YouTube algorithm explained for small creators // How the YouTube algorithm works //
How the YouTube algorithm works – Video Transcript
The YouTube algorithm, how does it work and how can you make it work for you as a small creator? Hi, I’m Sara Nguyen, and in this live stream I’m talking about the good old YouTube algorithm, and I’m specifically talking about how you as a small creator can make it work for you, because there are a lot of misconceptions about the YouTube algorithm.
And if you’re looking to create content for YouTube, if you’re looking to grow a business and leverage video on YouTube, I’m going to talk about ways that you can work with the algorithm. I don’t like YouTube– I don’t like it when people talk about algorithm hacking, because I think that’s not really the way you should be thinking about it.
I’m going to talk about ways that you can work with it to make it work best for your channel. The links to everything will be in the description, including timestamps as well as any resources that I mentioned in this video.
So really excited, thanks for being here today. Okay, so let’s get right into it. Let’s talk about the good old YouTube algorithm. Now, I think that there is this major misconception that the YouTube algorithm doesn’t care about small creators, that it only prioritises the large creators like Casey Neistat, Phil DeFranco, those huge creators with millions and millions of subscribers.
But in order to kind of get our head around the YouTube algorithm, we need to understand what the goal of YouTube and the algorithm is. There are two main goals. The first main goal of the algorithm is to help viewers find the videos that they need to watch.
And I think there needs to be a shift in perspective, whereas a lot of people think that the role of YouTube is to push your video out to viewers. But it’s not quite right.
It’s actually looking for, it’s trying to match viewers with videos, not necessarily push your one out unless your one is the right one for them. Goal number one is that YouTube wants to help its viewers find videos they want to watch.
That’s goal number one. And goal number two is YouTube and the algorithm wants to keep its viewers, its viewers, people like you or me on YouTube watching more video. The more time that people spend on YouTube, the better it is for YouTube, because the more ads that they can serve you, the more money they make and the more data that they can collect off you so that they can serve you more ads and serve you more videos.
The game for them is to show viewers videos and to keep them on the platform for longer. Get your head around that concept that YouTube is not out to get us. It’s out to create the best experience for viewers on the platform.
And we can definitely work with, you know, making that work for us as small creators. How do we do that? In my view and in the way that I work with and interpret and understand YouTube, there are kind of four main, let’s call it areas of the YouTube algorithm that we’re going to look at.
And these are,youTube search, YouTube suggested videos, the YouTube home screen, and YouTube trending. Now, we’re going to talk about all of these, but in particular, I think people get really caught up with, you know, they get caught up with trying to appear on the YouTube home screen and YouTube trending.
And actually, it’s YouTube search and it’s YouTube suggested videos that are what you actually had the most control over and that you can actually do things, actively do things to help your performance in the actual YouTube search. We’re going to talk about all of these and we’re going to talk about some things you can do to help your channel in the YouTube algorithm.
Let’s get started and let’s start chatting about the first one, which is good old YouTube search. How does YouTube search work? Now, when I talk about YouTube search, I am specifically talking about when users go into the YouTube search bar and then they type in whatever they’re looking for in the search bar, and then YouTube returns all of the different videos.
That’s what I’m talking about when I refer to YouTube search when users actually typing in the YouTube search bar itself and the videos that come up after that. In terms of YouTube search, I think there’s lots of missed opportunities with YouTube search.
How does YouTube search work? YouTube will actually show videos based off the videos in YouTube, based off their titles, so what you see here, let’s get that back up.
It will show up based off their titles, it will show up based off information in the description and the information in its video itself. So really, if you want to have your video surface in YouTube, particularly YouTube search, which is a major component of the algorithm, what you want to be doing is you want to be really focusing on creating videos and optimising videos that actually have keyword traffic.
The problem that I see a lot of creators make is that they don’t do the keyword research. And I’m a big keyword research girl. I fully believe that this is the way, particularly for small creators, to start seeing traction and to start seeing progress in YouTube.
During your keyword research, finding topics where there’s actually search volume and creating videos about them and then making sure that you utilise best practise. For those keywords, for example, what you see here is Streamyard tutorials, so you see Streamyard tutorial in the search here.
And as you can see in the videos that I’ve added here, I’ve got Streamyard tutorial in my title, I’ve got it in my description here, I’ve got it in my tags, which you can’t see, and I mentioned it in the actual video.
