Video SEO, Playlist Thumbnails, And YouTube’s Future – TubeTalk Podcast #29

Last updated on July 12th, 2020 at 07:47 pm

What are the top 3 factors that influence YouTube video SEO? How do you change your playlist custom thumbnail image? What does YouTube’s future hold?


This podcast is brought to you by the 2014 ReelVideo Summit, where marketers, storytellers, brands, and retailers gather to get serious about online video. The ReelVideo Summit takes place July 24-25 in San Francisco at the Hotel Nikko near Union Square. Find out more at

Tip #1: Top 3 Factors That Influence YouTube Video SEO?

Tim Schmoyer gave us the top three factors that influence video SEO including:

  1. Watch Time is the amount of time viewers have spent watching a video. The higher your watch time, the better YouTube thinks that video is, and the higher it is placed in search results.
  2. Audience Retention is the average point in the video where people will stop watching. Tim included this factor because it’s closely related and commonly confused with watch time even though it doesn’t influence SEO as much. Audience Retention influences Watch Time.
  3. Viewing Session is the total amount of time users spend watch anything on YouTube after starting to watch your video. YouTube wants to keep people on their site as long as possible, so if your video gets users to watch videos (yours or anyone else’s) for a longer sequential duration, your video that started that session will get a higher ranking.

Tip #2: How Do You Change Your Playlist Custom Thumbnail Image?

Dane Golden talked about how to select a custom thumbnail for a playlist. Here are the steps.

  1. Click on the gear icon at the top of the page.
  2. Select “Video Manager.”
  3. In the left hand navigation, click “Playlists.”
  4. Find the playlist you want to modify. Click “Edit” to the right of that playlist.
  5. You’ll see all videos in that playlist.
  6. To use the thumbnail of a video in that playlist, select the “More” dropdown menu on the right and select “Set as playlist thumbnail.”
  7. The playlist thumbnail updates automatically.

Tip #3: What Does YouTube’s Future Hold?

Last week we had a question from listener Michael Vera on the future of YouTube. So we sent Matt Ballek to the future to do some research. Matt traveled to the distant future (two months from now) and came back to report. He found that mobile is of increasing importance on YouTube. Today mobile accounts for 40% of views, but in the future, it continues to grow and be part of multiple devices. Matt also found that the platform continues to integrate more with Google+.

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