YouTube’s algorithm is always changing so it can be super hard to keep up. Unfortunately, there aren’t any set in stone rules that will apply to using it to your advantage forever. However, we are going to take a little look at some things that can help you right now.
How The Algorithm Decides
Even though the specific algorithm does change, it tends to stay focused on a few key user behaviours to decide which videos are worth recommending and ranking. This includes:
-How much time viewers spend watching
-The video’s growth rate
-How new it is
-How often you upload
-Engagement (likes, comments, dislikes, shares, etc)
-Impressions and plays (what people watch and what they don’t)
-Session time (i.e. how much time someone spends on YouTube)
As we said, it’s constantly changing and fairly unknown (unless you work for them). But regardless, let’s look at some YouTube best practices for ensuring the algorithm works in your favour.
Use Smart Keywords
Whether you are writing the title, the description, caption, or tags, you need to make sure your keywords are relevant and great for SEO. However, do make sure that humans have an easy time reading as this will prevent you from progressing otherwise.
Make Custom Thumbnails
Everyone loves a good thumbnail — and so does the algorithm. Creating custom, clickable thumbnails is a must for upping your clickthrough rate and ultimately, your watch time.
Take a look at your favourite creator’s thumbnails. Alternatively, look at YouTube’s trending page or the likes of Jake Paul. All their thumbnails have either expressive faces, action shots, text, or all three. Not to mention they make use of the “rule of thirds”.
Convince to Subscribe
Yes, it may be annoying when you see it but convincing your viewers to subscribe is essential to increasing your channel’s organic reach.
The trick is to time it right. Make sure it comes after a great joke or surprise. This way, you’ll be targeting them when they’re seriously loving what they see.
Videos that come in a series lead into each other without force. Thus, it encourages people to keep watching.
If you can’t think of a particular series you’d feel enamoured by making right now, then at least sort your videos into playlists. YouTube’s autoplay feature will then work in your favour to decrease the chance of them clicking away. Remember, you want them to keep watching for the longest time!
Promoting your YouTube channel on your other platforms (blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, website, email marketing, email signature, etc) will increase your viewership drastically.
There are tons of online guides which show you exactly how to accomplish this so you can get it right the first time.
Pay Attention to Your Analytics
Know which videos are doing well and why they’re doing great. You can find out all your stats like user behaviour, peak posting times, drop-off times, and more in your channel’s analytics tab.
Don’t Forget the Ending
Try to direct your viewers to other parts of your channel by utilizing cards, watermarks, and endscreens to your advantage. Whether you want them to go to the next video in the series, the previous video in the series or just another one of your videos, the aforementioned functions can help you.
The Bottom Line
And there you have it — how to use the YouTube algorithm to my advantage, answered! All that’s left is to do it.