So taking a keyword where there’s actually some traffic, making sure that you use the keyword in your video, so you say it in your actual video, add it to your title, add it to the description, add it to the tags.
And that way YouTube knows that, hey, this video that Sara’s released mentions and is about StreamYard tutorial. The problem that creators have is that they try to gain this part.
They try to get keywords that has nothing to do with their actual video in an attempt to rank for it. Right? And this is not what you want to do because it’s not going to help you, because it’s going to send negative signals to the algorithm that this is just a spammy clickbaity channel.
You want to find keywords that have traffic and that are relevant, add them to your video and optimise them the best as possible. That’s how you play with YouTube search, right? It’s all about keywords.
It’s all about finding the right ones and then optimising the actual video for that. The second thing that you can do to help you surface in YouTube search, and it’s all about that thumbnail action. As you can see here, we’ve got, there’s Desiree there, there’s YouTube thumbnail and there’s Desiree and there are some other thumbnails.
The problem that I see people have with their YouTube thumbnails is one, that the text is really small. Right now, whether you’re viewing me on a mobile or on a desktop, you can see that there’s not a lot of text on my thumbnails.
There’s just enough to give people context of what the video is about. And where I can I try to make the thumbnails a little bit brighter and a little bit lighter. I think that’s the other problem that people have, they go too dark in YouTube.
I try to make it simple with text that’s bold. This is not a place to add text that’s cursive and curly text. One, it’s hard to read. And two, you don’t want to lose that opportunity.
If people can’t see at a glance what it’s about, then you’ve lost them, right? They’re not going to click and they’re not going to watch your video. So for your thumbnails, you want big text, you want ideally something that will help you stand out against the other videos.
And for me, I like to use lighter coloured thumbnails and backgrounds to make this happen and a little bit of contrast. I keep it really simple. As you can see, there’s not a lot going on here.
There’s an image of myself, big image of my face, big image of bold block text and a couple of images to give people context of what the video is about. And that’s really what you need. And that’s what you need to do to get it working for you in YouTube search.
Take note of all of those things. I kind of thrown a couple of things at you there. But these are the things that I also found once I honed in on, really made a difference in surfacing my video and surfacing my content in YouTube search and therefore, growing the channel.
That is YouTube search and everything that we need to talk about in that one. Let’s move on to the next section. And what are we talking about here? Okay, so just before we move on, just a quick snapshot.
YouTube search, you want to be optimising the description section. The description section here is one part that people miss out on, right? You need to make sure that you’re putting your keyword in the description section, definitely in the title, incorporating it into your video so you’re mentioning it into your actual video and into your tags at the very least, and then also upping your thumbnail game so that it all kind of comes together.
Now, let’s talk about the next section for real this time. The next part that we’re going to talk about is YouTube suggested video. Let’s go back over to my computer now to talk about YouTube suggested videos.
Okay, so when we talk about YouTube suggested videos, these are the videos that, oh, where am I? Okay, so with YouTube suggested videos, these are the videos– we’ll just bring this up here, that appear on the right-hand side of YouTube on a video.
And on a mobile that will appear underneath the actual video. These are the other ones that we can kind of work towards trying to make sure that we optimise our content the best that we can so that our videos get shown there as well, right?
And we want to get shown in suggested videos, whether that’s on the right-hand side on desktop, whether that is underneath a mobile. It also includes videos that auto-play after the video has finished.
And it also includes videos, yeah, that auto-play. Those are the three areas and they are an opportunity to get more traffic. How does YouTube know which videos of yours to show a viewer after they watched a video?
There are a couple things that you can do to kind of make the most of this. And in order to, I guess, give your videos the best chance of showing in suggested search, there are things that you can do, such as you can create a playlist.
If we go back over to my channel now, you can see I create playlist for my channel and I’ve group them as relevant, right? So don’t create playlist just for the sake of creating playlist.
You need to create playlist and add your videos in there as they make sense. Categorise your videos and if it makes sense, put them into that actual playlist. And this will help YouTube to understand, you can see on the home page there’s a better example there, this will help YouTube understand that, okay, these videos that she’s got in a playlist, these are all related to YouTube training, right.
Or these YouTube videos here in this playlist, they’re all related to live streaming or these ones are all related to tech reviews. It’s helping YouTube understand that after it’s shown one of your videos, it can pick another one from the playlist because that will make sense.
