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Think about how many times, once you’ve finished watching a YouTube video (or not even finished), you’ve then clicked on one of the recommended videos on the right-hand side. It happens a lot, right? It seems like a natural thing to do because the suggested videos are nearly always relevant to the content you’re currently watching or aligned with what interests you. That’s the power and genius of the YouTube algorithm right there.
While many people believe that the way to grow on YouTube is through ranking better in search results (it certainly helps), you’d be surprised by how much of a boost your channel receives when your videos begin to be suggested by YouTube recommendations. So, the question is, how do you get your videos to appear in YouTube recommendations?
How do YouTube recommendations work?
To understand how to get recommended on YouTube, you need to understand the YouTube algorithm. The basics of it are this:
YouTube is trying to increase each viewer’s watch time. The longer they spend on the platform watching videos, the more ads YouTube can serve them, and consequently, the more money YouTube makes. Simple, right? It’s a great business.
How do YouTube recommendations work? Because of the emphasis on viewing session time, the YouTube algorithm is always looking to serve up relevant video results. The videos in the YouTube suggestions bar are all very relevant and aligned to the content you’re watching. The YouTube algorithm determines that these are videos that will keep you watching.
So, how do you get your video suggested on YouTube? Many people think the powers of YouTube’s algorithms are out of their hands, but it’s actually the opposite. As you’ll find when studying YouTube analytics, you can make the YouTube algorithm work for you.
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5 ways to get your videos into YouTube recommendations
1. Increase engagement
If we’re playing the game with the YouTube algorithm and looking at how you can show up in the YouTube suggested videos section, you’ll want to start by increasing engagement. The more viewers interact with your videos, the better. The YouTube algorithm will pick up on more comments, likes and shares and respond accordingly.
There are many different ways to increase engagement on your YouTube videos. For example, you may want to ask a question in the comments that get the conversation flowing or create a call to action at the start and end of each video. Asking your viewers to contribute with comments or challenging them, “if this video gets 100 likes, I will (insert whatever you’re going to do here)” is a great way to boost that engagement.
2. Increase watch time
Alongside increasing engagement, you’ll also want to increase watch time. Remember what we said about the YouTube algorithm? The longer a viewer’s video watching session, the more ads can be served to that viewer. So, if you can increase watch time on your videos, the YouTube algorithm will rank your videos better, and the chances of your videos then appearing in YouTube recommendations increases.
An effective way to increase watch time is, above all else, to create good videos (easier said than done). That aside, keeping them short and engaging throughout will really help. So you should really strip down that edit and streamline it so that every second counts. You should also be curating your videos into different playlists.
3. Make YouTube playlists
We’ve written a full, in-depth article on why and how to create YouTube playlists, and when it comes to getting YouTube to recommend your videos, they’re a complete no-brainer. YouTube playlists are a way to show your viewers that this particular series of videos are in some way related and connected to each other. This increases the chances of your viewers watching one video after another, and guess what? That increased their viewing session!
Once the YouTube algorithm recognizes this uptick in viewing time, it’s much more likely that your videos will start to appear as YouTube suggested videos.
4. Up your thumbnail and title game
This one goes without saying. It feels like we hammer home the point every week, but it really is so vital. Your content may be the best of the relevant video results, and you may have high-quality YouTube videos. Still, hardly anyone will be clicking to watch if A) your thumbnail isn’t good and B) the title wording isn’t on point. You really have to do your homework here and nail them both, each and every video. Check out how to make a YouTube thumbnail or YouTube tags and keywords for beginners to gain more in-depth knowledge.
The more clicks you can get, the greater the chance of cracking how to get YouTube to recommend your videos. Not only will more people watch – which the YouTube algorithm likes – the title can also help the YouTube algorithm know exactly what your video is about.
5. Tap into video trends (with a different angle, natural follow-on)
Last but not least, tapping into current trends can work extremely well. For example, let’s say there’s a new phenomenon on Netflix, such as Squid Game. You’ll see plenty of content being created on YouTube, all related to Squid Game. In the few weeks where this show is being talked about by just about everyone on social media, you have the chance to “hack” the algorithm and jump onboard a trend that could increase your views.
If you can create a video about Squid Game (or whatever topic it might be), it might just come up in the YouTube suggestions on other videos covering the same topic.
Of course, you don’t just want to jump on the bandwagon for the sake of it. Remember that you’re also looking to increase watch time and engagement, so this video has to be of good quality. Look at how you can approach the trending topic from a unique and different angle. It’s all about finding your style. Furthermore, think about creating a video that is the natural follow-on from other popular videos covering the topic. If lots of viewers are watching your video after another one, the YouTube algorithm will continue to push it in YouTube suggestions.
So, that’s how to get recommended on YouTube! This handful of tips are all tried and tested methods that produce results and help you get your content appearing in YouTube recommendations. While there is no quick and easy solution that guarantees you showing up as YouTube suggested videos, if you combine all of these practices and put them into action, we think you’ll see results over time.