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The Best SEO Conferences For 2023 (Virtual And In-Person)

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The Best SEO Conferences For 2023 (Virtual And In-Person)

As an industry in a constant state of flux – thanks to changing algorithms, user needs, and competitor content – search engine optimization is a field that demands professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices.

While you could spend hours scouring the internet for valuable articles, forum discussions, and the like, there’s a better way to gain new knowledge and grow your network simultaneously: SEO conferences.

And one of the best places to reap the benefits of this – not to mention grow your network – is at an SEO conference.

There you’ll find a circle of industry experts who have insight into the latest information in the world of search engines, shared strategies, and new ideas you can implement into your efforts to climb to the top of search rankings.

To help you decide which ones you should attend, we’ve compiled a list of the best SEO conferences in 2023.

Whether you’re a road warrior who wants to attend as many events as possible, or an introvert who only wants to attend digitally, there are sure to be several conferences that fit your needs.

So, with no further ado, here is our list of the best online and in-person SEO conferences this year.

SEO Events For 2023

Here are some SEO conferences and events coming up this year. Mark your calendar now so you don’t miss them.

Pubcon 2023

Date: February 27th-28th, 2023.

Format: In-person.

Location: Austin, TX.

Speakers: Gary Illyes, Brett Tabke, Fabrice Canel, and many others.

Cost: $1,499.

About: Pubcon, a “fullstack marketing conference,” is in its 21st year. This two-day, in-person event features keynotes from Google and Bing and a packed schedule of conference sessions. Based on your interest, choose between organic SEO, Mar. Tech tools and analytics, marketing potpourri, and content marketing / Amazon.

The eCommerce & Omnichannel Retail Conference

Date: February 27-March 2, 2023.

Format: In-person with on-demand available for a limited time following events.

Location: Palm Springs, CA.

Speakers: Angela Hsu, Christie Raymond, Terry Roberts, and Dave Spector, among many others.

Cost: In-person starting at $2,099.

About: With a focus on digital commerce, this event is a four-day retreat designed to help ecommerce and omnichannel stores uncover new ways to maximize profits from some of America’s most successful retailers. Check out the full series of conferences throughout the year in Boston, Toronto, Canada, and London, England.

Searchlove 2023

Date: San Diego, March 13-14; Philadelphia, TBD.

Format: In-person.

Location: San Diego, CA; Philadelphia, PA.

Speakers: Carrie Rose, Rand Fishkin, and Wil Reynolds, among others.

Cost: From $999.

About: Searchlove brings together some of the foremost experts in digital marketing. Topics ranging from analytics to optimization and content to paid advertising are all covered at this education and networking event.

Social Media Marketing World

Date: March 13-15, 2023

Format: In-person and on-demand.

Location: San Diego, CA.

Speakers: Michael Stelzner, Kat Norton, Millie Adrian, Pat Flynn, and many others.

Cost: In-person starting at $1,497; streaming for $697; on-demand for $997.

About: Bringing together top social media marketing pros, this conference is not directly focused on SEO, but features sessions on organic social marketing, paid social marketing, social strategy, content marketing, and several workshops.

It strives to immediately provide attendees with ideas they can implement for their clients or business.

Adobe Summit

Date: March 21-23, 2023

Format: In-person, on-demand sessions available

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Speakers: Aaron Sorkin, Anil Chakravarthy, Deena Bahri, Sebastien Deguy, Shantanu Narayen, Rosalind Brewer, John Donahoe, Gail McGovern, and Kristen Bell, among others.

Cost: $2,095 with various discounts available, on-demand sessions after the event are free.

About: The Adobe summit features a massive variety of guests and keynotes, including actors, producers, CEOs, and Olympians. The in-person conference includes sessions, hands-on labs, meals, and evening events. You can register for the virtual summit for free to access keynotes and speaking sessions after the event.

B2B Marketing Expo 2023

Date: September 20-21, 2023.

Format: In-person.

Location: Los Angeles, CA.

Speakers: Marie-Elizabeth Telfort M.S., Priscilla Castro, Rick Contreras, Ryan Ross, Jake Konner, and many others.

