Sure, YouTube is the place to catch all those viral videos that circulate through social media, but it’s also considered one of the largest search engines on the Internet today. To that end, Google is changing the way videos are ranked on YouTube, to bring videos with higher quality viewing content to their users.
It’s not a new concept; Google has been fiddling with search engine optimization (SEO), the tool website creators use to draw traffic to websites, for some time. Those up on the latest in SEO will successfully draw customers to their website and social media, increasing sales and profits. Oh yeah, SEO is like gold to Internet marketers today.
Substance to Rule
Forget provocative titles and sexy previews – now YouTube videos will need to offer engaging substance to move up the SEO ladder. YouTube’s new search ranking algorithm will be based on which videos contribute to an overall longer and more engaging viewing session, rather than the number of clicks the video gets. Those videos that can keep users’ attention the longest will win top spots in the rankings.
The move has been in the process for some time. In August, Google updated discover features, with a focus on length of time spent on videos. The search gurus must have liked what they saw, because now they are expanding that concept to their full search engine rankings. They have also added “Time Watched” reporting to their analytics, so video creators can better track the success of their YouTube offerings. A statistic has been added to each video in its View report called Estimated minutes watched. This allows you to see the number of views and how many minutes the viewer has watched.
The Impact of YouTube Changes
So what does this mean for those who post to the website, or simply like to watch the videos? For viewers, the new rankings should bring the higher quality videos – the ones that YouTube viewers actually watch – to the forefront. No more weeding through sub-par home video style offerings to find what you want.
For those posting video, the stakes have just been raised. Without substance to back up your catchy title, your rankings may be as good as gone. Lost in the abyss of those home videos. Forever. Better start using that “Time Watched” algorithm if you want to keep your YouTube following. And bring your video production skills up to par to compete with those other budding Spielberg’s on the Web. Sexy teasers won’t cut it any longer.
All YouTube is interested in is increasing site-wide metrics and increasing the time viewers watch a video.
For Google, it means more folks hanging out on YouTube for longer periods of time. That’s a win for Google, YouTube and for advertisers.
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