YouTube, often touted as the second largest search engine, just made a change to how it ranks content. The company announced in a blog post that it has just started adjusting the ranking of videos in YouTube search to "reward engaging videos that keep viewers watching."
In other words, the more of the video that viewers are actually watching, the more likely it is to rank higher in search results compared to its competitors.
"This is a continuation of ongoing efforts to focus our video discovery features on watch time, and follows changes we made to Suggested Videos in March, and recent improvements to YouTube Analytics," YouTube says.
We reported on the Analytics changes here. In the "Views" report, YouTube will now show you more time watched data. "Estimated minutes watched" can be seen from this report now, and users can choose other data options from the "Compare metric" drop-down.
"The experimental results of this change have proven positive -- less clicking, more watching," says YouTube of the rankings adjustment. "We expect the amount of time viewers spend watching videos from search and across the site to increase. As with previous optimizations to our discovery features, this should benefit your channel if your videos drive more viewing time across YouTube."
It does stand to reason that if the videos that are getting more viewing time from users are appearing near the top of search results more frequently, that more people will spend more time watching YouTube videos. Sounds like a win for advertisers.
It makes you wonder how much weight Google gives to the time spent on site metric in its web search results.