory control” and “Eton blog” do not yield any of the same results in Google search.

It’s yet to be determined how widespread these auto-generated channels have become, but YouTube seems to be confident enough to begin displaying them more publicly. For Video SEMs, it’s another facet for your content to attract even more eyeballs. And isn't that what we all want?

Are you seeing these auto-generated channels more frequently? - Drop us a comment below and let us know what you think about the apparent push of auto-generated channel throughout YouTube and Google search.