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YouTube fine-tunes search ranking based on time watched

YouTube has announced that it will adjust its search rankings to prioritise videos that viewers actually watch.

Basically, if YouTube users regularly watch three minutes of one video but routinely click away from a similar video after a few seconds, that three-minute video will rank higher in search results going forward, despite keywords.

"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 said in a blog post.

In testing these new rankings, YouTube said the result is "less clicking, more watching." As a result, time spent watching videos will likely increase over time and boost the profile of those with popular videos.

If you're not sure how your video is performing, YouTube has added a "Time Watched" reporting tool to YouTube Analytics.

"So keep making great videos that your fans will love and share, and encourage them to discover more of what YouTube offers, and you'll see your own fan base grow, too," YouTube said.

In August, Google announced that that it would demote sites with a "high number" of copyright complaints in its search results. YouTube, however was reportedly not included in that effort.

Earlier this month, YouTube took some of its original channels international. It also recently started testing an interactive question-and-answer trivia-style video feature called Video Questions Editor.