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Have you ever wondered how the YouTube algorithm works? It’s a lot more complicated than you might think. There are all sorts of different factors that go into determining which videos appear in your feed and which ones don’t.
In this post, we’ll look at some of the main things that the algorithm takes into account.
What Is The Youtube Algorithm?
Although it might seem counterintuitive, the Youtube algorithm is not one single entity but a collection of factors that determine what videos appear first in users’ feeds. The Youtube Search and Discovery System (SDS) encapsulates all of the signals that go into determining how to respond to a given search. It’s applied whether it’s done in the Youtube app or on their website.
Unfortunately, the secrets of the Youtube algorithm aren’t easy to uncover since it changes so frequently, and only a handful of people have access to the inner workings of the SDS. However, there are some factors that you can keep in mind to make sure your videos appear as high up in peoples’ feeds as possible.
The entire system revolves around data, so your videos must help to inform the algorithm about what people want to watch. This means that you should focus on making sure that your videos are engaging, whether they’re getting lots of likes or comments or if they’re being watched for a long time.
Before You Upload
The analysis of your video by the Youtube algorithm begins as soon as you hit ‘Upload,’ so you must pay attention to what can be considered as ‘optimizing your video.’ The main things you’ll want to do here are:
Craft Your Title and Description
Before anything else, ensure that the title and description of your video are accurate and engaging. It would be best to consider using keywords in both of these, but don’t stuff them with meaningless filler words. Also, keep in mind that meta-data doesn’t affect rankings until the video has been uploaded.
In 2022, people want a Youtube video description that is :
- Accurate and informative.
- Approved by Youtube TOS
- Not copied from the video itself.
- Engaging and exciting to read.
- Informative and educational, but tailored to your audience’s interests.
Adding timestamps, linking to related videos, and asking for advice from your audience can also help boost the chances that people will watch your video.
When you’re writing tags on Youtube, it’s important to remember that they have a considerable impact on searches. The algorithm reads these tags and uses them to determine whether your video is relevant to a search.
It’s best to go with a shortlist of highly relevant words rather than a long list of synonyms. Also, don’t forget that you can use Google’s Keyword Tool to find the most popularly used terms related to your topic and how much competition there is for those keywords.
Think About Your Thumbnail
The thumbnail is the first thing people see when deciding whether or not to watch a video, which means that it can significantly impact how many views you get. Keep in mind that people are drawn to bright colors, so you should opt for something that stands out.
Furthermore, it’s best not to use text as your thumbnail image since this can result in the video being blocked by Youtube for having too many words.
Taking care of these elements before your upload means that the algorithm will analyze your video more efficiently and will want to feature it in more people’s feeds.
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After You Upload
The more popular your video becomes, the further it will spread. Once your video goes live, the Youtube algorithm will blast notifications to users who have turned on “All Notifications.” Other users only have “Some Notifications” enabled and might not see your video right away.
Youtube then shares new videos on the ‘Home Page’ Feed, the ‘Browse’ Feed, and the ‘Suggested Videos’ feed.
Once again, the order in all of these videos will be displayed depending on a secret algorithm. You can, however, increase your chances of being featured by:
- Promoting your video on other platforms
- Having a compelling title and descriptions for the video that include relevant keywords
- Adding subtitles to videos where appropriate
- Asking your viewers to subscribe and share your videos.
Note that the video will also be sent to your subscribers immediately, which can help rake in those crucial early views. Depending on how well your video does, it could end up being featured by Youtube multiple times.
That means that your views will sky-rocket, which can help you to gain popularity and an increased chance of getting discovered.
New Video Discoverability
About an hour after you upload your video, Youtube will use the data you’ve given them to predict how well it will rank. They can place your video into the lists where most users are most likely browsing using this data.
This process helps your video get noticed by a larger number of people, which can help it spread quickly through social media channels.
Remember that this doesn’t mean you have the top spot but that you will have an increased chance of being seen. If your video does not go viral, Youtube will keep shuffling your video around until it has amassed enough views for Youtube to decide on where to place it in its discovery lists.
Since the algorithm analyzes and makes decisions based on previous videos, you should upload high-quality content that will appeal to your audience if you want your new videos to notice quickly.
Seventy-two hours after you upload your video, Youtube will once again move it to a new category in the hopes of reaching a larger user base.
After one week on the platform, your video is no longer considered new, and your place in the discovery lists will be determined by your past viewership, when you upload new content and when other users are most likely to watch it.
The exact timeframe of each shuffle can vary, but in general terms, this is what happens after your video has been live for a week.
During this time, Youtube will also consider other factors, such as whether or not other users are interacting with your video. If the algorithm notices that the comments are mostly negative, it could push your video down the list, so more people don’t see it. The opposite can happen if you have many positive comments and views on your videos.
At this point, Youtube is also looking at your video’s ‘dwell time’ (how much time people spend watching the video) and ‘average watch time’ (the average number of minutes someone stays on your channel). If you have videos that are doing well in these aspects, it can help to boost how high your content ranks.
It’s important to understand that trending does not equal viral. Trending lists result from Youtube’s algorithm trying to predict what videos might become viral around that time. These videos tend to be related to current events, pop culture phenomena, and other topics that would catch your attention if you were looking at Reddit or Twitter for videos, for example.
When a topic starts to trend, Youtube, the algorithm searches high and wide for related videos to capitalize on the surge of interest. It will check which videos are already trending and then forge connections with similar videos you might like to watch. This is how your video could end up at the top of a list that contains thousands of videos if it is lucky enough to catch someone’s attention.
Even months after you’ve published your video, it might be linked to an ongoing trend.
The sad reality is that the overwhelming majority of videos don’t hold the public’s attention for very long. If you want to rank high on the discovery lists, you need to create content that people will continue to watch. Eventually, the algorithm will realize that your viewership is dwindling on a particular video and stop recommending it to newer users in favor of other videos that will keep viewers watching for longer.
That’s why it is essential to upload regularly if you plan to capitalize on your hard work and make a career out of vlogging. It would be best if you kept feeding the algorithm new videos that will keep people watching, and you’ll keep getting more and more views.
Other factors contribute to how your video is ranked on Youtube, but these are the main ones. Knowing how the algorithm works will allow you to explore different strategies for making sure your videos get noticed. It can even help you understand why some of your videos did better than others.
The mysterious algorithm behind Youtube is very straightforward, and with a little bit of effort, you can help it help you.
If you need help editing your videos and getting them ready for the almighty algorithm, contact Vidchops today for a free consultation.