Whether its a YouTube video or a standard webpage, soon the watch time spent on these entities would be considered a search ranking factor. Recently, Google won a patent on 'Watch Time' that could be an indication of how the search giant intends to rank video content in the future.
The patent outlines Google’s proposed in-house methods and internal algorithms of ranking content by ‘watch time’. Besides being associated with video content, the 'Watch Time' may also refer to how long someone stays on a page they have found in the search results, regardless of the page content.
What Is Watch Time ?
Watch Time is a measurement metrics used to promote videos on Google owned video streaming website YouTube. The algorithm for suggesting videos comprise several parameters including prioritizing videos that lead to a longer overall viewing session over those that receive more clicks. It benefits viewers from more enjoyable content being suggested to them.
The patent covers the methods how a content is associated with ranking score based on how long people usually spend watching that content. The scored assigned may be adjusted in search results. They may boost or lower search rankings according to the viewing habits associated with the content.
The patent reads:
“This specification describes how a system can adjust a score for a search result that identifies a resource and was obtained in response to a search query to reflect user watch times of the resource, e.g. the times that users spend watching video content. In general, the system boosts the score for a search result if users historically tend to watch the resource for longer periods of time, and may demote the score if users historically tend to watch the resource for shorter periods of time.”
When it comes to YouTube videos, 'Watch Time' is a known ranking factor. The algorithm emphasizes and promotes videos with longer viewing sessions rather than those that receive the most clicks.