YouTube Shorts Algorithm 101: Understanding How it Works

Have you ever wondered how YouTube Shorts manage to catch your attention? It’s not a microwave joke, but rather the clever workings of the YouTube Shorts algorithm that make it happen.

In the social media, there’s often speculation about how algorithms on various platforms can be influenced. In this blog, let’s dive into the world of the YouTube Shorts algorithm, exploring what it is, how it operates, and some practical tips.

How does the Shorts algorithm work?

1. Watching vs. Skipping

The “watching vs. skipping” metric is a simple way to gauge if your content resonates with your audience.

This metric measures the percentage of times viewers watch your Shorts versus swiping away. It’s like a signal, indicating whether your video strikes a chord with your audience or fizzles out.

The YouTube Shorts algorithm uses this metric to assess how much viewers enjoy your video.

Key tip: A captivating start truly matters! Make your introduction engaging and visually appealing. If possible, hint at something exciting coming up. Attract viewers from the outset or provide a teaser in your caption to keep them engaged till the end.

2. Viewing History

Do YouTube Shorts tailor to your preferences? In short, yes.

A user’s viewing history significantly influences the Shorts they’re presented with. YouTube wants you to stay engaged on their platform, so they continually offer videos they think you’ll like.

Key tip: Short of intruding into others’ homes to watch your own videos on their devices (which we don’t endorse), there’s not much you can do to control someone else’s viewing history. Focus on creating content that genuinely interests your audience.

Note: We do not support breaking and entering, even for the sake of views.

3. Similar Content

YouTube Shorts serves content similar to what users have previously engaged with. Just as a user’s viewing history matters, content similar to videos that other people have enjoyed also plays a role.

Key tip: Keep an eye on successful competitors’ content. YouTube is likely to showcase their videos to your audience and vice versa.

4. Relevance

Above all, your content must be relevant to your YouTube community. If your channel is about Dungeons & Dragons, don’t change your focus to compete with a competitor covering all tabletop role-playing games.

While there may be some overlap, you don’t want to alienate your loyal followers by suddenly discussing something unrelated. They follow you for your specific content, so stay on track.

However, this doesn’t mean you should create the same content every day. Experiment with newsworthy topics related to trends, events, or theories.

Key tip: Stick close to your niche if you find something that works. Stay attuned to trends in your industry and your audience’s interests.

5. Engagement

Engagement covers everything from watch time to likes, comments, and shares. While engagement is crucial for your overall channel, the Shorts algorithm primarily focuses on Watching vs. Skipping, Similar Content, and Viewing History.

YouTube provides the “Videos growing your audience” panel in Audience Analytics, helping you identify which Shorts (or Longs) attract viewers who want more of your content.

In the end, likes, comments, and subscribers boost your ego, but to succeed, you need viewers to keep returning to your channel.

Key tip: While likes and comments are nice, prioritize whether your Shorts are driving new subscribers to your channel.

More on Eklipse Blog >> 5 YouTube Shorts Online Video Editors – Best Free Options


Understanding the YouTube Shorts algorithm can be a powerful tool in your content creation arsenal. By focusing on the metrics that matter – watching vs. skipping, viewing history, similar content, relevance, and engagement – you can optimize your Shorts for success.

Remember, a strong hook, relevant content, and keeping viewers coming back are the keys to thriving in the Shorts landscape. Stay true to your niche, experiment intelligently, and use insights to refine your strategy.

Now that you’ve unveiled the secrets of the YouTube Shorts algorithm, it’s time to create captivating Shorts that leave your audience craving for more. So, go ahead, hit that record button, and let the Shorts magic unfold!

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