Video Thumbnails In Google

Over the past few years, websites have become more and more interactive, and video is becoming an increasingly common feature.  Video is also playing an increasing role in search engine optimisation, as it can help improve your listings. One buzzword that I see used regularly by Google and its employees is “user experience”.  Interactivity goes a long way towards creating a more positive and involving “user experience”, and videos are often a large part of this.

An additional benefit to using video on your site is that it may trigger video thumbnails to appear next to your website in Google’s results pages.  Generally, this is a good thing because it draws attention to your listing and increases click through rate.  However, not everyone is happy with this feature.

In some cases, Google’s video thumbnails can be detrimental.  The image shown may not reflect the site’s content, or a user user who wants some basic info, may (incorrectly) think it is a video site like YouTube, as apposed to a content rich site which also has embedded videos.  Unfortunately, webmasters currently have very little control over these video thumbnails.

This problem is similar to the use of titles and descriptions that are pulled from DMOZ instead of from a page’s meta tags.  From Google’s point of view, DMOZ titles and descriptions were good because they are always concise and objective.  However, if a site changes its focus, these descriptions can become inaccurate or irrelevant and take months for DMOZ to rectify.  Google solved this problem by introducing the “noodp” meta tag to make sure that DMOZ data wasn’t used.  It may be a good idea for them to introduce a similar tag for video thumbnails.

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