A few months ago, Google changed when it shows video thumbnails in its search results to only show the video thumbnail when the video is part of the page’s main content. Gary Illyes from Google said that does not mean the video needs to be the first element on the page, but the video does need to be in your face for Google to determine if a video thumbnail should show in the search results.
As a reminder, Google said the “video thumbnails only appear next to Google search results when the video is the main content of a page.” “This will make it easier for users to understand what to expect when they visit a page,” Google added.
Here was the visual change in the Google search results for videos that were not part of the main content:
Gary Illyes was asked at the 13:04 mark “Does “main content” mean that the video has to be the absolute first element on the page?”
Gary responded, “no” it does not need to be the absolute first element on the page. But Gary did say that the video should be “in their face right away.” He said, look at what YouTube and Vimeo do, do it like they do it.
Gary said, “Think about the user’s perspective. They end up on your page and then they have to actively look for the video instead of having it basically in their face right away.” “The former is pretty confusing and that’s why we are looking for videos that are the main content, basically in your face. If you look at the large video sites such as Vimeo or YouTube then you can get a sense of what our algorithms are looking for,” he added.
Here is the video embed where he said this:
Forum discussion at Twitter.