How the YouTube search algorithm works – WAU

Like the Google search engine, the YouTube algorithm uses a deep learning system, based on artificial intelligence, to analyze a large volume of data and identify the best suggestions for content for each of its users. Check out the content and learn how this algorithm works!

Second only to its unbeatable search engine, YouTube’s algorithm is one of Google’s most studied “puzzles”. The American company obviously does not reveal all the details about its ranking and recommendation system, but in recent years it has been quite transparent in this regard, disclosing various information about its architecture.

Within Marketing, however, what interests us most is SEO, after all, YouTube not only boasts the second largest search engine on the internet, but is also the second most visited website in the world, according to Alexa’s ranking.

If you want your company to gain prominence in this great universe of content, you will certainly like the information we have prepared for this post. Check out:

Read on to understand the secrets behind this great tool that can help your business grow much more!

How does the YouTube algorithm work?

Algorithms are the robots that dictate the rules within the platforms and it is no coincidence that so many companies and professionals are keeping an eye on them to guarantee the success of their Digital Marketing campaigns on social media.

In the eyes of the user, the purpose of the YouTube algorithm is no different from the main search engine of the search giant: deliver personalized and increasingly relevant content to the public.

This objective is shared by the platform’s five means of interaction: search, home, suggested videos, trends and subscriptions; sections that differ basically in criteria of personalization and sampling.

YouTube studies its audience by following the choices and behavior of its users to keep them as long as possible within the platform and to encourage them to visit the site regularly.

How does YouTube look at its users?

Basically, the algorithm takes into account usage data such as the videos consumed by users, the time they spend watching each video, their likes (I liked it), dislikes (I didn’t like it) and the items marked “I’m not interested”.

There are other criteria adopted by the company that are not disclosed, and other metrics are used to define the video recommendations in each section. However, considering only the user experience, these basic interactions are enough to “shape” the content displayed according to the interests of each individual.

What factors are considered in the ranking?

The YouTube algorithm takes into account different factors in each of the sections of your website, therefore, the ideal is to analyze each of them separately. Check out!


In the search rankings, the main factors considered are the keywords and the relevance of the content, as in the Google search engine. In terms of SEO, it is clear that the platform seeks to encourage content producers to create titles and descriptions that respond to their users’ searches efficiently.

home page

On the homepage and in the suggested videos, however, the ranking should have a more personalized character and, therefore, it combines the user’s activity history with the basic search criteria.


In the subscriptions – the section where only unpublished content from the channels you have subscribed to is listed – another metric is considered: popularity. This criterion takes into account the number of subscribers to each channel and delivers the highest rating for the videos with the highest number of views.


The trending or trending tab displays popular videos in the user’s specific country. The purpose of this section is to promote some balance in the content consumed by the public and the platform does this by combining the popularity of the video (views) and its time on the platform (when newer, better ranked).

What practices should be followed?

Considering all these criteria, the first thing to do is to optimize your videos and channels for searches and queries, which involves a good choice and good use of keywords in your titles, descriptions and files, as well as attractive thumbnails or impacting.

An important tip is to check the YouTube Search Report to find out which are the most popular videos that “cross” your content, that is, the main suggestions that arise when your audience watches or searches for your videos or searches for related topics.

If your material is relatively distant from the most accessed content, consider improving it by changing titles, descriptions or inserting new meta tags. It is not worth simply copying the most popular videos, but you should always be inspired by them when producing your own.

What are YouTube’s key metrics?

In order to understand a little better how the YouTube robot classifies its channels, we need to understand how its main metrics work: Watch Time (watch time), Session Time (session time) and, finally, Consistency (consistency).

Check the details of each one below.


Watch Time takes into account the time a user spends watching a video, which is quite different from the number of views.

Similar to Google’s bounce rate, which “punishes” sites that record short-term users, YouTube also uses this type of information to determine the quality of a channel’s content.

Session time

The Session Time is the metric that records the time of a complete session of a user on YouTube, remembering that one of the proposals of its algorithm is to extend this visit as much as possible.

Within this analysis, two other metrics are inserted, the Session Start, when a user reaches the site through a video or the home page, and the Session End, when the user leaves the site. YouTube.


Consistency is the frequency of posts (or uploads) to a channel. The constant sending of content indicates to the platform that the channel is active, so it is important to maintain a constant production of videos, with short intervals between publications.

