On May 08, 2018, I spotted something interesting. It appears that Google has expanded upon video snippets shown in the SERPs for certain keywords. These are technically called Rich Snippet Video Previews or Rich Snippet Video Thumbnails.

These little video snippets or video thumbnails have appeared for ages, especially if the content IS a video. But, of course, what is interesting here is getting a thumbnail to appear in organic search results which will massively increase Click Through Rates (CTR).

What’s new:

  1. Historically, to get a Rich Snippet Video Thumbnail, video needed to be self hosted and you needed to use structured data video markup. Google offers documentation on how to mark up video content here: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/video. This appears to no longer be the case and I am seeing embedded YouTube videos generating a video snippet in Google organic search results. It’s not just YouTube; in the screenshot below, the embedded video is hosted via Wistia (but does use structured data markup).
  2. The keywords videos are displaying for are new and include local businesses.
  3. Historically, embedded YouTube content would not give a video snippet. As mentioned in point #1 above, videos needed to be self hosted and have special markup. Pages with a YouTube video dropped into them are now displaying snippets:


Pics or it didn’t happen, right?

Here’s a website getting a rich snippet video thumbnail using a Wistia Pro embedded video:

Here’s a website getting a YouTube video thumbnail (note the URL is not YouTube but their home page). They are not using any markup:

This change is just rolling out!

After searching the web for other local results, I have found none. This could be a test, however, the results have stuck in search results for about 48hrs now. If this is a new change, it could take time for search engine results pages to update. In both screenshots above, the pages were just crawled on May 7 and May 8, 2018, according to Google’s Cache. I suspect that this is a new change and as pages are re-crawled the SERPs will change.

Final thoughts:

So, is this temporary, or is this a brand new update? It will be interesting to see how this progresses and if Google rolls out a May algorithm change as well. Search engines truly are in their infancy and as they grow up and understand content better I expect they will need less and less help from webmasters. That is good news and means less schema markup will be needed one day.

It will be interesting to see if Google keeps this change or if they scrap it.


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