Cost: Free.

About: Featuring education masterclasses for marketing professionals, this annual conference covers a variety of tracks, including advertising and promotion, content and experience, and commerce and sales.

Hundreds of suppliers and speakers will be on hand to discuss the state of the industry and recent happenings.

Friends Of Search Fest

Date: March 23, 2023.

Format: In-person.

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Speakers: Fleur Verwijs, Michel Nienhuis, Simo Ahava, and Lily Ray, among others.

Cost: Starting from €598,95.

About: This year marks the 10th anniversary of Friends of Search – one of Europe’s largest search conferences. The event brings together consultants, marketers, and business owners to share their insights on SEO, PPC, and digital marketing.

This three-day event will feature sessions designed to provide attendees with actionable insights and the latest information from industry experts.

Ad World

Date: March 29-30, 2023.

Format: Online.

Location: Virtual.

Speakers: Seth Godin, Rand Fishkin, and Antonis Kocheilas, among many others.

Cost: From $799.

About: This virtual event, which bills itself as “the world’s largest online advertising event,” features 8 digital advertising tracks. Each has focused speeches, panels, and live Q&A sessions to help attendees gain valuable knowledge.

Brighton SEO

Date: April 20-21 and May 4-5, 2023.

Format: In-person and online.

Location: Brighton, U.K.

Speakers: Are AbuAli, Abhishek Lakhera, and Adriana Stein, among others.

Cost: In-person starts at £205; virtual – free.

About: This twice-yearly conference is attended by thousands of digital marketers worldwide. It features training workshops, sessions on niche topics, social networking events, and talks from experts.

Confab

Date: April 30-May 3, 2023.

Format: In-person.

Location: Minneapolis, MN.

Speakers: Gavin Austin, Rebekah Baggs, and Vidhika Bansal, among many others.

Cost: In-person starting from $1,795; virtual recordings only for $695.

About: The Confab Conference is an annual event covering everything from UX to content, accessibility, and structure. It brings together industry experts and thought leaders to help digital marketers upgrade their skills.

Last year’s conference recordings are available for sale on Confab’s website.

MnSearch Summit

Date: June 15-16, 2023.

Format: In-person.

Location: St. Paul, MN.

Speakers: TBD.

Cost: Early bird rates: $264-697; regular rates $374-$1,197.

About: MnSearch Summit is two days of learning and networking with thought leaders from the digital marketing industry. It includes workshops, sessions, and events focused on SEO, PPC, social media, and analytics, among other topics.

Growth Marketing Summit 2023

Date: June 22, 2023.

Format: In-person.

Location: Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Speakers: Marianne Stjernvall, Colin McFarland, Steven van Belleghem, and others.

Cost: Early bird rate from €599.

About: Assembling growth marketers and digital professionals worldwide, this single-day event features world-class speakers sharing their expertise on flexible and data-driven marketing solutions.

MozCon 2023

Date: August 7-8, 2023.

Format: In-person or live streaming.

Location: Seattle, WA.

Speakers: Amanda Jordan, Andi Jarvis, and Brie E. Anderson, among others.

Cost: Early bird in-person tickets start at $699; livestream only for $199.

About: The annual digital marketing conference hosted by Moz, this conference features networking and expert sessions from SEO industry leaders, as well as experts in mobile search, conversion optimization, and search marketing.

Engage (formerly SearchFest)

Date: August 11, 2023.

Format: In-person.

Location: Portland, OR.

Speakers: Lily Ray, Cindy Krum, Rand Fishkin, Marty Weintraub.

Cost: Starting at $199.

About: Engage Marketing Conference is a one-day digital marketing conference featuring informative learning tracks and panel sessions designed to provide expert insight into the latest strategies and technological advancements in digital marketing, social media, content, UX/design, creative, advertising, SEO, paid media, and more!

INBOUND 2023

Date: September 5-8, 2023.

Format: In-person or online.

Location: Boston, MA.

Speakers: TBD.

Cost: In-person from $899 for September 6-8; from $1,699 for the September 5-8 VIP pass.

