Everything you need to know about the YouTube algorithm in 2024

The YouTube algorithm matches viewers to videos, ensuring content is served to the right people. But what is the Youtube algorithm, have there been any updates in 2024, and how can you beat it?

Using the YouTube algorithm

The YouTube algorithm matches viewers to videos, ensuring content is served to the right people. But what is the Youtube algorithm, have there been any updates in 2024, and how can you beat it?

What is the YouTube algorithm?

YouTube describes the algorithm as a ‘real-time feedback loop that tailors videos to each viewer's different interests.’

In a nutshell, that means the algorithm decides which videos are suggested to users based on what they like, what they’ve already watched, and what other users have watched. It wants to keep them hooked for as long as possible, and it does this while taking into account viewer history, the video’s success, and the video’s target audience.

To viewers, the YouTube algorithm is apparent in three different areas:

  • The homepage, where suggested videos are shown
  • Search results, where videos ranking highly within the YouTube algorithm can secure a top spot
  • The ‘suggested videos’ section
Using the YouTube algorithm

What is wrong with the YouTube algorithm?

The YouTube algorithm has been updated and refined multiple times since the platform launched in 2005. As a result, people operating under its old terms will no longer be reaping the benefits. For example, misleading titles – Is Tom Hanks related to Abraham Lincoln?! Find out NOW! – and thumbnails used to be able to trick the algorithm, as it was based purely on clicks and views.

Nowadays, it’s powered by machine learning. Exactly how the YouTube algorithm works remains a secret, but there are things you can do to take advantage of it. That’s why it’s important to keep yourself updated.

Engagement is critical for the YouTube algorithm. If people aren’t sticking around to watch your content, you’ll struggle to get noticed. Use Epidemic Sound’s catalog of more than 40,000 tracks to give your videos staying power.

What’s the latest YouTube algorithm update?

Thankfully, the YouTube algorithm in 2024 is more or less the same as the YouTube algorithm in 2023. There have been no major updates, and the same things that made a difference last year apply now.

The point of the YouTube algorithm is that it recommends different things to different people, even if they search for the same thing. It’s all based on different factors, including:


  • How many likes your video has
  • How many comments your video has, and what kind of comments they are
  • Your video’s watch time, session time, and click-through rate


  • Your video’s title
  • Your video’s description
  • Your video’s keywords (although these don’t make a massive difference)

How to beat the YouTube algorithm

Now, let’s run through some tricks to beat the YouTube algorithm.

Use YouTube SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is an organic process where you edit your content so it ranks higher in search engines like Google, Bing, and yeah, YouTube. It covers everything from adding subtitles to your content, choosing the right keywords and tags, and even renaming the raw video file you’re uploading. It’s a bit complicated, so we put together a handy guide. Click here to read everything you need to know about YouTube SEO.

Consistency is key

If you post regularly, you not only show the algorithm that you're reliable, but your audience too. That regularity should extend to your content in general: the tone of your videos, the way the thumbnails look, the format of the titles, and all that nitty-gritty detail. TV shows don’t change the way things are presented every episode, so neither should your YouTube channel!

Keep engagement high

The YouTube algorithm works on more than just clicks – it measures if the people clicking actually watch the video, how much they watch, and where they click beyond that. Encouraging viewers to subscribe and watch more videos is something you can physically say in your content, as well as organizing your YouTube Cards so people can easily find more of your videos. Interacting with viewers in the comments is another surefire method to boost engagement.

Shooting YouTube content

Create a killer thumbnail

It's got to be something that sells the content, but don't mislead people – you can make professional-looking, creative thumbnails in programs like Canva. If you want to know the how to create a YouTube thumbnail, click here.

Use YouTube analytics

YouTube Analytics is similar to other analytics programs you might use for Google, Instagram, Facebook, and so on. It allows you to see what other content your audience has been watching. From there, you can shape your future videos to match their needs. This means they won't be going anywhere else for that delicious content.

Does the YouTube dislike button help the algorithm or not?

The infamous YouTube dislike button has become a hot topic regarding the algorithm, but does it actually do anything? Yes, but not in the way you might think.

The YouTube dislike button works as an extension of engagement. If a user watches your video all the way through and then hits the dislike button, the joke's on them – their attention was held throughout the entire video, meaning they were engaged.

However, this can come back to bite you. The YouTube dislike button is instrumental in categorizing videos for recommendation. If everyone dislikes a video, it naturally stands little chance of being considered relevant or recommended to viewers. Don't worry, though. As long as your content is enjoyed by the people who matter – your target audience – then the pesky YouTube dislike button shouldn't cause you much trouble.

Filming YouTube content

How does the YouTube Shorts algorithm work?

YouTube Shorts offers creators the chance to create buzzy, quick videos similar to TikTok and Snapchat content. The YouTube Shorts algorithm works similarly to the regular YouTube algorithm, pairing viewers with suitable videos – there's a bigger focus on pure views, though. Learn more about the YouTube Shorts algorithm here.

Once you’ve got your audience hooked, you’ll need the line and sinker. Good music can be hard to come by, but it can make the difference between on-the-fence viewers zoning out or buying in. Epidemic Sound’s got you covered.

Our catalog is high-quality, affordable, and safe. An Epidemic Sound subscription goes beyond royalty-free music, removing the headache of licensing and freeing you up to do what you do best. You can enjoy the safety of our license hand-in-hand with our massive catalog of 40,000 tracks, covering just about every genre you can think of. You’ll also gain unlimited access to our advanced search functions — finding the right sound’s never been easier. 

It’s better than royalty-free. It’s worry-free. Get started with Epidemic Sound below.

Are you a YouTuber? Whether you’re an editing master or just a beginner, discover what Epidemic Sound has to offer on our Epidemic Sound for YouTube page. And, just in case you’re looking for some sound effects for YouTube, we got you covered.

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