YouTube answers 5 common questions about how its referral algorithms work

YouTube has sought to provide a little more insight into how its algorithms decide which videos to highlight to each user, answering some common questions about its search and discovery systems, which could provide more guidance for accessing your platform.

In a new video on the Creator Insider channel, YouTube’s Rachel Alves addresses five questions asked by YouTube creators regarding the use of tags, recommendations, algorithm updates, and more.

How valuable these insights are will depend on the specifics of your channel, but in summary:

Need to share your videos outside of YouTube, as YouTube may not be able to attribute all of the engagement metrics off-platform?

Alves says creators should ‘absolutely’ share their videos outside of YouTube because it can only increase your chances of discovering based on viewer activity, regardless of direct attribution.

“If your videos generate more traffic from external sources, such as social media, they are likely to increase your potential for more viewers to discover them. Another advantage is that these viewers now have that video in their viewing history, so they are more likely to be recommended some of your other videos in the future. ”

Why do people get recommendations for videos posted 10-12 years ago?

Alves says YouTube’s system is designed to connect viewers with videos they’re likely to enjoy, no matter when that video was released. This means that even older videos, which still have a relatively high engagement, will still be recommended according to the interests of the viewers.

YouTube needs a new way to highlight new creators

Alves says many viewers are looking for it, and notes that YouTube recently introduced its ‘New to You’ tab to highlight multiple channels outside of each viewer’s regular viewing experience.

When applying video tags, do you need to focus on specific tags or broader matching topics to get the most out of it?

YouTube video tags provide another way for creators to match their content to specific queries, although YouTube specifically notes that tags are not the main algorithm consideration.

Tags are descriptive keywords that you can add to your video to help viewers find your content. The title, thumbnail, and description of your video are important pieces of metadata for discovering your video. This key information helps viewers decide which videos to watch. ”

Alves repeats this, advising creators to focus on the elements that viewers make decisions about when choosing what to watch – the title, thumbnail and description. Alves says creators would be better off focusing on what works for other, similar videos related to their theme, rather than tag optimization.

Has YouTube recently changed its algorithm?

Alves says YouTube is always changing its algorithms, but notes that they get a lot more inquiries about possible algorithm changes at this time of year.

Alves says this is probably due to major changes in viewer behavior, caused by returning to school across the United States. Since students return to school, this often means that the channels see a change in their indicators, with fewer views on weekdays, but more activity on weekends.

YouTube viewing changes

It may therefore seem as if something has changed with the algorithm, when in fact the change in relation to the viewer’s behavior is caused by changes in lifestyle from the outside.

There’s no insight in this new review that changes the game as such, but it provides a bit more context about how YouTube systems work and how content is displayed to every user in the app.

This could help you better understand some elements and incorporate them into your planning.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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