20 confirmed facts about the YouTube algorithm (2023)

YouTube's algorithm has changed over the years to reward viewer satisfaction through total clicks and views.

So what does this mean for marketers?

This article provides an overview of how the YouTube algorithm works and what it is designed to do.

There are a total of 20 facts about the YouTube algorithm in the following sections, all of which have been confirmed by the company itself.

A summary of all the facts is listed at the end.

Let's start by clearing up some misunderstandings.

Misunderstandings with the YouTube algorithm

A big misconception marketers have about YouTube is that all content is ranked by an algorithm.

YouTube has various algorithms to classify content into the different areas where videos are displayed. This includes the home page, suggested videos, and search results.

This article focuses on how YouTuberecommender systemworks, consisting of the home page and the proposed video algorithms.

According to YouTube, most video traffic comes from the recommendation system and not from the search bar.

YouTube's recommendation system is designed to find videos for viewers and non-viewers for videos.

It is not designed to advertise or promote videos to viewers. The recommendation system works in reverse.

(Video) 20 confirmed facts about YouTube's algorithm.

When a user visits YouTube, the recommendation system selects videos and ranks the best candidates based on what the user is likely to watch.

YouTube's goal is to help every viewer find the videos they want to watch and to maximize long-term viewer satisfaction to keep them coming back.

YouTube Top Ranking Factor – Viewer Satisfaction

The way YouTube categorizes content for users has changed over time. Here's a short story:

  • 2011: Top ranking factors were clicks and views.
  • 2012: The main ranking factor was screen time.
  • 2015-present: The most important ranking factor is viewer satisfaction.

Ranking videos based on total clicks and views has proven to be ineffective, leading to a lot of clickbait with misleading titles and thumbnails.

Total watch time seemed like a better way to rate videos. However, it was flawed in that it did not take into account whether users liked the content they were viewing.

Now YouTube's top priority is to rank content based on what makes the user happy.

This is how YouTube measures viewer satisfaction

YouTube uses a combination of surveys and signals to measure viewer satisfaction.

YouTube learns what users like by regularly showing them polls that ask them what they think of the videos they've watched.

The survey data is used to train predictive models to determine which videos are highly satisfying.

YouTube also uses interaction signals to measure viewer satisfaction, such as B. Likes and Dislikes and clicks on the "Not Interested" button.

How YouTube ranks content on the home page

On YouTube's home page, users are presented with a selection of videos that its algorithms have identified and are most likely to watch.

YouTube's homepage ranking algorithm uses a combination of performance and personalization signals. The goal is to provide each viewer with the most relevant recommendations.

(Video) I Figured Out the Youtube Algorithm.

YouTube home page ranking is based on:

  • performance: YouTube uses click-through rate and average watch time to measure how well a video engaged other viewers when they viewed it on their homepage.
  • personalization: YouTube personalizes a user's video recommendations based on their viewing history and how often they interact with a particular channel or topic.

Recommendations for sellers

To maximize YouTube homepage performance, look at your video objectively and pretend you're a new viewer unfamiliar with your channel.

If all the context you had was a video title and thumbnail, would you have to click?

Regular uploading can help keep viewers engaged and help viewers build a channel-watching routine. This is key to generating signals of viewer satisfaction.

How YouTube ranks videos in the Featured section

Appearing on the right side of the screen when viewing content, suggested videos offer users a selection of videos they are likely to watch next.

The Suggested Videos section doesn't just show videos relevant to what's being watched. YouTube's algorithm also takes past user activity into account.

YouTube's goal is to ensure that the videos included in the proposed section are personalized and related to what the user is currently viewing.

YouTube's proposed video algorithm uses ranking signals such as:

  • What videos are often seen together.
  • Which videos are thematically related.
  • What videos a user has seen previously.

By understanding which videos are commonly viewed together, YouTube can identify videos that users are likely to watch but have not yet been exposed to.

Knowing how much of a channel or topic a user has viewed in the past can help YouTube make more or fewer suggestions.

Recommendations for sellers

Developing a video series can help drive more videos to the suggested section.

(Video) Youtube Ranking 2022 and Youtube's Algorithm

Relatable branding with a consistent title and thumbnail style makes it easy for users to spot your videos among all other suggestions.

Ending each video with a call to action to watch another video can keep viewers engaged and lead to important user satisfaction signals.

Using playlists and end screens can also help to show more videos in the suggested section.

External Factors Affecting YouTube Ranking

It's important for marketers to keep in mind that external factors can affect how their videos rank on the YouTube homepage and suggested sections.

