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How the YouTube Algorithm Works

The YouTube algorithm is known for recommending videos to users based on their watch history, but how exactly does it work? Whether you’re there just to watch or starting to create videos of your own, understanding how the algorithm works can improve your YouTube experience. It is one of the most popular websites, after all. In this article, we’ll cover the ins and outs of YouTube’s recommended video algorithm. First, we’ll explain how the app suggests videos based on your watch history, then we’ll explore how the algorithm itself functions. Finally, this article will explain how to reset your YouTube recommendations for when you’re no longer satisfied with your suggested videos. 

youtube recommended videos

Show Recommended Videos

YouTube recommends videos for every user. These videos are found in one of three places. The most popular place to find recommended videos is on the YouTube homepage. Here you’ll find tons of videos based on your watch history, searches, and who you’re subscribed to. 

Other suggested videos can be found while you’re watching a video. These are usually displayed alongside a video or suggested after a video ends. These usually have more to do with the video you’re currently watching than your overall watch history. 

Lastly, YouTube recommends videos within the results of a search. These videos are recommended based on how relevant they are to your search query. Their relevance is often determined by keyword tags that describe the video. Each video is ranked, with the most relevant videos showing up first. All of these videos are recommended according to YouTube’s algorithm which seeks to recommend the most relevant videos to users based on their watch history. 

How YouTube Works

Recommended videos are different for every user. The YouTube algorithm tries to decide what videos would be best for each user, rather than just suggesting trending videos. Because of this, the algorithm tailors specific videos based on two main factors: a video’s popularity and a user’s watch history. YouTube even published some of the science behind this algorithm

The algorithm decides how popular a video is based on its overall engagement. It considers how many views, likes, comments, and shares a video has to decide how popular it is. The more popular a video is, the more likely it is to be enjoyed by other users. Usually, new videos will be recommended to a few users. If these videos are successful with those users, YouTube will keep recommending them to more users. In other words, the more popular a video is, the more people YouTube will suggest it to. But popularity isn’t the only factor that affects recommended videos. The algorithm very strongly considers a user’s personalized experiences when suggesting content. 

In addition to popularity, the algorithm also considers a user’s watch history when suggesting videos. Watch history is the most important factor considered when YouTube recommends videos. The app wants to promote the most relevant content to its users, so it has a lot of incentive for prioritizing a user’s interests. The algorithm considers everything a user has watched, searched for, and engaged with when suggesting videos. It even considers how much time you spent actually watching the video. All of these factors affect the videos recommended to you in your homepage, search results, and suggested videos. 

youtube algorithm

How to Use The Algorithm to Your Advantage

If you’re a creator on YouTube, understanding how the algorithm works can increase your chances of having a video recommended to users by the app. This can be a great way to increase your viewership and raise awareness for your content. There are several ways to improve your chances of having a recommended video once you know how the algorithm operates. Since you can’t affect a user’s watch history, most of these tips focus on increasing the popularity of your video. The more popular your video, the more likely it is that the algorithm will recommend it to others, thus ultimately increasing your viewership more. 

Drive Engagement

As you’ve just read, the algorithm promotes videos with a lot of engagement. This doesn’t just mean videos that are getting a lot of views. Likes, comments, and shares all factor into a video’s popularity according to the YouTube algorithm. Increasing engagement on your videos can improve your chances of being recommended by the algorithm. Asking friends and viewers to engage with your content can increase your overall popularity. YouTube is more likely to recommend your videos based on the number of subscribers you have as well

Use Analytics

If you’re a creator, you can use YouTube analytics to see how viewers are interacting with your videos. There you can see things like watch times. Knowing how long most of your viewers are watching can give you valuable insight into your viewer’s preferences. Then, you can change your content accordingly, like posting shorter content if that’s what your viewers prefer. It will also help to post frequently. While the algorithm considers the success of your videos, it also considers how often and consistently you post. The more consistent and frequent your videos are, the more likely they are to be noticed by the algorithm. 

Increase Views

Keeping viewers interested and engaging with your content increases the likelihood of your content being within someone’s suggested videos. This is because YouTube wants to promote videos that are receiving a lot of attention, since already popular videos are most likely to be watched by other users. Anything that increases views will increase your likelihood of being recognized by the algorithm. This means that small edits to your content can improve your viewership and ultimately lead to more views. Some commonly suggested changes include adding a logo to videos, creating detailed descriptions, and posting short but engaging content. All of these affect your initial viewership which can in turn affect the algorithm. 

recommended videos

Reset Your YouTube Recommendations 

If you aren’t happy with your recommended videos, there are a few ways to reset your YouTube recommendations. Most of these options can be found under a tab labeled “Your Data in YouTube.” After clicking on this tab, you can reset your recommendations by deleting your watch history and search history. You can select how much of your watch history you want to delete. If you want to completely reset your recommendations, you’ll click on “Delete All Time.” This will erase all of the information YouTube has about your watch history as well as your search history. All of your recommended videos on the homepage should now reset to the more generic, trending videos. All of your personalized content will be gone. 

If you want to only delete some of your watch history, you can select a custom range that will remove specific periods of activity from your data. For example, if you watched a few videos that you don’t want YouTube to consider in its algorithm, you can select “Delete Today.” This will only remove that day’s watch history, so any past activity will still be considered. For users who never want to receive personalized recommended videos, you can choose to turn off watch history altogether. That way, YouTube will never be able to use your watch history to suggest videos. 

You can even customize these options further by choosing what actions are considered a part of your history. Under the YouTube History tab, you can select if you want your watch history, search history, or both to be collected into your overall data. All of these tools give you more control over how your history affects your recommended videos. These can come in handy if you don’t want YouTube recommending certain kinds of content

how youtube algorithm works

Recommended Videos and YouTube’s Algorithm

The YouTube algorithm’s main purpose is recommending videos that it believes a user will like. It decides what to recommend based on a video’s popularity and a user’s specific watch history. There are a lot of ways YouTube recommends videos. Most recommended videos will show up on the homepage based on a user’s search history and watch history. Others may show up alongside a video based on its similarities. Even the videos displayed in a search result are ranked by their relevance according to the algorithm.This is similar to the ranking applied by other search engines in a SERP. Overall, the algorithm does its best to try to provide engaging, personalized recommendations based on a user’s activity. 

Understanding how YouTube’s algorithm works can help anyone struggling with promoting their video content. Knowing that the app promotes videos it believes are popular is the biggest thing to consider when trying to make the algorithm benefit you. Increasing engagement through likes, sharing, and commenting can attract the attention of the algorithm. YouTube is then more likely to recommend your video to others since it sees how popular it is. Optimizing your content directly is another great way to increase viewership and get noticed by the algorithm. YouTube is more likely to recommend short, concise, and interesting videos. New videos are often recommended to a small group of users by the algorithm. Depending on how they interact with them, these videos might be recommended to more users. Knowing how to edit your content for the algorithm can be a powerful and easy way to increase your audience.

FAQ:

  • How does YouTube recommend videos?
  • Where do recommended YouTube videos appear?
  • How can you use the algorithm to your advantage?
  • How do you reset your YouTube recommendations?
  • Do likes matter on YouTube?

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