If you are a YouTube creator trying to figure out how the YouTube algorithm works and rank videos higher, come closer. Because good news is waiting for you in this blog post!
After reading this, you will glow in the world’s best video platform. Ready, set, go!
What Is YouTube Algorithm?
First things first. An algorithm is a process or a set of rules to be followed in calculations or in problem-solving operations.
In our case, YouTube’s algorithm is designed to analyze and process videos to rank them in the most accurate way and serve them to the right YouTube audience.
Before diving deeper, let’s see how YouTube’s algorithm has changed over time.
A Brief Evolution of How YouTube Algorithm Works
Due to various facts such as user behavior, the YouTube algorithm has faced several updates for better optimization over the years. Let’s look at how it started and what it looks like today.
When YouTube was first created in 2005, there was not even a thing called an algorithm.
Around 2008, channel subscriptions and tags were the primary factors that helped the platform to show videos to YouTube users. People used to input tags in order to provide information about the video content.
This helped YouTube to show the relevant content in the search bar and thus bring the videos to the audience.
This was when the YouTube algorithm was introduced, which was just optimized for views. The more your YouTube video got clicked, the more views it got. This means that the more views you had, the higher you ranked.
So, chances are it was easier to get discovered in people’s homepages or in the side columns!
People always know how to manipulate the system, right? There emerged the “clickbait” term. YouTube realized that, as the video thumbnails and video titles started to become rather irrelevant just for the sake of clicks, it re-optimized its algorithm and introduced the video “watch time” for better performance.
In this case, the longer your video was watched, the better it ranked and eventually became a suggested video.
As people started to game the algorithm with clickbait tricks, from 2015 onwards, YouTube has been searching for other ways to fight these manipulations. So it has been continuously optimizing its algorithm for individual behaviors.
Today, there is not a single factor that affects how the algorithm suggests videos. Instead, a set of elements is combined with individual users’ behavioral data.
How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work in 2023?
As we said that YouTube has been prioritizing the individual data of its users in recent years, it can be understood that it cares a lot about how much time people spend on YouTube.
Therefore, in order to make people spend more time on YouTube, it puts a lot of effort to show the right videos to the right people. Because only then, they would achieve viewer satisfaction, which can be determined via viewers’ clicks, engagement, and watch time. Note: YouTube video watching time should be more than 4000 to start earning money.
To show the right videos to each viewer, the algorithm takes into account 4 main factors:
- The time they spend watching
- Their behaviors after watching a particular video (what is the next video they watch, do they watch other videos on your YouTube channel or more videos related to that topic but not on the same channel, etc.)
- User watch history and search history
3 Areas Where YouTube Determines Its Algorithm for Recommending Your YouTube Videos
Now, this is where the magic happens as most of the video traffic is generated by the recommendations.
First, let’s be clear: In all areas where a video can be recommended, there are 3 important factors that the algorithm puts great emphasis on; relevance of the video, engagement of the video, and the video quality.
If these three are all satisfying, then it starts looking at area-specific factors.
Let’s see what those areas are:
- YouTube Homepage
The homepage is the first page you see when you open the YouTube website. So, the possibility of videos on the homepage being clicked, and future videos being discovered is higher.
Homepages suggest videos based on a viewer’s recently watched videos and/or channels. But while showing these videos it makes a ranking, depending on the performance, within the popular videos in that niche.
- Suggested Videos Section
This part basically focuses on what the viewer would want to watch after watching the current video.
For this part the algorithm looks at the topic, the particular viewer’s interests, watch history, and the relevancy of the video being watched at that moment.
So, the hack to appear in this section is to publish videos relevant to one another on your channel.
- YouTube Search
This is the part where your videos are suggested in the search results when someone types the keywords in the search engine.
In order to suggest your video there, the algorithm analyzes both your video’s metadata (video’s title, description, keywords, etc.), and the video itself (the words, scenes, and visuals you use).
After this analysis, it ranks your video and starts to test it by checking the video performance in terms of clicks, watch time, and whether users engage or not.
Optimize Your YouTube Channel in 7+1 Easy Steps and Boost the YouTube Algorithm
1. Define your niche and target audience
In order to make the right people watch your YouTube content, make sure to be particular about your niche and who you address. This is very important for all social media platforms.
Most YouTube creators fail because they are not very consistent with staying in a certain niche. So, ensure that you are making videos within your niche topic.
2. Do thorough keyword research before creating videos
This helps you to create videos that are YouTube SEO-friendly. Beyond that, this will help you understand your niche better. In the long run, it will contribute positively to how your video performs and make you become more discoverable.
3. Execute a well-defined strategy in your video creation process.
Try to hold the viewers’ attention by providing pleasing, informative, or funny scenes (depending on your channel’s character) to keep the viewers watching, especially for longer videos. Thus, you can increase the watch time.
Also, ask questions to your viewers and lead them to answer in the comments section. Creating engaging videos is a great way to boost the algorithm.
4. Make sure you optimize your new videos
It is important to ensure that you create compelling YouTube thumbnails to catch the attention before you publish videos. Also, the video title and the video description must be well-written in terms of keywords and relevance to the video uploaded.
5. Make use of YouTube shorts.
YouTube shorts is a great way to make your target audience discover your channel and promote videos of yours. These are the vertical videos with a shorter length.
As people love receiving information immediately, use them to provide bitesize content about your niche and attract people’s attention. You’ll have a chance to appear in trending videos as well.
6. Create playlists
This will lead the viewers to watch multiple videos of yours, and thus increase your watch time. Additionally, it is a great way to get people to know your channel.
Plus, if people watch different videos of yours, then you will enter their history, and you will start to appear on their home page.
7. Check your competitor’s videos
Learn what others in your niche share. Try to add more to what they already provide. The added value you will provide will be a game changer.
Pro tip: In data we trust! Now that you have learned all the necessary tricks to get along well with the YouTube algorithm, it is time to sustain your success.
Without checking the metrics of your channel and your videos, the sustainability of your success can be a dream. Check what your top-performing videos are, how long people keep watching your content, and get to know your audience.
All those insights will give you critical clues for your long-term success. Now, it’s time to be the leader in your niche!