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How did YouTube fare in Google mobile visibility in 2023?

It’s no secret that video visibility rankings on Google’s SERPs are driven largely by Google’s own video platform, YouTube. News publishers who are not repurposing their own videos on YouTube are missing out on one of the internet’s most popular video platforms, which also serves as a search engine.

WTF is SEO offers some good tips for news publishers on how to optimize video content for YouTube.

In 2023, YouTube’s visibility in video rankings on Google saw some dramatic swings. YouTube saw a significant rise in overall mobile visibility on Google, but a dramatic decline on Mobile Publisher Carousels.

There were a couple of significant changes that Google made when it comes to designating videos in search results that may have impacted video indexing and visibility performance. In April 2023, Google announced that video thumbnails would only appear next to Google search results when the video is the main content of a page. In December 2023, they extended this change to search results in Video mode.

News Dashboard Analysis

Let’s dive into the top findings of the Trisolute News Dashboard Google visibility analysis of YouTube video rankings on mobile in 2023. We used the US instance for this analysis and filtered by results with video.

Mobile visibility on Google for YouTube in 2023.

YouTube saw a dramatic rise in Google visibility on mobile in 2023.

  • YouTube saw a significant rise in overall mobile visibility on Google: At the beginning of 2023, YouTube had 29 percent mobile visibility; by the end of 2023, YouTube had 61 percent mobile visibility. The steep rise in mobile visibility rankings on Google began in September 2023.
  • YouTube suffered a starkly different fate in Mobile Publisher Carousel visibility in 2023, hitting a peak in May before visibility dropped to zero on June 27 and never recovered.
Mobile Publisher Carousels graph

YouTube visibility on Mobile Publisher Carousels in 2023.

YouTube’s visibility on mobile news boxes took off near the end of 2023, rising from 64 rankings in November to 1641 in December. By the end of 2023, YouTube claimed 11 percent visibility in the mobile news boxes on Google.

Mobile news box performance for YouTube in 2023.

YouTube visibility on mobile news boxes rose dramatically at the end of 2023.

We also examined which topics performed the best on YouTube’s mobile platform in 2023:

  • Sports topics dominated on YouTube in 2023, accounting for 4 of the top 5 performing keywords on mobile.
  • Music, movies, and video games dominated for the top performing YouTube video titles on mobile in 2023. Taylor Swift earned 3 of the top 10 slots. “Barbie” trailers were also top performers on YouTube in 2023. “The Legend of Zelda” and “Baldur’s Gate” were the top performing video game titles on YouTube in 2023.
  • Live videos: The livestream from space via the International Space Station was the top-performing live video on YouTube in 2023 on mobile devices. Four of the top ten live videos on YouTube in 2023 were related to space. Live coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war also was of high interest on YouTube in 2023.

For the record, YouTube’s visibility rankings on desktop were quite similar to mobile in 2023.

To explore historic data, check out our deep dive analysis of video rankings in news boxes from 2022.

News Publisher takeaways:

  • Sports, entertainment, and space topics performed the best on YouTube in 2023.
  • Among hard news topics, COVID-19, the Russia-Ukraine war and US politics performed well on YouTube in 2023.
  • While news videos didn’t dominate the top performers on YouTube in 2023, the massive audience makes it worth a news publisher’s time to make sure their video content is optimized for YouTube.
  • Among the news publishers who had videos appear in the top 100 rankings on mobile, PBS appeared multiple times.
  • Livestreams and explainers were the top video performers for news publishers on mobile.


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