November 27, 2021

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Did YouTube Change Its Algorithm? No, It’s Seasonal Decline via @sejournal, @MattGSouthern

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Is your YouTube viewership down? You’re not alone. It’s normal for watch patterns to change around this time of year. The company explains why.

In a new video from project manager Rachel, who works on the YouTube recommendations team, the company answers five questions related to search and discovery.

Among the questions is whether the YouTube recommendation algorithm was recently updated.

Many channels experience a disruption in viewership patterns following the summer months. But it has more to do with life changes than anything algorithm-related.

Here’s more on why you’re seeing a decline in video views.

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Then we’ll go over other highlights from YouTube’s Q&A video.

Has The YouTube Algorithm Changed?

If you’re asking this question in the fall, the answer is likely “no.”

Like Google, YouTube updates its recommendation system and makes improvements hundreds of times a year.

What YouTube looks for in terms of ranking signals doesn’t typically change, however.

That means a sudden drop in views probably isn’t the result of an algorithm update.

The most probable explanation for a decline in views, especially this time of year, is seasonality.

What typically happens in September is viewer schedules start to change as school starts up again.

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A lot of creators have steady declines during the week with a spike in viewership on weekends.

Recent uploads can take off slower than usual during this time depending on when you typically release them.

“This is a time of year when there are a lot of fluctuations in viewership because there are a lot of things happening in viewers lives…,” the company explains.

Video views usually drop during the holiday season for this same reason.

Life gets in the way of watching YouTube sometimes.

Should I Share Videos Outside Of YouTube?

A question is submitted regarding the sharing of videos off YouTube and whether that might negatively impact analytics.

Rachel from YouTube says you should absolutely share videos elsewhere.

Video views from external sources don’t impact the algorithm the same as if a user found it on their home page, but that doesn’t mean there’s no benefit to it.

If your video is getting more traffic from external sources like social media it’s likely increasing your video’s potential to be discovered by more viewers on YouTube.

Viewers could end up liking the video, commenting on it, and/or subscribing to your channel.

Those signals will all influence whether your video gets recommended on peoples’ home pages.

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And the other benefit to external traffic is those viewers now have that video in their watch history. So there’s a higher likelihood they’ll be recommended one of your other videos in the future.

Why Are There So Many Old Videos On My Home Page?

Running into videos from 10 or 12 years ago on your homepage isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

It’s normal for YouTube to recommend videos that have been uploaded weeks, months, years, or sometimes many years ago.

YouTube’s recommendation system is designed to match viewers with the videos they’re most likely to enjoy, regardless of when that video was published.

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If viewers are still showing interest in a given video years after it was published, it will continue to be recommended until viewer interest starts to decline.

For creators, this goes to show there’s value in keeping older videos on your channel.

Old videos can help bring in new viewers who are discovering you for the first time. That may lead to them watching your most recent videos.

When 10 year old videos show up on the home page, the algorithm is working as intended. It means the video is still being enjoyed by other users and you might like it as well.

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How Important Are Video Tags?

YouTube creators can tag their videos with keywords as a way of categorizing them and enhancing their discoverability.

But how important are they to YouTube’s recommendation system?

No clear answer is given to that question, but it’s strongly suggested they’re not worth thinking about too much in the context of home page recommendations.

Instead, focus on things that viewers make decisions about when they’re choosing what to watch.

All that really matters there is the title and thumbnail of your video.

Swapping and changing tags is unlikely to impact your video performance.

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Source: Creator Insider


Featured Image: Bangkok Click Studio/Shutterstock

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