How the YouTube Shorts Algorithm Actually Works in 2023

How the YouTube Shorts Algorithm Actually Works in 2023

How does YouTube Shorts extend its greeting? It employs the YouTube Shorts algorithm for a warm welcome instead of a microwave joke.

When delving into the realm of social media, various theories abound regarding the manipulation of algorithms across different platforms. Within this article, we will metaphorically downsize and immerse ourselves in the miniature universe of the YouTube Shorts algorithm.

Within the contents of this blog, inquiries such as “What constitutes the YouTube Shorts algorithm?”, “What mechanisms underlie the functionality of the YouTube Shorts algorithm?”, and even the whimsical “Could donning YouTube shorts enhance your next barbecue experience?” (affirmative) will all be addressed.

What is the YouTube Shorts algorithm?

Previously, we delved into the mechanics of the overall YouTube algorithm. However, our focus was specifically on YouTube videos that lack time constraints, commonly referred to as YouTube Longs.

Shorts, on the other hand, encompass brief videos lasting a maximum of 60 seconds, and they adhere to a similar yet distinct algorithmic approach.

The YouTube Shorts algorithm pertains to the underlying procedures or criteria employed by YouTube to establish the Shorts content visible to viewers within their feed.

What is the YouTube Shorts algorithm?

To delve even further into the details: An algorithm essentially constitutes a set of coded instructions within a platform, dictating the operational principles of that platform. In the case of YouTube, this implies that the algorithm (potentially encompassing multiple algorithms) determines the selection of videos presented to users.

If you’re still seeking clarity regarding the nature and mechanics of YouTube Shorts, you can rely on us for comprehensive information.

How does the Shorts algorithm work in 2023?

As of 2023, the functioning of the YouTube Shorts algorithm relies on cues such as user actions and video subjects to anticipate the type of videos that align with user preferences.

Hence, allowing your pre-teen son access to your YouTube account might not be advisable (unless you have a fondness for Bey Blade tournaments and remarkable mishaps).

For content producers on YouTube, having a comprehensive grasp of the signals harnessed by the platform enhances the ability to tailor content to the intended audience, essentially presenting it on a meticulously tuned algorithmic platter.

The subsequent section highlights five key signals that warrant consideration while generating content destined for the Shorts feed.

Viewed vs. swiped away

The metric of viewed versus swiped away presents a straightforward method for evaluating the level of audience engagement with your content.

This metric essentially measures the proportion of instances where viewers opt to watch your Shorts rather than dismissing them with a swipe. It functions as an early warning sign, offering insights into whether your video resonated successfully with your audience or simply resulted in a less favorable response.

The YouTube Shorts algorithm employs this particular metric as an indicator of the extent to which your audience finds enjoyment in your video content.

Watch history

Do YouTube Shorts reflect your viewing preferences? In brief (notice the pun?), absolutely.

The selection of Shorts a user encounters heavily relies on their viewing history. YouTube’s intention is to encourage you to stay engaged with video content on their platform, thus they provide a consistent stream of videos they anticipate will appeal to you.

The takeaway: Apart from intruding into individuals’ residences and indulging in a marathon of your own videos on their laptops, there’s minimal control you possess over altering someone else’s viewing history. Therefore, continue crafting content that you believe will captivate your audience.

Similar content

YouTube Shorts delivers content akin to what users have previously engaged with. Hence, just as a user’s viewing history is influential, content resembling videos that have appealed to other viewers also holds significance.

The takeaway: It’s wise to observe the strategies of successful competitors, given that YouTube is likely to present their content to your audience and reciprocally.


instance, if your channel revolves around Dungeons & Dragons, and a close competitor covers all tabletop role-playing games, it’s not necessary to alter your approach in order to compete directly with them.

While your audiences might share some common ground, abrupt discussions about Tunnels & Trolls could distance your dedicated followers. They follow you due to the unique content you produce, so it’s important to stay aligned with your established theme.

Nonetheless, you’re not obligated to churn out the same exhausted content day in and day out. Experiment with producing content that’s timely, rooted in ongoing trends, events, or theories.

The takeaway:  When you discover a successful approach, avoid veering too far from your niche. Stay attuned to trends within your industry and the preferences of your audience.


Engagement covers a wide range of metrics, encompassing watch times, likes, comments, and shares. The algorithm places a premium on stronger engagement for your extended YouTube videos.

Nevertheless, the situation is less clear when it comes to Shorts. While engagement remains beneficial for your channel’s overall performance, the Shorts algorithm prioritizes factors like Viewed vs. Swiped Away, content similarity, and viewing history.

Her primary focus, instead, lies in the number of Shorts viewers who return to the channel. YouTube provides the “Videos growing your audience” section in its Audience Analytics, enabling you to identify which Shorts (or longer videos) attract viewers interested in continuing to consume your content.

the first 7 days video performance in youtube analytics shows a scatterplot of video performance

Let’s be honest. While comments, likes, and subscribers provide a boost to one’s ego, the key to your channel’s success is a consistent audience return rate.

