YouTube has added time watched as a ranking factor to reward or promote engaging videos.
The largest video sharing website announced the news on their official blog yesterday.
Now, YouTube is focusing more on watch time to rank a video higher in their video discovery feature. So, videos watched for more time will be ranked higher in Video search and Suggested videos.
Earlier it was ranking videos by the number of clicks, instead of time spent to watch. There are videos, people have clicked for millions of time and abandoned shortly due to the lack of interest or value.
They had experimented with the new ranking factor time watched and decided to implement it for better user experience. According to YouTube:
The experimental results of this change have proven positive — less clicking, more watching. 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.
YouTube has also added time watched statistics to the YouTube Analytics Dashboard. You can check your time watched statistics under the Views report. Look for the Estimated minutes watched. The more the time spent on the video and the lesser the clicks it attracted, the higher will be the ranking for video search and suggested videos.
So, the bottom line is – Focus on producing quality videos instead of clicks to rank higher in YouTube.
If you want to optimize your YouTube video better, then checkout this article – 14 Viral SEO Tips for YouTube Videos.