About: This annual event is powered by HubSpot, bringing together global thought leaders for a hybrid conference discussing marketing, sales, and customer success operations.

It covers a wide range of topics and gives attendees the opportunity to network and learn from some of the best in the business.

Content Marketing World

Date: September 26-29, 2023.

Format: In-person or online.

Location: Washington, DC.

Speakers: Lenox Powell, Kelly Johnson, and Ann Handley, among others.

Cost: In-person early bird rates start at $1099; digital pass from $799. Regular rates $1,599 and $899.

About: Over four days, attendees will learn strategies for building winning SEO teams, systems, and processes. With more than 100 sessions, workshops, and industry forums, you can choose the topics and sessions that are relevant to you.

Thousands of marketers and representatives from numerous global brands will be in attendance.

ADworld Experience

Date: October 5-6, 2023.

Format: In-person and online.

Location: Bologna, Italy.

Speakers: TBD.

Cost: Early bird price starts from €169, regular price starting at €650.

About: Bringing together PPC experts from across the globe for the largest paid ad and conversion rate optimization event in Europe – and the largest real PPC-based conference in the world.

State Of Search 2022

Date: October 23-24, 2023.

Format: In-person and online.

Location: Richardson, TX.

Speakers: TBD.

Cost: In-person – $397; online – $197.

About: The State of Search brings together top speakers from the digital marketing field to cover various topics, from search engine optimization to emerging technology, lead generation, and display advertising.

DMO Advanced 2023

Date: October 24-26, 2023.

Format: In-person.

Location: Napa Valley, CA.

Speakers: Lily Ray, Patrick Stox, and Atiba De Souza, among others.

Cost: $1,599.00.

About: Digital Marketers Organization will again host their advanced digital marketing event, blending interactive and educational sessions with networking opportunities.

There will be numerous sessions specifically designed for SEO, including information on technical debt, localization, and internationalization.

DigiMarCon

Date: On-going throughout 2023.

Format: In-person and online.

Location: Various global locations.

Cost: In-person starting at $597; virtual from $295.

About: DigiMarCon offers a range of events throughout the year, both virtual and in-person conferences in various global locations. Digital Marketing Conferences is a global series of events bringing together thought leaders from the digital marketing, media, and advertising industries.

These conferences focus on emerging strategies, the latest technology, recent best practices, networking, and collaboration.

Great SEO Pros Never Stop Learning

For an SEO professional, experience is important – but not nearly as vital as staying up to date.

While you can keep an eye on what’s going on in the world of search engines, paid advertising, and digital marketing by reading expert publications (like this one, for example), it’s also great to meet with other people who are performing the same job.

This gives you a chance not just to interact with them, but to ask questions and develop relationships that could reap rewards far down the line. And SEO conferences are a great place to do this.

So, whether you’re trying to brush up on the basics, identify the latest techniques, or just take a trip on the company dime, the above events are a great place to start.

Include Your SEO Conference

This article is updated whenever possible to reflect frequent changes to event schedules and details.

If you’re hosting an upcoming SEO event and want it listed, please email our editor with the following information:

  • Conference name.
  • URL.
  • Date.
  • Whether your event is virtual or in-person.
  • Location (if applicable).
  • Noteworthy speakers.
  • Two-three sentences describing the conference (see content examples above).
  • Registration cost.

Featured Image: Composite image created by Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal; image sourced from Jacob Lund/Shutterstock



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Google’s Web Crawler Fakes Being “Idle” To Render JavaScript

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Google's Web Crawler Fakes Being "Idle" To Render JavaScript

In a recent episode of the Search Off The Record podcast, it was revealed that Google’s rendering system now pretends to be “idle” to trigger certain JavaScript events and improve webpage rendering.

The podcast features Zoe Clifford from Google’s rendering team, who discussed how the company’s web crawlers deal with JavaScript-based sites.

This revelation is insightful for web developers who use such methods to defer content loading.

Google’s “Idle” Trick

Googlebot simulates “idle” states during rendering, which triggers JavaScript events like requestIdleCallback.