Therefore, if your Shorts fall short in terms of engagement rate but manage to draw viewers back for more, there’s no need to worry. The smaller metrics are fulfilling their role.

The takeaway: While likes and comments are certainly valuable, place greater emphasis on whether your Shorts are converting into subscribers.

How to optimize your content for Shorts

The fundamental aspect to keep in mind while crafting content for the algorithm? Avoid crafting content solely for the algorithm. The algorithm’s purpose is to enhance the experience of YouTube users. Develop Shorts while prioritizing your audience.

Below, you’ll find 12 strategies to enhance your approach to Shorts content creation, allowing for more efficient and effective work.

optimize Youtube Short

Be picky with your call-to-actions (CTAs)

When positioned appropriately, CTAs wield significant influence. They possess the ability to prompt users to engage with your intentions from a distance. Nevertheless, if utilized inaccurately, they can actively impede your overarching strategy.

“You should avoid overshadowing the content,” Buildmyplays emphasizes. “If the Short functions as an advertisement, then certainly, a CTA would seamlessly integrate. However, if your objective revolves around providing entertainment, a CTA might come across as bothersome to your audience.”

Maintaining the principle of relevance is crucial. Your Shorts viewers are likely seeking a swift burst of entertaining content. They might not be receptive to a sales pitch at that very moment. Thus, cater to their desires and observe the surge in subscriptions!

Be entertaining

More easily spoken than executed, crafting captivating content is the key to capturing and retaining your audience’s interest. Subsequently, you’ll witness the ascent of the “viewed vs. swiped away” percentage.

At this juncture, you might be pondering how to enhance your content for maximum entertainment value. If you’ve detected a surge in views for a specific video, consider producing content in a similar vein. Continue to explore and experiment to pinpoint precisely what captivates your audience.

Jump on YouTube trends

Employing popular YouTube music becomes a straightforward offering to the algorithmic forces.

Consider managing your Shorts similarly to how you handle your TikTok content. “A Short can amass thousands of views more easily when coupled with a trending song,” she suggests. Yet, it’s essential to bear in mind that audio trends might not align across all platforms. A certain sound could be a sensation on TikTok but relatively obscure within the realm of YouTube Shorts.

To discern the current trends on YouTube, click on the Add sound button while creating a Short. The Top sounds section will showcase well-liked songs and the quantity of Shorts that have featured them.


You won’t gain clarity unless you give it a shot. Venture into the realm of experimentation by exploring diverse content forms, be it music, voice-overs, or direct narration. Vary the duration of your Shorts as well. Are your viewers more inclined toward brief Shorts or longer ones (often referred to as “pants”)?


In case you come across a single Short that garners an overwhelming number of views, consider revisiting the approach you adopted. Attempt to deconstruct it to pinpoint that unique element that contributed to its success.

Do your keyword research

Were you aware that YouTube extracts your script, transcribes it, and scours for keywords?

Leverage your Short as a chance to incorporate the keywords you’ve identified during your research. Yet, exercise caution to avoid overloading your Short with superfluous keywords.

“If you’re inclined to delve into SEO and enhance the timelessness of your Shorts, select a single keyword to focus on. Then, set a reminder to track how much traffic originates from YouTube search rather than the Shorts feed.”

Review your Shorts’ performance

Analytics serve as your prophetic tool, your clairvoyant guide, akin to reading bones under moonlit skies. They empower you to foresee the future, sans the need for enchantments.

When a Short achieves success, it’s a safe bet that something akin will resonate similarly. Conversely, the same principle applies to Shorts that fall short. It’s not an infallible art; occasionally, duplicating success proves elusive. However, you can meticulously monitor your metrics and seek out recurring patterns. Subsequently, extract the precise message those patterns endeavor to convey.

Find your best time to publish

Views tend to surge within the initial hours of publication. Understanding your viewers’ active hours on YouTube and strategically releasing Shorts during those periods can significantly enhance the visibility of your content.

Buildmyplays acknowledges that “YouTube asserts that posting time isn’t crucial. However, while this might hold true for longer videos, we remain somewhat skeptical about its validity for Shorts.”

Observations have revealed rapid spikes in views, prompting the team to experiment with diverse posting schedules. Initial outcomes demonstrate that the timing of posting indeed exerts a substantial influence on a Short’s performance.

Utilizing the “When your viewers are on YouTube” insights available in the Audience analytics section, Buildmyplays determines optimal times for posting,.

FAQs about the YouTube Shorts algorithm

Is there an algorithm for YouTube Shorts?

Does YouTube Shorts possess its distinct algorithm? Absolutely! It bears similarities to the overarching YouTube algorithm, yet it maintains distinct characteristics.

Should you make a separate channel for Shorts?

Retaining your Shorts within your primary channel provides your audience with a centralized hub for your brand’s video content. However, if your Short viewership significantly diverges from your regular channel audience, contemplating a segregation could be worth your while. To put it succinctly, the decision hinges on the circumstances at hand.

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