The other way that you can help surface suggested videos is to add them to your card. On your video itself, you can add little cards on the top right-hand corner, the cards feature, linking it to other videos.
And you can also link your videos in the description as well. Once again, we want to tell YouTube and give them the most data to say, hey, after watching this video, go and watch this one.
And this also comes back to your YouTube content strategy as well, right? It’s also about you creating content that is progressive. A lot of people talk about creating YouTube content that’s a bit Netflix style, that’s bingeable, that’s bite size, because that’s kind of the behaviour that viewers enjoy at the moment.
I think you create content that makes sense to you. And for me, I find it useful to not give people 10 things in one go and to break it up instead into 10 little videos.
Think of it that way in terms of helping you surface in YouTube suggested videos. And then it’s just the little things, the little technical things that you can do, adding it to a playlist on your channel, adding it to a card, adding to a description and actually showing people where it actually is. So that’s part two.
That is YouTube suggested videos. Now, let’s talk about the good old YouTube homepage. Now, the thing with the YouTube homepage, this is the home tab.
And when people go to youtube.com, it’s all of the personalised videos based on what they’ve watched. My homepage video recommendations will be different to your homepage video recommendation based off the type of content that you watch and your viewing history and all these other data points that YouTube knows about you.
Now with the YouTube homepage, people are like, oh, really want to get on the home page. How do I get my video on the home page? This is one that is in that category of you really can’t control it because it’s not based necessarily off stuff that you do.
It’s more based off what YouTube’s guessing that viewers want to watch. You can do things like best practise overall with your YouTube channel, like uploading consistently, keeping up engagement, you know, making videos and categories that make sense to you.
And YouTube may or may not surface it on someone’s home page. You really don’t have any control over this. I think let go of the desire to want to be on the home page.
Instead, focus on getting your YouTube’s best practise, optimise for YouTube search and YouTube suggested videos. And if you’re lucky, you’ll start showing more on people’s home pages. But it’s not really one that you have too much control over.
Now, the last one that we will be talking about today is the trending tab. Now, this one, this tab shows videos that are new, that they’re popular and these are really novelty videos, right?
And they also feature a lot of creators on the rise and artists on the rise for musicians. And there is absolutely nothing that you can do to get your video showed here. YouTube would do it based off what they think, and there’s really nothing that you can do or nothing that I can say that will allow you to take action to do anything to show on the trending tab.
I wouldn’t focus too much on this because it’s out of our control and it doesn’t really matter anyway. You’ve got other stuff that you can kind of focus on which, you know, plenty, plenty of stuff to focus on that I’ve talked about today.
With that said, we’ve talked about the YouTube algorithm. We’ve talked about YouTube’s goals with the algorithm, that their goal is to match the best videos for their viewers, not push your video out. It’s the other way around.
They’re trying to help their viewers have the best experience. And they’re also trying to help the viewers stay on YouTube longer so that they can serve more ads, make more money, and so that they can also collect more data on them and continue to improve the experience there.
And then we talked about the four kind of key components, let’s say, of the YouTube algorithm. YouTube search, which is the big one that I highly encourage you to go back and watch all of the advice that I had there on how you can surface in YouTube search and the best practise things that you can do there.
YouTube suggested videos, which is the second one you can control, which will help you get more traffic and views on your video. And then we also talked about the YouTube home screen.
And then we talked about YouTube trending tab, which we don’t have so much control over those two but it’s good for you to know and be aware that that’s kind of where it’s all that. That basically wraps up the tutorial, the live stream today where I did a crash course on understanding the YouTube algorithm.
And my objective in this video, and my objective today really was to show you that it’s not this big, scary, illusive thing that is kind of working against us. There are ways, if you understand it, that you can continue to work towards so that your videos and your channel continues to perform on the platform.
With that said, if you found this video useful, give me a thumbs up and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already where I do lots more YouTube training and tutorials and live streaming tutorials as well. And if you haven’t already got it make sure that you grab a copy of my YouTube Creator Blueprint.
And it really is my framework to walk you through how to go from stuck and overwhelmed on YouTube to being a thriving and profitable creator on the platform. That wraps us up today.
Thank you, everyone, for joining me. And I will see you in the next live stream. Bye for now.