Developers use this function to defer loading less critical content until the browser is free from other tasks.

Before this change, Google’s rendering process was so efficient that the browser was always active, causing some websites to fail to load important content.

Clifford explained:

“There was a certain popular video website which I won’t name…which deferred loading any of the page contents until after requestIdleCallback was fired.”

Since the browser was never idle, this event wouldn’t fire, preventing much of the page from loading properly.

Faking Idle Time To Improve Rendering

Google implemented a system where the browser pretends to be idle periodically, even when it’s busy rendering pages.

This tweak ensures that idle callbacks are triggered correctly, allowing pages to fully load their content for indexing.

Importance Of Error Handling

Clifford emphasized the importance of developers implementing graceful error handling in their JavaScript code.

Unhandled errors can lead to blank pages, redirects, or missing content, negatively impacting indexing.

She advised:

“If there is an error, I just try and handle it as gracefully as possible…web development is hard stuff.”

What Does This Mean?

Implications For Web Developers

  • Graceful Error Handling: Implementing graceful error handling ensures pages load as intended, even if certain code elements fail.
  • Cautious Use of Idle Callbacks: While Google has adapted to handle idle callbacks, be wary of over-relying on these functions.

Implications For SEO Professionals

  • Monitoring & Testing: Implement regular website monitoring and testing to identify rendering issues that may impact search visibility.
  • Developer Collaboration: Collaborate with your development team to create user-friendly and search engine-friendly websites.
  • Continuous Learning: Stay updated with the latest developments and best practices in how search engines handle JavaScript, render web pages, and evaluate content.

See also: Google Renders All Pages For Search, Including JavaScript-Heavy Sites

Other Rendering-Related Topics Discussed

The discussion also touched on other rendering-related topics, such as the challenges posed by user agent detection and the handling of JavaScript redirects.

The whole podcast provides valuable insights into web rendering and the steps Google takes to assess pages accurately.

See also: Google Renders All Pages For Search, Including JavaScript-Heavy Sites


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Google’s Indifference To Site Publishers Explained

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Google inadvertently reveals reasons that explain their seeming indifference to publishers hurt by algorithm updates

A publisher named Brandon Saltalamacchia interviewed Google’s SearchLiaison in which he offered hope that quality sites hit by Google’s algorithms may soon see their traffic levels bounce back. But that interview and a recent Google podcast reveal deeper issues that may explain why Google seems indifferent to publishers with every update.

Google Search Relations

Google has a team whose job is to communicate how site owners can do well on Google. So it’s not that Googlers themselves are indifferent to site publishers and creatives. Google provides a lot of feedback to publishers, especially through Google Search Console. The area in which Google is indifferent to publishers is directly in search at its most fundamental level.

Google’s algorithms are built on the premise that it has to provide a good user experience and is internally evaluated to that standard. This creates the situation where from Google’s perspective the algorithm is working the way it should. But from the perspective of website publishers Google’s ranking algorithms are failing. Putting a finger on why that’s happening is what this article is about.

Publishers Are Not Even An Afterthought To Google

The interview by Brandon Saltalamacchia comes against the background of many websites having lost traffic due to Google’s recent algorithm updates. From Google’s point of view their algorithms are working fine for users. But the steady feedback from website publishers is no, it’s not working. Google’s response for the past month is that they’re investigating how to improve.

What all of this reveals is that there is a real disconnect between how Google measures how their algorithms are working and how website publishers experience it in the real world. It may surprise most people to learn that that this disconnect begins with Google’s mission statement to make information “universally accessible and useful”  and ends with the rollout of an algorithm that is tested for metrics that take into account how users experience it but is 100% blind to how publishers experience it.

Some of the complaints about Google’s algorithms:

  • Ranking algorithms for reviews, travel and other topics are favoring big brands over smaller publishers.
  • Google’s decision to firehose traffic at Reddit contributes to the dismantling of the website publishing ecosystem.
  • AI Overviews summarizes web pages and deprives websites of search traffic.

