2016 Youtube Algorithm Change: Some Thoughts

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The end of 2016 was a bit… tumultuous on the Youtube front, with big youtubers such as PewDiePie threatening to delete his channel when he hit 50 million subs (spoiler alert: he didn’t), complaining about the Youtube unsub glitch and the recent Youtube Algorithm change. Other big creators jumped on the bandwagon, publishing videos about how this Youtube Algorithm change is affecting their views and subscribers, citing an approximate 30%-60% loss in views.

Even after scouring the internet for various sources about this supposed youtube algorithm change, I couldn’t find official confirmation from Youtube that there was, in fact, a change. All I found was this vague update from Youtube from December 5th that more or less denied that there was an algorithm change. I then looked to youtube and various creator videos on what they thought was happening. The responses varied, most agreed that there was an algorithm change, and some creators were more positive about the change than others. Analytics don’t lie, and I do believe that creators such as PieDiePie are experiencing the decrease in views. However, Roberto Blake, in his video explaining the Youtube Algorithm changes, cited that his views had increased, almost doubled.

So, why is that? Here are some of my own thoughts after my internet search and watching/listening to videos from both sides of the “story,” as well as how creators (especially small creators like me) can potentially benefit from this change.

SEO: Title, Tag, Description

Most big youtubers fail to optimize SEO. For example, in one of PieDiePie’s recent videos, titled “Started a Fire in the Building! (Experiment Gone Wrong)“, there were only a handful of relevant tags, none of which really allow me to tell you what the video is about without having first watched it (in case you are wondering where I got this list of tags, it is a chrome extension called VidIQ that allows me to see what tags creators are using for each video):

youtube algorithm change 2016

The numbers next to the tags “pewdiepie” and “pewdie” indicate the order that this video will show up in if those terms were typed into the Youtube search bar. While ranking 1st in the searches for two of the terms is good, there are much better ways to optimize the video tags feature on Youtube.

So, what exactly is PewDiePie doing wrong? Here are just two things:

  • Failure to take advantage of the tag feature to the max–Youtube will allow you to type in 500 characters total for tags. That’s a measly 80 characters up there.
  • Using one to two word long tags instead of actual search terms. Three to four word long tags are the best, and these tags should be terms that people type into the search bar. For example, “hot glowing knife experiment,” or even, “experiments gone wrong” might actually rank higher in Youtube search than “glowing knife” alone or “experiment” alone. These tags should give me an idea of what I’m watching before I even start watching it.

Those are the two things I could see right off the bat. If you’re interested in seeing more on how to optimize your SEO, check out Roberto Blake’s video on Youtube tags and getting more views–he is very knowledgable in SEO and is practically an expert.

This “lack of tagging well” is prevalent amongst big Youtubers (especially those with more than a million subscribers)–they often use one word tags and just their username. As several of the videos I’ve watched mentioned, this Youtube Algorithm change favored videos that are tagged right–the thing is, a platform like Youtube should accurately videos to viewers based on their interests. If videos are tagged right, they have a higher chance of getting discovered by viewers because, for example, if I had searched “how to set up recording studio,” and watched a video from that search, I would subsequently be suggested videos with similar tags such as “setting up recording studio” or “recording studio set up.” Videos tagged with a random username or simply “studio” or “recording” will be less likely to be shown to me.

Another thing big creators fail to do well is optimizing their descriptions–many only put their social media links. These have a very similar impact to tags, and I now am starting to put blog-style posts (albeit, they are shorter) in my description boxes, filling it with relevant and quality information for my viewers, but making sure to repeat the “key phases” several times within. Going back to the recording studio set up example, I might have a few paragraphs in the description going along the lines of, “Hey guys, today I will be showing you guys how to set up my home recording studio. Recording studios can be pricey, but they really don’t have to be! // For my recording studio setup, I use a mxl 770 condenser mic…..” etc. Again, I highly recommend looking at Roberto Blake’s video on optimizing SEO for your youtube channel. Since starting to do it a few weeks ago, I’ve seen a dramatic increase in the views of some of my popular videos, including my college admissions story and my recording studio set up videos. The latter is still growing in views by about a hundred a day–and I am not a big channel by any means, I have less than 1000 subscribers.

