5 Ways To Increase Your Watch Time For Better YouTube Rankings

Every vlogger is familiar with the YouTube algorithm. This not-so-ancient secret code holds the keys to getting your videos to appear to both new and longtime viewers. The better your video ranks, the more potential viewers will find it, both as a suggested video and in the search results.

One of the algorithm’s favorite things is watch time, which is how long viewers are actually watching your videos. Increasing your watch time will improve your YouTube video rankings.

Here are five ways to increase your watch time for better YouTube rankings.

1. Keep track of your audience retention scores.

In order to track your watch time as it improves, you’ll need to keep track of your audience retention scores. You can find your audience retention scores on the analytics page of your YouTube Creator Studio.

Your audience retention scores will show you how long your viewers are watching each video. If you see a spike in replays or a drop off in viewership, rewatch the video to evaluate what could have contributed to the dramatic change.

Make a spreadsheet or chart of audience retention scores for your videos from the past few months. Keep track of each new video, making note of the kinds of things that cause more viewers to keep watching for longer.

2. Entice new viewers with catchy titles and colorful thumbnails.

Another factor that contributes to your overall watch time score is session starts. Basically, when viewers start their YouTube time on your channel, your watch time gets a boost. So, the more people choose your videos first, the more your watch time will improve.

You can entice new viewers with catchy titles and colorful thumbnails. Think of each video as a magazine cover. What kinds of headlines and images would catch your attention in the checkout line of a grocery store? Make your title dramatic and your thumbnail expressive. Just be sure to deliver on any clickbait you tease your audience with.

To get a feel for what kinds of titles and thumbnails catch attention, look at some of the most popular storytime vloggers. YouTubers like Gabbie Hanna bring in viewers with clickbait titles and dramatic thumbnails.

3. Hook your viewers within the first thirty seconds.

In order for a view to count, the person watching the video has to stay for longer than thirty seconds. This is all the time you have to get them hooked, so you should plan an engaging video intro.

Start by introducing yourself so new viewers feel welcome. Then, you should include a call-to-action and tease the end of the video. For more tips on creating the perfect video intro, check out this post.

Beauty vlogger Laura Lee has a unique way of opening her videos. Her “subscribe song” keeps viewers entertained and engaged.

4. Post longer videos more frequently.

One of the best ways to increase your watch time is to simply make your videos longer. Though it may seem simple at first, adding length to your videos will require more footage and more time spent editing.

You can maximize your increase in watch time by posting these longer videos more frequently. For example, if you’ve been posting five-minute videos once a week, then you may want to try uploading ten-minute videos twice a week.

Changing your content like this will require you to adjust your work schedule as well. Creating and sticking to a new schedule is paramount to your success. For help creating an upload schedule that works for you, check out this post.

5. Create playlists of your longest videos.

You can combine all of the tips above for a maximum increase in watch time by creating playlists of your longest videos. These playlists will increase your session starts and session ends, as well as keeping viewers on your channel for longer.

Playlists also build on the success of previous videos. If a viewer was enticed by a certain video’s title, for example, then he or she would be delighted to find an entire playlist of similar content.

Another great trick for playlists is to create video series. For example, DanAndPhilGAMES turned a successful Sims video into the most popular content on the channel.

Increasing your watch time will help boost your video rankings. Follow these tips to start getting more viewers spending more time watching your YouTube videos.

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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.


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