The stated goal for Google’s algorithm decisions is to increase user satisfaction but the problem with that approach is that website publishers are left out of that equation.  Consider this: Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines says nothing about checking if big brands are dominating the search results. Zero.

Website publishers aren’t even an afterthought for Google. Publishers are not not considered at any stage of the creation, testing and rollout of ranking algorithms.

Google Historically Doesn’t Focus On Publishers

A remark by Gary Illyes in a recent Search Off The Record indicated that in Gary’s opinion Google is all about the user experience because if search is good for the user then that’ll trickle down to the publishers and will be good for them too.

In the context of Gary explaining whether Google will announce that something is broken in search, Gary emphasized that search relations is focused on the search users and not the publishers who may be suffering from whatever is broken.

John Mueller asked:

“So, is the focus more on what users would see or what site owners would see? Because, as a Search Relations team, we would focus more on site owners. But it sounds like you’re saying, for these issues, we would look at what users would experience.”

Gary Illyes answered:

“So it’s Search Relations, not Site Owners Relations, from Search perspective.”

Google’s Indifference To Publishers

Google’s focus on satisfying search users can in practice turn into indifference toward publishers.  If you read all the Google patents and research papers related to information retrieval (search technology) the one thing that becomes apparent is that the measure of success is always about the users. The impact to site publishers are consistently ignored. That’s why Google Search is perceived as indifferent to site publishers, because publishers have never been a part of the search satisfaction equation.

This is something that publishers and Google may not have wrapped their minds around just yet.

Later on, in the Search Off The Record  podcast, the Googlers specifically discuss how an update is deemed to be working well regardless if a (relatively) small amount of publishers are complaining that Google Search is broken, because what matters is if Google perceives that they are doing the right thing from Google’s perspective.

John said:

“…Sometimes we get feedback after big ranking updates, like core updates, where people are like, “Oh, everything is broken.”

At the 12:06 minute mark of the podcast Gary made light of that kind of feedback:

“Do we? We get feedback like that?”

Mueller responded:

“Well, yeah.”

Then Mueller completed his thought:

“I feel bad for them. I kind of understand that. I think those are the kind of situations where we would look at the examples and be like, “Oh, I see some sites are unhappy with this, but overall we’re doing the right thing from our perspective.”

And Gary responded:

“Right.”

And John asks:

“And then we wouldn’t see it as an issue, right?”

Gary affirmed that Google wouldn’t see it as an issue if a legit publisher loses traffic when overall the algorithm is working as they feel it should.

“Yeah.”

It is precisely that shrugging indifference that a website publisher, Brandon Saltalamacchia, is concerned about and discussed with SearchLiaison in a recent blog post.

Lots of Questions

SearchLiaison asked many questions about how Google could better support content creators, which is notable because Google has a long history of focusing on their user experience but seemingly not also considering what the impact on businesses with an online presence.

That’s a good sign from SearchLiaison but not entirely a surprise because unlike most Googlers, SearchLiaison (aka Danny Sullivan) has decades of experience as a publisher so he knows what it’s like on our side of the search box.

It will be interesting if SearchLiaison’s concern for publishers makes it back to Google in a more profound way so that there’s a better understanding that the Search Ecosystem is greater than Google’s users and encompasses website publishers, too. Algorithm updates should be about more than how they impact users, the updates should also be about how they impact publishers.

Hope For Sites That Lost Traffic

Perhaps the most important news from the interview is that SearchLiaison expressed that there may be changes coming over the next few months that will benefit the publishers who have lost rankings over the past few months of updates.

Brandon wrote:

“One main take away from my conversation with Danny is that he did say to hang on, to keep doing what we are doing and that he’s hopeful that those of us building great websites will see some signs of recovery over the coming months.”

Yet despite those promises from Danny, Brandon didn’t come away with hope.

Brandon wrote:

“I got the sense things won’t change fast, nor anytime soon. “

Read the entire interview:

A Brief Meeting With Google After The Apocalypse

Listen to the Search Off The Record Podcast

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20 Confirmed Facts About YouTube’s Algorithm

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20 Confirmed Facts About YouTube's Algorithm

Instead of counting the number of clicks or views a video gets, YouTube’s algorithms focus on ensuring viewers are happy with what they watch.

