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How Does Youtube Algorithm Actually Work?

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I've always been enthusiastic to know how various things work on the Internet and look for different ways to glean some knowledge.

Everyone love to watch their favorite videos on YouTube right?

Everyone love to watch their favorite videos on YouTube right?

YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms out there which provides everyone with an option to upload a video of any kind and earn yourself a considerable amount of money, depending on the success of the video, that is. Every minute hundreds of hours of videos are posted on the platform.

However, with great options comes great competition which makes it far fetched to say that everyone on YouTube earns something. So, how to look for the right strategies to adopt so that you can make a name for yourself as a successful YouTuber?

What does algorithm mean exactly?

An algorithm refers to a set of sequential steps to solve a particular problem. A common phrase in the IT world, an algorithm is designed to ensure fluency and efficiency in the working system. Simply put, how does a particular thing work, is algorithm.

YouTube' algorithm determines the success of a video considering various factors such as CTR. It is through its algorithm that videos are recommended to different individuals according to their interests. The two main key goals in the current algorithm according to the platform’s management are; to help users find what they want to watch and get them to keep watching those videos for as long as possible.

The key points in determining Youtube’s algorithm keep changing almost every year since it becomes susceptible to break after people get the gist of it.



Key factors in determining the algorithm

The main factors that influence the algorithm of YouTube generally are:

  • Thumbnail:- The thumbnail of a video makes a lot of influence on how likely your video is to get suggested. The Thumbnail of your video should be eye-catching which, consequently, is likely to increase your click-through rate. It should also be accurate and as precise as possible as inaccuracy in thumbnail will prove to be clickbait which, although, may increase your CTR but will reduce audience retention and engagement.
  • CTR:- Click-through rate is the ratio of your video getting clicked by people to the number of impressions (number of people that are recommended that video). An average CTR can be something between 2-10%. New channels with a relatively smaller audience have a higher chance of getting considerable CTR which may slowly decrease as the channel grows if not taken seriously. However, with certain measures taken, you can get a good CTR and maintain it.
  • Audience retention:- Having a good CTR doesn’t always contribute to getting recommended more likely. There are always cases of clickbait which mislead people and compel them to click on the thumbnail. Consequently, YouTube has changed its strategy of promoting videos based only, or largely, on the CTR. It is now essential that the viewers stay for at least 50% of the duration of the video. The longer they keep watching the video and maintain retention, the better it is for the channel.
  • Audience engagement:- Engaging with your audience is yet another important factor that influences your chances of promotion. YouTube not only checks your CTR and audience retention percentage but also reviews your engagement with the audience. The number of comments, likes and dislikes also plays an important role in getting more impressions according to the algorithm.However, this factor’s role in the algorithm has decreased over time. Nonetheless, it’s still important to maintain adequate engagement with your audience.

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The algorithm of YouTube

The algorithm of YouTube

How to ensure that your videos are in accordance with the current algorithm

If you are a YouTube user, especially a creator, you are likely intrigued to know the inside outs of YouTube's algorithm, about how likely are you to get recommended, where your video would be placed when someone searches for a particular thing you have a video made on.

Over time, YouTube has been changing its policy to determine the algorithm. Currently, the emphasis is put on the video’s performance. The performance of a video comprises of many factors which influences its chances to succeed such as Thumbnail, Title and description, Audience engagement and retention etc.

Essential factors

  • Video title and description:- The title and description of a video are as crucial as a thumbnail. The title should be precise to the point and should be captivating. It should be persuasive enough to make the viewers click on the video which, in turn, assists in increasing your CTR.The description of the video is, similarly, essential to pay heed to.The description area is not provided only to link your socials, which indeed, is important as well. However, the description area should also be utilized to give a proper and precise narrative about the video’s contents. It is advised to use similar keywords in the description as in the title.
  • Channel size:- The size of a channel is also influential in determining the algorithm. The larger the network of your channel is, the more chances it has to snowball.A channel comparatively smaller than a vast and successful channel may have a higher CTR and audience retention, but it still might not blow up at the same pace as the latter.

Using keywords to optimize your videos

Using keywords helps you rank better in the search results making your video more SEO friendly. Search-engine Optimization (SEO) refers to optimizing your video (in this case) to help it rank in a higher position on the search results page.

There are many platforms available to search for keywords which can prove to be efficient. You can type the keywords in the search option of those platforms and see if the keyword is likely to get a considerable reach or not.

Bottom line

Cracking the algorithm is crucial for your channel as a YouTuber to grow your presence in short amount of time. Once you get the gist of it, it's a breeze to do so.


Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on June 10, 2021:

Elaborate and useful.

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