YouTube’s Changes Search Algorithm to Rank Videos Based on Time-Watched

YouTube’s Changes Search Algorithm to Rank Videos Based on Time-Watched

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We all knew that YouTube was trying to get people to stay around on the site longer, and they were putting less emphasis on views with all the housecleaning a few months ago.  Several creators cried foul on the new YouTube, which saw their subscriber base and valuable views go down, but we saw that a lot of what YouTube was doing was about engagement, not views.  In other words, make your viewers stay around with great content.  Well, the YouTube Creator Blog announced on the weekend that YouTube’s search engine is going to be optimized for a video’s time watched.

Time-Watched is New Ranking Factor: What Does This Mean?

It means if you keep viewers around on YouTube longer, you’re videos will start ranking better.  And the view count is discounted at this point.  It doesn’t mean trying to come out with a ten-minutes-or-longer video just for the sake of coming out with something longer, you actually have to keep those audiences for a long time throughout the video.

Which is something you can actually track.  Just before the announcement about the algorithm change, the YouTube Creator Blog also announced some changes to YouTube Analytics so that you can track Estimated Time Watched:

So it’s pretty clear now, if it hasn’t already hit you on the head, that retaining viewers has become very important when it comes to your videos.  You won’t be getting by with a five minute video where people leave after a minute and a half.  It means you have to hook your viewers early and get them to stay around for the duration, and you should always be getting your viewers to ask, “What happens next?” or “tease” great content throughout.

By the way, while we’re here, YouTube Analytics is also offering “Annotation Tracking,” which will report the performance of your annotations, the “click and close” rate.  This becomes a nice feature because as we reported earlier, you’ll be able to send people to your website through annotations in the future.  And it will also tell you how many times people are clicking on them to get to other videos.

So, some new stuff to chew on for future video making.


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