Google Changes Triggers for Video Thumbnails to Appear in Search

Learn more about Google's changes to the triggers for video thumbnails to appear in search listings.


Certain videos may not trigger thumbnails in search listings as part of a recent change to Google's results pages. This change coincides with updates to the reporting features surrounding videos in the performance report in Google's search console. If your website relies on attracting leads through engaging video content, understanding this change will help you stay on top of your search listings. We will cover what has changed to trigger video thumbnails and the intention behind the changes.

What happened?

The Google Search Central Blog announced changes to how videos will present as part of Google search listings. Previously, video thumbnails were presented as part of search results in two manners.

1. A page where a video is the main content will present with the thumbnail to the left and will continue to present this way.
2. Pages where a video is not the main content of the page will no longer present thumbnails in search.

The first situation, shown above, is triggered when a video makes up the "main content" of the page linked. Note that the video thumbnail is presented to the left of the listing. The second situation was triggered when a video was shown on the webpage, but the video did not make up the main content of the page—the recent update to Google search result reporting changed the reporting for the second situation. 

What changed?

If a video does not make up the page's main content, the listing in Google's search engine results page, SERP, will no longer include a video thumbnail.

As shown on the left, a video thumbnail was shown in the search listing even though that video was not the page's main content. The new display for this case, shown on the right, will no longer include a video thumbnail.

The Google Search Central Blog explains that this change is intended to ensure that users' understanding of the page's content matches the content presented on the webpage.  

What's Next?

Ensure your business understands how the content contained across your online presence will present in search listings. For more information about this specific update, follow this link to Google's announcement on the Google Search Central Blog. For more SEO best practices about including video content on your web pages, follow this link to Google's documentation.

Are you interested in staying up-to-date with the latest Local SEO news and updates from major platforms like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook? You can opt into our monthly newsletter here to stay on the leading edge of everything your business needs to know.

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