The Rise of Video Results in SERPs

Video content is an important part of marketing strategies, spreading information, and has grown on social media for years. With the rise of video platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Google’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006, it’s no wonder this content type is becoming more integral to the results page. We’re looking into just how much video affects the SERPs landscape, as well as why, and how, you can incorporate video content into your SEO strategy.

Table of contents:

What Do Recent Algorithm Updates Mean for Video Results?

Google updates its algorithm frequently, to ensure that it showcases the best results to match the searcher’s intent. Over the last year or so, we have been paying especially close attention to video results, and how they have transformed the shape of the SERPs landscape. Google began rolling out its most recent Core update in March 2024, and we think video content is shaping up to be one of the winners

  • As of April 2024, YouTube ranks for nearly 1 billion keywords in Google US, and this has increased 232% since as recently as November 2023 (Source: Semrush). 
  • In the US, video results for ‘how to’ keywords generates 2,998,244 keywords, with a combined US search volume of 476,107,100 Searches Per Month (Source: Semrush). 
  • Over the past year, TikTok has seen a 729% increase in keywords ranking for Top 3 positions in Google US. 
  • In May 2022, Google announced they were adding a separate indexing report specifically for Video Pages in Google Search Console. This showcased Google’s early interest in the results type.

What Else Do Algorithm Updates Highlight?

This isn’t the only common thread we can identify from recent algorithm updates. SERPs are highlighting the need for trust signals on-site, to demonstrate to a user (and Google) that your brand is an expert in its field, as well as increased results for Reddit and other community forums which showcase user generated content and experience-led discussions. 

Google’s partnership with Reddit in February 2024 only shows the search engine’s dedication to showcasing helpful, human-focused results in SERPs. Here’s the position zero results for the search “paramore”: 

How Have Video Results Changed?

Including video in SERPs isn’t new, but the way these results are presented has, and this impacts how you can improve your site’s ranking. There are multiple types of video results appearing in SERPs.  

The majority of results are, unsurprisingly YouTube, since Google’s purchase in 2006. Video results largely showcase the iconic red play button, with longform horizontal content the most prominent. However, naturally, we have seen a rise in TikTok, Instagram reels, and YouTube Shorts.

Types of Video Results in SERPs

Google will try to match the video result with the search term to display the most aligned results for your search intent. This means there are multiple ways a video may appear in SERPs. Here are some of the ways Google is currently displaying video content:

Video Packs

This is often presented as 3 or 4 videos, typically long form YouTube content, in a vertical list, with key chapters of the video available to view, and the opportunity to watch the video on YouTube, or another video platform. 

Video Carousels

This results type showcases multiple videos side by side in SERPs, and we commonly see these results types for branded searches. The definition of ‘brand’ in this case is fairly loosely-defined. 

Individual Video Results

Some video results appear as you would expect a traditional organic result to appear, but with a small video box to showcase the video. This was previously how most video results were presented in SERPs. This is an example for the search term “wicked”, which is presented further down the SERPs than the “Video Packs” example above.

If you hover over the thumbnail on desktop, a snippet of the video will begin playing. This video results type still appears, but is less common on Page 1, with Google favouring the video packs and carousels which may keep you within the search engine, rather than take you to an app or new site.

Stand Out Video

Some searches offer a knowledge panel or “answer box” result which provides a larger, main video entity at the top of the SERPs. This is a clearer search intent, since the searcher more clearly wants to watch a video relating to their search.

These results will naturally be harder to achieve for a video hosted on your site, since Google will prioritise its own platforms to promote, but they may feature your brand’s video on YouTube.

How Can Video Content Help Your SEO Strategy?

With video results increasing in SERPs – what does this mean for your SEO strategy? I

Video offers the chance for a user to visualise your product, hear your expertise, and watch how to do something they might not have previously known. It can demonstrate your brand as the fountain of knowledge, inspiration, and offer trust they are looking for. 

In fact, increasing video on-site and on wider branded channels can help to support visibility in SERPs, and could help rank your site better. Including a video in blog posts to offer additional information or ways for a user to find your content “helpful” could help to promote your site in Google. 

Your SEO strategy should be holistic, to provide the signals Google wants to see, in order to offer the best landing pages for a user. Whether long-form video, YouTube Shorts, or short-form content across socials, Google is clearly interested in video, and you should be too. 

How to Use Video to Bolster SEO Performance

It isn’t as simple as going out and filming a load of footage, posting a video and watching the views roll in. Google is still interested in insightful, helpful content, made for the user. So this needs to be the priority. 

  1. Research the keywords in your target list that display video results
  2. Consider if you are able to create video content to match the search term
  3. Create helpful, insightful video content that matches the query
  4. Decide where to host that video content
  5. Optimise around the video to align with the keyword

There is an additional consideration for on-site content: Google announced in 2023 that they will only show thumbnails in SERPs, or show the result in Video mode, if that video is the main content of a page. This means, if you want to host or embed video content on your site, to appear in video results, it needs to be the primary purpose of that landing page. Even if this isn’t the case, the page can still rank, and Google may index the video, but it may not appear as a video result in SERPs. 

We still see the benefits though! Our experiments have shown that even having video content present on your site, can offer the EAT, experience, and helpful content signals Google is looking for, to help rank your page for its primary keyword.

How Can We Help?

There is no more crucial time to invest in SEO. Organic search provides the opportunity to harness your core audience who are already searching for your products or services, without knowing they need YOU!
At Escaping Gravity, we are an SEO Consultancy providing effective solutions for challenger brands. Get in touch today, and discover a holistic, caring side to your core marketing team.