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Algorithms: What They Are and Why They Matter

Every few years, a familiar headline resurfaces in the digital landscape:

"Social Media Shakeup: Influencers Caught in the Crossfire of Algorithm Overhaul!"

Despite the pessimistic tone these articles adopt, abrupt shifts in social media and search engine algorithms are often attempts to address crucial issues—or at least to create the illusion of such efforts. Yet, regardless of the motivations behind these algorithmic alterations, the enigmatic nature of "the algorithm" itself remains a puzzle for the majority of internet users, despite its profound impact on nearly every facet of their online lives.

To navigate this peculiar and ever-evolving feature as a video marketer, a comprehensive understanding of algorithms is paramount. Let's delve into the intricacies of web algorithms—what they are, how they function, their origins, and the future trajectory they might take.

Decoding Algorithms:

In layman's terms, algorithms dictate how websites, such as social media platforms and search engines, curate content for users. When we refer to "algorithm" here, we mean a set of instructions employed to retrieve information stored within a data structure.

For example, when you search "chimpanzee" on Google, an algorithm orchestrates the steps behind the scenes to determine that a specific image of a chimp best matches your query, followed by subsequent images. An "algorithm update" modifies the steps in this process, consequently altering the order and composition of prioritized results.

This fundamental process elucidates algorithms governing Google search results, the sequence of content on your Instagram feed, and the "recommended" videos that captivate you on YouTube.

Evolution of Algorithms:

A brief historical excursion is necessary to grasp the role of algorithms in the contemporary world. In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee inaugurated the world's first website from a Swiss Alps laboratory. As the internet burgeoned, the need for structure and accessibility became apparent, leading to the emergence of search engines.

Search engine optimization (SEO) initially emerged as an economically driven pursuit to manipulate early algorithms. and Google, born in 1994 and 1997 respectively, triumphed by sorting websites based on quality, circumventing black hat techniques. Their dedication to refining algorithms contributed to the rise of an open, democratic internet.

Building and Updating Algorithms:

Social media platforms, such as Facebook, grapple with distinct algorithmic challenges compared to search engines. Mark Zuckerberg's strategic algorithm changes prioritize content from friends and family, impacting businesses and brands. However, every algorithmic shift unveils new opportunities.

For video marketers, algorithmic changes can favor video content. Crafting content encouraging repeat viewing and aligning with viewer habits becomes crucial. To combat clickbait, social platforms deprioritize pages that merely share content, placing value on consistent video creation. Mobile-first indexing is another significant change, emphasizing the need for mobile-optimized video content.

Future of Algorithms:

As major tech platforms expand and integrate, understanding their algorithms becomes more crucial for video marketers. Maintaining a robust brand presence across diverse channels is imperative amidst ongoing algorithmic changes.

Staying current may seem daunting, given that Google routinely tweaks its algorithm 500-600 times annually. Therefore, creating relevant, high-quality video content is essential to ensure your brand benefits from algorithmic updates. Diversifying and optimizing video content is the key to making algorithms work in your favor and maintaining a deservedly high brand ranking.

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