How are you doing?

I was thinking about you the other day.

Really, I was thinking about a lot of the awesome creators my team and I have worked with and just how many creators we’ve worked with that come in thinking they understand how YouTube works because of what they’ve learned from other YouTube “experts”.

It’s frustrating for my team and I to hear that a creator has been wasting their time and energy on methods that just don’t work (because they followed the advice of what they thought were authoritative sources). We value your time and energy so much and don’t want to see you investing it into strategies that just don’t work.

So, I thought it would be interesting to pull advice from different searches on “how does the YouTube algorithm work” or “how to grow on YouTube” and have the other strategists on my team blind react to it.

We had some good conversations, the gist of which you can find below, but I’d encourage you to listen to our full conversation above to hear more behind why they answered the way they did. Here are the results that popped up on my search and here’s what our strategists had to say.

1. Keyword research is important because the algorithm looks at your metadata to decide what your video is about.

D’Laina: “No. This is really old information and it’s not how YouTube works anymore.”

Lennon: “When you’re putting your metadata into a new video, YouTube literally says that metadata has a very little part to play in how your video gets discovered… except for spelling errors occasionally.”

D’Laina: “When using keywords, you should use language that your audience would resonate with, but stuffing as many keywords into your metadata as you can… you’re not going to see results from that.”

2. You need to use the keyword of your video in the video’s file name, title, description, AND in the script for captions.

Lennon: “Yeah, it’s false. There may have been a time where this was true of Google, but not YouTube. These platforms work differently. This is basically like what we were saying in the 1st myth.”

3. If you use the same keywords that other popular videos are using, you can rank next to them.

D’Laina: “Mmm…. no.”

Me: “So, you’re saying if I just use “Pewdiepie” all over my content, my video won’t show up next to Pewdiepie?”

D’Laina: “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.” 😂

…”the BEST way to target a creator’s audience is to make videos about topics that go off of one of their videos (it would make sense to watch yours after watching theirs) and creating videos their audience (and hopefully yours) would be interested in in general.”

4. Make sure you enable ads on your videos because YouTube favors videos it can monetize over those it can’t.

Lennon: “I can understand why people might think this because YouTube is a business. However, after having worked with SO many channels, we’ve seen TONS of creators grow without running ads at all for various reasons and they’ve grown really well.”

Me: “Yeah, YouTube has said “if we show an ad on EVERY video, we’d lose viewers really fast”. Just because a video is monetized or a part of the YouTube Partner Program, YouTube may not even always put an ad on every playback. So, that really debunks this theory straight from YouTube itself.”

5. The average number of likes for the second position of YouTube’s search results is 72% less than the average number of likes for the first position. So… get people to hit the like button if you want to rank higher.

D’Laina: “Just… no.”

Lennon: “Actually, I’m going to agree with a caveat. I think this person is trying to say that getting someone to hit the like button is a call to action. We’d say, sure, but the viewer is going to do that naturally when they enjoy the content. We’d say focus less on constantly telling people to “smash the like button” and instead create amazing content, make your audience feel engaged, emotionally invested, etc.”

Tim: “Exactly. Maybe the top video is just… a better video and THAT’S why it got more likes. It’s not just #1 because it happens to have more likes.”

D’Laina: “Just think about all of these services now where you can buy fake views and subscribers. YouTube is smarter than that. It wouldn’t be a very good platform if people who were buying likes, views, etc. just made it to the top. That’s how we know that this is NOT how the algorithm works.”

6. 45% of videos on the first page of search results have a duration of 3-5 minutes, so keep your videos that length if you want to be more likely to show in the first page of search results on YouTube.

D’Laina: “I’ve seen a LOT of videos that trend that are WAY longer than 3-5 minutes. I don’t think this has anything to do with how long your video is, but how much people care about your video. Is it valuable to your viewer? Because if the viewer is watching your whole video, that will send positive viewer signals to YouTube, which will get that to push your content out to more people.”

Lennon: “I JUST did a search on how to make a turkey. First one is 12:40, second is 10:00, 5:00, 18:00…”

D’Laina: “If you can ONLY hold someone’s attention for 3 to 5 minutes, then your video should only be that long. If you can be more entertaining and engaging, then do longer form content. This just really varies, but there’s no magical duration that will get you more views.”

Me: “Search is tricky too because it’s highly personalized. It’s going to look different for every viewer based on your viewing history.”

7. You need to make sure that your videos are as visually entertaining as possible because a video of someone just talking isn’t very engaging and won’t get enough watch time to perform well.

D’Laina: “This is a yes and no… if what you’re saying is interesting, you can absolutely sit down and talk and have it perform well. Look at storytime videos and podcasts. We see them performing well. However, if you’re not a good storyteller or what you’re saying isn’t engaging… then yeah, you may want B-Roll and to add more to make your video more engaging.”

8. There’s a clear correlation between top performing videos and how many comments they get. The more comments you get, the better your video will perform. Make sure you get viewers to comment.

Me: “This is the same concept of myth #5. Science rule 101: Correlation does NOT equal causation. :)”

Have you heard any of these before? Do you feel pushback on any of them?

Let us know!

Keep changing lives,