YouTube is currently the second largest search engine on the planet, with an approximate customer base of 2 billion users. One might think that getting viewers would be easy with that enormous number. You can never be more wrong.
Finding a stable and consistent audience is hard on YouTube, especially with so many creators and channels posting the same kind of content you do.
If you are wondering how to beat the YouTube Algorithm and get more traffic to your channel, there are quite a few ways to go about it.
Read on to know more!
Table of Contents
- What is the YouTube Algorithm?
- How Does YouTube Algorithm Work?
- Recent YouTube Algorithm Changes
- Tips on How to Hack YouTube Algorithm
What is the YouTube Algorithm?
YouTube defines its algorithm as “a real-time feedback loop that customizes and tailors videos to each user’s different interests.” Simply put, YouTube’s algorithm is the system that decides what videos and kind of content people will discover on the platform.
YouTube’s algorithm is not exactly a complex formula that one would imagine on Einstein’s board. It might sound fancy and complicated. Fortunately, with enough research, you can find ways to work with it to benefit your YouTube channel.
It is a ‘living thing’ that learns and evolves continuously. An AI-powered system that observes users’ viewing behavior and helps curate videos it thinks they would like.
YouTube’s algorithm has two goals:
- To suggest videos that suit the viewer’s preference
- To keep them hooked
It exists solely to provide the best possible viewing experience on YouTube! On the flip side, it also helps YouTube understand how content creators use their platform to grow their channels.
If you are a content creator who wants to succeed on YouTube and gain a bigger audience, it will help if you understand how YouTube’s algorithm works. You can use it to your advantage and help you get your YouTube videos in front of more viewers and gain more subscribers.
How Does YouTube Algorithm Work?
Not much is known about YouTube’s sophisticated algorithm. It will be hard to break down the specifics of how the YouTube algorithm works since the platform is not exactly forthcoming on how the magic works.
YouTube only released limited information about it. While they did release a white paper years ago that put some details to light, most information is still kept under lock and key.
What is known is that the AI tracks viewers’ perceived satisfaction to create a personalized and creative stream of recommendations.
The YouTube algorithm serves the most personalized, relevant videos hot and sizzling to their users through six sections: Search, Suggested Videos, Notifications, Subscriptions, Home, and Trending.
By continuously helping viewers find videos they are most likely to enjoy and watch, YouTube gets to keep users on the platform for as long as possible. They can get them to visit the site regularly, even daily.
YouTube ‘follows’ its users to figure out which channels and videos they enjoy watching. It tracks its users’ engagement with each watched video. It also considers how much time they spend watching and which YouTube videos they like and dislike.
Recent YouTube Algorithm Changes
Nobody outside YouTube’s team knows how it all comes together behind the scenes, but people notice trends over time.
A large part of the platform’s success is its learning process — it constantly changes to meet the ever-evolving needs of viewers.
YouTube has changed significantly over the years. It adjusted its algorithm a few times in history. As a result, the changes impacted the videos and how users stumble upon them.
Fortunately, the YouTube algorithm in 2023 is more or less the same as the algorithm in 2022. No major updates were made. Also, the same things that made a difference last year still apply now.
The algorithm’s point is to recommend different YouTube videos to different people, even if they search for the same thing. It is all based on various factors, including engagement and metadata.
Your video’s likes, comments, watch time, or overall engagement affect your search results. Video’s keywords, title, description, and metadata determine whether it matches the user’s search query or not. It is different from recommended videos.
YouTube’s algorithm goes through two processes for suggesting videos to users.
- First, YouTube ranks videos based on the data of their performance analytics. The top priority is the videos that are trending.
- Second, the videos are matched based on the viewer’s history and the kind of content they previously watched. The main idea is to match the viewer to videos they will likely enjoy and watch.
Tips on How to Hack YouTube Algorithm
One of the best ways to stand out in a vast and competitive space like YouTube is to ensure you create great content and use the proper techniques and strategies to optimize your videos.
Here are a few tips on how you can beat the YouTube algorithm:
1. Improve Keywords and Tags
Researching keywords is a given for any online creator. On YouTube, it assists the platform in identifying which videos align with a user’s interests.
While keywords are not the ultimate indicator of whether a video becomes successful, having the right keywords is the first stepping stone in the right direction.
Keywords and tags are necessary as they are the algorithm’s way of knowing how and where to categorize you.
Keywords are the terms that appear in your videos’ descriptions, titles, transcripts, and tags. You will have to do thorough research to identify the right keywords to use.
As for tags, there is a specific number of tags you can include in your videos. You can’t just add hundreds of tags in there and hope for the best.
You may want to use long-tail keywords and multiple-word tags relevant to your video’s broader topic.
Here are some keyword tools that we could recommend to you:
2. Provide a Good Title and Appealing Thumbnail
With the right keywords in mind, it is now time to think about how to use them to create a great title that will catch attention and attract clicks.
A good title should not be too long or too short. It should automatically give people a definite hint on what the video is about but shouldn’t be able to give away the results.
