The latest YouTube SEO algorithm changes

YouTube, as we know, is a staple platform in people’s day-to-day lives. Millions of us use it for entertainment, information, and education. The video platform is essentially a massive search engine, but often, we are watching YouTube’s recommendations and nothing else.

This leads many people to often wonder: how does the YouTube algorithm actually work and what is its purpose in 2024?

Here at Embryo, we understand the importance of video SEO and optimising your videos. Whether they are uploaded onto YouTube or embedded into your own website, video optimisation is key to standing out from your competitors and rising above the competition in search results.

In this guide, we will take you through the YouTube algorithm and share tips on how you can stay ahead of those ever-changing updates.

Let’s dive in and teach you more about YouTube’s SEO algorithm changes.

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What is the YouTube algorithm and its latest updates?

youtube layout

In a nutshell, the YouTube algorithm is a set of computer instructions designed to process videos and associated content such as comments, descriptions, and engagements, in order to rank and recommend videos based on relevance and viewer satisfaction.

While the YouTube algorithm has evolved over the years, the goals of YouTube’s recommendation system have always remained the same:

  • To help each viewer find the videos they want to watch
  • To maximise long-term viewer satisfaction

Naturally, a social media algorithm is designed to provide the most relevant and engaging content to its users. However, an algorithm will always work in favour of a company’s policies, values, and mission statements.

YouTube’s approach follows the 4 R’s, which are:

  • Remove content that violates policies
  • Reduce false news
  • Raise authoritative sources from news and information
  • Reward trusted creators

In the past, YouTube would recommend videos based on clicks and views, often leading to ‘clickbait’ titles. Over the years, watch time and satisfaction would come into play. However, it’s clear that this has changed- the YouTube algorithm is looking to prioritise content that follows guidelines, is factually correct, and comes from authoritative channels and trusted creators.

For example, our YouTube video below aims to fulfil what the algorithm is looking for:

Google pre-announced an update as part of its March 2024 core update rollout and spam updates. Below are some of the key takeaways from this update.

March 2024 core updates

  • This was a more complex algorithm update, with multiple core systems getting updated and released, resulting in more fluctuations in rankings than a regular core update
  • Google said that unhelpful content in Search would be reduced by 40%
  • The update would take a month to roll out
  • Google’s helpful content system was incorporated into its overall core ranking system

March 2024 spam updates

  • Scaled content abuse (producing content at scale to boost search rankings) was classified as search spam
  • Expired domain abuse (buying expired domains and repurposing them with the intention of boosting the search ranking of low-quality content) was classified as spam
  • Google started taking action against these new types of spam through algorithmic spam systems and manual actions
  • The update was completed on March 20th.

Currently, the YouTube algorithm delivers distinct recommendations to each user. These recommendations are tailored to users’ interests and watch history and are weighted based on factors such as the video’s performance and quality.

YouTube’s search algorithm

youtube search bar

YouTube is effectively a massive search engine, just like Google (which it is owned by). Like Google’s search engine, YouTube searches to strive to surface the most relevant results according to keyword searches. 

Note that search results are not a list of the most viewed videos for a given search. YouTube ranks videos based on the following factors:

  • How well the title, description, and video content match the viewer’s search
  • What videos drive the most engagement for a search

To make sure that your videos appear in specific user searches, you will need to give YouTube as much information as possible about your new video. This is where YouTube SEO comes into play.

Things such as your video’s title, description, keywords, and even the file name of the video you upload are all extremely important to boost SEO. 

Interested in video SEO? Get in touch with the experts

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the YouTube algorithm and its recent changes. YouTube wants you to focus on your audience, not the algorithm. YouTube’s algorithm doesn’t pay attention to videos, it pays attention to its viewers.

If you need any more information in regard to video SEO or digital marketing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our award-winning team. We are known for delivering integrated campaigns that engage customers at every stage of their buying journey.

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