The YouTube Algorithm: Latest Updates And Settings For 2024

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TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read)

  • YouTube Is Constantly Evolving: The YouTube algorithm is always changing, and staying updated on its latest iterations is crucial for monetizing your channel and maximizing your content's reach.

  • How The YouTube Algorithm Works: Watch time is critical; aim for videos over 10 minutes to increase engagement, as longer videos typically result in higher viewer retention and watch times.

  • Key Algorithm Updates in 2024: YouTube prioritizes high-quality, well-researched videos over frequent uploads, encouraging creators to produce content that meets the audience's needs and maintains high engagement.

  • Optimizing Content for the Algorithm: Utilize relevant keywords in your titles, descriptions, and tags to enhance search visibility, leveraging tools like TubeBuddy and VidIQ to identify the best keywords for your niche.

  • What About YouTube Shorts?: Viewers who watch Shorts are 52% more likely to check out the full-length video linked in the description or suggested in the end screens, enhancing overall channel performance and growth.

  • Best Settings to Use: The most important settings to focus on when uploading videos to YouTube for better ranking and visibility

YouTube Is Constantly Evolving

The YouTube algorithm is constantly changing.

But if you can stay ahead of it, you can be well on your way to monetizing your channel and making stacks of cash from your content.

And understanding the latest updates and leveraging them to your advantage is key to growing your audience and maximizing your channel’s potential.

In this mini guide, we’ll reveal the most recent algorithm changes, cover the the strategies you need to implement, and provide actionable insights to help you thrive on YouTube in 2024.

How The YouTube Algorithm Works

YouTube's algorithm has evolved significantly over the years.

Initially, the platform focused on clicks and views, but it soon shifted towards watch time and viewer satisfaction.

Today, the algorithm is designed to enhance the viewer's experience by predicting what content will best satisfy individual users.

These are now the most important metrics to optimize in 2024:

1.) Watch Time: This measures how long users spend watching your videos. Longer watch times signal engaging content. Shoot for at least 10 minutes.

2.) User Engagement: Likes, comments, shares, and subscriptions indicate that your content resonates with the audience.

3.) Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of viewers who click on your video after seeing it in search results or recommendations. A higher CTR suggests that your video’s title and thumbnail are enticing.

4.) Video Information: YouTube scans video titles, descriptions, and tags for keywords and relevancy.

5.) User History: The algorithm considers a viewer’s past interactions on the platform, recommending content based on their interests and previous engagement.

Key Algorithm Updates in 2024

YouTube now favors longer videos, typically those over 10 minutes.

This shift aims to keep users on the platform longer. Longer videos boost watch time, a critical metric for the algorithm.

For creators, this means producing more in-depth and comprehensive content that holds viewer attention.

Previously, frequent uploads were crucial for success on YouTube. However, the 2024 algorithm prioritizes the quality of content over quantity.

High-quality videos that are well-researched and address the audience's needs are more likely to be recommended.

Viewer retention is another critical factor.

The algorithm favors videos that maintain high viewer retention rates, meaning viewers watch a significant portion of the video.

Improving viewer retention involves adding engaging hooks at the beginning, organizing content logically, and using captivating visuals throughout.

A good strategy to use is to tease the most engaging or shocking part of your video at the beginning, and then cut away to show how you got there.

For example, teasing the end result of a finished painting and then showing the process, or showing a shiny refurbished antique before going into the lengthy cleaning and restoring process.

Optimizing Content for the Algorithm

Effective use of keywords and metadata remains vital for YouTube SEO.

Relevant keywords should be integrated into titles, descriptions, and tags to enhance search visibility.

Tools like TubeBuddy and VidIQ can help identify the best keywords for your niche for free.

Creating compelling thumbnails and titles can also significantly boost your CTR.

High CTR (click through rate) indicates that your thumbnails and titles are effective in attracting viewers.

Custom thumbnails, which are more engaging than auto-generated ones, have over 151% higher higher engagement rates. A good suggestion (if you are the face of your videos) is to use the classic “shocked expression” + ‘point at something’ style like this:

Thumbnails should be visually appealing, and titles should be intriguing yet accurate to avoid clickbait issues.

Because one thing you don’t want is people clicking and then immediately leaving after watching your video, which will hurt your algorithm score.

What About YouTube Shorts?

While the YouTube algorithm in 2024 heavily favors long-form content due to its ability to increase watch time and engagement, YouTube Shorts have emerged as a crucial tool for boosting overall channel performance.

Shorts offer a unique way to complement and enhance your long-form content strategy, rather than contradicting it.

Shorts can serve as a teaser or highlight reel for your longer videos. For example, you can create a Short that features the most exciting moment of a longer tutorial or vlog.

This not only grabs viewers’ attention quickly but also entices them to watch the full video for more in-depth information.

Shorts can be a powerful tool to drive traffic to your long-form content. When viewers watch a Short, they are up to 52% more likely to check out the full-length video linked in the description or suggested in the end screens.

This seamless transition from short to long-form content helps keep viewers engaged on your channel for longer periods.

YouTube’s algorithm treats Shorts differently by promoting them to viewers who are not yet subscribed to your channel.

This can significantly increase your reach and bring in new viewers who might then become regular watchers of your long-form content.

Try to develop a content strategy that aligns Shorts with your long-form videos. For example, if you have a series of cooking tutorials, create Shorts that feature quick tips, highlights, or sneak peeks of upcoming recipes, encouraging viewers to subscribe.

This not only provides immediate value but also directs viewers to the full-length tutorials for comprehensive instructions.

Ensure that your Shorts reflect the same branding and messaging as your long-form content.

Use similar visuals, themes, and tone to create a cohesive viewer experience. This consistency helps in reinforcing your brand and making your channel easily recognizable.

Best Settings To Use

The most important settings to focus on when uploading videos to YouTube for better ranking and visibility are as follows:

Resolution and Format: Upload videos in the highest available resolution, preferably 1080p (Full HD) or 4K, using the MP4 format with the H.264 video codec and AAC-LC audio codec.

Titles: Keep titles under 70 characters, including relevant keywords that improve search visibility.

Descriptions: Write detailed descriptions starting with a brief summary and incorporating relevant keywords. Include links to your website, social media, and related videos.

Tags: Use a combination of broad and specific tags to cover various search queries, enhancing the discoverability of your content.

Thumbnails: Use custom thumbnails that are high-resolution (1280x720 pixels) and visually appealing to increase click-through rates.

End Screens and Cards: Utilize end screens to promote other videos or playlists in the last 5-20 seconds of your video. Use cards to link to related videos or playlists throughout the video.

Captions and Subtitles: Enable captions and subtitles to make your videos accessible to a broader audience, including non-native speakers and hearing-impaired viewers.

Category: Select the most relevant category for your video to help YouTube understand its content and recommend it to the right audience.

Privacy Settings: Set videos to "Public" for maximum visibility and use "Scheduled" for planning future release times to maintain a consistent upload schedule.

Notify Subscribers: Ensure this is enabled to alert your subscribers about new uploads, increasing initial viewership and engagement.

Allow Embedding: Enable this option to allow viewers to embed your video on their websites or blogs, broadening your video’s reach.

The BMM Takeaway

The YouTube algorithm updates for 2024 present both challenges and opportunities for content creators.

By understanding these changes and adapting your strategies, you can improve your channel’s visibility and engagement.

Focus on creating high-quality, long-form content, engaging with your audience, and utilizing YouTube's new features and formats to stay ahead in the competitive landscape.