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To close this post with all the information you need to leverage your company’s YouTube channel, let’s give some basic suggestions for your content to be found, rank well on the platform and still engage your audience.

Come on?

Optimize your videos

We have already commented on the importance of keywords, titles and descriptions, but now it is time to understand how to work each of these elements in detail. Check out!

Set the file name

Your SEO work on YouTube starts off the platform. Name the video file with the keyword to be worked on (separate words with hyphens), this helps the algorithm to identify the theme of the content.

Create an attractive title

The creation of titles for YouTube does not escape the rules for the production of titles in texts. The keyword must be inserted, preferably at the beginning, the phrase must be succinct and it is always good to bet on the imperative, simple questions, data or popular terms.

If you find it convenient, there is no problem inserting your brand name (or your influencer) in the title, but always at the end. People usually look for the solutions themselves before checking marks.

Include an efficient description

YouTube allows you to create descriptions of up to 5000 characters, but keep in mind that only 150 of them will appear in search results. So be sure to encourage people to click on the video early on.

You should also use the description for other purposes, such as providing a summary of the content (taking the opportunity to enter the keyword) and include your website URL, blog or landing page (taking care that the links are always visible, even if the visitor does not click “show more”).

Use tags well

Unlike WordPress tags, which have little influence on SEO results, on YouTube they are extremely important for the correct indexing of content and also for searches and suggestions, so be sure to insert the keyword of the video, your variations and other related terms.

YouTube recommends using up to 120 characters (with spaces), which allows you to insert approximately 10 to 20 tags. Long-tail keywords (ideal with 3 or 4 words) are also indicated here for more precise searches.

Increase your channel’s relevance

Let’s talk now about the factors that affect your channel’s relevance. Follow!

Channel and video age

Just like sites on Google, YouTube, the age of a channel is also a ranking factortherefore, persistence is key.

In general, the longer the life of a video, the greater the chances of it getting more views, interactions and ranking.

Video length

There is no specific length that can be considered ideal in your productions, the important thing is that your video is relevant from beginning to end so that users do not disperse and end up jumping to other content.

To get a reference, you can consult the “Audience Retention” field in YouTube Analytics to check how long your videos are managing to maintain audience interest and identify patterns at common drop-off points.

Channel Subscriptions

Frequent posting of content naturally encourages subscriptions to a channel, after all, why would a person follow an account if they don’t post anything new?

Therefore, keep a healthy production pace and, if possible, build an agenda with your audience, with specific days and times for posting. In addition to stimulating subscriptions, you give your channel a more professional tone.

Channel views

A channel’s views are an indicator for YouTube and it’s important to note that they’re even more relevant to the audience. Highly viewed videos not only rank better, they also attract users’ attention.

Engage your audience

Finally, remember to engage your audience, you need to turn these people into true allies on your channel and there are great ways to do that. Check out some tips below.

Capriche in thumbnails

The thumbnails are the static thumbnails of the video that appear in the searches and the small section displayed when the user rests the mouse arrow on them.

YouTube suggests these images for its videos, but the ideal is to build a personalized art that catches the public’s attention and contains some variation of the title or detail that arouses curiosity.

Encourage comments

First of all, make sure that the comment option is open for your videos. This is the space that your audience has to express themselves and participate in your channel. Many people have fun with this, so this is a way to bring in new subscribers and captivate current ones.

You will need to keep an eye out for low discussions, spammers and haters, but the valuable feedbacks obtained directly from its users they will certainly be worth that work and will contribute to the quality of your future productions.

Encourage sharing

Your audience can contribute (and a lot) to the success of your channel and, therefore, it is essential to motivate the sharing and incorporation of your video on different blogs and websites so that more and more people have access to your content. This is your chance to generate spontaneous advertising for your channel.

It’s just not worth sinning on insistence. Remember that the biggest stimulus that can make a user share your video is the quality and relevance of content.

For those who want to go a little deeper, it is worth checking out Creator Academy, an official YouTube course for content producers.

In terms of SEO, YouTube’s algorithm is no exception to the rules of content production on blogs and social networks. It is important to follow the technical recommendations and good practices of the platform, but in the end, what really matters is the quality of your content, so be careful with your productions!

Did you like our article? So keep learning about YouTube with us and check out the 15 best hacks to increase your channel views now!