According to Searchmetrics, YouTube.com was the biggest winner of the recent Google Panda Update, dubbed Panda 2.5. Supposedly, this means the “SEO visibility of the domain” improved 10% on Sept. 28, 2011.
But, before you do anything, you might want to take a look at the Discovery feature in YouTube Insight, which helps you understand how people discovered your videos. When I looked at one client’s data over the weekend, I found that views from Google search had dropped from an average of 419 in September to 308 in October.
The Latest Google Panda Update & YouTube Rankings
So, if a rising tide lifts all boats, then why is my dinghy sinking?
According to Searchmetrics, “Google thought that Panda 2.5 was a bit too much,” and rolled back large portions of the update a week later. Oh, and then “Panda Flux” continued for another week.
Then, on Nov. 3, 2011, Google rolled out a “freshness update” that impacted 35% of queries. And according to Searchmetrics, the SEO visibility of YouTube.com jumped 27%.
But, when I looked the Discovery feature in YouTube Insight, I saw a drop in views from Google Search from Nov. 2 to Nov. 3. On the other hand, views from Google search did bounce back up on Nov. 4. However, I haven’t uploaded a new video to that channel since Sept. 20.
In other words, trying to declare the winners and losers of Google updates based on week to week data on SEO visibility is as bogus as trying to predict next year’s top news stories based on last week’s top news stories.
What Searchmetrics doesn’t take into account are the variations in actual YouTube rankings in Google universal search results that are created by new videos that are uploaded every week. If you want to see how rapidly this changes, check out YouTube Trends early and often.
For example, one of the latest trending topics is “The Hobbit Production Video.” And driving this trending topic is “The Hobbit Behind-the-Scenes Production Video Blog #4 ,” which was uploaded on Nov. 3, 2011.
So, whether Google tweaked its algorithm that day or not, this video might start getting views from Google searches that it hadn’t received a week earlier – because it hadn’t been uploaded yet.
And since 48 hours of new video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, this means 483,840 hours of new video content is uploaded to YouTube every week. According to comScore Video Metrix, the duration of the average online content video in September 2011 was 5.3 minutes. So, more than 2.7 million new videos are uploaded to YouTube every week.
This means your mileage may vary from week to week depending on what else has been uploaded by about 2.7 million other content creators.
And, just in case you missed it, Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google, told Congress on Sept. 21, 2011, that Google had made 516 updates to its algorithm in 2010. That’s an average of two every business day. But, that wasn’t the real shocker. He said Google had tested over 13,000 updates that year. That’s a an average of two every hour.
So, chasing the latest Google algorithm change is like trying to drive one of the fastest road cars in the world by looking intently into the rear view mirror.
Nevertheless, there are some new developments and long-term trends that video marketers should focus on.
First, as Chris Atkinson advised last month, it’s important to release content frequently and on a recurring schedule. With Google’s latest freshness update, this is now even more important.
Second, you should use YouTube Insight to track online video viewership trends. You might discover that YouTube search is becoming more important than Google search. For example, when I looked at my client’s data over the weekend, I found that views from Google search had dropped 28% to 9,916 during the past 12 months compared to 13,770 for the previous 12 months. However, views from YouTube search had increased 49% to 36,128 during the past 12 months compared to 24,186 for the previous 12 months.
Third, as Atkinson advised three weeks ago, metadata continues to play an important role in video SEO. And optimizing your metadata is not only important to help your videos get found in YouTube search results, but it is also important to get high ranking in related videos. And that became more important on Oct. 20, 2011, when YouTube redesigned the end-screen that appears directly after a video finishes playing to make it even easier for you to find the next video to watch.
So, yes, there are new developments and long-term trends that video marketers should focus on. But the latest Google Panda Update may not be one of them.