How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?

How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?

In this week’s post we’re going to be looking at how the YouTube algorithm works to sort the results you see when using their search engine.

Obviously there won’t be any specifics or hard computer science in this post as the actual algorithm is a very closely guarded secret.

YouTube LogoHowever, we can share the philosophy behind why YouTube wants to rank certain videos higher and how you can make the most of this in your YouTube promotion efforts.

The first thing you need to understand is that when a person enters a search term YouTube wants to return results which are both relevant to the search query and high quality, well, at least not rubbish or spam.



So how does YouTube know whether a video is relevant to a query?

In the initial stages of a video’s life there isn’t much for YouTube to go on to know what a video is about, except for the information that you give it.

This is where metadata comes in. Metadata in YouTube is the Title, description, thumbnail and tags which you give to your video.


While these should be crafted to entice people into your video they should also be relevant to what people are searching for and to what your video is about. To find more information about how to craft a good title you can check out this post.

Another way of giving YouTube more information about your video is to include subtitles as these are giving YouTube very specific information about what the video contains, you can check out how to do that here.

Like I said, this information is only useful in the beginning, once your video has more views then YouTube will be able to rank your videos with information from watch time and other behavioural signals.


YouTube really has one priority, to get people to watch more videos so that they can show more ads.

In the long run people won’t continue to use YouTube if all they see are rubbish videos, even if those videos are related to what they searched for.

So YouTube needs a way to promote the high quality videos that mean people watch more videos.

What characteristics of a video show it as high quality?

The answer that’s worked well so far is popularity. Maybe in the future this will change, but for now YouTube figures that popular videos must have something about them that people want to watch.

The obvious answer is to promote videos with more views.

The problem with this is that it leads people to care more about getting clicks than giving people good quality videos.

People would create the perfect title and perfect thumbnail to make people click, and then have a completely irrelevant video that no one wants to watch.

While this works for the short term goal of getting people to watch more videos, it isn’t very good for the long term when people no longer want to use YouTube.

Shift to Watch Time

This is where YouTube’s current popularity/quality measure comes in; watch time. If lots of people are watching most of a video then that video is likely a very good one. You can find out more about this topic in our recent post.


You might think that with this philosophy of relevance and popularity that factors such as thumbs up or down, or the number of embeds a video has would have an effect on the video’s rankings.

The problem with these factors is that it is too easy to game them. There are a lot of useful factors that could be used to rank videos. However, YouTube has a problem, if it chooses a factor that people can easily manipulate then people will manipulate that factor.

Future Proofing

Watch time is likely not the best factor that determines the quality of a video and YouTube might change this in the future.

But one thing that is very unlikely to change is their desire to improve the rankings for high quality videos that give people what they want.

That’s why to future proof your videos the only things you should be focussing on are creating a good video, that gives people what they want and optimising it so that people will watch it in the first place.



  1. sbobet alternatif 4 months ago

    Greetings! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d
    figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging
    links or maybe guest authoring a blog article or vice-versa?
    My website goes over a lot of the same subjects as yours and I think we could
    greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!

  2. Kisisel blog Hayat 4 months ago

    Hello would you mnd letfting me know which web host you’re working with?

    I’ve loaded our blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I
    must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting
    provider at a reasonable price? Thanks, I apprefiate it!

  3. Obdulia Papas 4 months ago

    Hey Richie cool video. I was wondering could you do a giveaway on YouTube for those of us
    who dont have instagram and Twitter?

  4. Hello, just wanted to say, I liked this post.
    It was helpful. Keep on posting!

  5. Jodi 4 months ago

    If the US and Britain went to war in 1910 with no allies on either side, who
    would win and why? Britain was the most powerful country in the world in 1910.
    America was only just starting to become a manufacturing country well behind the manufacturing powerhouse Britain was at the time.

    When the USA went to Europe to fight in WW1 they were well outclassed by the Europeans and were basically fighting
    as they… show more England. They had a larger population and more powerful navy

  6. 4 months ago

    What is the existing miracle inside people?

  7. commet 4 months ago

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

  8. Like!! I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for your information. The article has truly peaked my interest.

  9. Thank you ever so for you article post.

  10. A big thank you for your article.

  11. I am regular visitor, how are you everybody? This article posted at this web site is in fact pleasant.

  12. Was America founded by rich people for rich people? In theory,
    no. But, as is the case with many nations, America runs on a social hierarchy (those
    with a higher socio-economic status have more opportunities for success).
    That can, of course, be said for other countries, though.
    The key word in your question is “founded”. Did the founding fathers specifically spark a revolution in order
    to plant an economic hierarchy? That’s a hard “no”.
    For one thing, there was already a divide between the upper and lower classes
    before the Revolution. Another thing to consider is that the
    American Revolution didn’t have much to do with economics so much as it had to
    do with Locke’s and Rousseau’s philosophies growing in popularity among American scholars,
    who believed in the consent of the governed. I’m not trying to say
    that America doesn’t favor one class over another, but I don’t think reinforcing a divide between the rich and
    poor had anything to do with America’s founding specifically.

  13. i need a good notebook for wow? for alien ware or dell. If you wanna save some money look for a pc or a notebook with a ram of at least 1-2 GB. If you wanna get better than

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.