Times Change…

and so does audience preferences. As Tim from Video Creator mentioned in his video, audiences get bored… if you’re doing something that you’ve been doing since 2009, then it may be time to change some of that. Also, it’s never too late to reinvent yourself or your brand. Audiences might not go for 180-degree, completely drastic changes, but they do want a little something different every once in a while. So experiment… algorithm change or not, this is still what you should be doing. Keep your audience on their toes and release new and exciting content. Casey Neistat, a wildly successful vlogger, quit vlogging because he felt creatively bored and wanted to do something different. He changed up his content before his channel could ever start declining… and his channel seems unaffected by the Youtube algorithm change–they’re still garnering millions and millions of views, some doing even better than pre-Algorithm-change videos from two months ago:

View counts

Combatting the Youtube Algorithm Change

From my research and my own experiences so far, I’m unconvinced that Youtube has made a drastic change to their algorithm. After all, it’s always easier to blame an external force that you have no control over rather than reflect in yourself and think about what you could improve upon. I DO believe that Youtube needs to be more transparent about the changes they make and communicate with their creators, both big and small, about improving the platform. But just in case that the Youtube Algorithm change is a thing that’s affecting you, here’s a couple things you can do (and always should do):

  • Reinvent yourself, your content. It may not work right away. In fact, if your experience ends up being anything like mine, you may even end up losing viewers–but fear not. You will get new ones.
  • Make sure your SEO is done correctly! There are so many resources out there that can help you achieve that. And having appropriate title, description, and tags is the best thing you can do to help your videos get discovered.

I hope this article is helpful. Leave your comments/thoughts down BELOW!

Interview with L.E. Fitzpatrick, Author of Border Lines

Here at Books and Tea I enjoy featuring other authors and books. As part of her new release blog tour, I got the chance to ask L.E. Fitzpatrick, author of Border Lines and the Reacher series, some questions. Be sure to check out the original blog tour post with an excerpt, book blurb, and giveaway right here on my blog!

L.E. Fitzpatrick

What are 10 Words to describe Border Lines?

Fast paced, high stake crime novel with a paranormal twist.

What was the hardest part to get through/most challenging part about writing Border Lines?

One of the most challenging parts of the story was the whodunit. One of the plots of Border Lines follows a serial killer, but who the killer is isn’t revealed until the final moments. I was hyper conscious that there had to be enough misdirection to keep the reveal a surprise, but it needed to weave logically into the plot too. The events of Border Lines affect the next book so everything had to sync smoothly.

How about the least challenging/your favorite?

Writing about London was, strangely one of the most fluid experiences. This of course isn’t regular London as we know it, but a protected city filled with the rich and privileged. On the surface it’s a beautiful, vibrant city, but underneath it’s superficial, greedy and paranoid. I didn’t do a lot of planning when it came to the setting, everything just fell naturally in place.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Read more. I was a keen reader as a kid, but I feel like I never read enough – and still don’t. When I was younger I was snobby about what I would read and what I wouldn’t and now I want to read everything. The head start would have been an advantage.

What is your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Starting off in the indie community I met a whole host of amazing authors. I couldn’t list them all here, but we collectively worked together on four compilations titled “Awethologies.” My personal favourite is Awthology Dark.

Finally… what do you want to tell your readers before they pick up your book?

Come for the adventure. Stay for the characters.


 

There you have it folks. Thanks so much to L.E. Fitzpatrick for answering my questions, and be sure to check out her book on Amazon and her new release post here on my blog.

** Are you an author or business and want to work with me on promoting your book or brand? Read about my policies and contact me here. **

[NEW RELEASE] Border Lines by L.E. Fitzpatrick (+ Giveaway!)

border lines

Synopsis

When the perfect job comes up, Charlie doesn’t think twice about taking it. This is the break he’s been looking for and nobody, not even the rest of his team, can persuade him otherwise. The job means working for an old enemy and crossing the border into London. Both are risky, but Charlie has no idea how high the stakes really are. The team will have to confront their past, each other and a killer who is closer than they realize. But can they all make it out of the city alive? “We all remember that kid in Piccadilly. That determined look he had on his face as he willed all those people to him. Just using his mind, he pulled them close then blew them all to pieces. It could be anyone. Your neighbour, your friend, your lover. Remain vigilant. Reachers are everywhere.”

Border Lines is the second book in L.E. Fitzpatrick’sReachers series.