This article examines how YouTube’s algorithms work to help users find videos they like and keep them watching for longer.

We’ll explain how YouTube selects videos for different parts of its site, such as the home page and the “up next” suggestions.

We’ll also discuss what makes some videos appear more than others and how YouTube matches videos to each person’s interests.

By breaking this down, we hope to help marketers and YouTubers understand how to work better with YouTube’s system.

A summary of all facts is listed at the end.

Prioritizing Viewer Satisfaction

Early on, YouTube ranked videos based on watch time data, assuming longer view durations correlated with audience satisfaction.

However, they realized that total watch time alone was an incomplete measure, as viewers could still be left unsatisfied.

So, beginning in the early 2010s, YouTube prioritized viewer satisfaction metrics for ranking content across the site.

The algorithms consider signals like:

  • Survey responses directly asking viewers about their satisfaction with recommended videos.
  • Clicks on the “like,” “dislike,” or “not interested” buttons which indicate satisfaction.
  • Overall audience retention metrics like the percentage of videos viewed.
  • User behavior metrics, including what users have watched before (watch history) and what they watch after a video (watch next).

The recommendation algorithms continuously learn from user behavior patterns and explicit satisfaction inputs to identify the best videos to recommend.

How Videos Rank On The Homepage

The YouTube homepage curates and ranks a selection of videos a viewer will most likely watch.

The ranking factors include:

Performance Data

This covers metrics like click-through rates from impressions and average view duration. When shown on its homepages, YouTube uses these traditional viewer behavioral signals to gauge how compelling a video is for other viewers.

Personalized Relevance

Besides performance data, YouTube relies heavily on personalized relevance to customize the homepage feed for each viewer’s unique interests. This personalization is based on insights from their viewing history, subscriptions, and engagement patterns with specific topics or creators.

How YouTube Ranks Suggested Video Recommendations

The suggested videos column is designed to keep viewers engaged by identifying other videos relevant to what they’re currently watching and aligned with their interests.

The ranking factors include:

Video Co-Viewing

YouTube analyzes viewing patterns to understand which videos are frequently watched together or sequentially by the same audience segments. This allows them to recommend related content the viewer will likely watch next.

Topic/Category Matching

The algorithm looks for videos covering topics or categories similar to the video being watched currently to provide tightly relevant suggestions.

Personal Watch History

A viewer’s viewing patterns and history are a strong signal for suggesting videos they’ll likely want to watch again.

Channel Subscriptions

Videos from channels that viewers frequently watch and engage with are prioritized as suggestions to keep them connected to favored creators.

External Ranking Variables

YouTube has acknowledged the following external variables can impact video performance:

  • The overall popularity and competition level for different topics and content categories.
  • Shifting viewer behavior patterns and interest trends in what content they consume.
  • Seasonal effects can influence what types of videos people watch during different times of the year.

Being a small or emerging creator can also be a positive factor, as YouTube tries to get them discovered through recommendations.

The company says it closely monitors success rates for new creators and is working on further advancements like:

  • Leveraging advanced AI language models to better understand content topics and viewer interests.
  • Optimizing the discovery experience with improved layouts and content pathways to reduce “choice paralysis.”

Strategies For Creators

With viewer satisfaction as the overarching goal, this is how creators can maximize the potential of having their videos recommended:

  • Focus on creating content that drives high viewer satisfaction through strong audience retention, positive survey responses, likes/engagement, and low abandon rates.
  • Develop consistent series or sequel videos to increase chances of being suggested for related/sequence views.
  • Utilize playlists, end screens, and linked video prompts to connect your content for extended viewing sessions.
  • Explore creating content in newer formats, such as Shorts, live streams, or podcasts, that may align with changing viewer interests.
  • Monitor performance overall, specifically from your existing subscriber base as a baseline.
  • Don’t get discouraged by initial metrics. YouTube allows videos to continuously find relevant audience segments over time.
  • Pay attention to seasonality trends, competition, and evolving viewer interests, which can all impact recommendations.