Trending YouTube videos need to contain four key elements; urgency, usefulness, uniqueness, and ultra-specific. You don’t need to apply all these elements to produce clickable titles. Though, you may want to use at least three.
Here are some words that could be used in the title:
- How to
Aside from a good title, having an appealing thumbnail can also help you beat the YouTube algorithm. Video thumbnails are necessary as they are like a mini-poster or miniature visual window for your YouTube videos. It helps your video garner attention as they are the first thing that your viewers will see.
3. Be Consistent
Posting regularly will appeal to your YouTube audience. It tells your viewers that you are active and can keep up with your routine and schedule.
While posting frequently is a great way to maintain followers, you should never sacrifice quality for quantity. Keeping up with your content schedule is enough.
Consistency should extend to your overall content as well. That includes the way your thumbnail looks, the tone of your videos, the title formats, and all that nitty-gritty detail.
4. Write Compelling Descriptions
Video descriptions are write-ups that describe or accompany the content. They should include key information that could clue the viewers. They make it easier for users to choose whether to watch the video or skip it.
Writing a good description is not necessarily hard. Write and share what the video is generally about. The YouTube algorithm uses video descriptions to search for keywords, so make sure to include them there as well.
More importantly, do not go overboard. Viewers are on YouTube to watch videos and not read a whole essay.
Keep it 1-2 paragraphs short, briefly explaining your video. Make sure not to include everything there. Leave your viewers hanging so they will be inclined to watch.
5. Engagement is Key
One thing to note is that not everyone will watch your videos till the end. Just clicking the video and letting it play for a few minutes would hardly count as a view. The YouTube algorithm measures if the viewer actually watches the video.
You have to keep your engagements up. Find out where viewers often stop and try to figure out why. Discovering the answer can help you find ways how to pivot better viewership in the future.
6. Feed the Recommendation Engine Using Other Sources
Recommendations are based on how users interacted with your past videos. The platform needs data to base the set of recommendations.
Of course, there will be no data if no one is watching. So, learn to find more ways to promote your videos.
You may partner with other YouTubers or influencers, and even the press to get your channel out.
You can also promote your videos on your social media accounts. Another option is to send them to your email list. If you want your YouTube channel to reach a wider audience, you need to find a way to make it happen.
- Do some collab YouTube challenges
- Try to visit as many podcasts as possible
- Discuss and share your videos on trending Forum topics and on Reddit
- Upload some of your YouTube video footage to the TikTok feed (it works really great!)
7. Engage With Your Audience
By increasing your watch time and other engagement metrics, you can keep your audience more engaged. If your viewers enjoy your engaging content, you can ask them to share it with their family and friends.
Other than that, you need to engage and interact with your viewers. You can do so by replying to comments and talking to your people.
Take note that YouTube’s algorithm knows when you are actually having meaningful conversations with your subscribers and not just paying lip service to increase your vanity metrics.
Another way to engage an audience is by asking for their opinions, feedback, or suggestions related to your content. You can ask them what kind of content they want to see next.
If your audience feels like they are being heard, they are more likely to stick around and watch your content.
You can go with a few ideas that highlight this kind of engagement by creating videos that answer common questions your customers may have and a sneak peek of behind-the-scenes footage of your business or work – daily routine videos and home or setup tours are skyrocketing in 2023.
8. Deep Dive Into YouTube Analytics
YouTube Analytics is a gold pot of information as it gives you performance data on your channel video statistics.
Various indicators fall under the four major categories; Revenue, Audience, Reach, and Engagement.
Taking a close look at these can help you gauge your channel’s performance and show you where you need to allot more time and effort to improve your results and content.
The data can also help you increase your organic reach by identifying which videos best resonate with your audience.
How does YouTube determine the suggested or recommended video algorithm?
YouTube employs slightly different considerations when suggesting videos for viewers to watch next. After a user watches a few videos during their visit to the platform, the algorithm gets an idea about what they are interested in today.
In addition to personalization and performance, the algorithm is likely to recommend topically related videos. It also recommends videos from channels you watched in the past.
How does YouTube consider what content is good?
YouTube's algorithm has specific metrics that any creator can see via the analytics section of their creator studio. The metrics are Click-Through Rate (CTR), Audience retention, upload frequency, and watch time. When creators maximize each of these, they improve their chances of becoming viral.
How does YouTube rank videos on its home page?
YouTube's homepage consists of an entire influx of videos that you will instantly see upon opening the platform. These are the result of the algorithm's work at the back end. The factors that matter the most in ranking these are performance and personalization.
What are the external factors that impact YouTube's rankings?
There are quite a few external factors that can affect the rankings of the videos on YouTube. The most important factors to consider are seasonality, competition, and topic interest.
If your main profit or business is on YouTube, the algorithm can make or break your content strategy.
To increase your YouTube channel or brand’s organic growth and gain more views, you must understand the ins and outs of YouTube’s meticulous algorithm.
With YouTube’s algorithm becoming smarter day by day via artificial intelligence and machine learning, there is nothing much you can do to bypass the platform’s guidelines.
There are, however, a few tips you can follow to help you beat the YouTube algorithm and conquer it!