6 YouTube Algorithms You Must Know For High Rankings

6 YouTube Algorithms You Must Know For Higher Rankings

Recently YouTube published a blog article giving details about how their algorithm works. And it’s not just one algorithm. There are 6 different algorithms. Each one giving you a unique opportunity to get discovered.

Hey guys and gals, in this article we’re going to go over the 6 different algorithms and how to take advantage of them to grow your YouTube channel. Let’s jump right into it.


Search is the most famous algorithm of them all and finally we get an official statement about how it works. YouTube writes: “Like Google’s search engine, search on YouTube strives to surface the most relevant results according to keyword queries.” So far so good.

The search results of course match what the person was searching for. Then they write: “Videos are ranked based on a variety of factors including how well the title, description, and video content match the viewer’s query.”

Great, title and description. That’s the metadata we add when uploading our videos. But what do they mean by “video content”? Well, that has to be the closed captions.

Luckily, an artificial intelligence is creating them for you. So all you need to do is to say relevant things in your video and that will be considered by the search algorithm.

Btw, a big question is if the auto-generated closed captions are as effective as closed captions you edited yourself. It seems the auto-generated ones are good enough but since I am not 100% convinced I’ll do a study on that.

Anyway, to increase your chances of ranking high you can make a huge difference if you think about that very early. Even before you start making a new video. The recipe is keyword research.

Find out what people are searching for and produce a video for that. Ideally, you find a topic for which not many good videos exist yet.

Alright. Back to what YouTube has to say: “Beyond that, we look at which videos have driven the most engagement for a query, and make sure it’s easy for viewers to find those.”

What do they mean by “have driven the most engagement”? Certainly, one very important factor is how many people clicked on your video. Let’s say ten people did a search and your video appeared in the results. If 5 of them actually clicked on your video that is then much better if only 1 did so.

That’s why good looking thumbnails are so important. They can have the effect that people click on your video rather than on those from other channels.

Another important factor is watch time. If people clicked your video and then watch the whole thing then this is much better than if they immediately lose interest in your video and watch something else.

Suggested Videos

While the search algorithm focuses on relevant results for a given search term the suggested videos algorithm works different: “Suggested Videos are a personalized collection of videos that an individual viewer may be interested in watching next, based on prior activity.”

First, the videos shown are much more tailored to the individual viewer and, second, it is driven by the viewer’s prior activity. Although I usually watch other stuff I sometimes open YouTube to listen to music. And then this second algorithm starts suggesting more and more music mixes from other DJs to me.

Why? YouTube gives an answer: “Studies of YouTube consumption have shown that viewers tend to watch a lot more when they get recommendations from a variety of channels, and suggested videos do just that.” Very interesting.

They even give more details: “ Signals that contribute to these recommendations include:” “Videos that viewers watch along with the current video,” Probably something like Amazon’s people who bought this also bought those. “or videos that are topically related.”

This is somewhat similar to the search algorithm only a bit more loose. But it means that all you do for ranking in search also helps you to appear in the suggested videos. Btw, you can look up in YouTube analytics how many visitors you actually get thanks to each of those algorithms.


“Home is what viewers see first when they open the YouTube app or visit YouTube.com.” Got ya. But which videos are shown there?

“When a viewer visits home, YouTube displays videos from their subscriptions, videos watched by similar viewers, new videos, and more.” It is definitely much easier to show up on Home if the person has subscribed to your channel.

I know from personal experience that if I recently watched a few videos of a channel then new videos of that channel show up even if I didn’t subscribe.

That is why it is so powerful to create thumbnails that have a unique recurring style. If such a new video shows up I can recognize it and thus am more likely to watch it because I enjoyed your other videos.

Videos watched by similar viewers? Wow, this sounds a lot like the interest groups I talked about in a previous article about the YouTube algorithms.

They even say: “The selection of videos is based on: Performance — How well the video has engaged and satisfied similar viewers, among other factors.”

Since Home is such an integral part of the YouTube experience this tells us that we really have to think about our viewers and how to excite them.


“The Trending feed is a single list of what videos are new and popular on YouTube in a viewer’s country.” Interesting, this algorithm works by country. “This list considers view count (especially the rate of growth in views), where views are coming from, and many other signals.”

I am so excited to finally see that in an official statement. The rate of growth in views is also known as view velocity and it makes of course sense that it plays a big role in Trending.

Btw, your subscribers are your most important viewers to kick off a high view velocity. After all they are the first to discover your new video and create its first views.

So make sure you keep your subscribers engaged so that they keep coming back to watch your new videos. And I am not just saying that. YouTube is even explicitly saying the same when explaining the next algorithm.

Subscriptions Tab

The Subscriptions Tab “ your core audience and biggest fans, who often provide important initial signals about new videos you release.” That’s what I mean. Do you realize how ground breaking this is? What studies only indicated until now is now officially stated by YouTube!

Ok. Back to the algorithm that drives the subscriptions tab. “The Subscriptions tab is an area of the site that shows a collection of videos from channels a viewer is subscribed to.” Well, not much to say about it. Really straight forward.


“These tend to kickstart early traffic to your new uploads” And this kickstarting plays a big role in the success of your new video. Btw, notifications are not only for your subscribers who clicked the bell icon.

“YouTube sends occasional notifications from channels you watch a lot, or those you’re subscribed to.“ Wow, a pattern is forming here. Notifications, Home, Suggested videos all consider what you watch a lot even if you are not subscribed.

This can be very powerful so make sure to use cards and the end screen to recommend your viewers more of your videos to watch. Matt Gielen who did amazing studies about the YouTube algorithms once said that recommending videos is the most important call to action.

6 YouTube Algorithms You Must Know For Higher Rankings – Conclusion

I hope by sharing the 6 YouTube algorithms you must know for higher rankings you’re able to put them to use and grow your YouTube channel.

It takes time, effort, passion and niche research to build a successful channel but by following these tips and checking out some of my other posts you’ll be heading in the right direction.

If you’ve found this post useful please leave a comment below and share with your friends. That’s all for now and I’ll see you in our next post.

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