In Summary – 20 Key Facts About YouTube’s Algorithm

  1. YouTube has multiple algorithms for different sections (homepage, suggested videos, search, etc.).
  2. The recommendation system powers the homepage and suggested video sections.
  3. The system pulls in videos that are relevant for each viewer.
  4. Maximizing viewer satisfaction is the top priority for rankings.
  5. YouTube uses survey responses, likes, dislikes, and “not interested” clicks to measure satisfaction.
  6. High audience retention percentages signal positive satisfaction.
  7. Homepage rankings combine performance data and personalized relevance.
  8. Performance is based on click-through rates and average view duration.
  9. Personalized relevance factors include watch history, interests, and subscriptions.
  10. Suggested videos prioritize content that is co-viewed by the same audiences.
  11. Videos from subscribed channels are prioritized for suggestions.
  12. Consistent series and sequential videos increase suggestions for related viewing.
  13. Playlists, end screens, and linked videos can extend viewing sessions.
  14. Creating engaging, satisfying content is the core strategy for recommendations.
  15. External factors like competition, trends, and seasonality impact recommendations.
  16. YouTube aims to help new/smaller creators get discovered through recommendations.
  17. AI language models are improving content understanding and personalization.
  18. YouTube optimizes the discovery experience to reduce “choice paralysis.”
  19. Videos can find audiences over time, even if initial metrics are discouraging.
  20. The algorithm focuses on delivering long-term, satisfying experiences for viewer retention.

Insight From Industry Experts

While putting together this article, I reached out to industry experts to ask about their take on YouTube’s algorithms and what’s currently working for them.

Greg Jarboe, the president and co-founder of SEO-PR and author of YouTube and Video Marketing, says:

“The goals of YouTube’s search and discovery system are twofold: to help viewers find the videos they want to watch, and to maximize long-term viewer engagement and satisfaction. So, to optimize your videos for discovery, you should write optimized titles, tags, and descriptions. This has been true since July 2011, when the YouTube Creator Playbook became available to the public for the first time.

However, YouTube changed its algorithm in October 2012 – replacing ‘view count’ with ‘watch time.’ That’s why you need to go beyond optimizing your video’s metadata. You also need to keep viewers watching with a variety of techniques. For starters, you need to create a compelling opening to your videos and then use effective editing techniques to maintain and build interest through the video.

There are other ranking factors, of course, but these are the two most important ones. I’ve used these video SEO best practices to help the Travel Magazine channel increase from just 1,510 to 8.7 million views. And these video SEO techniques help the SonoSite channel grow from 99,529 views to 22.7 million views.

The biggest recent trend is the advent of YouTube Shorts, which is discoverable on the YouTube homepage (in the new Shorts shelf), as well as across other parts of the app. For more details, read “Can YouTube Shorts Be Monetized? Spoiler Alert: Some Already Are!

Brie E. Anderson, an SEO and digital marketing consultant, says:

“In my experience, there are a few things that are really critical when it comes to optimizing for YouTube, most of which won’t be much of a surprise. The first is obviously the keyword you choose to target. It’s really hard to beat out really large and high authority channels, much like it is on Google. That being said, using tools like TubeBuddy can help you get a sense of the keywords you can compete for.

Another big thing is focusing on the SERP for YouTube Search. Your thumbnail has to be attention-grabbing – this is honestly what we test the most and one of the most impactful tests we run. More times than not, you’re looking at a large face, and max four words. But the amount of contrast happening in the thumbnail and how well it explains the topic of the video is the main concern.

Also, adding the ‘chapters’ timestamps can be really helpful. YouTube actually shows these in the SERP, as mentioned in this article.

Lastly, providing your own .srt file with captions can really help YouTube understand what your video is about.

Aside from actual on-video optimizations, I usually encourage people to write blog posts and embed their videos or, at the very least, link to them. This just helps with indexing and building some authority. It also increases the chance that the video will help YOUR SITE rank (as opposed to YouTube).”

Sources: YouTube’s Creator Insider Channel (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), How YouTube Works

More resources: 


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