These factors are out of the control of the content creator. They include:

  • interest in the topic– Different topics have different sizes of potential audience. Niche topics can only be known to a limited extent due to a lack of broad interest.
  • Competence: The amount of time your audience spends on content from other channels can affect how much of your content is recommended to them.
  • seasonality: YouTube viewership fluctuates throughout the year and typically slows down during the holidays. The interest of the subject may change with the seasons. For example, outdoor videos are more popular in the summer.

Recommendations for sellers

Even if there are external factors, don't automatically assume that a drop in ratings is due to a factor outside of your control.

If you notice a sustained drop in impressions for 3 months or more, it could be a sign to try something new with your content.

Keep experimenting, because people's interests change over time. If you regularly produce content on a particular topic, switching to a different topic can help increase impressions.

In short: 20 facts about the YouTube algorithm

Here's a summary of the 20 things you just learned about the YouTube algorithm:

  1. The YouTube algorithm is actually made up of two algorithms: the homepage algorithm and the suggested videos algorithm.
  2. The two algorithms are called a recommender system.
  3. Most video traffic is generated by YouTube's recommendation system, not search results.
  4. The recommendation system pulls videos for individual users instead of sending content to all users.
  5. Videos are retrieved based on what an individual user is most likely to see.
  6. The ranking priorities of YouTube's algorithms have changed over time.
  7. In 2011, clicks and views were a sign of a higher ranking.
  8. In 2012, total airtime topped the ranking.
  9. From 2015 to today, viewer satisfaction is the most important signal.
  10. YouTube uses surveys to measure viewer satisfaction.
  11. Clicks on the "Not interested" button are a sign of viewer satisfaction.
  12. Likes and dislikes are a sign of viewer satisfaction.
  13. Average watch time is an indicator of viewer satisfaction.
  14. The average percentage viewed is an indication of viewer satisfaction.
  15. YouTube homepage ranking is based on a combination of performance and personalization.
  16. Performance is measured by how users interact with a video in the context in which it is being viewed.
  17. Personalization is based on previous user activity.
  18. The videos displayed in the YouTube suggestion section are personalized and related to the current video.
  19. YouTube's Suggested Videos algorithm aims to understand which videos are commonly watched together.
  20. External factors can influence YouTube video recommendations, including interest in the topic, periodicity, and competition.

Industry Expert Perspectives

In preparing this article, I reached out to a number of industry experts to get their take on the YouTube algorithm and what currently works for them.


Greg Jarboe, President and Co-Founder of SEO-PR and Author of YouTube and Video Marketing, says:

“YouTube's search and discovery system has two goals: to help viewers find the videos they want to watch and to maximize long-term viewer retention and satisfaction. So, to optimize your videos for viewability, you need to write optimized titles, tags, and descriptions. This has been going on since July 2011, when the YouTube Creator Playbook was first released to the public.

However, in October 2012, YouTube changed its algorithm: "View Count" was replaced by "Watch Time". That's why you need to go beyond optimizing your video metadata. They must also use a variety of techniques to keep viewers watching. First, you need to create a compelling opening for your videos, and then use effective editing techniques to maintain and build interest in your video.

There are other ranking factors, of course, but these are the two most important. I used these video SEO best practices to help grow the Travel Magazine channel from just 1,510 to 8.7 million views. And these video SEO techniques are helping the SonoSite channel grow from 99,529 views to 22.7 million views.

The biggest recent trend is the appearance of YouTube Shorts, which can be discovered on the YouTube home page (in the new Shorts shelf) as well as in other parts of the app. For more details see "Can YouTube shorts be monetized? Spoiler alert: some already are!""

brie anderson, SEO and digital marketing consultant, says:

"In my experience, there are a few things that are really critical when it comes to optimizing for YouTube, most of which won't come as a huge surprise. The first is obviously the keyword you choose to target. It's really hard to really top rankings." big and high authority, like Google, however, using tools like TubeBuddy can help you get an idea of ​​which keywords you can compete for.

Another great thing is the focus on the SERP for YouTube search. Your thumbnail should stand out. Honestly, this is what we test the most and one of the most powerful tests we run. Most of the time you look at a big face and a maximum of 4 words. But the main concern is how much contrast is produced in the thumbnail and how well it explains the subject of the video.

Adding the "chapter" timestamps can also be very helpful. YouTube actually shows this in the SERP as mentioned inThis article.

Finally, providing your own .srt file with subtitles can really help YouTube understand what your video is about.

In addition to the actual optimization of the videos, I generally encourage people to blog and embed, or at least link to, their videos. It just helps with indexing and building some authority. It also increases the likelihood that the video will help YOUR SITE (as opposed to YouTube) in the rankings.”

Fuentes: Channel Creator Insider do YouTube (1,2,3,4),This is how YouTube works

(Video) Real Advice for Small YouTubers | Revealing the YouTube Algorithm + June YouTube Channel Reviews

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