Ever since Google Panda rolled out, spammers are looking at new avenues of spam. The spam has not changed, only their methodology and modus operandi has. Panda has rooted out the stupid spammers and only the best ones are very well in the race, changing tactics, surviving and profitable.
Youtube is one of the sites that gained in post panda SERP results. The only reason we can attribute to it is the lower bounce rate and relatively longer time spent by viewers on its website. While a number of SEO experts have argued that the reason of youtube’s better than expected SERP has to do with google owning youtube. We differ on this. We do not think that google has different yardstick to measure the website it own with the ones it does not own. Had this been the case, google could have demoted Apple’s results or potentially answers.yahoo.com results ( another potential competitor).
Back to the video SERP misue. Let us take a look at the search term
2013 Toyota Corolla Vs honda civic
With 2013 kicking, potential buyers could be searching for this term in relatively large number. Here is the SERP as captured from a US location.
The first video result is not a youtube, but does not provide any information about any comparison between the two cars. It is just a placeholder for advertising a seller’s website. Why google gives it a weightage is difficult to know. The next three are exactly same videos. While the videos themselves are good, it provides a frustrating user experience by clubbing them all together on the first page of the SERP. The Second page is even worse. The videos do not provide any useful information at all. This makes google’s claim of providing diversity in search result hollow.
Youtube – Time of view as a ranking factor
Youtube recently announced the time of viewing a video as a ranking factor. This was its internal ranking algorithm change and has nothing to do with the google’s external ranking factor. In theory the youtube.com and the google.com are separate products and we believe that google.com act as if it does not has the data on how long a video was viewed. The ranking factor was introduced by youtube to potentially derank the videos that were gamed to rank higher based upon other factors like number of likes and views.