Bold Content Google Reduces Video Rich Snippets – And What It Means For Your Website!

Last month saw a sudden drop of video rich snippets in Google’s search results. Any change to Google’s search results that affects click through rates (CTR) is always going to draw attention – and heated discussion – as to Google’s motivations.

Here we will look at what the digital marketing community is saying about the recent update – and what it means for your video marketing.

What are video rich snippets?

Video rich snippets are an enhanced result in Google’s SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) that features a thumbnail of a video next to the search result. It lets the user know that particular result has a video content.

The key advantage of rich snippets is that they stand out against competing results in the SERPs. And that means more clicks.

Timeline Of The Change For Rich Snippets

16th of JulyChad Gingrich noted on SEER Interactive blog that Google appeared to be limiting the number of video snippets shown in the search engine results. Gingrich included several graphics in his initial post, including this one comparing Vevo’s video pages (which are still getting snippets) to Moz’s Whiteboard Friday posts (which have lost snippets).


Credit to SEER Interactive

18th of JulyJennifer Slegg, founder and editor of The SEM Post, noted that there had been a 4% increase in the number of video thumbnails showing in the search results over the previous day. However, the overall decline from 16th of July was still quite dramatic and there was no way of telling if the rise on will continue.

21st of July – Jennifer Slegg posted data provided by Mozcast showing visibility had fallen even further since the initial drop. She suggests that the recent changes made by Google might become a permanent trend.


Credit to The SEM Post

Seeking explanation from Google, Danny Goodwin of Search Engine Watch reported a spokesman’s comment that, “We’ll continue to show video snippets where it’s most relevant.” Separately, Google’s John Mueller wrote on Google+: “We’re still showing video snippets, seeing changes from time to time is normal.”

While video snippets from many other sites appeared to be removed, the video thumbnails for YouTube, which is owned by Google, were unaffected. This has led to speculation that Google is favoring its own site, at the expense of others.

Why Has Google Made These Changes?

Jennifer Slegg noted, “There has been speculation that the change was related to the recent authorship change, which saw author thumbnails disappear from the search results.  However, a Google spokesperson has confirmed that the change is not authorship related.”

Another common suggestions is that the move by Google may be motivated by their bank book. As Tamara Gotlib from Seperia notes users are more likely to click on rich snippets than Google’s ads. Taking relevant photos, videos and other rich snippets away from the organic search brings more attention to Google’s primary profit machine – Google Adwords.

However, John Mueller argues that the recent changes were designed to “clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices.”

Despite the grim predictions from the SEO community, videos and other rich visual content should still be implemented in websites as it significantly enhances overall user experience. Even though video snippets have been reduced in the SERP’s, Google’s algorithm still takes video tags and other rich content into consideration when indexing a webpage.