Product Manager at Google, Danielle Marshak, offers tips to help your video content appear in Google Search. Learn how Google indexes videos, features where videos appear on Google, and what you can do to optimize these features.
Hi, my name’s Danielle, and I’m a product manager for video on Google. I’m here to share some best practices to help your videos appear in Google Search and Discover. In today’s Lightning Talk, we’ll cover how Google indexes videos, some example features where videos appear on Google, and what you can do to optimize your videos for these features. So let’s get started.
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Search engines like Google index videos from millions of sites across the web, covering topics from news and sports to shopping and education. These sites include individual publishers as well as large platforms. Wherever videos live, we want to help people find the most relevant videos for their searches and interests. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. We aim to deeply understand videos from diverse sources across the web so we can help users efficiently find what they’re looking for.
How Google Indexes Videos
So how does Google find and index all these videos? First, it’s worth clarifying that when we talk about indexing a video or displaying a video result in search, we really mean the combination of that video and the web page where it lives. As Google crawls the web, we identify videos on web pages using a variety of signals. These include data on the page, like video HTML tags and structured markup, and data submitted separately, like video sitemaps. When Google identifies a video on a page, we try to understand what the video is about so it can surface to users who are looking for that topic. Some of this information comes from text on the page, such as the page title, headings, and captions near the video, or from signals on other pages, like referral links. As we’ll discuss later, Google can also understand videos using structured data markup and by fetching the underlying video file to analyze its audio and visual content.
Video Features on Google
Now that you have an overview of how Google indexes videos, let’s talk about some of the places where videos can appear. As you’ve probably seen, videos can appear in the main search results page on Google. They can also appear in the video search tab and in the image search tab. You may also see videos in Discover, which shows content related to your interests. Let’s talk a bit more about some of the video features you’ll see in the main search results page. Videos are often grouped together as you can see in these examples on mobile and desktop. These features show results where a video is the main content on the page as identified by Google classifiers. On the other hand, for pages that mix videos and text, you might see results like these. There are also features like this example for pages that show multiple videos in a series or playlist. In addition to basic video information like the thumbnail, title and duration, some video results show additional information, like a badge to indicate that a video is a live stream or key moments within the video. These are just a few examples of features on Google where videos from any site can appear to give you a sense of how videos from your site might be displayed. By following a few best practices, you can make your videos eligible for these features, offering a more engaging visual result preview that will help users more easily find your content.
Video Best Practices
Here are five recommendations to optimize your videos for Google Search and Discover.
First, make sure your videos are available publicly on the web. If your videos are part of an app, make sure each video also has a corresponding web page with a URL that Google can access. The video should be easily visible on the page and should not require complex user actions to load.
Second, to help Google find your videos and understand what they’re about, you can provide structured data using schema.org VideoObject markup. This markup can include information like the video title, description, and duration, thumbnail, and video content file URLs, and more. You can use additional structured data to enable features like the LIVE video badge and video key moments.
Third, make sure you provide a high-quality thumbnail at a URL that Google can access. If a thumbnail isn’t accessible, then your page might not be able to appear in video features. For example, if the thumbnail URL is blocked with robots.txt, Google won’t be able to access that thumbnail.
Fourth, video sitemaps are another way to help Google find videos associated with pages on your site, and they can also include metadata tags to help Google understand what the videos are about.
And finally, fifth, to further optimize your videos, make sure that Google can fetch your video content files. Our developer docs lists the supported file formats for videos along with tips to make sure Google can access these video content URLs.
When Google can access the visual and audio content in your video files, you get several benefits. First, Google can choose a few seconds from your video to use as a preview, which can be more engaging than a static thumbnail. You can use the max-video-preview robots meta tag to control the length of these previews. Second, Google can understand the content of your videos so they can surface for more relevant queries. And third, Google can automatically identify key moments within your video so users can navigate them like chapters in a book.
To recap, make sure you follow these best practices to help people find your videos on Google: make your videos available on the web; provide structured data with VideoObject markup; include high-quality thumbnails; submit a video sitemap; and finally, make video content files accessible. For more detail on these best practices plus additional tips for optimizing your videos, check out our developer documentation at the links below. Thanks for taking the time to watch this video, and we can’t wait to see videos from your site on Google.
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