Greetings social media friendos! Ian and Devin here from the esports team coming at you loud with some simple – yet deeply complex – tips on using the YouTube algorithm to motivate the wandering eyes of YouTubers to land squarely upon your hard work and stay interested.

We work primarily in the gaming/esports space and although those categories have their own special nuances, we have learned some universal rules that apply to all channel creators out there. Some of these rules may seem obvious, but are somewhat innately difficult to truly implement unless we (and you) are thinking about them every step of the way.

Below is the first golden rule in our series. 

YouTube Algorithm Tip #1: Whatever thing you say your video is about, make sure your video is about that thing. 

We know it sounds silly, but accurate and distinct titles matter. If a YouTuber comes to your channel after clicking a thumbnail that reads “Best Mac ‘n Cheese Recipe Ever” and the video talks about only the Mac part, but not the actual recipe itself, then you will have some sad viewers on your hands. To take things one step further, imagine yourself wandering through a hot and dry desert, seeing a beautiful oasis in the distance, spending your precious energy hoofing it all the way there, then discovering upon arrival that it was a mirage all along — it’s a truly feelsbadman moment. We just can’t do this to the people of the Internet and ultimately, It can jeopardize the relationship we have with our audience.

Sad viewers result in a higher bounce-rate (they come to your video, watch it for 10 seconds, then realize it’s not what they wanted and leave or “bounce”) and a shorter view duration (the percentage of the video a viewer watched), which tells the YouTube algorithm that your content is not worth watching. If YouTube thinks your content is bad, then YouTube-Senpai will stop noticing and suggesting your videos to potential new fans – and even your very own channel subscribers in some cases.

If this very notion strikes fear in your content creator heart, then you’re not alone. There are many ways to please the YouTube gods and arguably the most important (and easiest) method of doing so is to simply remove any potential miscommunication or perceived deception that a viewer could interpret from your title or thumbnail. If the viewer thinks they’ve been tricked or fooled by a clickbait thumbnail or title, they will lose all trust in your channel brand and will likely never return. But, if the viewer gets exactly what they were expecting, trust has been established and they know they can count on you to say what you mean — and mean what you say.

If your title is spot-on accurate and your thumbnail relevant to the content that is behind it, then it opens the door to more ways to tell the YouTube algorithm about your channel by using proper tags, reinforcement body terms, and detailed descriptions. When you master those additional elements, that is when YouTube begins to work for you, not against you.

In doing so, we get to explore the realm of tagging your video properly in Part 2. This will introduce just how much the back end of the video platform can influence the overall performance of your content — with even the smallest word impacting visibility. Check back next month as we dive headlong into the wonderful yet painful and ever-changing world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as it pertains to the landscape of the YouTube algorithm.

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