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The Science Behind the YouTube Algorithm
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This post is going to look at the YouTube algorithm and how it works to sort the results when someone uses its search engine.

This post is not going to be complicated because it doesn't cover hard computer science and specifics because the actual algorithm is not public.

What you can expect is why YouTube is ranking certain videos higher than others and ways of making the most out of it in your promotion efforts.

The important thing you need to know is when a person enters a search term on YouTube search, they want to rank some videos higher than others by looking at the relevance of the content to the search query and also high-quality content.

YouTube has an algorithm that figures out these details so that the user can receive the best results. This is going to consider many factors and weigh them up to determine high-quality video. Algorithms are everywhere. Some of the most common examples are Google and Spotify algorithms.

Relevance

How does YouTube know that a video is relevant to what the user is searching for?

It is hard for YouTube to know a lot about a video in the initial stages. The algorithm has to look at the information you provided.

This is where metadata is used. Metadata is a term used to describe the title, thumbnail, description, and tags. You are the one to give the video all of this information.

Metadata

While you can craft them to entice people to your video, it is important to make sure they are relevant for those searching and interested in knowing what the video is going to be about. Take your time and come up with a good title for your video.

Another good way of letting YouTube know what the video is about is by adding subtitles. The algorithm mis going to look at this information and will know the type of content it contains.

This information is important in the beginning. When the video has been viewed a number of times, YouTube is going to rank the videos using the information it received from those watching. Some of the information includes the watch time and other behavioral signals.

Quality

YouTube has one really important goal; they want people to watch more videos so they get the chance of displaying more ads.

If people keep seeing rubbish videos, they won't continue using YouTube even if the videos are related to what they are looking for.

YouTube usually promotes quality videos so people can watch more videos.

What makes a video high quality?

Popularity is the most obvious answer because it has worked well so far. Maybe this is going to change in the future, but for now, YouTube figures that there is something the popular videos that make people want to watch.You need to promote videos with more YouTube views.

The problem with the approach is people start to focus more on getting clicks instead of sharing good quality content.

There are some who invest time and effort in creating the perfect title and thumbnail so that people click, then they have poor quality content that no one is interested in.

This is a good plan for the short term, but it is not a good idea because it is not going to help you in the long term when people no longer use YouTube.

 

Shifting to Watch Time

Watch time is how YouTube measures the popularity and quality of the video. If your viewers keep watching a video till the end, then it means the video is good. It is important to make sure viewers watch the video for long so the algorithm doesn't think the video is not good.

Clock

There are a lot of factors that are going to be at play when ranking videos. Things like thumbs up or down, or the number of embeds the video is going to impact the rankings.

A common problem is that these factors can be easily gamed. There are many important factors considered when ranking videos. A problem YouTube has is people manipulating that factor because they want to improve their rank.

Future-Proofing

Watch time is not the best factor to use when determining the quality of a video, and there is a good chance this is going to change in the future.

A lot of things can change, but there is one thing that is going to remain the same. YouTube is still going to have the same desire to rank quality videos on the top to give users what they want.

This makes it important to future-proof your videos. Focus on creating a good video that gives your viewers what they want. You want people to watch the video in the first place.