How the YouTube Algorithm Works in 2021 – Authors' Guilds
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How the YouTube Algorithm Works in 2021

YouTube Algorithm

A clear understanding of how the YouTube Algorithm works is crucial if you want to boost ranking, attract, and retain your target audience as a marketer. Luckily, unlike other publishing platforms, YouTube has been open about how their algorithm works, and it’s a straightforward process.

Take a look at how the YouTube algorithm works:

The first thing you need to know is that YouTube’s algorithm supports engagements, which means the users must enjoy the videos they watch to stay longer. So, if you hope to be in their good books, you’ll need to produce quality contents that will keep your audience interested.

To find out which videos are keeping their users engaged, YouTube tracks their users’ activities on the platform from the videos they watch, to the time they spend on a particular video, if they like it, dislike or subscribe to it. Through this method, they can tell which videos are worth keeping at the top search.

YouTube has five different sections, where the algorithm picks the most relevant videos and rank it high for users to see. These sections are search, trending, subscriptions, home, and recommended videos. Let’s consider each of the part to see how the YouTube algorithm works:


To rank high in YouTube’s video search, you need to ensure your title, description, and video content matches what the user is searching because these are some of the things the algorithm considers. Your videos must also be accessible in a way because they will also check to see how many people watch your videos and compare it to other videos with related topics.


The trending section is for new and popular videos. In this section, YouTube considers how many views a popular video has and also how quickly the views grow. They do this to ensure there is a balance between new videos and popular ones so that the popular ones do not outrank the new.


If you have used YouTube, you must have at one point or the other subscribed to one channel or the other. This subscription is also a determinant to how high a channel’s videos will rank. What YouTube does is to measure the number of active subscribers (not viewers) who watched a new video from their subscribed channel immediately it gets published through a metric known as view velocity. If the metric keeps rising, the videos will rank high.

Home and recommended videos

Here the algorithm tracks a user’s history to know what videos are relevant. They then bring up different videos on the user’s homepage according to how engaging the videos were other users that have a similar preference. They will also rank it according to the number of times the user has seen the video or how many of the channel’s subscribers have watched the video.

How do you optimise your videos for YouTube’s Algorithm?

Use relevant keywords

Just like all other platforms, even on social media, you have to make use of the right keywords on YouTube if you ever wish for your video or channel to come up during search queries. Edit the title, tag, descriptions, files, thumbnail files, and transcriptions of your video with the relevant keyword for optimisation.

You can get an idea of the keywords to add by searching for what people typed before they found your channel. Check this out via the search report of your channel to see what you need to add to your video’s title and description if they are not the same already. Sometimes you might need a little editing, but other times, you’ll have to do a new video using the search results.

When trying to add keywords to your title and description, make it clear and straightforward to understand so that the users can be able to read through and click to watch the video.

Use thumbnail

If you want to get lots of viewers even before engaging them with the video contents, you will need to make use of thumbnails. Use a custom thumbnail that is peculiar only to your channel so that users can see there is a difference from other autogenerated ones.

Translate your video

It is essential to translate your videos into a few other languages even if you are from an English speaking country. Not everyone knows how to speak English, but they probably would want to watch your video. Translate your video titles and description. It makes more people watch your video and make it eligible for top ranking.

Remember to transcribe by using subtitles for viewers who prefer to watch videos without sound. Create your subtitles and upload rather than using autogenerated ones.

Sound convincing

Your content matters. It would be best if you made your video content so engaging that your viewers watch until the end. If you are doing the talking, ensure you sound lively and happy with the fact that you are shooting a video. Also, your content should add value to the users.

You can compel the viewers to stay put until the end of the video by saying you have a surprise for them, or any creative thing has in mind.

Do fewer one-offs and more series

Make your videos in such a way that it becomes a series with one connecting with the other. You could do this by making a playlist with videos of the related topic so that users do not see the need of going to check out other videos, especially if yours had value.

Include a call to action

When concluding your video, include a call to action such as subscribing to your channel or next video. When viewers subscribe to your channel, your chances of appearing in search increases. You need to get creative and figure out a way to request that they won’t refuse.

Remember also to place the option of receiving notifications if they are not comfortable with subscribing. This way, they would get alerted when you make a new video.

Use YouTube Analytics

Monitoring your analytics will make you see what you are doing right or wrong. The analytics shows you the best time for posting, updating videos, and behavioural patterns of your viewers. Using it help you know the next step to take.

If you keep these goals in the backdrop of your YouTube content creation and optimization strategy, you will be rewarded in the long run. You can also learn about ways to make money on Youtube here.

Your presence on YouTube not only creates awareness to your audience, but also increases your Google rankings.

If you want to create your channel from scratch, or looking to optimize your account in terms of:

  • Links to your website/blog
  • A sound profile description with the right keywords
  • A sound description of your videos with the right keywords and links
  • Add the proper tags to your videos
  • Editing the titles to be catchy and contain the right keywords
  • The right visuals: headers, profile photo, and thumbnails
  • Adding a relevant feature video
  • Uploading your videos into your channel (in case this hasn’t been done yet)

Next Steps

Coming up with a video content strategy as part of your digital strategy can be challenging, but the payoff is worth it. If you are unsure where to start or need assistance, the experts at Authors’ Guilds can help you work out where video content can help you most! Reach out to us today to learn more!


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  4. Very useful data. Pinned for later!

  5. These are such great tips! YouTube is a search engine, just like Google. I think people forget that they are owned by the same company! Making a good video isn’t enough to get it seen. Thanks for a couple of new ideas to help my videos rank better.

  6. Natalie says:

    I’m still contemplating my Youtube channel so trying to gather as much info as possible. This is really useful. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thai Pham says:

    Thank, very helpful

  8. lora says:

    Blog on youtube algorithm in 2020 is too good
    thank u Digital Marketing company in mp

  9. Huy Hoa says:

    Thank you so much for these tips. It helps me a lot to find exactly the keywords and topic for my new channel.

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