How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?

YouTube has gained global popularity since its launch in 2005. When it comes to live streaming, this market leader is second to none. And, when it comes to social media in general, YouTube is globally recognized as the second best after Facebook. 

There are at least 800 million videos on YouTube. The exact figure is hard to guess, considering that approximately 3.7 million new videos are uploaded every day. 

Still, this gives you an idea of how competitive the platform is. There are billions of active users on YouTube, so whatever your niche is, there’s a vast audience for you to target. 

However, to be a successful content creator on a fast-paced platform like YouTube, you need to understand the algorithm. 

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the YouTube algorithm, how it works, and how to outsmart it like a pro.

What Is the YouTube algorithm?
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According to YouTube, this algorithm is a “Feedback loop in real-time that recommends videos to individual viewers according to their different interests.” 

The YouTube algorithm decides which videos get displayed to each user as trending videos, suggested videos, shorts, and even in the search results. 

A video that appeals to you might not interest another person in the same way. Therefore, it makes sense that the videos displayed on your homepage are entirely different from the videos suggested to other users.

YouTube has not revealed much about its algorithm; however, we do know that it is designed to give users a more personalised experience. 

The main aim of the algorithm is to find the right videos that appeal to each user, and ultimately encourage them to spend more time watching videos on the platform. 

Avoid Getting Flagged by the YouTube Algorithm 

The YouTube algorithm is far from stagnant. It is constantly evolving in order to improve user experience by suggesting personalised content. 

While YouTube developers are working round the clock to improve the functionality of the YouTube algorithm, the platform’s community guidelines haven’t seen any real changes over the years. 

This algorithm might demonetize your account if you constantly violate the YouTube community guidelines. Here’s a rundown of the things you should avoid in general:

1. Content that intends to scam, mislead, or defraud others.

2. Sensitive content such as sex, nudity, and self-harm. 

3. Content promoting violence, hate speech, and cyberbullying. 

4. Content promoting illegal or restricted goods.

5. Deceptive information that could cause harm.

Factors that Influence the YouTube Algorithm 

If you want to beat the YouTube algorithm, then you need to know how it works. There are a number of factors that influence how the YouTube algorithm recommends personalised videos to each user. These include:

1. Watch History: When a viewer watches a particular type of video, YouTube recommends similar videos to that person.

2. Search Terms: The sophisticated algorithm tracks all the search terms each user types into the search box, and then it recommends new videos based on past behaviour. 

3. Watch Time: If a viewer has spent a considerable amount of time watching a particular video, YouTube will recommend more videos from the same creator. 

4. Personal Reactions: The YouTube algorithm keeps track of each user’s personal reactions to each video. These include likes, dislikes, comments, watch time, and even shares.

5. Content Popularity: The YouTube algorithm values popular content. So, if a video falls into any of the other categories on this list and also has a high level of popularity, it will be displayed to more users.

6. Location: Sometimes, YouTube also recommends videos based on demographic data, such as a viewer’s current location.

How the YouTube Algorithm Works

The YouTube algorithm would be easier to understand if every user had the same homepage. But instead, you’ll find a unique assortment of videos that appeal to you as a person. 

This is because YouTube puts your personal interests first when selecting videos for your homepage. The algorithm tracks your watch history, interests, search history, subscriptions, and even your reactions on each post. 

This helps them to generate the best content for you. 

YouTube also recommends videos that perform highly on the platform. When a video that meets your personal taste has amassed plenty of likes, comments, shares, and views, it will most likely show up on your homepage. 

Therefore, if you want your content to be recommended to your target audience, you need to make sure the video is engaging, high-performing, and entertaining. 

Once your video gets plenty of views, the YouTube algorithm will recommend it to an even larger group of people who have engaged with similar videos.

How to Make the YouTube Algorithm Work in Your Favour 

If you want the YouTube algorithm to work in your favour, there are a number of ways to achieve this. The first and most important way is to narrow down your videos to a specificniche. 

This way, you will only be focusing on a targeted group of people, and your content will be more relevant. To further make your channel more impactful, you need to be aware of SEO best practices, which will help you optimise your content for the YouTube search engine. 

It’s also important to note that your video thumbnail is just as important as the content itself. Your thumbnail needs to be eye-catching and unique. 

This will maximise the chances of your videos getting viewed, which will ultimately make the YouTube algorithm start to notice you. 

While your activities within the platform can boost your reach and ranking, your promotional activities outside of YouTube are just as impactful. So, we recommend promoting your channel on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram.


As you may have already noticed, outsmarting the YouTube algorithm is key to becoming successful as a YouTuber. However, this does not come easy. 

It is a product of hard work, dedication, and resilience. Now that you have an in-depth understanding of what the YouTube algorithm really is, how it works, and how to make it work in your favour, you’re well on your way to building a successful brand on the platform.