Jul 1, 2022 3:57:20 PM
Today, everyone from the youngest entrepreneur to the oldest brand is looking to make money or a serious appearance on the YouTube video platform, and for good reason. YouTube viewership is growing year after year. The platform saw a 4.9 percent growth in 2021, which will likely be higher in 2022.
With that many people watching, you would think it would be easy to get noticed on YouTube, but it’s tricky. First, you must master the algorithm.
What Is the YouTube Algorithm?
YouTube is a member of the Google family, so the algorithm is complicated. An algorithm is a set of computer instructions that work to solve a problem. For YouTube, that problem is to help viewers find the videos that best match their search phrase.
Viewers who enter the search phrase “cat videos” expect the search results to be on point. They get frustrated and look elsewhere if they see videos about Catwoman in Batman. The current goal of the YouTube algorithm is to find not only a list of videos that match the search phrase but ones that match the user's search and performance history. If they search the same term each visit but don’t click on certain channels, those videos start to drop down the list, moving the more active channels for this user up the page. The algorithm learns in a way designed to provide the most productive search results.
The question is, how do you utilize that algorithm as a YouTube channel owner to improve your chances of success? If you want to grow your subscriber base for your YouTube channel, then people need to be able to find your videos. That means you need to learn to master the algorithm that makes that possible.
How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work Exactly?
That is the billion-dollar question and one that is difficult to answer. Google likes to keep its algorithm process close to the vest.
Google defines the YouTube algorithm as a feedback loop that works in real-time. It uses AI to help the platform personalize the search. It considers three specific factors:
- The user’s search history
- Users interest in the video and how long they watch it
- External influences such as competition and relevance to the search phrase
YouTube's algorithm has changed with the site over time. Initially, YouTube focused on how many people clicked on the video to watch it, but the algorithm is now finely calibrated to analyze viewer behavior.
Let’s not forget the money side of this for Google. It may or may not be the driving force behind their algorithm but is undoubtedly a factor. Google and the channel owner make more the longer the viewer watches. So, it stands to reason that the average length of play is a primary consideration in the search results. They want videos that engage the viewer longer to be the top-ranked. That’s information you can put to work for your channel.
How to Beat the YouTube Algorithm
If you want to beat the algorithm, you must make it worth it for Google to recognize your channel and consider it critical. That means you must not just get viewers to play the videos or subscribers to sign up to your channels. You need to keep them engaged long enough for ads to pay off. That is good for both you and Google.
There are several ways to go about improving YouTube video performance.
Efficiency is everything in the internet world. For most, that will mean practicing good YouTube SEO. Keyword research is the driving force behind effective SEO. You need to get a sense of what search phrases your viewers will use.
In general, people searching for anything want something specific. For channel owners, that means they need long-tail keywords:
- Lawnmower reviews for 2022 instead of “lawnmower.”
- The best duck recipes for home cooks instead of “recipes.”
- Makeup tips for older women instead of “makeup tips.”
The more detailed your long-tail keywords, the less competitive the search. If you struggle to find the right long-tail keywords, see what the competition is doing. Do your own searches and see what channels pop up and if they are relevant to what you offer. That will help you pinpoint the right keywords to use.
Get Into Shorts
Shorts are a new product offered by YouTube. Essentially, they are shorter videos that draw interest to the video. It can be confusing since Google wants viewers to watch longer. The purpose of the short is to get viewers interested in your brand. Once you hook them, they will watch the longer videos.
Shorts must be very engaging. They need to capture the viewer's interest – enough that they want more. YouTube expects shorts to be 60 seconds or less in a vertical format. That means you have just a few seconds to capture the viewer's attention. Make the shorts educational or entertaining. Shorts work well with influencers in particular. If you only have a few seconds, put your best talent in the forefront to grab their attention.
One of the primary ways to beat the YouTube algorithm involves understanding your metrics – that data that tells you how well your videos do with viewers.
Monitor the Watch Times
Watch time is a ranking factor, so you must know what it means. Watch time is an overall correlation of how long users watch your videos. For example, if one user watches three minutes and the next five, the watch time is eight minutes.
Watch time tells you which videos are the most popular on your channel. The longer the watch time, the higher that specific video will rank. Watch time allows you to determine what is about that video that is drawing attention. Is it the format that appeals to the viewer? Also, it is a chance to assess the videos with low watch times to see what is going wrong. Ideally, you want all your videos to have impressive watch times to push your channel up the latter.
Look at Audience Retention
Google breaks down audience retention into two categories: absolute and relative. Absolute retention is the average percentage of views. Direct retention refers to the average length of the views. Watch time is a cumulation, but retention is average. So, if five viewers watch for four minutes and two for five, the direct retention is five minutes (5x4=20, 2x5=10, 10+20=30, 30/6=5).
YouTube Click-Through-Rates (CTR) refers to how many viewers click on the video after seeing the thumbnail. The higher the CTR for each video, the higher it will rank on a search. The more high search rankings you get, the better your YouTube channel will do.
Focus on Session Duration
Session duration means how long a viewer stays on the platform after clicking the video from the search. Ultimately, the goal is to keep viewers watching. You are not meeting that goal if they click a video and then close YouTube a few minutes later. They are likely looking at the video description and not liking what they see.
Channel owners can improve their session durations by providing an engaging video description and a descriptive title. Make sure the thumbnail is engaging, as well.
YouTube also keeps metrics on its channel partners, such as upload frequency. Like blogs, how often you post matters regarding search rankings. If you create a channel and abandon it, your rankings will drop.
There is a fine line here, though. YouTube expects you to upload videos but not too many. They may look at too many uploads as suspicious behavior. Your best plan of attack is to create a schedule and stick to it. For instance, many channels post once a week or three times a week. The point is to be consistent.
Getting and maintaining a successful YouTube channel is not easy. There is lots of competition out there. Brands need to go above and beyond to get to the top of those search engine rankings. One way may be to hire an influencer. YouTube influencers can be game changers. They already have a following and use it to help your brand succeed.
Let Beatly help you find the right influencer for your brand and move your videos up. Check out Beatly services to learn more about what influencers can do for your business.