SERP Optimization – Video Snippets

What is a Video Snippet?

A video snippet is simply when a video thumbnail is shown in the search results. A video thumbnail is a small image taken from the video with a small play button and the time of video on it.

Rick Roll Video Snippet


Benefits Of Optimized Video Snippet

Having a thumbnail in the search results really makes it stand out and can increase the amount of clicks your site gets. Just look at the heat map of where people focus when video snippets appear!

Video snippet SERP heat map


Google likes videos for several reasons

  • Videos are harder to make and scale then written articles
  • Not nearly as many people are making video as other forms of content
  • They are usually more information dense
  • Users usually find them more helpful

People like videos for several reasons

  • Approximately 65 percent of the population are visual learners. (Source: Mind Tools)
  • The brain processes visual information 60,000 faster than text. (Source: 3M)

How To Optimize For Video Snippets

1. Select pages that already rank

Focus on pages that are already ranking well for their key terms. They are more likely to show up with the video snippet if they are already ranking on the first page of the search engines.

To quickly find terms that a website is ranking for I use SEMrush. With their tool you can filter to find which keywords have the highest search volume or CPC (cost per click) that you are already ranking well for!


SEM Rush Screenshot of organic rankings

2. Select a keyword that the SERP already has a video snippet

After using SEMrush to find keywords that rank I then do a Google search or scale it with the AuthorityLabs rank tracking tool to see if these keywords have search result types such as the following:

  • Image results
  • News  results
  • Video  results
  • Shopping results
  • Snippet  results
  • Places  results

Authority Labs Logo

Authority Labs SERP example

3. Target terms that produce video snippets

If you don’t see any rich snippets in the keywords from step #2. Try adding one of the following terms to your keyword that are more likely to produce video snippets.

  • Tutorial
  • Review
  • Test
  • What is….
  • How to ….
  • Demonstration
  • Explanation
  • Video

When doing your research you will probably find that most video snippets are from YouTube, but some other platforms do show up.

Video Snippets


4. Embed the video on the page

  •  Prominently place the video on the page – The more prominent the video the more likely that it will be used as a video snippet. For example, having a large video above the fold of the page is more likely to be shown vs a small video at the very bottom of a long page.
  • Ensure content can’t be embedded outside your domain – You stand a better chance of getting a rich snippet if you are the sole provider of the content. If Google see’s the video in several locations and doesn’t know who the original is they may pick another source to show the snippet for. Using an embed can also make it so people have to go to your website to see the video and hopefully convert.
  • Avoid IFrames – Google is getting better but is still not the best at crawling and indexing content in iframes or javascript. Make it easy on them by using an HTML5 player.

5. Create A video sitemap

  • After uploading your videos to your site you need to create a video sitemap to add to your robots.txt file and then submit to Google Webmaster Tools.
  • If you are using Wistia they do a great job on helping you set a video sitemap and optimize your videos for SEO. If you want to do it on your own you can follow the Google guide to creating a video sitemap

Video Snippet FAQ

Q; Do I have to use YouTube to get video snippets?

A: A study done by Wistia shows that 90+% of video snippets that show are from YouTube (Source). You can get video results from other video platforms but be sure to look for this in your research.

Q: Does having video snippets help with rankings?

A: Adding videos to pages has not been found as a cause for increase rankings.

Q: Is it hard to implement video snippets?

A: It does take some technical know how to implement but here is the Google guide to creating a video sitemap or use Wistia who walks you through how to do easily create a video sitemap.

Video Snippet Optimization Tool:

Video Snippet Optimization Resources:

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