9 methods to enhance natural attain and beat the YouTube algorithm
As the world's most viewed website, YouTube is a must-have for marketers and content creators looking to increase audience reach.
While it is possible to optimize YouTube Search Engine Optimization for top results without understanding the YouTube algorithm, search engine optimization alone will not display videos in the video list suggested by a potential viewer.
In an interview, YouTube's product boss underscored the reality of the impact of videos proposed for viewing, noting that 70% of a user's time spent on the platform was determined by the company's proposed video algorithm.
70%. That number is huge.
In order to really implement a successful YouTube marketing strategy, improve organic reach, and take advantage of this huge percentage, you need to be familiar with the unique YouTube algorithm. Here are nine ways to increase your organic reach on YouTube.
The evolution of the YouTube algorithm
What began as a venture-backed technology startup in 2006 is now our go-to for anything video-related.
While YouTube has seen significant changes itself over the past fifteen years, its algorithm has been by far its most dynamic feature.
Prior to 2012, YouTube recorded video success based on the number of views alone, regardless of the length of the ad. This unique YouTube algorithm resulted in a plethora of clickbait videos that relied on misrepresented headlines and thumbnails to get views, with most viewers jumping on the ship right away.
Later that year, YouTube began measuring success by viewing time. This metric rewarded longer viewed videos with increased search engine advertising.
Even today we can see the roots of the platform's childhood in the current YouTube algorithm, which relies heavily on display time as part of a video's ranking.
How does the YouTube algorithm work?
While YouTube's stated mission is to give everyone a voice and a window to explore the world, one of YouTube's subordinate goals is to keep viewers engaged for longer periods of time and to maximize the number of ad interactions.
Why is this secondary goal important? Because YouTube suggests videos that meet this goal of increasing advertising awareness.
YouTube uses an algorithm based on three main qualifiers: relevance, engagement, and quality.
To evaluate relevance, YouTube examines the combination of title, description, tags and content with an individual search query.
Engagement aggregates the number of responses from users, including observation time, engagement, and frequency.
The quality rating is determined by a channel's ability to demonstrate trustworthy authority.
In addition to these three qualifiers, the YouTube algorithm relies, among other things, on a user's historical views and a video-specific assigned score that takes into account both the novelty and the frequency of channel uploads.
This combination of statistics enables YouTube to recommend videos that directly appeal to a viewer's interests and to continue a narrative static chain of display materials.
These videos are displayed in six different places on the YouTube platform:
- Search results
- Recommended Streams (as shown in the screenshot on the right in the following screenshot)
- Channel subscriptions
- Trend currents
- YouTube home page
As with any search algorithm, YouTube's ranking system is constantly changing and evolving to better define and satisfy user interaction.
How do I improve my organic reach on YouTube?
With a concrete understanding of how the YouTube algorithm works, it's time to figure out how to use your newfound knowledge to increase your organic reach.
1. Keywords and metadata
In the explanation of the algorithm, YouTube explicitly made it clear that content-relevant keywords, descriptions, subtitles and tags are important for optimizing videos for search. Make sure to do your keyword research with a tool like Ubersuggest to make sure you mention terms that users are looking for.
By writing compelling, keyword-rich titles and descriptions, you increase your chances of grabbing viewers' attention and increasing the search visibility of your video.
Check out this post whenever you need to brush up on SEO basics.
2. Optimized description
The quote “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” applies to YouTube as much as it does to life.
Ensure audience engagement by creating an attention grabbing copy that not only attracts your potential audience but also harnesses the power of your keywords.
YouTube leans towards the elaborate and advocates long descriptions. So don't be afraid to go the extra wordy mile with them.
Although your potential viewer will only interact with the first few lines of the description unless they choose the "Show More" option, those few short lines are valuable real estate for drawing your audience in.
3. Video transcription
In addition to helping people with accessibility, subtitles allow users to watch videos in peace.
Upload your own subtitles to get the most out of the subtitles. By uploading these yourself, you ensure that when these subtitles are indexed for search, in many cases they are more accurate than automatically generated ones.
4. Overall video views
Since YouTube sorts videos by engagement, longer watch times mean more opportunities to earn the coveted Suggested Video Inclusion.
If you are having issues with viewer wear and tear it is a good idea to focus on the first few seconds of your videos and make sure that:
- Map the description to the first few seconds of video content
- Grab a viewer with an obvious hook.
Don't forget to study your audience engagement charts and see what these metrics tell you.
These quick fixes will help you further engage your audience, add watch time and give your video a higher score via the YouTube algorithm.
5. Conversational Inferences
Use different tactics to influence the next view of your audience instead of simply ending your video.
By directing viewers to another video on your channel, you increase interaction and the likelihood that they will interact with future content again. Both meet the engagement part of the YouTube algorithm.
Use watermarks, end screens, and maps to guide your audience. All can be clicked and linked to your next video to ensure your channel and content continues to show up.
When viewers subscribe to your channel, you automatically increase your organic reach. In order to grow your subscribers and consistently produce great content, video viewers really want to see something.
Consistently creating great content may be easier said than done, but it's critical to building your channel. Create a channel trailer, reach out to influencers, and participate in any comments on your videos.
If you're looking for additional strategies to increase your subscribers, check out our YouTube Marketing Guide.
7. Serial viewer
By creating videos that continue a conversation, viewers cannot resist the next in the series.
To keep viewers on your channel, you can create playlists of videos with similar content: these are collections that will attract and keep viewers.
8. Cross-promotional content
Social channels are free advertising for your YouTube channel. Promote your videos on all of your social accounts, on your website, and in your email marketing – anywhere you have an audience.
An example of a YouTube video recently posted on this blog.
You can also post a blog post with the video and a summary or transcription.
9. Actionable Analytics
These numbers don't just exist to make you feel good. They tell you what works well when and who sees what when.
Conversely, these numbers also tell you what isn't working, which is undeniably the more influential finding. By discovering what doesn't work, you can try new strategies and content and try to engage your audience and improve your reach through different approaches.
If you dig deep into YouTube analytics, you can uncover the reality of your videos and your target audience, and customize your creation process to meet the needs of the audience you want to reach.
With more than a billion hours of video watched daily on YouTube, indisputable content creators and marketers need to use the platform to curate and grow their audience.
Understanding how YouTube suggests videos can help content creators and marketers make their videos work harder and use their nuances to your advantage.
How did you change the way you upload videos to meet the YouTube algorithm?