A screenshot of popular videos optimized for the YouTube algorithm.

7 Hacks to Unlock the Power of the YouTube Algorithm

Did you know that YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google?

If you aren’t using it to promote your business – you really need to be. But you can’t just upload videos to your YouTube channel and expect instant success. You need to make sure that you’re optimizing specifically for YouTube.

Not sure what that means or how to start? Then you’ve come to the right place. Learn how the YouTube algorithm works — and how to get the most out of it.

Understanding How YouTube Search Works

Like all search engines, YouTube wants to provide users with relevant, high-quality content. Both the YouTube shorts algorithm and long video algorithm use the same ranking signals, and relevance is one of the main ones.

YouTube’s recommendation system also takes into account positive user experience metrics and engagement. This means likes, dislikes, comments, and video watch time are all ranking signals. New videos are also given priority by the YouTube algorithm – which means you want to keep rolling out content regularly!

What’s on the Youtube Homepage?

When YouTube users first land on the site, they’re given a customized feed of videos to select from. This feed includes subscriptions as well as recommended videos based on both their watch history and search history. Ending up in an individual user’s suggested videos is a great way to build your audience — but how do you get there?

Critical YouTube SEO Tricks

If you want to see your view counts soar, you need to use YouTube’s search algorithm to your advantage. No matter what type of content you’re making – be it short-form, long-form, or a podcast – following these tips can help you pop up in user search results and get your video promoted through YouTube’s recommendations – which all lead to more video views.

1. Do Keyword Research

Like Google, YouTube wants to make sure that users are getting served relevant content. This means that you want to match what they’re typing in their search bar as closely as possible.

You need to start by researching which keywords are most likely to be used in your target audience’s search query. Then, you want to make sure those keywords are present in your video title, video description, and metadata.

2. Add Subtitles

Adding subtitles to your video may not seem important – but it definitely is, especially if you’re making long-form videos. Retention rates for video content with subtitles are much higher than those without; in fact, people are 80% more likely to watch a video until the end if it has captions.

Not only is it important for retention (which is a ranking signal) but it also helps up the presence of keywords in your metadata.

3. Create Custom Thumbnails

The best YouTube creators make custom thumbnails for their videos.  Scroll through the most popular videos and you’ll see it for yourself. Rather than using a still from the video, you need to design a custom thumbnail – the more clickbait it is in design, the better.

4. Keep an Eye on Your YouTube Analytics

You want to watch your metrics and regularly review what type of content resonates most with your target audience. Keep track of video performance and viewer satisfaction and use it to guide your content strategy and bump up engagement.

If tutorials perform better on your channel than product demos, lean into it. The more you pay attention to user behavior, the more you know about your audience, the more they watch, and the higher you rank.

5. Make Your YouTube Videos Easy to Binge

You want people to keep watching even after the video they landed on is over – so you need to make it easy for them to do so. One way is to provide clickable links to other videos on your end screen.

You should also be grouping similar content together in playlists. These simple steps keep your target audience’s eyes on your content – showing YouTube that they should promote it more.

6. Utilize YouTube as a Social Media Platform

YouTube isn’t just a search engine; it’s also a social media platform like LinkedIn and TikTok. So be social!

Responding to comments boosts engagement — plus, it creates positive feelings toward your brand and builds loyalty.

7. Collaborate With Other Content Creators

You should also get friendly with other YouTube creators. Collaborating with others helps widen your target audience and increase your likelihood of appearing as a suggested video when people watch content from the creators you collaborate with.

Get Your Content to Your Target Audience

Take those seven tips to heart, and you’ll master the YouTube algorithm. With just a little effort, your click-through rate and video views will skyrocket.

Not sure you’re up to the task? You can still get your videos in front of your target audience – with some help. We here at iSynergy can give you an assist in optimizing for Google, YouTube, Amazon, and more. If you can search on it, we can help you rank on it. Reach out today, and we’ll take your content strategy to the next level.