Purchase on Amazon

Excerpt

Border Lines CoverLulu’s screamed out in neon pink over a shiny black door. The club sank to the depths of S’aven, dipping two floors underground into a sordid underworld. The building had sustained fire damage in the upper bedrooms, most of which were still under construction. But a few of the windows flashed glimmers of light and lewd exchanges in the four storeys above. It was a slender building, well kept despite the obvious burn marks and, with the other surrounding pubs and clubs barely able to keep panes in windows, Lulu’s was obviously the glamorous beauty spot in S’aven’s lust–filled smile.

A bouncer, as big as the doorway he was guarding, blocked their way. He was one of Riva’s, dressed in her patented body armour and logo. It was pretty clear she meant what she said about her not helping, the bouncer refused to move aside for them, despite Charlie’s protests – Rachel was wearing trainers and unless she took them off they weren’t getting in. Rachel reached out and touched the bouncer’s arm – a subtle gesture with enough power behind it to force a man three times her size to step aside and not think twice about it. She loved being able to use her powers like that, especially when she could show off in front of Charlie.

Inside Lulu’s the theme was animal print. The patches, stripes and patterns made Rachel dizzy, but the rest of the punters were too drunk to care that their drinking hovel looked like the inside of Doctor Dolittle’s nightmares. And who else but Rachel would be focusing on the decor when mostly naked men and woman tottered around with drink trays and smiles promising a thousand sins? Her eyes focused on a set of abs as it manoeuvred around the tables until Charlie nudged her impatiently.

“Focus,” he hissed.

About the Author

L E Fitzpatrick was born in Hull, East Yorkshire, but now lives in West Wales, with her family plus lots of dogs and cats. She manages an office, volunteers as a room steward for the National Trust and also supports independent authors as a proofreader and beta reader. She obviously has no spare time because of this, but if she did it would probably be invested in walking in the countryside and enjoying the peace and quiet.

L E Fitzpatrick published her first series Dark Waters in 2011 and is currently working on her Reacher series.

Giveaway

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Books and Tea is not responsible for the prizes in this giveaway; that is the sole responsibility of the author and the EyesOnBooks book promotion company.

[REVIEW] Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

orphan-train-book-coverSynopsis

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

Review

I enjoyed the historical portion (Vivian’s point of view) much, much more than Molly’s. I thought Vivian was a much more well-rounded, developed, and likable character. While I understand Molly’s struggles/conflicts, I feel like the author could’ve done more to make her more likable. For me, she just felt cliched and perhaps even a little bit whiney (that is not to say I don’t acknowledge her hardships, I just feel that the author could have written Molly in a way that evokes more sympathy)–the goth look and hard exterior that hides and inner softie due to her tumultuous past just felt a little too old.

There was a hint of cliche to Vivian’s storyline as well–without “spoiling” it (though I’m sure it’s not much of a spoiler anyway since you will probably be able to tell for yourself if you do read this book), I knew who Vivian was going to eventually marry extremely early on in the book. While I’m not a huge fan of cliches there are certainly people who are, and at the end of the day it didn’t really make or break the book.

As I have mentioned, my favorite part of the book was the historical portion; to me it’s extremely well crafted and there really wasn’t a moment where I was bored with the author’s description of what Vivian was going through. Vivian was an easy character to stick with and root for and I was definitely fascinated and enraptured in her story. Molly’s was a bit more disappointing/not as interesting, but thankfully it was only a minor part of the book. In my opinion, the book would have been even better if Molly’s portion had been omitted completely.

Overall, a solid four out of five stars for the book. A good storyline, but could be made better, of course, by omitting a somewhat unnecessary element.

Purchase the book

How I Set Up My 2017 Bullet Journal

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Hello everyone! This year I’ve decided to take up bullet journaling–it’s something I’ve been eyeing for a long time (hello, getting organized! hello, beautiful notebooks!) and wanting to get into, and the new semester is as good of a time as any (since I finished my moleskine planner in 2016). So far, it’s been a fun (and a little creative!) process. I try to keep my journal minimal–clean and professional–but of course the ideas are endless! Washis, stickers, the list goes on and on.

I want to show you guys how a newbie (me!) set up her first bullet journal. Already made some mistakes (for example some of the pages are… heh, out of order), but that’s all part of the fun and I figured if I was too careful with it, this process would seem daunting and chore-like rather than something I enjoy doing daily. So here we go: how I set up my 2017 bullet journal! (more…)